Summer home projects

As the summer weather is kicking into full gear, it is the perfect time to check some things off your homes list to maintain it’s functionality.

The summer holds fun in the sun but also some intense heat and stormy temper tantrums. To prepare for these possible hazards, it’s important that we check the inner workings of our homes and ensure proper maintenance is conducted.

Below is a list of the important areas of your home that will affect your homes energy use, as well as determine your homes current condition and ability to withstand the weather in the future as well as safety.

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors– Check batteries and ensure they work, replace if they don’t.
  • Exterior home cleaning– Your home, just like all the others become susceptible to stains, moss,  and bacteria, which can lead to the shortening of your homes life span, not to mention damage it’s curb appeal.  While pressure washing can cause damage, an alternative option would be soft washing, which is a safe and eco-friendly, biodegradable option that will bring your curb appeal back in full force while increasing energy savings and extending the life of your home. (Always ask professionals before putting yourself in risky situations. If need be, hire the professionals to accomplish the necessary tasks.)
  • Clean and replace window screens– Windows and screens naturally get dirty with the constant wear and tear of weathering. However it is important to clean both to avoid the entrance of dirt and debris from outdoors, into your home. If you have dirty windows and screens, simply opening your window when there is a slight breeze will allow for dirt to be blown into your home at a constant rate, potentially causing health problems or allergy issues.
  • Air conditioner filter– Seeing as how the summer is generally hot, it’s no surprise the air conditioner is our favorite appliance this time of the year. Before running the appliance, check the air filter to make sure it is still in a clean condition that will not do more harm than good. These filters should be cleaned out every two weeks, especially when it is active for long periods of time. You can clean these filters by washing with warm water or using a vacuum cleaner.
  • Air conditioner fan– The air conditioner unit also has a fan that needs to be cleaned like the filters. To remove the fan, it is important to turn the unit off, remove the frame, and take out the fan motor. Clean and replace in the same manner as the filters.
  • Furnace filters– Furnaces also have filters that need to be cleaned, especially after long days of activity in the winter. The cleaning process is a simple wash, however if the filter has a cardboard frame, it needs to be replaced as it is not a permanent filter.
  • Hose inspection– Inspect the hose lines of your washer, dehumidifier, dishwasher, icemaker, toilets and refrigerator for any kind of leaks, cracking or wear and tear. These hoses will need replacing every 3-5 years.
  • Attic and Basement Inspection– At least once a year it is a good idea to inspect your attic and basement for any indication of pests, insects, water leakage, mold, mildew, and any peeking daylight when the lights are off. Any of the listed problems can result in serious repairs down the line if left long enough.

That’s all we have listed, but that’s never all. There is always something to check on and maintain in a home, but it’s important you do so in a manner that is most efficient with the time of year and potential weathering that will occur.

Until next time, have a safe and fun summer in the sun!

give us a call at Xpand Inc. if you have any needs for additions,  remodels or custom home building!

Phone: 952-292-6107

Backyard Bungalow

Many of us are in possession of backyard sheds that have been overtaken by time and the ever impending neglect that is brought with a busy life.  With our help and years of experience, we can turn that neglected shed into a newly envisioned bungalow/shed/garden space that is full of modern architectural styles for some great social gatherings during those nice weather days!

Bungalow on the beach

When people hear the word “bungalow” generally they think of clear blue waters and a wide open sky with surrounding beaches. While we can’t necessarily bring an ocean to you, we most certainly can bring the pleasures of bungalow architecture.

To accomplish this remodel of your shed, we take advantage of it’s positioning within your yard. Generally sheds are pushed into a corner of the yard and have a strong shade presence. This allows for a lot of possibility when it comes to activity in this section since there is relief from intense sunlight, making this location great for social gatherings during all parts of the day.  Why remodel the shed just to be a normal shed when it can hold more functionalities and enjoyable properties?

A great example of remodeling the shed into a socially desirable location would be to add the functionality of a dining area. People love to eat outside and chat with those near and dear in their lives, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so!

