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PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Bathing al fresco gets a facelift from interior technology and modern-day amenities.
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“This Old House” veteran Richard Trethewey knows a great outdoor shower when he sees one. And the plumbing and heating expert has no qualms about borrowing an inspired design – consider it sharing inspiration. “I borrowed the design for an outdoor shower on my home from one I saw in Buck’s Harbor, Maine,” he says. “The construction of the shower in Maine came just high enough to cover the necessary body parts but left the head exposed so you could see the ocean and the sun rise or set, depending on time of day. It was spectacular.” With the economy as it is, homeowners might be thinking that this kind of inspiration could be hard to come by, but out-ofthe-home shower experiences are just hitting their stride. “Historically, the outdoor shower consisted of two pipes that connected to one spout, and you were lucky enough to get a decent temperature as the water trickled out,” Trethewey explains. But as technology improves indoors, perks to bathing
al fresco arrive on the scene. While Trethewey notes progressive plumbing upgrades, the look and designs of outdoor showers also get a modern makeover. “Since 2007, the aspiration of the McMansion has been replaced with making use of current, existing homes by integrating interiors with the outdoors,” says Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at Kohler, Wis.-based Kohler. Some clients install outdoor showers to accompany a pool, explains Alan W. Zielinski, the 2010 vice president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “However, we are seeing a lot of outdoor showers that are integrated into the master bedroom suite with a private Zen-like garden. The shower heads for outdoor showers have a much finer spray that creates a softer effect. When designing an outdoor shower, it’s important to chose materials that complement warmth and serenity for a natural and relaxing experience that takes you away from the stresses of everyday life.”
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The shower heads for outdoor showers have a much finer spray.
Topping off the feel of the flow, Kohler has a partnership with Baltimore-based Polk Audio to create SoundTiles. “The significance of the shower has expanded for consumers and this musical feature makes bathing phenomenal,” Schrage says. “Today’s technology can produce a low flow body spray that is absolutely velvety while using less water.” Think beyond body bathing and make sure you have an exit path for excess water. Avoid a slippery mess by building a base for bathers to stand on that allows water to drain. Install handrails to make the shower userfriendly for all ages. Opt for lever handles to add a degree of ease to the operation. And go green by looking for the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense logo to ensure eco-friendly plumbing.
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An immediate extension of your home, porches and decks bridge the gap between the inside and the great outdoors, providing indoor comfort while making the most of nature’s benefits. The recession has pulled Americans back toward the simpler pleasures in life, which appear to include a greater focus on outdoor living. All the more reason, then, to get on board with the new wave of deck and porch design: creating a seamless transition between the inside of the home and its outdoor counterparts. “Americans are turning off the television. They’re gathering outside again,” says Paula Wallace, president and cofounder of the Savannah College of Art and Design and author of “Perfect Porches” (Clarkson Potter, 2010). “We’re in the midst of the great porch renaissance, and clients want interior designers and architects to create intentional outdoor spaces.” Wallace says a porch is no different from a living room, with one big difference. “It generally doesn’t rain in the living room! Designers have to make porches a little
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The true key to designing a successful outdoor space is to make it a reflection of you and your family, as seen in this photo from Paula Wallace author of ‘Perfect Porches’ (Clarkson Potter, 2010).
hardier.” Weather-wise accommodations include cabinets and other storage devices to stow pillows or artwork during a storm and ensuring the porch is deep enough to allow guests to sit outside and not get wet on a windy, rainy day, she says. As for decks, Bobby Parks, DeckExpo advisory council member and owner of Peachtree Decks and Porches, Alpharetta, Ga., says that while homeowners still ask for specific design elements like diagonal decking, rounded decks and square and bayed corners, their greatest concern is creating cohesion. People want a porch “that looks like it belongs with the house,” he says. That calls for building in
more hidden fasteners and decorative lighting. “In an effort to make something look more like it belongs, we’re doing more crown molding, more PVC-wrapped columns,” he says. Often, homeowners even request tiled floors and fireplaces in their porch designs, Parks says. When it comes time to decorate a porch, bring your personal design aesthetic out with you, and don’t be afraid to rearrange. “My porches evolve, transform and transfigure all the time! We redesign the porch to suit the occasion,” Wallace says. The true key to designing a successful outdoor space is to make it a reflection of you and your family.
