Planning Your Outdoor Space for Optimum Results

When you add a deck or patio to your home it will be important to think about how you will use the space and how it correlates to the floor plan, architecture and grounds. Outdoor spaces are also an important “transition” from inside to out and should blend in a way that makes it difficult to see the exact beginning and end of each space. This will create a proper flow aesthetically and emotionally. Things to consider:

  • Will there be a garden to incorporate now or later? Wide steps or stepping stones can be used in lieu of additional plantings to blend the yard to the space.
  • What is the solar direction? Be sure to check the angle of the sun. Having an awning or trellis over windows can shade out the high summer solar gain in the summer and allow the lower angle of the winter sun to enter. Using the correct height and depth will make this work to improve energy ills as well as add comfort and a great look.
  • Should a trellis or pergola be added for privacy or shade? A pergola overhead will do more than provide shade. This will also help create the effect of having an outdoor room. Cover overhead, even one that will not stop the rain has a calming- protective feeling. Adding a higher rail with some form of lattice will also provide a sense of security, privacy and coziness. You will notice this design element in restaurants where just a cloth separates diners and a lowered ceiling is strategically place over the bar area. Voila! An instant change to the environment.
  • What is the style of the home? This is your opportunity to add bold classic lines to a form that may need a boost or sleek slender lines to carry what may be a contemporary home style. Take the current architectural form into consideration first, and then you will be able to decide on the direction of your vision.

Color Associations

Color affects our moods, whether it is in our living and working environment or in the clothing we wear.  We feel energized and uplifted by some colors, calmed and quieted by others. The intensity of a color as well as its tint or shade can also affects its influence.

For example, while orange is very energizing, peach is more soothing. Below are colors and some of their associations:

  • Red -Stimulates the appetite, raises blood pressure, attracts attention, creates excitement and takes control. It is forceful, bold, extreme, aggressive, impulsive, energetic. Red suggests physical strength, rejuvenation, self-confidence, love, passion, sensuousness, danger, courage, vitality. It is tfirst color the eye sees upon awakening.
  • Orange -Is friendly, cheerful, happy, associated with thirst and refreshment, an energy color, associated with movement. It creates a sense of order and equality without power and control. Orange is an antidepressant, conferring respiratory & intestinal health. It is bold, decreases hostility and irritability, with a social, gregarious, active, jovial, fickle, and extroverted side.
  • Yellow -Stimulates memory, mental clarity, with uplifting feelings of optimism, warmth, cheerfulness, wisdom, and brightness. It aids digestion, scirculation, but signals frustration, caution. Yellow is the most difficult colofor the eye to process and see.
  • Green -Confers a sense of relaxation and comfort, represents health and prosperity, and refreshes the spirit. It is the most well-liked color and the easiest color for the eye to see. It suggests balance, harmony, replenishment, heart health, growth, birth, envy, inexperience, wealth, refreshment, compassion, rejuvenation, balance, moderation, concentration, security.
  •  Blue -Is non-threatening, and is a symbol of trust and longevity. It is refreshing, soothing, calm, dependable, anti-inflammatory, an insomnia and headache relief. It slows metabolism, lowers blood pressure, decreases heartburn and indigestion, and is associated with travel and leisure, authority and strength. Blue is the most popular color in the U.S.
  • Purple – Contains elements of surprise and magic. It is philosophical, and represents royalty. It suggests romance, imagination, passion. It  suppresses appetite, and fosters love, wisdom, reverence, inspiration, spirituality, an enlightened feeling, and quietness. Purple eases the mind and overactive glands, conveying elegance and artistic creativity.
  • Black -Suggests sophistication, elegance, dignity, power, worldliness, aloofness, intimidation, and mystery.
  • White -Indicates purity, innocence, cleanliness, youth, naiveté.
  • Gray -Lacks assertiveness, but suggests intelligence, guarded behavior, a sense of discipline.
  • Brown -Conveys warmth and comfort, solidarity, positive food associations (from the orange family), and evokes less intense behavioral responses.

Bathroom Design Trends

A Room with a View.  Homeowners are looking for an indoor/outdoor connection in every room in their home, and the bathroom is no exception.  Natural light lends a livable homey feel, and the sun that enters the room warms the skin, the tile, the water and the air. Flow of Space.  Many of Today’s most desired bathrooms boast little distinction between where the floor ends, and where everything else begins.  The continuation of tile from floor to walls, shower, and tub lend a free flow feel, while gentle color palettes provide a spa-like ambiance. Minimalist Chic.  When it comes to bathrooms, modern and minimal is replacing over-crowded and over-decorated. Slight curves, straight lines, and symmetry create a clean refined look.  Understated faucets and fixtures lend simplicity.  Neutral materials and earth tones are subtle and soothing.  This type of space is conducive to finding peace and serenity and transcends into a timeless look. Private Chambers.  In the past, bathrooms consisted of a combination tub/shower, toilet and vanity with sink.  However, today’s baths function as a space for relaxation and retreat, and in this environment, a separate toilet compartment takes away “rough edges” and adds beauty (and privacy) to a luxurious room.  A closed off toilet chamber also allows for more comfortable sharing of bathroom space.

Text Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine; Photos of Wiese Company Projects

Counters Have Come a Long Way

Mom may have had a laminate top, likely trimmed in chrome. Today, your choices are much more varied, and consumers are installing new, creative looks.

The first company to take solid surfaces by storm was DuPont, with Corian.  Since losing its patent, the price of Corian has come down and is currently priced approximately in line with granite. While you cannot cut on acrylics or place a hot pot on the countertop, it is still the only surface that offers a true seamless look.

Granite is still king. Nothing can replicate what nature makes unique in every slab, and granite is still the most widely used kitchen counter in the Wellesley area. Granite is a great choice for kitchens because you can cut on it without a cutting board, and it will not melt if you place a hot pan atop it.  It even expedites the cooling of a pie removed fresh from the oven.

Quartz products have arrived. With all the benefits of granite, quartz products are also non-porous, offer consistency in color, and will not blemish if installed with a “honed” or “matte” finish. The major brands are Silestone, Zodiaq, and CaesarStone. The cost is slightly higher than for granite but may be worth using if the color and style fit your design.

Specialty Rooms Add Value

Today’s family knows rooms customized to their lifestyle make sense. That’s where specialty rooms come in. Consider adding one to your home to make the most of your family time.

Wine Cellars- A room dedicated to your wine collection can be both an entertaining spot and a practical storage space. Make the most of the room by incorporating beautiful cabinetry and a small place to sit and taste your collection.

Media Rooms- With a large video display and powerful sound system, the media room is ideal for watching movies. A multitasking space, the room is perfect for video gaming, entertaining, and surfing the Internet too. With family-friendly furniture,  the room is styled more like a traditional family room than a home theater.

Laundry Rooms- The ultimate utilitarian space, laundry rooms are getting appealing makeovers. Moving out of basements into convenient spaces, with countertops that match the kitchen, laundry rooms are adding comfortable work surfaces for folding and ironing. Hardwood or tile flooring and crown molding also add appeal.

Garage Spaces- Remodeling trends indicate larger garages are a necessity for today’s family. Garage organization is flourishing with storage systems and efficient use of space. Make space to store the kids’ big toys, cars, tools, and lawn mowers.


When adding a specialty room, focus on the details that will make the space both more practical for your own family and more appealing on the resale market.