Summer Newsletter, 2016

Construction is a Sickness

By: Wayne Coolidge
   "Hi, my name is Wayne and I have a construction problem". Then I hear my wife Wendy, who is sitting next to me, “Hi, my name is Wendy, and I have a construction problem.”  I don’t think there is a medical term for it, but I am convinced there is a sickness based on construction. I know that I am afflicted with it, and to compound the problem (because it is contagious) so is Wendy.
   I have come to recognize some of the signs of this illness. You will notice that when someone starts talking about a construction project - their speech will speed up, their heart starts to race, their pulse quickens, and their eyes widen. I have seen this first hand with my wife. One day she says that we should downsize now that we are empty nesters. Then, the next day she says that we should renovate the kitchen, add on a screened-in-room, and build a country porch. She starts out speaking slow but her voice keeps picking up speed, her eyes widen, and she is visibly filled with excitement. It’s very obvious - she has the sickness. But as I listen to her - my pulse starts racing, I get a tingly feeling, and I am having a hard time sitting still. But it’s too late, it’s contagious, and I come down with a full blown case of this dreaded condition myself.
   Many of us may not have had a fighting chance from the beginning. I think that this inherent disease is actually part of our DNA make-up. Luckily for me, I was able to choose a career path that lets me get my daily fix. Others weren’t as lucky and have to find ways to deal with this on their own. Often when they get an attack and can’t take it any more – they call me. I can hear the excitement in their voice as they carry on describing what construction project that they just have to do. Often I try to talk them off the cliff by explaining how expensive their idea is and how long it may take. But before long, we are both jumping up and down talking about design, specifications, and schedules. I have run out of fingers and toes to count how many people call me year after year to get a fix. You know who you are, and you are all enablers - every one of you.

Decorating Your Outdoor Space

   There are many different purposes for having an outdoor space from extending your living space to a place of solitude for relaxation. It is important to realize the intentions for the use of this space, as it will determine how to best accessorize and decorate the area.
   When an outdoor space is close or connected to the home, it usually functions to extend living space outdoors. This can be seen in open sunrooms, porches, and some patios. Since it is in close proximity to the home, you will want to carry the same mood out. Choose décor and seating that are similar to your interior, like cushioned couches and end tables to accommodate food and drinks. Continue colors and patterns that you have inside to make a fluid transition outside.
   On the other end, your outdoor space may serve as more of a retreat and space for relaxation. Especially if you have a pool, a chaise is a great option. Place a pair of them on either side as you have options depending on the direction of the sun or add a large umbrella for shade. If you want to relax with others, there are many options of outdoor, water repellent cushions to create a cozy relaxation area with couches and chairs- and be sure to add an ottoman.
   Lastly, maybe you just want an area for eating- summer barbecues or family dinners. It is best to choose the largest table that can fit your area, providing the most seating possible. If you prefer a smaller scale, try just an eating nook with a café table and chairs. Perfect for a casual conversation over coffee or tea.

Enter at Your Own Risk

   In general, you probably try to keep your house fairly clean- but what really is the most important? Many people visiting your home may not even make it past the front entry and what they see at the front door is likely what they will infer that the rest of your home looks like too. Entryways set the tone for the remainder of your home, so think of the impression yours is giving out.
   An entryway can be one of the hardest rooms to keep clean as it is generally the drop off zone as everyone comes through the door. Most days it probably looks like a tornado came through, especially with kid stuff strewn everywhere. For better organization, try mounting just hooks or drawer knobs at different heights as soon as you walk in to catch all the stray accessories. Add a fun punch by painting them different colors and arranging them however you see fit.
   Your goal should be to create a clean scene, which makes someone want to take their shoes off at the front door. A clever way to bring that up it having a “slipper station” available. Have an empty boot tray set next to a basket of slippers for guests to wear while they visit making them feel more welcome.
   One problematic area is often recycling. Boxes and bottles can accumulate in a corner of your kitchen or overtake the entryway. Take the time to make a recycling station that works and is out of the way so as not to create clutter. For others, clutter can overtake as unwanted items await to be taken out of the house. Instead, designate and hang up a large tote bag for donations, and when it is full, drop it off at your local charity. Now you’re organized and giving to charity- good work!
   Above all, your entryway needs to be functional and fit your family’s personal needs whether it be closet space, lockers, sorted baskets, a bench, or a simple coat rack. Where it is typically a small space, you will want to be realistic about what needs to stay out (shoes, coats, etc.) versus what needs to get stowed away.

Start a Design Binder

Sometimes when you want to start a new project, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you want. By thinking ahead of time, you can compile a portfolio of ideas. You can take pictures from magazines, paint or material samples, or simply write down ideas. If you prefer working on your phone or device, create a board on Pinterest (be sure to check out our page for ideas).

Fun Suggestion

Next time you host- make it easy for guests! Punch out holes in your disposable plate to attach silverware and napkins with twine. No one will forget utensils and they can be hands free while scooping the delicious food!
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1701
Dover, NH 03821-1701