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The Southern Illinoisan Thursday, April 15, 2010 Page 3
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Outdoor beds bring the ultimate relaxation to the backyard.
Backyard lounging options not only used to be limited, but they also could be a source of embarrassment. Remember those chaise lounges with the vinyl straps that left imprints? And how exiting a hammock so often turned comical? These days, the timehonored pastime of snoozing in the sun is a serious business. Outdoor chaises come with cushiony upholstery and hammocks come with canopies. But the most notable evolution is the backyard debut of beds, sometimes complete with headboards and side tables. It’s not so much that people
want to count sheep under the stars as they want to feel like they’re on vacation while still at home, says Debbi Somers, president of Las Vegas-based Somers Furniture. “What makes you feel like you’re on vacation? Either lounging around on the hotel bed or a chaise by the pool,” she says. Taking outdoor lounging to the next level is a sign of the times, arising from keener design sensibilities as well as the recession, says Durham, Conn.-based designer Sharon McCormick. “Stylistically, people are willing to take more risks than they used to. People are staying home
more, too, and they want to stand out from their neighbors.” Consider Somer’s posh, portable Cabana To Go, a wind-resistant, steel-framed outdoor room complete with recycled plastic or wood flooring, custom curtains, a chandelier, a round rattan bed with matching side tables and an ottoman. Rectangular outdoor beds that would look right at home in a master suite are available from companies like Sutherland Furniture, which offers a line inspired by Robin Hood. The Sherwood “looks like an actual bed. I can see it for a contemporary
house because it has such sleek lines,” McCormick says. When choosing an outdoor bed, “Decorate the same way outside as you would inside,” McCormick says. “You want it to tie in and have something to do with your architecture, and then tweak that to your taste.” Choose colors that tie in with your home’s interior, or opt for natural shades to blend in with the surroundings. Use a bolder color for cushions and pillows and change them out seasonally, Somers suggests. And for all you oldschoolers who want to stretch
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An outdoor bed takes backyard lounging to a new level – and gives a homeowner something to brag about.
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PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Five rules of backyard tech
Why should the home have all the fun? Bring electronics outside for high-tech entertainment. These days, the inside of a home is, undoubtedly, the center of the electronic world. With televisions, computers, surround-sound speaker systems and countless other gadgets, technology is in every room – and it’s stretching into the outdoor world as well. “There isn’t a lot nowadays that you can’t put outside,” says Mike Voyles, the owner of Galesburg, Ill.-based Home Infatuation and Design, an outdoor home furnishings retailer. “Outdoor kitchens, stoves and grills are just as nice as their indoor counterparts. If there’s something you want outside, you can get it.” From state-of-the-art wet bars to beautiful lighting treatments, the backyard is the new modern, luxurious space – here’s how to make sure it stays that way.
Protect your tech Not any TV is right for use outdoors. Even if covered, humidity can corrupt the inside of flatscreens. Joe Pantel, the owner of Garden Grove, Calif.-based Outdoor Waterproof TVs, says that a TV specifically designed for outdoor use will also
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Up the backyard’s wow factor with electronics like this waterproof TV, which doesn’t require nail-biting.
help with glare from the sun, so look for TVs with anti-reflective glass. “Regular TVs blackout – you can’t see the picture if the sun is too bright,” he says.
Think big Speaking of TVs, you’ll want a flat-screen HDTV that you can see from more than 5 feet away. This is ideal for large barbeques in the summer, or positioning in front of a hot tub.
Catch the wave Make sure, if you haven’t already, to route your home’s Internet connection through a wireless router with a large range. This will turn
your back patio into a WiFi hotspot, like a private outdoor café.
