Outdoor Fireplace, Your Very Own Outdoor Living Space

What do you mean outdoor fireplace? Don't you mean a fire pit? Nope!

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!

The Effects of Outdoor Fireplaces on The Atmosphere!

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!

What Is A Pergola?

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!

 

The Various Functions of a Pergola

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!

Eden Prairie Minnesota

The spring can bring change and rejuvenation...so what's more rejuvenating than a new place to live? If you are moving or living in Eden Prairie and need your home to be more 2018 and not 1965 we can help guide you to bring you into this century. From kitchen remodels to full basement updates Xpand Inc. Can!

Contact Us for a Free Estimate

Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie Minnesota is a place of outstanding quality, voted best place in America to live in 2010 by MONEY magazine. This is no surprise though, Eden Prairie boasts an outstanding community ripe with diversity, housing options, parks and nature walks, a terrific school system all bundled with the amenities of a metropolitan area like Saint Paul!
Eden Prairies government has a goal of making any new comers to the city feel immersed and like they belong with the community, which benefits not only those who just move there, but also the rest of the community, furthering the the community bonds and appreciation of each other.

Why Wait?

Eden Prairie boasts over a dozen lakes and immense natural beauty weaved withing the modern architecture of today. This city really sets a high standard for other cities because it has strong amenities and community connectivity that is accessible to all persons. So what are you waiting for? This is a dream home location if we have ever seen one! So let's get started on your dream home! Give us a call at Xpand inc. today and let's start developing your home that will become apart of this fantastic community!

School System
Eden Prairie belongs to Eden Prairie school system, which have contiguous boundaries between the community and the school system which not only shares a name, but also the desire to see the best for the kids and their future. Eden Prairie's investment and involvement for their children's growth is what has been a large factor in being named one of the top cities to live and have a family raised.
Transportation
When it comes to transportation methods, a new light rail implementation is in the works, which will allow those in between Eden Prairie and downtown Minneapolis to have greater access to work, social events, cultural events, you name it!
Community
When it comes to community events in Eden Prairie, you will not be able to find a place in Minnesota that offers this much. The Parks and Recreations plan community events regularly, offering an increase in opportunities to reach out to other community members and develop stronger relations. One of the most renowned events would have to be the Fourth of July celebrations that boast some of the best fireworks displays in the metropolitan area along with some bands and musical groups. Everything you could need to have a great time out with the friends and family.
Along the same route of things to do, Eden Prairie has just finished remodeling their community center, which now holds a pool complex and boasts two large competitive swimming pools for the intense swimmers, while some great slides and recreational needs for those lax swimmers!

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Formal Family Room View of backyard and lake

Backyard Dissonance

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!

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Burnsville siding and deck project

Who needs spring cleaning when you can spring build!

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!  

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Bloomington, the perfect place to bloom!

Last week we talked about Prior Lake Minnesota and the opportunities that are present for those looking to settle down for a bit there. This week however, we would like to bring Bloomington into the spotlight!

A popular and well respected developed city, Bloomington boasts more than 85,000 residents and 90,000 jobs! This well constructed city is located in Hennepin county and connects with major roads like interstate 494 North and Highway 169!

Due to the cities major industry in retail and entertainment, hotel and restaurant, health maintenance and computer manufacturing, there is a wide variety of jobs to choose from and advance your career path!

Bloomingon is a council-manager form of government that leads the city on a daily basis towards a brighter tomorrow for all it’s residents and entrepreneurs!  The city has more than 500 full-time staff dedicated to the happiness of all who interact with the city, and make it their daily goals to find ways of improving those lives! Bloomington maintains a triple A bond rating from three rating agencies: Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch.

Aside from the aforementioned details, what else does Bloomington have to offer for those considering laying roots down here?  A LOT! Be it for a family or someone dedicated to spreading their work and professional business, there is boundless opportunity here!