How it’s done:

  • Elevate the shed in some manner, from lowering the ground around the shed enough to make it seem raised, or add some form of foundation after tearing down the initial shed.
  • Once the spot is raised, rebuild a modern styled enclosure atop the location and introduce enough space for a miniature deck system, with a pergola structure built in.
  • You now have a miniature deck and raised shed with a pergola, allowing for immense functionality. Either a garden in the shed, a miniature cooking stations, you name it!
  • Alter the pergola in a manner that has synergy with shed, so if the shed is a cooking station, let the pergola house seating and a table to dine. Add a few forms of drapery on all sides to give the bungalow style and some furniture that is made to handle outdoor weathering, and viola.

The culmination of these efforts and ideas will bear a rejuvenated shed that exudes relaxation and restoration after a long day.

To enhance the atmosphere you want from this location, don’t neglect the possibilities that lay within colors and patterns.  Nothing helps that “get away” vibe more than some vibrant and bold oranges and reds and other exotic colors that break out of the normal color palette of your everyday environment.

You don’t have to stay disatisfied with the eye-sore in your back yard. Give us a call at Xpand and let’s talk over some remodel ideas you have and how we can help you achieve something from nothing!

Phone: 952-292-6107

Outdoor Fireplace, Your Very Own Outdoor Living Space

Big Sky, homes of Xcellence

Be prepared for those fresh-air nights that have the slightest chill and is showered by the stars in the sky with an outdoor fireplace! I know what your thinking, its the same thing as a fire-pit and i’m just confusing the words, but that’s not the case, I promise!An outdoor fireplace is exactly like what it sounds! Imagine you went inside and took your loved fireplace from the living room and placed it onto your stone or concrete patio in your backyard for some stare gazing! That’s what we are talking about! Outdoor fireplaces are structures that can be built on stone, brick or concrete patios and offer the same form of comfort, aesthetic beauty and functionality as indoor fireplaces!

Outdoor fireplaces often consist of a firebox as well as a chimney for strong functionality, and cannot generally be relocated once built. However the advantages of incorporating an outdoor fireplace to your backyard rather than a simple fire-pit really depend on the atmosphere you want to emphasize!

Let’s break down the varying ways in which outdoor fireplaces provide a unique atmosphere to a location, and why this may be an addition your looking for!

  • Fireplaces have the same luxury as fire-pits when it comes to the way in which you create the flame. Be it a wood burning or the use of gas, both materials are viable options that you can choose from! Wood may require a little more work, however results in the ever so satisfying crackle that can really help relax those who are partaking in the occasion.
  • Due to the layout of a fireplace, it is situated so that the heat and light emitted from the fireplace is directed in a specific direction. This means the fireplace becomes a central figure of your outdoor space, which is great due to the grand look it will have with the bricks and all!
  • Outdoor fireplaces offer intimate opportunities to fly thanks to the location in which it resides! Being parked under the stars on a calm night with your significant other, snuggled up on your outdoor furniture with the warmth of the fire flowing across your skin you can be sure that the atmosphere will be charged nothing but feelings of contentment and relaxation!
  • As an added measure of keeping that contentment while using the outdoor fireplace, the smoke from the fireplace is directed upward through the chimney, ensuring there is nothing burning your eyes or causing a coughing fit to ruin the night and intimate mood!
  • The outdoor fireplace is also something that can be easily maintained on days that have a little more averse weather conditions. Thanks to the fire being protected by the   firebox, wind and sprinkles of rain will have little affect on the fires intensity, proving to be a low maintenance event!

Outdoor living spaces cannot be complete without the warmth of a hearth to bring it all together. Consider installing an outdoor fireplace in your outdoor living spaces, and really amp up the possibilities that are available to you this spring!

Give us a call or send us a message at Xpand inc! We will work with you every step of the way to ensure that dream home of yours becomes a reality!

Pergolas, What are they? And Why you should invest in one this Spring!