Light it up People often take their backyard lighting for granted, but it is a very important aspect. “You want to make sure you have lighting on your pathways, as well as where you spend most of your time,” Voyles says.
Learn to share Your neighbors are probably going to find out about your sweet outdoor setup sooner or later; it’s going to make you pretty popular. Be ready and willing to host a few barbecues.
618-222-9290 The Southern Illinoisan Thursday, April 15, 2010 Page 5
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
A room with a
Interior accents and fabrics shape the new family room, part living space, part luxury resort – all your backyard. or years, the trend in outdoor living has been to integrate the interior with the exterior to get the best of both worlds. This means bringing comfy furniture and highperformance appliances outside, and developing materials and technologies to help them withstand the weather. The recession may have
dampened spending overall, but it drives the “inside-out” movement as people forgo vacations and nights on the town to make the most of their outdoor living space. Homeowners want to step into their backyards without leaving the comforts of home. That means bringing indoor practicalities like task lighting and coat racks
into the great outdoors. And then there are those who want to feel as though they’re worlds away. “The style in outdoor living this year can be summed up in two words: luxury resort,” says Elaine Williamson, owner of her self-named Frisco, Texasbased design firm. Her clients want amenities like decked-out cabanas
that give the impression that an umbrella drink is soon to come. “We’re truly turning yards into places you’d visit on vacation.” CONTENT THAT WORKS Both groups, the nesters and escapers, are fueling a Embroidery, tufts and piping are shining in the backyard. “design revolution” in outdoor furniture and furnishings, says Rob to wind, rain and sun. fringed throws. “Think Pressman, principal of “You can leave them tufted, rounded and TGP Inc. Landscape unprotected. You can luxurious, with not a bit Architecture, Encino, spray them off with a of wrought iron,” Calif. “Exteriors used to hose,” Williamson says. Williamson says. “Think be more raw in the sense “Some manufacturers are damask. Nautical stripes we didn’t have all these and big tropical florals on so bold as to offer them in sophisticated materials. white.” vinyl are a thing of the Now, all the interior White is “popping up past.” elements are available for everywhere,” agrees Gina Companies like Patio the outdoors.” Wicker, creative and Heaven and Kannoa offer Manufacturers are outdoor sectionals, sofas, design director for Glen offering outdoor Raven, N.C.-based fabric loveseats and ottomans furnishings that would that seem like they would design firm Glen Raven look right at home in a Inc., which makes be out of their element living room or even a Sunbrella outdoor and outside, due to the four-star hotel suite, indoor fabrics. “It makes richness of their including deep, comfy the perfect canvas for materials and their sofas with silky seasonal updates with detailed construction, upholstery, accent pillows but they’re designed to pillows, throws and rugs.” with elegant piping, and This season, “Neutrals withstand full exposure
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PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
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are transitioning to cooler hues like a gray-cast taupe rather than warmer tones, and charcoal gray rather than dark, chocolate brown,” Wicker adds. “We’re seeing these cooler neutrals partnering with anything from fun yellow, orange and pink to calmer wheat, brass or vellum hues.” Whatever the purpose of an inside-out exterior, the same interior design principles should guide the selection and placement of furnishings. “They might apply even more so,” Williamson says, “because there are more interferences by which you need to scale things and consider the colors.” Start by finding or creating a focal point, such as a cabana, fireplace or water feature, she suggests. This visual anchor, along with natural landscape features and the home’s architecture, will help determine the color palette, materials and lighting that will be used throughout the outdoor living space. Balance, repetition, contrast and variety are important design principles to take into consideration. Contrast and texture can be introduced underfoot, as flooring for the outdoors
has come a long way. “It’s a lot richer – not just your brick patio,” Pressman says. “You have woods, tiles, stones. You can use just about anything you’d use indoors as long as it’s slip-resistant.” Wood decking, fencing, structures and furnishings can enliven and add dimension to a space with deep, vibrant colors that go far beyond the basic browns, like Olympic Exterior Stains’ Harvest Gold, Avocado and a lipstick-like shade called Rosewood. When applying design principles to wide-open spaces, the areas where people tend to fall down are scale and proportion. Where intimacy is desired, a pergola “scales everything down to create the feeling of an outdoor room,” says Jeff Hutton, author of “Inside Out: The Art and Craft of Home Landscaping” (Breakaway Books, 2007). Finishing touches also have an indoor sensibility. “I have seen more and more interest in outdoor sculpture and art used in the landscape,” Hutton says. Though perhaps not on the same level as Rembrandt, specially treated oil paintings resistant to sun, rain and snow are cropping up on
