3 Simple Backyard Improvements That Will Expand Your Living Space

3 Simple Backyard Improvements That Will Expand Your Living Space

Your house is just a fraction of your living space. There are several ways to upgrade your backyard to make it a more appealing and inviting space for entertaining or simply for relaxing in the fresh air. The following backyard improvements will provide you with enjoyment for years to come. They can be completed as a do-it-yourself project or subcontracted out to professionals.

Fire Pit

Fire pits are a simple addition to your home enjoyed by one person on a quiet night or several people during a party or after dinner. You can build your fire pit in a weekend day with materials from your local hardware store. You can construct a simple paver or concrete block fire pit as a circular or square design. Make sure to build the structure to accept the fire pit insert, and stabilize the structure by staggering each block layer.

Gather ideas about materials, mainly shape and color by browsing fire pit galleries online.

fire pit

Garden Swing

This isn’t your kid’s swing. Garden swings or arbor swings are sturdier and larger to accommodate adults. While the project is more labor and time intensive than the fire pit project, it can still be completed in a weekend. The tools for this project are also more specialized but need not be purchased. You can often rent the tools you don’t own from a local home improvement center or equipment rental business.


Arbor swings usually start with square or round beams sunk in concrete. An auger can make digging the hole much easier. This is one of the tools you can rent if don’t own one. After sinking the upright supports, shad is created with the addition of a trellis. Make sure the concrete is dry and the beams are straight before building the trellis. The final step is hanging a swing with chains from the trellis. There are several videos and plans available online giving step-by-step instructions for the project. You might also be able to find plans at your local woodworking center.

Pub Shed

Who hasn’t dreamed of owning their own bar? Possibly, that fantasy involved a cozy little place where friends gather to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. The dream can come true without the headaches of real bar ownership. Build your own pub shed! This is the most complicated of the projects. The time and complexity will depend on how much of the actual shed construction you take on. Pre-assembled sheds are available if you want to save. Building a shed may take a weekend to a week to complete.

Irish pub

The time it takes to decorate your pub depends on how fancy your interior decoration. Your dream pub may continue to look like your neighbor’s garden shed from the outside. What makes them different is what’s on the inside. Your shed dimensions will dictate how intricate the interior may be. The smallest pub shed might resemble a small food stand, with a window and counter where friends can drink their favorite ale while the host plays bartender inside.

Looking for a more elaborate project? A larger shed might offer a bar area for standing and an open area with chairs or couches for people to sit on. Outside of physical dimensions, money and imagination are your only restraints. So, whether you fancy a traditional English pub or have always dreamed of owning a bar on the beach, create your shed to make your dream come true.

Store Bought or DIY

Whether you want to build your own fire pit, garden swing or pub shed, contract it out, or do something in between, decide how much effort and money you want to invest before you begin. Plans are often available online or at your local home improvement store. Garden shed plans are a good foundation for building your pub shed.

Author Bio

James Houser is former Navy and a father of two. He has a 4yr old son who is currently training to become a Jedi and a 21 month old daughter who is already prepared to rule the galaxy. When James isn’t building forts or being used as a climbing gym by his kids, he enjoys writing, gaming, and listening to the Truth & Justice Podcast. Follow him @sifuhouser.

Does Your Porch Truly Reflect Your Lifestyle?


In the past, the porch had quite a prominent place in every home. It was a place of gathering, family reunions, friendly neighbor visits and small talk. It was a sort of a summer living room, where homeowners and their guests could catch the refreshing breeze in the shade while the rest of the garden basked in buzzing sunlight. The porch brings memories of a creaking rocking chair and grandpa reading his daily papers. Don’t deny your children these memories when they grow up. A splendid porch should be the elemental to every suburban home.

Where to Start?

The porch should first and foremost be an extension of your house, and as such comfortable as any living room or study. A well-designed and functional porch on the other hand requires careful planning, and a lot of inspiration and creativity. For the beginning, in order for people to feel comfortable, the porch should be spacious. Which can be achieved in two ways, either you make it bigger, or you smartly outline and draw the arrangement of the furniture. You can find different ideas online that can inspire you and let you see what works for you. Whichever option you choose, remember that the porch is a relaxing and soothing space, which shouldn’t break your budget.

How Big is Enough?

back-porchIt goes without saying that the size of your porch will be determined by the thickness of your wallet. You should know that there are several types of porches, like rooftop integrated, wraparound porch, sunroom porch and front porch. Every type comes with its own set of pros and cons, and with a different price. The most common type, however, is the roof integrated, but be warned that this is also one of the most expensive, as it follows the roofline and requires more calculation and complex construction. If you’re looking for a more available option, there you have the front porch, which can be added any time later.

Decorating the Porch

The only rule in decorating your newly built porch is that there are no rules. Everything you do will be directed by your budget and creativity. The safest and the most effective way is to decorate it in a way that reflects your lifestyle and the home interior décor.  In a recent chat with reputed Sydney-based outdoor furniture retailers , I found out that another approach is to decorate the porch according to its purpose. If you want a nap spot, involve a daybed, a swing, a hammock or just a softly cushioned rocking chair with a wool blanket. It is often said that what makes a good porch is a good nap. The best strategy is to have several more chairs on reserve for guests.