Deck
This spring, why not bring some new excitement to your backyard with the help of the always loved pergola! But wait, what is a pergola you ask? It’s time to put the name to the face so to say!A pergola is an archway, or covered location generally located over or near a garden or park! Pergola’s consist of a framework that is often used as a shaded walkway or resting location. Basically, pergolas can be a form of backyard additives to already existing locations, or a central figure of it’s own! Can someone say outdoor living space?

The way a pergola can change the atmosphere of an area is quit astounding. They can really give the sense of size due to being a new section of the backyard, helping the entire backyard feel bigger and still have room for other activities or structures!

Since lists are fun and easy to read, lets break down some main reasons pergolas are a favorite for those warmer weather days!

  • As mentioned above, they can create a change in an atmosphere by defining a definite space. Be it an entertainment lounge, dining area, or outdoor kitchen. Pergolas give new possibilities and can even replace the desire for a deck or patio if you don’t sport one of those in the home, however having both is a great option!
  • Privacy is the next bonus from pergolas. With the addition of drapes for a walling mechanism, pergolas can give you privacy in your backyard despite being an initially open structure. Enjoy some backyard reading or relaxation without the worry of prying eyes!
  • Plant space! If your a green thumb or just can’t get enough plants around you, pergolas enhance the green vibe! Using the overhead of a pergola, you can hang more plants and create a floating atmosphere of flowers and the like! Not only that, but some plants will benefit from this structure because of the manner in which they grow! Plants like clematis, honeysuckle, ivy, wisteria, and grape vines!
  • Protection from the elements! Pergolas can give strong shaded locations that will keep the elements at bay and allow you to enjoy the summer day! Being from Minnesota we are most all susceptible to burning, so really pergolas can be life savers!
  • Combine to unwind! Pergolas are versatile, in that they can become building blocks or stepping stones to bigger or more prominent backyard structures! Pergolas could lead into verandas or gazebos, creating an eye-catching outdoor living area that will certainly raise your homes value along with its functionality and comfort!

The spring is coming in hot, or should we say wet with all this rain, and you should be ready for those spring renovations and additions! Keep pergolas and their versatile functionalities in mind, and then give us a call at Xpand! Let’s make that dream home together!

Backyard Dissonance

Formal Family Room View of backyard and lake

Tired of feeling so disconnected to your back yard? That disconnect between your home and the backyard can really set people uneasy, like a whole portion of their property is shifted to the side, only meant to be looked upon  and not immersed in.

The spring is coming and so are the opportunities to finally fix that backyard disconnect. Take the time this spring to come up with a pleasant home addition that takes advantage of that backyard space. Be it an all glass section added to the home, to help feel integrated into your backyard and nature, or a pathway that leads to a bar and seating area for relaxing.

Let’s spring forward with our homes design and appeal! We will break down some ideas for you to chew on and help you develop a stronger sense of what you do and don’t want!

Starting with and enclosed glass room:

  • A pentagonal shaped enclosed space featuring the most possible visual availability possible.
  • Windows taking the place of all walls and ceilings. Great for enjoying your surrounding environment, weather on a lake or in a backyard, while still keeping yourself in a regulated temperature room and away from those pesky mosquito’s!
  • An alternate use for this addition could be a green house! Naturally! Providing protection from outside critters, while still gaining the nutrients needed from the sun and the sky! Your plants will be in a well constructed environment and flourish before your eyes!
  • Add some form of pathway leading out further to your back yard. These can come in the form of bricks, rock slabs, gravel, you name it!
  • A nighttime paradise, exemplifying the spatial wonders of the stars in the sky! You can think of this room as a mini observatory during those cloudless nights that will provide you with a spectacle as-if on demand!

If your not feeling the whole glass room concept, lets break out of the box and think a little more about backyard additions that are more free winded!

  • Starting from a nice pathway leading from your back doors, let’s venture out to the bungalow you installed that features an assortment of social activities or relaxing options!
  • A bar with a couple of chic stools made from tree stumps or stone slabs! This can be a comfortable place to sit and chat with friends or family and lose the remainder of the day!
  • The covered ceiling of the bungalow allows for protection from direct sunlight while still allowing the fresh breeze to sift on through.
  • Maybe your more interested in something like an outdoor kitchen? Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! Being able to enjoy the fresh feeling of spring while cooking your favorite meal that doesn’t have to include BBQ is always a rewarding feeling!
  • Once your done cooking you can retreat a space that has some stereos installed and are accompanied by some outdoor/indoor furniture to relax and eat.

