Dec

11

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating IdeasFor many people, decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Christmas season. With so many different types of holiday decorations available, from cute and quaint to glittering and elegant, your holiday decorating budget can quickly start encroaching on your gift-buying budget if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on fancy decorations for your house to look festive and inviting. This holiday season, keep things simple and try out a few of these easy ideas for decorating your front porch, shared by your favorite remodeling company, Callen Construction.

Mini Christmas Trees

What could be cuter than miniature Christmas trees standing sentinel at your front door? Add some bows and a few shiny ornaments, and you’ll have the perfect pair to frame the entryway.

Poinsettias

Another plant that looks great flanking the porch steps or the front door is the poinsettia. A pair of colorful, artificial poinsettia plants add a classic element that is quintessentially Christmas, and is an inexpensive way to dress up your porch and bring some holiday cheer.

Garland Green

Whether embellished with ribbons and lights or left in its natural glory, a pine garland adds the perfect wintry touch to any holiday setting. Wind some around the porch banisters to enhance your outdoor decor, and don’t forget to add some around the doorway as well.

Wreaths

If you do nothing else when it comes to decorating, at least hang a cheery holiday wreath on your door. Start with a simple grapevine wreath and add whatever embellishments you prefer, or perhaps a fragrant pine wreath to match your garland is the way to go. Whichever style you choose, a beautiful wreath is sure to lift the spirits of any visitor.

If you’re hosting the big family dinner next year and want your house to look its best, some exterior remodeling or basement finishing may be in order. Give Callen a call today at 414-765-2585 and let’s start planning your next remodeling project!

May

08

What You Need to Ask When Planning Your Porch

“If you are thinking about adding a porch to your home, you’ll want to consider everything from how you want it to look to how you plan to use the space,” said Brad Flannigan, exterior product specialist with Callen. “You want to maximize the use of your porch and make sure the location flows with the rest of your property.” Ask yourself these five crucial questions as you plan the porch of your dreams.

What You Need to Ask When Planning Your PorchFirst, how do you want to use the porch? The answer to this question will help determine the depth and length of your porch. For instance, a porch with a small café table and two chairs will have different size specifications, than a porch suited for dining and entertaining. “You need to incorporate room for circulation; it helps to think of a porch as a small-scale house with a foundation, roof and walls,” Brad said.

When do you want to use your porch? Due to Wisconsin’s often cool climate, you may want to include details that will make your porch usable throughout the year. A fireplace, insulation in the ceiling, and screens to keep out bugs are just a few options to consider.

Third, is your porch user-friendly? Consider the best entry to and from your porch into your home, to make the space easily accessible and encourage good traffic flow. “Large patio or French doors can offer easy access to side and back porches and be an excellent source of natural light for your home,” explained Brad.

Do you want a porch made for entertaining? If you have the space, make your porch a destination for guests by creating separate seating and dining areas. A seating area with all-weather furniture and an indoor/outdoor rug gives visitors a spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation. You can make a separate dining area inviting by including a table and chairs with comfortable outdoor pillows and cushions.

And lastly, do you know how you want your porch to look? “The best porches are designed with scale and proportion in mind,” he said. For inspiration, talk to a professional designer, go online, cut pages out of magazines, and get ideas from your own neighborhood. Once you have a solid concept for how you plan to use the porch, have a rough drawing of the basic floor plan created. Be sure to note all existing windows, doors, and obstructions. You can even trace a photo of your home and add the details you would like to see on your porch. This will help when you explain your ideas to a design professional.

Aug

24

Extend Your Living Space with a Front Porch

Just like your front door, a charming front porch can boost the curb appeal of your house and also act as a protected extension of your indoor living space. No matter the style of your home, there are a number of products and designs that you can choose from to build a front porch.

Callen Blog - Extend Your Living Space with a Front Porch 082415First consider the materials available. Like decks, a porch can be built from various materials: wood, vinyl, composite, and cellular PVC.

