4 Outdoor Fireplaces Perfect for Fall Entertaining

While the long summer nights may be coming to a close, your outdoor entertaining opportunities are just getting started. Extend your home beyond your sliding glass door by using an outdoor fireplace to keep the party going. Here are four settings perfect for warming up and chilling out.

Home away from home

If you and your family and friends spend most of your evenings outdoors, consider bringing the inside, outside. Add homey details like a mantle, shelving, and outdoor furniture around the fireplace unit for a cozy space to curl up on a cool night.

This type of area, with its rustic vibe and comfortable ambiance, is ideal for treating the kids to s’mores or sharing a glass of wine with friends at the end of the evening.

IS-g7a6qshlq6ot

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Totally transparent

For a luxe look, consider installing a double-sided outdoor fireplace. Not only does this style open up your entire backyard area, but it also allows for better ventilation throughout the space.

Add a uniquely fashioned grate to one side to protect plants and guests from sparks or ash.

IS13lxuwtatalyb

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Chimney charm

Every outdoor landscape needs a great focal point, and in the case of a fireplace, it’s a beautifully crafted chimney. While you have the option to choose a minimalist fire pit or simple bowl feature, why not highlight your outdoor fireplace by utilizing unique texture, an interesting shape, or robust color?

This chimney is a standout feature in this hidden backyard area. The cool gray stone plays well with the bold brick walls and overall dark color palette. By using two textures and two colors, the chimney adds dimension and interest to this carved out cove.

IS5y1uge1mf3dt1000000000

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Modern minimalism

Outdoor fireplaces don’t always have to be made of brick or stone. Try a minimalist approach to the outdoor fireside by mixing up its color and shape.

In this outdoor area, the hearth is long and lean, boasting an open flame that flickers safely because of the smaller flames emitted. With this type of look, keep a safe distance between the fireplace and flammable furniture and textiles, and situate it near brick or stone to reduce the risk of overheating and burning anything in close proximity.

Add outdoor furniture that matches your contemporary fireplace to complement the look.

IS9d0adkuq4x441000000000

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

See more outdoor fireplace inspiration.

Related:

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Home Improvement

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

4 Outdoor Fireplaces Perfect for Fall Entertaining was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Advertisements

16 Tips for Staging the Perfect Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday is coming up very soon. Hope you love T-Day as much as I do. Good food, family, friends and no worries about gifts or costumes. But sometimes hosting the big meal for family and friends can seem daunting. That’s why Pro.com has uncovered some ways to make it easier and less stressful.

 

Thanksgiving Family Dinner

 

Hosting Tips

1. Ask for Help: Make it a meal where everyone brings a favorite dish or one they excel at creating. Tell them to have their contribution ready-to-eat; there’ll be no room in the oven to cook something extra. Have your spouse and children assist with cleaning, food prep and table setting.

2. Prep Ahead of Time: You can peel and slice potatoes and store them in your fridge in a pot of salted water so they won’t turn brown. Bake your pies, roast the chestnuts and dice the fruits and vegetables you need the day before.

3. Stick with the Classics: Thanksgiving is not the day to mess around with new recipes. Instead, do what has worked well before.

4. Check Your Dish Situation Early: Dig out the serving bowls, platters, dishware and silver you’ll need for dinner and wash them before the big day.

5. Set Up a Drink Station: Mix up a pitcher of sangria, put out some non-alcoholic beverages and cups and let your guests take care of their own drinks.

6. Ask Guests to Bring Storage Containers: Dish up leftovers into these. I love this hint. Every year at this time I lose all my leftover containers to my family who takes them home and I end up having to replace them.

7. Take Time to Relax: If you can’t find a few minutes during T-Day to put your feet up, plan something special and calming for the day after.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

 

Decorating Tips

1. Erect a Thankful Tree: Place bare twigs in florist’s clay in a vase. As guests arrive, request that they write what they’re most thankful for on construction-paper leaves. Punch a hole in the finished leaves and hang them with ribbon on the tree.

2. Bell Jar Centerpiece: Place tiny white pumpkins in a bell jar or cloche turned upside down. Place a plate over the top, flip the container and you have an easy table centerpiece.

3. Acorns on the Mantel: On a hike, collect acorns, then place them around a small votive candle you’ve put in a cup. Distribute some additional acorns throughout the display.