  • On the education side, Bloomington features 11 educational institutions for K-12 and six college level institutions.
  • An employment market that has been steadily rising since 2009.
  • The widely known Mall of America, one of Minnesota’s largest tourist and local attractions.
  • Local government services such as Fire protection, Police protection, Bloomington Public Health division, City and Regional parks and playgrounds, Dwan Golf Club, Hyland Greens Gold and Learning Center, Ice Arena, Human Services, Cable television programming.
  • One of the largest volunteer fire departments in the country.
  • State-of-the-art Police dispatch center for the highest security available.
  •  Over 100 parks and playgrounds for increased community relationships and activities for the family.
  • A well developed public library for all the book lovers who need a new story to get lost in.
  • Immense opportunity for business development and property development.
  • Lakes, ponds and beaches for those beautiful days when you just can’t be stuck working inside.

The truth is, there is so much to offer in Bloomington that the list could go on for days.

If your looking for a new place to build your home with the help of our Xcellent staff at Xpand, Bloomington would be a great choice!

Give us a call today and let’s discuss the location your thinking about and the endless possibilities your home can have to take full advantage of the location!

 

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Back right side view of the house

What Is Involved In Building a Home

Our last article talked about Prior Lake and it’s great possibilities involved with living near the town. Today we thought it would be good to give a comprehensive look at what it takes to build a home!

Building a home is one of the most exciting processes you could imagine. The chance to make an environment that suits you perfectly, and be able to say you made it. Along with building your home, you get to choose the location, adding another layer of freedom and personalization!

So let’s break down the basis of this process so you can get a rough idea of how this all works!

  • Pick a plot and have a design made up for the home
  • Prepare the site and pour the foundation of your home! This will entail the construction crew leveling the site and begin laying out the houses foundation details with markers.
  • Rough framing process begins. The basic skeleton of the home is formed  (walls, roof, floors).
  • Install a rough version of the plumbing, electrical and HVAC. This entails things like pipes and wires, sewer lines and vents, water supply lines, bathtubs and showers, duct-work and HVAC system.
  •  Installation of the insulation! The key to a perfect temperature in a home comes in a variety of materials. Fiberglass, cellulose, foam mineral wool, concrete blocks, spray foam and foam board and rigid foam.
  • Next up is when the drywall is installed along with the brick and stucco, stone and siding.
  • Now that the base aspects of the house are built, you get to start designing  the interior with things like trim, baseboards, casings, window sills, molding, stair balusters and even cabinets and fireplaces! At this point, you get to start defining the characteristics of your interior. Something we offer at Xpand inc. is the option of custom work, for example custom cabinetry! We can help you Xpand beyond the normal confines of interior structures and really elaborate the uniqueness of your home!
  • Moving forward, now is the time to install hard surface flooring and counter tops. This means you will want to know the material your going to use for the counters. A strong material that is a wide favorite would be something like quartz and granite, but we will be able to go through the other types of material with you to ensure you have a nice range of options that match you and your dream home!
  • Moving forward in the process towards your dream home, we have the installation of light fixtures, outlets and switches along with the necessary electrical panels. Lights can really define an atmosphere and give a great sense of wonder, so be sure to consider the manner in which they are presented and what they will be emphasizing!
  • At the same time as the fixtures, it will be the time to install sinks toilets and faucets, the components that can help define a bathrooms style!
  • Final clean up is near! Your home is almost at its final stage! It may seem like it came fast while reading this, but the actual process takes around 12 weeks to do, and your anticipation during that time will cause the days to move slowly! At this stage of the building process, mirrors, shower doors and carpeting are all installed and finely cleaned. At the same time the greenery around the home is planted and the exterior landscaping is completed to compliment your home.
  • The final, but most exciting step is the walk-through of your finished home.  This will be the realization of your dream home. At this step you want to pay close attention to aspects that the builders need to fix. We at Xpand will explain the the needs of your home in terms of maintenance and responsibility, as well as warranty coverage and procedures. Be sure to take notes and ask questions!

That’s it. You now have the home of your dreams! Or, you would if you went through this process, but that’s also an exciting factor, you still get to go through these steps and create a masterpiece that signifies you and your family, your home will break the cookie cutter mold and stand out from the rest!

Give us a call today and lets start the process of your dream home! We will Xpand your dreams into reality with Xcellent service! 

 

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