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fences and above outdoor sofas. CB2 offers versatile furnishings conveniently designed for outdoor and indoor use, including the Garcon Rolling Bar Cart that collapses for storage. “People want flexibility,” Pressman says. “Things used to be more defined, and spaces were zoned according to use, so you’d have your grill in one place like a little outdoor kitchen. But as families and kids grow, people like to be able to do different things and move things around.” Williamson also has noticed a preference for what she calls “free-range fires.” She especially likes the portable line of chic fire vessels by Planika Fires, which are safe for small or enclosed spaces because they burn smokeless, nontoxic biofuels. With all the furnishings available for outside, it’s important not to lose sight of two things: Plantings still make the best backyard decorations, and less is more, even outdoors. “Each defined space should have one idea or make one statement,” Pressman says. “It shouldn’t try to do too many things functionally or aesthetically.”
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PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Rethink outdoor rooms with HGTV’s Jamie Durie. Consider space, scale and the Russian nesting doll technique. CONTENT THAT WORKS
‘My philosophy is to create smaller rooms within the larger space to bring a feeling of intimacy and privacy,’ says Jamie Durie, host of HGTV’s ‘The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie.’
Jamie Durie knows his way around a backyard. The landscape designer and horticulturalist has made a name for himself and his outdoor room movement in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. Through his company, PATIO Landscape Architecture and Design, and a litany of TV shows and books, Durie has honed his Russian nesting doll technique of building outdoor rooms within outdoor rooms until a space is complete. His focus on the freedom and individuality of these spaces can be spotted in his HGTV show, “The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie,” during which he and his team
makeover problem yards and create sanctuaries within expansive outdoor spaces. “My philosophy is to create smaller rooms within the larger space to bring a feeling of intimacy and privacy,” he explains. “I think where the freedom comes into it is that because you are creating an outdoor space there is more give when it comes to being evocative and sensory… like designing a sitting area to sit in a shallow pool of water.” Space and scale dictate all elements of a design, Durie says. When rethinking a landscape, start with them. Think big. “Always make the space a
Page 8 Thursday, April 15, 2010 The Southern Illinoisan
little larger than you think is adequate. A generous space is much more inviting than a small, poky one,” he says. “Spaces can be deceiving, even when drawn to scale on a plan.” Look to the right and the left for design cues. To envision the best scale, consider the context of the outdoor room. “What is around it? Tall buildings or open fields? How do you want it to feel? If a space is not in scale with its surroundings, it is going to feel awkward and you will not want to spend time in it,” Durie says. “Space and scale are like the skeleton of the design. “Once you have them right, the rest will fall into place.”
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Space and scale dictate all elements of a design. When rethinking a landscape, start with them as seen in these garden designs by Jamie Durie.
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
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Shelter: Protection from natural elements such as rain, wind and cold is essential. This means you will be able to spend time in your outdoor room all year round. Privacy: When spending time in your outdoor room you want to feel enclosed, safe and hidden from prying eyes. If it is not private enough to walk around naked then I haven’t done my job properly! Seating: No point having a lovely inviting space with nowhere to sit and enjoy it. Think of incorporating built-in seating and even a day bed for the ultimate relaxation experience. Plants: If there are no plants in an outdoor room you may as well stay indoors! Use plants as features to screen out the neighbors, and also as shelter. There is nothing better than lying under the shade of a lovely tree in summer. Also, think about incorporating edible plants into your space. Not only do they look great, they will also feed you at the end of a lovely, relaxing day in an outdoor HGTV’s room. Personality: Make it yours. The gardens I love the most are always a personal expression of their owners. Make sure you get the design right first, think about the above elements and ensure that the space will work as you want it. Then have some serious fun! Bright colors are a great way to infuse a space with personality. So are quirky found objects, such as a collection of old bottles or driftwood. There are no rules here. Just get creative and have some fun.