4. Soup Tureen: Put water-soaked florist’s foam into a large soup container. Add fall colored flowers and gourds. Dahlias and mums work well.

5. On the Door: Instead of a wreath, paint an old tray with chalkboard paint. Glue branches and faux berries around it and write an appropriate greeting on the tray.

 

Holiday Mantel Decoration

 

Table Setting Tips

1. Cork Name Cards: Write guest’s names on rectangles of card stock. Cut slits in old wine corks and insert the place cards.

2. Rosemary Place Cards: Soak long sprigs of fresh rosemary in water until they are flexible. Form the stems into circles and secure with floral wire. Cover the wire with a ribbon and glue the wreath to a place card.

3. Clothespins: Spray paint clothespins a glittery gold. Add berries, stand them on end and put the name card in the top.

4. Bundle Silverware: Tie each knife, fork and spoon together with a colored ribbon. Stand them in a clear bowl filled with rice or popcorn and place in the middle of the table.

 

Thanksgiving Table Setting

 

Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

Related Articles:

The post 16 Tips for Staging the Perfect Thanksgiving appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

Pro.com Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

16 Tips for Staging the Perfect Thanksgiving was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry

You know you have a can of chicken broth, but you’ve scoured your shelves twice and still can’t find it. Or, you’re in the middle of mixing up cookie dough and the brown sugar you retrieve from the cupboard resembles an actual brick. And the expiration date on the can of tuna you just pulled out was three years ago. It’s time to clean and organize the pantry. But this time, do it differently and more efficiently.

 

Cluttered Pantry

 

Pro.com has divided this process into four simple-to-manage stages. When you’ve finished, you’ll have your dry and canned food readily available whenever you need to whip up a meal. No more hunting for that elusive can of beans.

Stage 1: Clear Out and Clean

Remove every can, box, bag, bottle and jar. Check for expiration or “best by” dates and toss any item that isn’t current. Trash any suspect food, as well. Donate what you’ll never use to your local food bank. Vacuum up any crumbs and give the shelves a good wash down with a warm, damp rag and dish detergent.

Empty Pantry

Stage 2: Make Changes

Evaluate and implement ways to make your pantry more user-friendly. Install sliding shelves that pull out so you can see what’s in the back, attach a spice rack on the door, place one shelf higher than the rest for tall products, and add adjustable shelves or even additional lighting to contribute to a more efficient pantry and meal prep.

Pantry Cabinets

Stage 3: Go Shopping

Make a list of the types and number of containers you need for maximum organization. For canned goods, consider a tiered shelf organizer that lets you see all available cans at the same time. Get rid of those bags and boxes by transferring the sugar, flour and rice to clear canisters. Staples stay fresher in sealed containers. On the floor, utilize baskets for bulk food storage, onions and potatoes. If you don’t have a spice rack, buy a turntable.

Kitchen Groceries

 

While you’re out, buy any staples you either don’t have or had to toss in the cleaning phase. Suggestions include:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Broth
  • Tuna
  • Raisins
  • Cereal
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cocoa
  • Vanilla extract
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Your favorite spices

Stage 4: Organize in Zones

Group similar items together, either by taking up an entire shelf or a portion of that shelf. Put boxes of cereal together, spices in one place, baking ingredients in another, canned goods by themselves and smaller items in a plastic container. At eye level locate items you reach for everyday. Label all storage boxes with a label maker so you can see at a glance what’s inside. One task remains; training the rest of the family to return whatever they take out to its newly assigned place.

Pantry Containers

 

Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

Related Articles:

The post 4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

Pro.com Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

How to Choose the Perfect Mattress

If you wake up achy every morning or have trouble going to sleep at night, an uncomfortable mattress may be the culprit. Think back to how it felt when you first bought it. How long ago was that? Shopping for this kind of big-ticket purchase requires some thought and planning. Don’t order a mattress online or through Craigslist. That just not the most strategic plan.

 

White Bed Frame

 

A mattress should provide you with good support, but also cradle you as you drift off into slumberland. Just like in the Goldilock’s fairy tale, you don’t want a bed that’s too soft or too hard. You’re looking for one that’s just right. The following tips will steer you down the right road to a better sleep-enhancing bed.