Be it an outdoor kitchen or glass room, the potential for your home to become more luxurious and enjoyable should not be passed by! Take advantage of the beautiful seasons lacking the frozen flakes of despair and find some consonance between your home and backyard desires!

Give us a call today at Xpand inc. and let’s start mapping out the necessary materials and planning to make your dream home become a reality! We work with you every step of the way and will provide the best possible satisfaction we can!

While your at it, check out our past articles on potential places for a new home! Bloomington and Prior Lake!

Who needs spring cleaning when you can spring build!

Burnsville siding and deck project

The snowy weather is waning and the spring is pushing through! So naturally, with the news season comes some new questions! What to build? A home? An extra garage? A deck, maybe patio? We say all of the above!

Take advantage of the beautiful weather to come by preparing some outdoor locations like decks, patios, porches and maybe a backyard bar! We at Xpand are only limited by your imagination!

When it comes to decks and porches, we guarantee that we are the best option in Minnesota. A little over 10 years ago we started out as specializing in decks and porches, and continue today to prove why that is. Be it one or two levels, we will ensure a structure that is enjoyable in the allowing seasons for social gatherings and places for mental recuperation! Most builders just see decks or porches as a way to make a quick buck and do standard work, but not us. We think the decks and porches are an extension of the home and should be noticeable as such, staying just as aesthetically pleasing as the rest of the home.

To develop a great looking deck/porch it is good to think of the structures as another form of room like you do with the interior of the home.  Fabrics, lighting, accessories and even artwork are all part of the design process for outdoor locations!

Deck & Porch ideas

  • A canopy deck or porch to beat the heat this summer and still enjoy the visual beauty that spring brings!
  • Set the tone with an enclosed porch that has similar style as the rest of the home and the necessary items like a coat rack, shoe storage, and a key tray! Always be sure to use indoor/outdoor pieces in this area for weather resistance purposes!
  • Luxury in the outdoor. Take the opportunity to really go all out when it comes to the decks and porches. Emphasize on the outdoor aesthetic by introducing different kinds of greenery to your porch or deck area with unique forms of holders, like teacups for example!
  • Install a large white wooden wall structure that can hold a garden on it. Wall gardens are picking up in trend for a good reason, they are simply gorgeous and introduce a unique aesthetic to the atmosphere.
  • Drapery. Long windswept pieces of drapery across the top portion of the deck or porch structure can introduce a lightness to the air and become reminiscent of a savanna get away!
  • Introduce colors that really emphasize the surrounding greenery, like white, blue and yellow.

Like mentioned before, the only limitation is your imagination! Decks and porches can be an essential part to a home feeling whole!

Aside from decks and porches, the spring can be a great opportunity for a addition project, be it an added garage stall or a garden shed even a home!

Give us a call today and let’s start working on those plans so your ready to embrace spring as soon as it arrives!  

Dreaming of the sun and shine

Back right side view of the house

Being cooped up all day because of dreary weather is no fun. Sadly, we have a little bit of time left before the weather will allow us to enjoy natures bounty again. The cold and chilly weather cannot, however, take away from us our imagination and day dreaming abilities of our home and the luxuries we will be able to enjoy when the sun once again dominates the sky!

While we are barricaded indoors, why don’t we plan out some ideas to implement during the spring and summer? Preparation probably never hurt anyone!

Decks, porches, patios and the like! Outdoor renovations that will make the winter seem like a bad nightmare are just around the corner! Here we will provide some easy and quick tips on some new deck designs and things of the sort!

Let’s start with the patio!

The backyard is often thought of as this wide open space that may or may not include some form of a garden. I think we should expand on this open space! If you don’t already have one incorporated, then we highly recommend adding a location for a patio!