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The Southern Illinoisan Thursday, April 15, 2010 Page 9
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Problem solved Always after a design solution, Taniya Nayak discusses the anatomy of outdoor rooms and the secret to a successful backyard party. Taniya Nayak is coming of age. Her first TV reality show back in 2003 was a teen decorating show on ABC Family called “Knock First.” She was 30 at the time and had just graduated from Boston Architectural College with a degree in interior design. Over the last seven years, however, she has founded her own design firm, Boston-based Taniya Nayak Design, and moved into the adult
world with appearances on “Oprah,” the “Today” show and “The Early Show.” She also has Nayak become a fixture on various HGTV reality shows, including her current one, “Destination Design.” Nayak, whose family emigrated from India before she was born, describes herself as a
modernist who likes to solve problems, both inside a home and outdoors. “What I like best about what I do,” she says, “is that it actually improves peoples’ lives. It’s interesting what a difference good design can make in your attitudes and energy and how you live your life.” We asked Nayak design questions, and here are her answers. How have backyards
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changed in the last few years? What I see happening is the whole idea of outdoor rooms. People are dividing their yards into zones for living rooms, kitchens and exercise areas, and decorating them almost like you would indoor rooms. How much space do you need for an outdoor room? For once, I don’t think size is important. It might be a 10-by-10 foot terrace, or it might be a big backyard. It’s really what you do with the space that matters. How do you define spaces in an outdoor room? With foliage and furniture. Foliage, either in beds or potted, is also key for providing color. Outdoor rooms are a challenge in that you don’t have walls you can paint. Whatever color there is usually comes from flowers and plants and also textiles in the form of canopies, linens and upholstery fabrics. How important are canopies? I don’t think you have to cover the whole space, but I do think you need to have a spot where people can retreat and get out of the sun. And maybe it’s an umbrella instead of a canopy. Just so you have room for some chairs and a table. What kind of furniture works best in an outdoor room?
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‘It’s interesting what a difference good design can make in your attitudes and how you live your life,’ Nayak says.
It depends on weather and climate. Basically, you want the feel of an indoor room – the ease and coziness – in an outdoor setting. That usually means upholstered furniture of some kind. One thing I would suggest is multiuse furniture – say a coffee table that doubles as a storage chest or a chest that can also be used as a bench. What about lighting? Very important. I’m intrigued right now by all the solar-powered lights on the market. They power up during the day and shine at night. They’re also very low maintenance. You basically just stick them in the ground. But I also like white Christmas lights on trees and foliage all year-round. They create a wonderful mood. Do you entertain much? I love entertaining. I don’t claim to be the best cook in the world but I love entertaining.
How do you plan a summer party? I like themed parties. A theme makes everything else – the menu, the music, the party favors – a lot easier because it gives you a direction. Can you give some examples? Maybe you start with places you love. I just did a Moroccan party with Arabic music, lanterns in the trees and lamb kabobs on the grill. It was fabulous. Or maybe the food itself is the inspiration. In Boston, we love clambakes and lobster boils in the summer. For that, you could do a nautical theme with sand and shells, lobster pots and toy boats as party favors. Clambakes can be a little messy but I always think that’s part of the fun. Just be sure to have lots of lobster bibs and wet wipes on hand. You have a new show on HGTV called “Destination Design.”