Accessories and Embellishment

screened-porchThe extra stylish look of the porch is achieved by decorative wall hangings, while potted plants bring it close to the garden. Match the blankets and pillows to the rug, creating a serene and peaceful color effect. The key is to use as few metal objects as you can and to consider taking the pillows, blankets and even rolling the carpet up indoors, as they tend to absorb moisture if left unattended in rainy weather.

Eventually, you should try to envisage the porch as a sanctuary, a place where you can escape from the stress of your work or house chores. So, however much you invest in it, it will pay back tenfold, providing you with countless hours of pleasure and joy.


How To Create New Usable Space In Your Home

The cost of property has increased in price dramatically over the past 10 years and buying a new property now will set you back way more than it would have 10 years ago.

This is why now more than ever we are seeing people starting to convert and extend their homes as opposed to buying a new one which adds new space and creates additional rooms within your home.

By converting your house, you are benefiting yourself in two ways:

  • Number one, you do not have to move out when you outgrow your existing house which can be stressful and very time consuming.
  • Number two, you are adding value to your home so, if you eventually do have to sell your home in the long run, you will get a great investment back on your property.

Attic or Loft Conversions

atticIt is time to stop looking at your attic and loft space as just a storage area for your Christmas decorations and photo albums.

This space is a great opportunity to add value to your home. A survey of 110 estate agents found that converting your loft and attic space accounted for a 12.5% increase in the value of the property (source MPK Lofts).

One of the main rooms of choice for this conversion is an additional bedroom. This is mainly due to the somewhat awkward head space that you find within your attic.

However, the room is perfect for bedroom space offering extra room for a growing family or for visiting guests.

You can even double this up with an en suite bathroom which will add even more value to your home and great convenience for staying guests to have their own bathroom space.


If you do not want to move up in your house, you can always expand outwards.Basement converted to a gym, White Plains, NY

Ideal rooms to extend within your home will be your kitchen to create that favorable big island centerpiece within your kitchen or add a dining room.

Whenever buying a home, one of the first rooms that you are interested in seeing is the kitchen.

Dubbed the ‘heart of the home’ it is one of the most favored rooms to extend within your house that is also one of the most extended rooms of the home.

Another great room to add to your home is a home-gym, dining room or extra reception room.

Remodeling your home

You do not need to necessarily extend your home in order to create more space.

When you move into a home, the layout and format of the space may not necessarily meet the requirements of what you need for a home.

For example, you may have a small room that is next to the kitchen that is not being utilized.  You might want to organize the space and use it for food storage.   Or you might want to utilize the space for a downstairs wet room or a utility room.

You can also help to create an illusion of more space within your house with the use of natural light. You can replace your windows from old, small traditional ones to big bay windows that let light flood into the home and create the illusion that the room is bigger. Coupled with the correct placement of mirrors, you can bounce light around the room and make it feel larger.

Budget Home Improvements: Seeing Home Repair as an Investment

Exterior home improvement project includes replacement windowsIt may be that your house hasn’t seen any home improvement for quite some time: the bathroom is covered with wallpaper, the kitchen appliances are avocado green, and the shag carpet in your living room keeps asking you to a Gloria Gaynor concert. It just may be time for renovation.

Renovating your home not only makes it a more enjoyable and comfortable place to live, but it is a wise investment. However, not all renovations are worth the time, the effort, and the cost of improvement. According to a report by US News, there are certain renovations that offer larger returns than others.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchen-designMost realtors will tell you that bathrooms (specifically the master bathroom) and the kitchen are typically the most important rooms of the house. The kitchen, in particular, is the first area potential home buyers notice. This is where people tend to congregate, thus it needs to be both welcoming and modern.

Bathrooms, on the other hand, aren’t really known for crowds. Instead, they are known as places where people can relax and pamper themselves. When a bathroom remodel is done correctly – with a custom shower, dual sinks, stellar lighting, or granite countertops – they can yield an average investment return of 62 percent.

Additional Notable Areas

Other renovations that are worth the investment include adding more livable square footage and new finished basementwindows. When it comes to the former, more is definitely better. Turning an attic into a bedroom or finishing a basement can have a positive effect on the selling price of your home. People are drawn to homes that offer larger areas in which to play, rest, or simply hang out.

Adding windows can also be quite profitable. New windows may be expensive, but they add value to your home in several ways. They are aesthetically appealing, but they are also practical. Old windows tend to leak, letting in cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer. This leakage can sky rocket the cost of heating and air conditioning.

Home Offices and Sunrooms

On the flip side, home offices and sunrooms aren’t typically the best investments. While working from home has become commonplace in the job force, most people don’t require a full office to do it. Usually a computer and some storage cabinets can suffice. Home buyers often find that there are other things they would rather do with this space.