A patio can come in all kinds of formats! The design is only limited by your imagination! If you want a patio that is focused on the “sunshine fun time” feel, then we need to incorporate large amounts of plant life and furniture that can work in sync with those plants! A nice white wood table, maybe with  some form of quartz or granite surface, along with some nicely formed wicker chairs would be a great start! To get the greenery in there, consider having a garden surround the patio area. The garden could line the perimeter of the patio area while staying out from underneath the location. There is also the option of having some form of flat ceiling incorporated in the patio’s structure and you could hang the plants from the ceiling to create an always lovable floating garden!

Want more of a rough patio design? Try the rugged rock pathway leading to a table that has a giant circular rock slab as the surface! Combine the table and pathway with some minimal wooden chairs that have some metal bars and you will be golden…or in this case stone-den!

Moving onto Porches!

Porches are a strong factor in the first visual understanding of a home! They can really add a unique flavor to the homes character, while providing a great location to relax in the breeze of the day.

Porches, just like patios, have a wide array of options to make it unique for every home! Porches and traditional styled elements go together hand in hand. Consider a porch design that struts a large space with multiple seating options, from couches to cushioned chairs. Make sure however, that the furniture featured in your porch is weather-resistant! Wicker chairs here are a great option for the resistance alone, but also because of that traditional feeling and the variety of colors they can be found in or painted to!

When seating in the porch you can add a table to enjoy a nice meal, be it breakfast or dinner. To compliment your meal, a nice citronella candle or two in the form of a torch or the like, will help keep those pesky insects off your menu! Adding some fans for those warmer days will also incorporate another layer of functionality and style!

Last but not the least impressive, decks!

We aren’t talking about the part of a ship, we are talking about that risen section that is outdoor of your home! Decks give great value to a homes landscape appreciation. Decks allow the backyard to be appreciated in a new manner!

whether during a sunset, sunrise or zenith, decks offer some great extra space for social activities to take place in the wide open world!

So how can we break away from the generic wooden deck and have a design that stands out? Well, as for the wood aspect, try a different kind of wood! No one has to have the same type of wood for decks, try asking about different wood variations that will match your home and it’s surroundings! Decks generally have some form of railing for safety, but this is where you can get creative as well! Instead of some wooden poles, consider some glass panes as a fall barrier, this will allow for a stronger appreciation of the scenery while still providing a safety mechanism! If your not too worried about the view, and you don’t care for the glass, maybe try some stone! Ask around for some custom stone railing options!

No matter the location, a deck, patio, or porch can be an immensely great addition to your home and add some great charm and functionality! If you caught this outdoor renovation bug, we conveniently have the skill and knowledge on all things home and renovation, including the outdoor kind!

Give us a call at Xpand today and let’s start mapping out your plans for those home renovations and remodels! When the tame weather approaches you will be ready!

 

Basic basement maintenance for the winter!

From fall to winter, there are plenty of opportunities for your basement to have some form of water damage. Between the heavy rains or the quick winter thaws (especially with Minnesota season madness) your foundation may have some breaches.

There are a couple things you can do to be aware of the possible dangers and costly repairs that arise from those pesky natural occurrences!

Rain and Snow

First, with heavy rain or frost, foundation cracking can occur. The shifting soils with the constant shrinkage and expansion due to climate,along with improperly directed drainage can become an issue in weaker areas of your basement foundation. When handling foundation cracks, repairs costs can rise significantly if you ignore the little cracks and let them expand into a bigger problem. Basically being active about foundation management no matter how small the problem, is essential. That being said, not all cracks need tending to. Call a professional to check out the foundation and use a felt tip pen to mark locations that may be problematic, fully circling the affected area, and then keep an eye on its progress, to identify if there needs any further action.

Dry season condensation

Its commonly known that basements can become damp during the spring seasons what with the rainfall and departing winter melts. What’s important to take note of, is the appearance of moisture in the basement even when there hasn’t been rain recently, or any snow melts. This could identify a hidden issue. Generally this is due to a factor outside of the basement, involved with some other area of the property. Anywhere from poor drainage, poor ventilation, obsolete plumbing etc… can lead to condensation in the basement. The best option is to call a professional to pinpoint the issue. This may seem like a hassle but will be much easier than mold removal or property damage!