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
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reach a point where I know what needs to be done and I do it. For myself, though, I tend to over-analyze everything. And that ultimately is a little paralyzing. What kind of house did you grow up in? My father is an architect, and I was raised in a classic modernist house with white walls and Wassily chairs. My dad was also a huge fan of fabric wallhangings – it was his way of adding color – and I’ve adopted that big-time. What’s your favorite house in the world? I love Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses – the clean lines, the simplicity and the way they relate to the land. Also, the way he makes the hearth the center of the house. They are a big inspiration for me.
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What’s the premise? Every show starts with a couple who are not seeing eye-to-eye on decorating their new house. So we send them on vacation and while they’re traveling they send me photos of things they like or find interesting. Where do they go? Everywhere – Hawaii, Sedona, Santa Fe. Our first couple went down to the Caribbean and sent me a picture of a bonefish, which has a striking silver iridescent color and scales that look like mosaic tiles. I used that as inspiration for their fireplace. I understand you just moved into a new apartment. How is decorating for yourself different than for clients? Let’s just say I’m not a great client! When I’m designing for a client, I
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Indoor sensibilities like extra counter space and a wine chiller are the new norm for outdoor kitchens.
In recent years, outdoor kitchens have taken the backyard barbecue from low-key to luxe, and the latest innovations in design are no exception. “The staycation and all of that has been very popular for some time, but what we’re seeing now is that people are really investing the money to make those outdoor areas as comfortable as the indoor areas,” says Patrick Byrne, executive vice president at Roanoke, Va.-based Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens. According to Byrne, outdoor kitchen design is becoming even bigger and more elaborate. “They’re bigger than many indoor kitchens,” he says, noting that intricate details like arched valances, fluted columns and advanced stonework are popping up, along with added counter space. “Kitchens are more packed with features and functionality,” says Russ Faulk, an instructor with the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s continuing education program and a vice president at Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “Where at one time it was pretty much a grill, a sink and a cabinet, then a
CONTENT THAT WORKS
Countertops are getting recognized as built-in bonuses for outdoor kitchens. Pizza ovens and other small appliances finally have a home, and you have more prep space.
refrigerator became pretty standard, then an ice maker became pretty standard, now we’re seeing, according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders, I think it was almost 60 percent of designers, builders and architects surveyed said a wine chiller was a musthave feature in an outdoor kitchen.” In addition to kitchens expanding, Faulk also says a major trend is in fully sheltered kitchens. Many homeowners want to use their spaces year-round, so Faulk says they are
opting for pavilion style shelters with open walls. In mosquito-prone climates, removable screens are great for keeping springtime insects at bay, he says. Pizza ovens also are popular added perks, and Faulk says the next big innovation in outdoor kitchens will make cleanup a breeze. “We’re all still waiting for an outdoor dishwasher to hit the market, but it hasn’t happened yet,” he says, adding that he believes one will debut sometime next year. “Everybody in the industry is waiting for somebody to get it done.” Faulk suggests keeping functionality in mind. “Don’t shortchange the countertop area,” he warns. “You see a lot of people putting in all the equipment they want but then they only give themselves a square foot of counter space to work with. Think about the prep work, think about serving, think about where you’ve got to put a platter. You’ve got to have space to work.” Finally, no matter what the trends, make the kitchen your own. “It’s whatever you want it to be, and whether it fits your home,” Byrne says.
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Saltwater pools are a greener backyard option.
Many homeowners love and enjoy their pools, but don’t feel so good about the variety of chemicals needed for the upkeep of the system and sanitation of the water. As the green movement has continued to grow, saltwater swimming pools are becoming a popular option for homeowners across the country. Saltwater swimming pools use little to no chemicals to maintain the pool. A chlorine generator conversion system is all you need to retrofit an existing pool. While some handy homeowners have been known to handle the conversion themselves, to ensure accuracy it may be best to leave the retrofit to a pool installation professional. A chlorine generator works by producing chlorine from regular salt so that homeowners do not have to buy, use or store chlorine tablets or powder. Through a process of electrolysis, saltwater passing through the chlorine generator separates the salt molecules (sodium chloride) into sodium and chloride. At the same time, hydrogen atoms are freed from the water. Then the hydrogen and chloride atoms freely circulating through the water combine to form sodium hypochlorite, which is better known as
Saltwater pools generate their own chlorine, negating the need for chlorine products.