  • Wood: Many homeowners choose wood due to its cost and appeal. The advantage of wood is that you can paint, stain, and customize it to your personal taste. However, since porches are exposed to the elements, it requires more maintenance. You may have to repaint and restain the wood on a regular basis, depending on the environment.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is popular among homeowners because it requires almost no maintenance. Since it is a plastic material, it is prone to expansion and contraction and possible warping and fading. Compared to wood, it is slightly more expensive.
  • Composite: Composite porches are made from a mixture of two or more materials, such as wood flour and plastic. This makes the porch more durable than wood or vinyl; however, homeowners may need to use a sealant to protect the wood element.
  • PVC: PVC is a very low maintenance material because it does not warp, fade, twist or require painting or staining. It requires minimal cleaning when things are spilled, and it is impervious to moisture and insects. One of the most popular PVC brands is AZEK.

Porch railings give you the opportunity to add more flair to your design with color and detail. Today, there are even more options available with the advent of metal, tempered glass, and cable-type systems. Aluminum or iron railings are the most durable. They can withstand the elements as well as require minimal maintenance. Vinyl porch railings are becoming a more popular choice as an inexpensive option, and they are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

Another option to enhance the curb appeal of a porch is to incorporate sustainable and long-lasting, low-voltage LED lighting in the steps, under the rails, or on the perimeter. With the availability of options, you can put your custom signature on your porch’s design.

Whether you are replacing an old porch or want to add one to your home, Callen can design and build the porch of your dreams. From a simple porch roof to the most complex bi-level deck structure, our carpentry crews have done it all. We deliver the highest level of care and attention to detail, no matter how big or small the project. Call us for a free consultation today at 414-765-2585.

Aug

10

Decking: More Than Just Wood Planks

Callen Blog - Decking - More Than Just Wood Planks 081015A new deck is a wonderful opportunity to spread your living space outdoors in months when temperatures are conducive to spending more time outside. Whether you’re looking to build a simple deck to host a grill, or a more elaborate deck with multiple levels, there are endless designs to fit your lifestyle.

Before considering a contractor, you should first consider how you are going to use your deck. Do you want a large deck with space for furniture and a grill? Are you considering building an area of the deck for a hot tub or fire pit? What about building a deck with multiple levels?

Start thinking about the material you are going to use for your deck. The most common deck material today is wood, and the most common wood deck is made from treated southern yellow pine. This material is durable and long lasting, but requires cleaning and resealing on a periodic basis.

Additional wood decking materials you can select are redwood or cedar. Both materials are more attractive, typically a bit more costly, and require the same periodic cleaning and resealing as southern yellow pine. When properly maintained, all three wood deck materials will be long lasting.

Another option for your deck is composite decking, which has become a popular choice. This deck material can be made from either wood and plastic fibers or a cellular PVC material.

Some common composite deck materials include Trex, TimberTech, and AZEK. All exterior building materials require cleaning. Composites provide less maintenance and more colors than wood; however, it is important to look at the care and cleaning instructions from the manufacturer you choose.

After considering the material, start thinking about deck railing systems. They not only provide a safety element, required by building codes, but they also serve as a design element and provide an opportunity for you to personalize your deck. There are many materials and styles to consider, and each manufacturer has railings to complement its brand.

Some options include glass panels and cable rails, which preserve views without compromising safety. You can also use wrought iron or aluminum. Built-in planters also can be used instead of rails, which add some texture and color to the deck. Use taller plants if you want to add a layer of privacy.

Decks can also be gated as a safety factor if you have children or pets. Building code dictates any deck around a pool needs a gate and a rail.

Lighting is another element that can add character and function to your deck. Low-voltage LEDs can be placed under rails, on steps, or flush into the decking.

Consider the design and appeal of your deck. Today, multi-level decks are a big trend, as they incorporate unique designs and allow those on the main deck to be able to easily interact with others from different levels. They also have more opportunities for built-in features such as seating, lighting, and planters.

Before building your deck, it is important to check with your community’s regulations. In some cases, you have to submit plans or a plot survey for your deck, and some communities require submitting plans to an architectural review board. Decks attached to the house will always require a building permit. For freestanding decks, check with your local building inspector before proceeding.

Callen can design and build the deck or porch that works best for your home. From a simple porch roof to the most complex bi-level deck structure, our carpentry crews have done it all. We deliver the highest level of care and attention, no matter how big or small the project. Call Callen at 414-765-2585 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.