1. Decide to Replace

Unless you previously bought a top-of-the-line mattress, you should buy a new one every 8-10 years. If you have trouble sleeping or always wake up grumpy, consider getting a new bed sooner.

Uncomfortable Mattress

2. Set a Budget

Have a general idea of how much you want to spend, so you’re not lured to the most expensive model, but also so you don’t cut corners on a purchase so vital to your health. Look for sales and never pay full price. Negotiations are expected either for a discount, for the accessories the store throws in like sheets and pillows, or on delivery charges.

Budget for Mattress

3. Shop at a Specialty Store

Salespeople at mattress stores have more training in how to help customers and knowledge of their product than employees who happen to work in the bed section of a department store.

Mattress Salesman

4. Consider Different Types

Innerspring mattresses are comprised of coil springs with a material like latex or memory foam on top for comfort. These come in a variety of firmness. Memory foam beds have layers of different thicknesses of foam and contour to your body. Latex mattresses are made from rubber and give a firm, yet buoyant type of support.

Mattress Layers

5. Test the Possibilities

Spend 10-15 minutes lying down on potential mattresses in your normal sleep position. Bring your favorite pillow so you’re simulating sleep as much as possible.

Testing Mattress

6. Look for Neutral Alignment

Shop in pairs so your friend or family member can check and see if your spine curves while you’re lying on the bed. Strive for an almost neutral position. You don’t want your spine to sag while sleeping. That’s a recipe for a backache.

Mattress Alignment

7. Sleeping for Two

When you sleep in the same bed as your spouse or significant other, you want a mattress that each of you can adjust to their own level of firmness. Neither one of your should give up their comfort when deciding on a new bed.

Couple Testing Mattress

8. Ask About a Return Policy

You may not know for a few nights if you’ve made the right decision or not, so make sure you can return the mattress if you can’t adjust to it.

Mattress Store

9. Get a Warranty

A quality mattress should have at least a 10 year full replacement warranty.

10 Year Warranty

10. Inquire About Removal

If the store where you buy your new bed doesn’t offer old mattress removal, you’re going to have a hard time getting rid of it. You can’t just put it out on the street because dumping mattresses may be illegal in your state. A charitable organization may pick it up, but you’ll have to store it someplace until they do.

Mattress Removal
Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

Related Articles:

The post How to Choose the Perfect Mattress appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

Pro.com Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

How to Choose the Perfect Mattress was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

How to Throw the Perfect Pumpkin-Carving Party

Nothing says Halloween like carved pumpkins, friends in fun costumes, and festive treats. Follow these tips for throwing the perfect pumpkin-carving party with all your friends.

1. Create a casual atmosphere

Head out to the backyard, set up a few long folding tables with a disposable cloth, and let the fall atmosphere be your decor. Play some music, and let the party commence.

shutterstock_317059268

2. Assemble an easy, self-serve buffet

Don’t worry about serving a full meal that creates a lot of work for you. Instead, set up a self-serve buffet stocked with enough goodies for the evening, so you can enjoy the party. Think of a few simple savory dishes, add some fun and festive sweets, and you’ve got it covered. Include a drink station with a few options in dispensers. Label them, set up a stack of glasses and let your guests enjoy.

shutterstock_328084430

3. Set up carving stations

Arrange a simple but structured carving setup so your guests can enjoy the main event. Stock a table with various carving templates for those who want something other than the traditional smile. Don’t forget tape to attach the templates to the pumpkins.

shutterstock_225804526

On other tables, place cute buckets down the center to scoop the pumpkin seeds and pulp into. Then put out smaller containers to hold the carving utensils. You’ve provided everything guests need to carve the winning pumpkin.

4. Hold a carving contest

What good would pumpkin carving be without a little friendly competition? Have some judges and a variety of prizes on hand for the event. Think outside the box with the awards and go beyond just the “Best Pumpkin.” Think in terms of “Most Creative,” “Most Adventurous,” “Scariest,” and so on.

shutterstock_325200791

5. Commemorate the evening

Make sure you gather up those masterpieces for a group shot at the end of the evening. All that hard work must be commemorated. Share the party photos with your guests after the fact.

shutterstock_219009244

Get out those pumpkins, set the tables, and crank the music for the best pumpkin-carving party around.

Related:

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Home Improvement

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

How to Throw the Perfect Pumpkin-Carving Party was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home