chlorine. That chlorine sanitizes the pool and inhibits algae growth. After sanitizing, some of the chloride molecules will eventually rejoin the sodium to return to salt — beginning the process again. Some residual chlorine will remain to keep the pool clean. There are two major types of chlorine generators. One is a brine system that keeps a stored amount of salt in the generator, while the other requires salt be added directly to the water. Although much of the work is hands-off, a saltwater pool is not completely
maintenance-free. It’s important to regularly check the pH of the pool for the correct water balance to ensure the chlorine generator works effectively. The device will also need to be periodically cleaned of mineral deposits. Some experts advise a constant circulation of the water, meaning that the pool may have to be filtered 24/7 for optimal results. There are several benefits to saltwater pools that go beyond the green factor. The lower levels of chlorine generated are less likely to cause irritated, red eyes while swimming or give off that chemical
chlorine aroma. Discoloration of hair or swimsuits is also eliminated. Most chlorine generators require a salt content of 2500 to 6000 ppm in the pool. Most people can tolerate a salt taste threshold of 3500 ppm, so a pool that is in the higher end may not be as pleasant to swim in. Saltwater pools will not produce that dried-out feeling that often comes with swimming in a regularly chlorinated pool. Saltwater creates mild soft water, so many pool enthusiasts report feeling refreshed and their skin soft upon exiting the water.
METRO CREATIVE GRAPHICS
Protect the beauty of your hardscape pool deck.
A pool deck fit for royalty Today’s swimming pool decks have come a long way in terms of beauty and design. More and more homes with pools now feature the latest in elegant hardscape paver designs which can transform a typical backyard into an opulent space fit for royalty. Be it concrete, natural stone, clay, brick or other choices, hardscape materials are rapidly growing in popularity as the focal point of new elegant pool deck designs. While many of today’s hardscape materials are excellent options for their environmental qualities, flexibility of design and their ease of installation, it is their aesthetic beauty that remains their main attraction. While first impressions are important, creating a beautiful lasting space to entertain your friends and family is key and the reason why hardscape experts highly recommend the application of a sealant to all pool deck paver projects to not only protect but enhance the look of your pavers. According to Rick DeMarchi, director of marketing for Techniseal, the leading manufacturer of polymeric sand and treatment products for
the concrete paver industry, it’s important to understand the different categories of sealants when choosing a product because each category brings its own features and benefits with regard to aesthetics, protective qualities and application procedures. Sealants can be broken down into a few key categories: you have filmforming versus non filmforming; color-enhancing (wet look) versus non color-enhancing (dry look) and solvent-based versus water-based. Most importantly, all are stainresistant. “For pool decks it’s recommended you choose a non film-forming sealant that has no impact on slip and skid resistance,” explained DeMarchi. “Also, today’s popular salt water pools can be corrosive to decking creating the need for a water-repellent sealant to protect the surface integrity of the pavers.” This final layer of protection will not only prolong the life of your deck, but also enhance its beauty and make the pavers easier to maintain. More information on sealant technology can be found at www.techni seal.com.
The Southern Illinoisan Thursday, April 15, 2010 Page 13
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS
Selecting a house color? Think color trends, neighborhood vibe and new paint formulations. Whether it’s a New England clapboard Colonial, a Prairiestyle on the Plains or a Southwestern stucco, people describe a home in the same terms: by color. It’s the “yellow house on the corner” or the “gray two-story in the middle of the block.” The condition and color of the exterior give a home its identity and also account for much of its curb appeal, says Susan Powell, owner of InFocus Design, a Crete, Ill., firm that stages homes for sellers. Invariably, says Powell, she advises clients to freshen their look with a coat of paint. Indeed, exterior paint has the
“huge bang for the buck” because it so dramatically impacts a home’s look, contends Erika Woelfel, director of color for Behr. Home sellers may be able to brush off the doldrums of the housing market by dipping into a can and getting a fresh start. Paint isn’t simply decorative. It shelters the underlying surface from the elements. Not just sellers, but any owner who loves his home will want to protect it with a good coat. Here, a “primer” on some recent trends and advances to get you started on what could be your most significant home improvement.