A sunroom renovation may be equally futile. This is particularly true in areas where the weather is extreme. In states with winter weather, sunrooms are usually too cold; in states with hot summer weather, sunrooms can get way too stuffy to be comfortable. Thus, they are really only good investments in areas where the weather is mild for most of the year. There’s no point to a sunroom if you can’t use it.

To Build or Not to Build

Making the choice to remodel, modernize, or build an addition is a big decision. It takes a significant amount of commitment and money. However, as demonstrated above, certain updates may well be worth it. Renovating may also be necessary.

According to CNN, remodeling is surging among homeowners, who are hopeful with the surge in home values. In fact, spending on home improvements reached $131 billion in 2012. This was the highest mark since 2006. With so many improvements, homeowners might have to renovate merely to keep up with the Joneses.

This article was contributed by Chase Roberts, home & garden connoisseur, personal decorator, and all-around handyman. Chase recommends Remedy Roofing for homeowners in Dallas looking to make a great long-term investment in their home.

Bruzzese Home Improvements specializes in kitchen and bathroom renovations, additions, window replacement and pretty much all your home improvement needs.  Give us a call or shoot us an email to schedule your free in home estimate! ~Gary B.

8 Cool Screened In Porches For Spring and Summer

Cool breeze is a precious commodity as things outside begin to warm up this late Spring and early Summer.

screened in porchOne strategy in getting your fair share of it is by the simple and stylish addition of the screened in porch. The reason that many seek to find out how to install a screened in porch is because it solves a few issues when it comes to an outdoor living space.

One big one is gaining that precious breeze that defines late Spring and early Summer seasons without the presence of flying insects. Another is that a screened in porch lends itself to a wider range of design possibilities; reading areas, interior container gardens, outdoor dining spaces, and all-around indoor and outdoor continuity.

To help outline some of the practicalities, and frankly some  eye-popping designs, of screened in porches, here are 8 examples of how a screened in porch can be a defining element to any outdoor living space.  

Source:  BuildDirect, By  CATE MORGAN-HARLOW

Ready to add a fabulous screened in porch to your home?  Contact Bruzzese Home Improvements at  914-576-2572 or by Email:  bruzzesehomeimprovements@gmail.com.  We specialize in room additions and screened in porches!

Areas we service: Westchester, NY, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Scarsdale, Eastchester, Larchmont, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Mamaroneck, Rye, Harrison, New Rochelle, White Plains, Lower Westchester New York.

A Sunroom Addition Lets You Bring the Outdoors In

Sunroom-DesignsThere’s little doubt that we love our homes, but there are times when virtually everyone feels a bit boxed in. Perhaps we’ve outgrown our home, or maybe it just feels a bit dark and claustrophobic.

For whatever reason, there are times when it would just feel good to bring extra light and airiness to our homes. Although the popularity of sunrooms has waxed and waned over the years, most people think of a sunroom as an aluminum structure that lets all of the heat out in the winter and turns into an oven in the summer.

New Materials for Better Sunrooms
Well, times have changed, and so have the materials used to build sunrooms. These days, homeowners are increasingly choosing sunrooms that use vinyl-wood composite for the framing and high-quality windows from the floor to the ceiling. The result? Well, there aren’t any unsightly screws or fasteners on the walls or around the windows; instead, lovely trim and moldings provide the finishing touches. Plus, the energy efficiency is unbeatable.

A typical aluminum-framed sunroom is between 10 percent below EPA requirements for habitable structures. In contrast, a special wood-composite sunroom average 25 percent better than EPA codes. This means that, for example, if you live in a state like Texas, your sunroom is usable year-round and won’t cause your energy bills to soar. Plus, the cost of building a sunroom out of these new materials is about that of an aluminum sunroom—and decidedly less than an all-out remodel.

Conservatories: A Step Beyond
If you think you’d enjoy the comfort and relaxation of a sunroom, conservatories put your home into a class all by itself. Sometimes called a solarium, a conservatory often becomes the most used room in a home. Mahogany conservatories are gorgeous, and typically are available in a variety of roof styles, including Windsor, Georgian, and Victorian.

Dressing Up Your Patio

Many homeowners have nice patios but simply don’t use them. Often, it’s just too darned hot to have the sun beating down on you. If that’s the case, then it’s easy to dress up your patio with a patio enclosure, a patio cover, or an arbor. Enclosing or covering your patio gives you that much more living space and enables you to truly enjoy your backyard.

Finding the Right Company

Whether you want a sunroom, a solarium, or a patio enclosure, it’s important to find a company you can rely on. Make sure that all materials and labor are backed by a 100 percent lifetime transferable warranty, which will be attractive to buyers if you ever sell your home.

Moreover, the company you choose should provide you with a buyer’s guide, a contractor’s evaluation sheet, and design options before you buy. The best companies even offer a 3D architectural rendering so that you will know what your room will look like. 
 Contact us today so we can talk about how we can transform YOUR home with a beautiful sunroom, solarium or patio enclosure addition!

A sunroom or conservatory is a wonderful way to breathe new life into your home. So let the sun shine in!

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