Why to make basement maintenance a priority

No matter the season or climate situation, its important to be aware of the condition your basement is in. Spending time to examine its physical properties and integrity can do nothing but help save you stress and money down the road! Ensuring your basement is a place of comfort and enjoyable use, it will help you to notice the little things through your enjoyment of it, allowing you to catch issue before they become problems!

That’s it for today! Now go check out your basement! While your at it, give us a call for a friendly conversation about basement additions!

Oh! and don’t forget! Today marks the last weekend for the Parade of Homes in Savage, MN! Come on out and take a look at our new homes that might be something you didn’t even know your family needed! 

Home with a side of balcony!

Balconies are a great addition to a home. Balconies add a nice little recess to stop the world for a moment, and forget the hustle and stress of everyday life. Balconies have a wide variety of forms they can come in as well, to help connect with the home aesthetically.

Generally balconies are surrounded by railings, balustrades or parapets. Balconies have a long history of use, even back to the days of ancient Rome.

So what are the added benefits of a balcony?

lets make a list!

  • Increased living space, thanks to the added platform outside your master bedroom, or anywhere on the second (or higher) floor for that matter! The amazing change in atmosphere when the doors to the balcony are open can be felt instantly. The flow of the natural air through the room, the lightness of the environment seeping in like the sun through a crack of the blinds. There’s not much of a better stress reliever.
  • Stepping out onto the balcony is the obvious second benefit! You can have an amazing encounter with the rising/setting sun on a daily basis, and observe the golden paint of the sky brush the scenery like that of an impressionistic painting by Monet.
  • Thinking ahead! A home with a balcony adds to the value of the home! In the off chance something occurs and you MUST move from your specially built home, the balcony will add to the resale value (but were hoping you just take the home with you, after all, we made it specially for your family!)
  •  Versatility! A balcony can have a variety of purposes! Want a garden, but the ground level porch area is just too hectic? Well the balcony would gladly take up the opportunity! Not to mention you could set up a table and chairs and have a wonderful setting for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
  • Balconies can also provide a strong sense of privacy. Thanks to the risen aspect of the balcony, the attention you get whilst relaxing with your garden and some breakfast will be little to none!

Balconies can have even more functionalities than mentioned here! The sky is the limit, well maybe not even the sky in this case! Give us a call today and ask us about your dream home additions/ideas, and we will work with you to accomplish your goals and dreams! 

Sky lights in your home! Yay or nay?

Kitchen View

Skylights can be the perfect setting for a rainy day, blizzard, storm, you name it! Skylights have the ability to really let you gaze and wonder at the parts of nature that aren’t so fun to be in! Aside from that, its great for clear starry nights and bright beautiful days!

The natural lighting a skylight allows into the home can be a huge impact on the feeling of a room. Allowing the possibility for warmth, even when cold, to run through a room and add to a strong home-y aesthetic. Aside from aesthetics, there is a more psychological benefit! The natural light during winter can help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and bring a stronger uplifting mood into a person! Rather than living in a dim, artificially lit room, that can be detrimental for long periods of time, this allows for an alternative during the harsh seasons!

While the climate is cold, a skylight can actually benefit by bringing solar heat into the home! To make this noticeably effective, be sure to ask about the solar heat gain coefficient!

Skylights also have a variety of functional options! For example, they can provide natural ventilation with a hinged-style skylight, or even a remote controlled skylight. There are also skylights have have rain sensors and will automatically close when a storm is near! Skylights can be flat, domed, fixed and even vented! And to wrap it up, skylights also are a stronger material, allowing the ability to withstand impact due to its location and the possible projectiles that fly around in storms.

Skylights can be a great companion to your home, helping to keep a strong presence in nature for aesthetics, as well as psychological health benefits.  This sure looks like a “Yay” situation to me!

Give us a call today and inquire about skylights in your dream home, and any other home additions! A family run business, looking out for your family!