Color trends A good exterior paint job should last 15 years or more, Woelfel says. While there are cycles of fashionable colors for interiors, exterior and building product trends stretch over longer periods, says Debbie Zimmer, director of the Paint Quality Institute, a division of the Dow Chemical Co. But building trends and other influences do bring changes to how we color our homes. For instance, homes built within the last 15 years are more likely to have part of the façade extending out, allowing for two main body colors, says Leslie Harrington, director of The
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Color Association, a color forecasting group. Roofs have become more colorful, with deep green and blue shades added to the traditional grey, black and neutrals, Harrington explains. The old “rule” dictating that a house shouldn’t contain more than three exterior shades for trim, doors, body and roof, has relaxed. It’s not uncommon to see four different colors on a house, says Harrington. Multiple colors should be selected carefully, so they don’t compete or overwhelm one another. For instance, trim and roof colors might match, with two neutral body colors and a
“pop” of accent color, perhaps on the door. The house of the future is likely to be smaller, and Mary Lawlor, a color specialist at Kelly-Moore, thinks “cleaner, lighter neutrals” will be used more often to give stature to homes with slightly shrunken square footage.
Judgment call Regional and architectural differences also are big color influencers, says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. Rich jewel tones may be appropriate for a restored Victorian, for example, while a Californian Arts &
PATIOS, PORCHES & POOLS Crafts would be enhanced by dusty hues. But whether you are letting the design of your home guide color choice or are experimenting with the color wheel, judgment is required to determine the right shades and mix. Think of how your home fits into its entire setting, advises Harrington. Consider the colors of nearby properties. If there are two yellow houses on the block, that doesn’t mean yours can’t be, too, says Harrington. But a subtler or bolder shade of yellow could set your home apart while still blending well with the neighbors. Landscape is another important consideration. Dark green foliage, for example, may allow for the use of brighter hues than would a colorful border of
offer special sample sizes. “In an inconspicuous area, paint about a twofoot square,” suggests Woelfel. “Look at it in all light – morning, afternoon and evening and see if it appeals to you.”
CONTENT THAT WORKS
Consider a home’s architecture and the local environment when choosing exterior paint hues.
blooming plants. Tote home paint samples to study. Before
committing to a color, purchase a small can; some paint companies
Many people – even professional painters and home builders — don’t realize that virtually every exterior surface of a house can be painted, says Zimmer. Painting siding, wood composite and other materials can freshen the look and protect surfaces. A coating that’s appropriate for stucco, for example, has some stretch to minimizes potential hairline cracks, notes Lawlor. The best way to identify
the appropriate paint for a project, Zimmer says, is to visit a paint or home center store and ask for help from a knowledgeable salesperson. New paints have been developed to better withstand certain weather conditions. For instance, Kelly-Moore, which sells in the western U.S., has developed a paint that can be used in cool mountain temperatures as low as 35 degrees F, says Lawlor. Resilience paint by Sherwin-Williams can be applied even if rain is imminent, says Steve Revnew, vice president of product development.
Fun projects Consumers are bolder than they once were when it comes to choosing
home colors. And a favorite place to make a color statement is the front door. “Your home’s entrance is so important, but if you enter through a garage or a side door you may not even notice it much,” says Powell. She often advises painting the door a red, dark green or shade that complements the other exterior colors yet gives a vibrant personality to a home. Painting a mailbox or light fixture the same accent color is another way to inject visual interest, she suggests. “The smaller the area, the brighter you can go with an accent color,” Woelfel says. “You don’t have to stop with the house. There are stains for driveways, too.”
The Southern Illinoisan Thursday, April 15, 2010 Page 15
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