How to Bring the Outdoors Inside: Views, Materials, Objects, and Colors from Nature

In our 2019, Gold Award-winning, Parade Home, we made an effort to bring the outdoors inside with a glass wall from Western Window Systems.

In our 2019, Gold Award-winning, Parade Home, we made an effort to bring the outdoors inside with a glass wall from Western Window Systems.

One of the most popular design trends of 2019 is bringing the outdoors inside. This means an abundance of fresh air, greenery, natural textures, and colors. There are many ways to incorporate this trend into your next remodeling project. Creating an open concept helps make a space feel light and airy due to having mainly exterior-facing walls rather than interior, windowless, walls.


·      One of the best ways to bring the outdoors inside is maximizing your yard or outdoor space by having large windows, glass walls, or disappearing glass doors installed in your main living space. Depending on your view, you may have a breathtaking backdrop already, but even if all you have is a patio, you can place an array of plants, in attractive planters, outside near a glass wall or door.


·      Using the same materials in your indoor and outdoor spaces is another way the design of your space maintains a cohesive flow between the indoors and outside spaces. Use wooden beams, stone walls, and locally-sourced materials. Reflect similar colors and shapes indoors from the landscape, or home’s exterior, to effectively merge the indoors and outdoors together. Having high quality furnishings outside is one way to ease the transition from your home to your outdoor living space. Many patios and decks have elaborate heating systems or fireplaces so the space is useable year-round.

·      Houseplants are often a big part of achieving the look of bringing the outdoors in, but what if you have no aptitude for plant care? There are other ways to express love of nature and continuity with the flow from a room to the outdoors. You can opt for cut flowers, dried flowers, or other natural materials. Large minerals, seashells, or gemstones are wonderful natural objects that can be used in a number of decorative ways. You can use prints of plant life, wallpaper, or nature-themed artwork on the walls.       


We chose a soothing, neutral backdrop, and some indoor greenery for this relaxing space.

We chose a soothing, neutral backdrop, and some indoor greenery for this relaxing space.

·      Wall color selection is important. Whether you select a lovely shade of green or brown occurring in nature, or bold yellows or oranges, these colors will make a space seem lively. You can pair earthy or bright colors with white or another neutral color as accent walls, or you can use colorful furnishings and accessories while opting for more neutral walls and furnishings. Furniture and accessories made of jute, wicker, rattan, and woven materials are currently trending. Choose textiles in natural fabrics, like cotton, linen, hemp, or raw silk. Or try small sections of animal print, leather, or fake furs in a room.


Whatever your style, from eclectic to traditional, any look will benefit from being paired with the trend of bringing the outdoors in. Mixing and layering various styles is also another popular interior design trend right now, and nature goes with everything. Even the most modern, streamlined room will look stunning with nature pulled in as a living element.


ELM Construction is here to make your remodeling dreams a reality. If you are ready to get started, contact us today at


The Doorway to Style: Choosing the Perfect Front Door

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The first thing people see when they come to your house is your front door. Don’t neglect this aspect of your home’s first impression! Think of how you feel coming home after a long day; does your front door make you feel welcomed? Having a damaged, improperly installed, or worn out front door can also be a source of energy waste. Once the seal of a door is broken, air escapes both out of, and into, cracks around the door. Do you really want to heat and cool the outdoors? Or invite insect pests into your home? How do you select a front door when there are so many styles, options, and materials to choose from?


First of all, consider your home’s architecture. Putting an industrial style door onto a traditional style house could create a disjointed feel. How much space do you have? If you want side windows, you'll need to confirm you have space to accommodate them and center your door. Symmetry in front entrances is appealing to the eye. A front doorway needs to look proportional both to the home and the porch, if there is one. Is the door protected beneath an overhang or a porch or exposed to the elements? These questions should factor into your decision-making process. Once you decide the type of door there are a variety of materials to choose from.


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Material Options for Your Front Door


Steel- Usually the most economical option, but it can be dented if you’re not careful (although it can be repaired in most cases). Also, may not be very energy efficient due to conducting heat and can be susceptible to rusting.


Fiberglass- Versatile looks, weather resistant and energy efficient but more expensive than some options.


Wood- Customizable with windows, has a classic look, but does not stand up as well to the elements as well as fiberglass or steel (can swell and buckle with moisture and needs more maintenance).


Glass- Lets in a lot of light but cuts down on privacy and efficiency.


Choose a Welcoming and Cohesive Paint Color


When it comes to selecting a color for your front door, there are several details to consider. What color is your home and are you planning on keeping your house the same color, or a similar shade, in the near future? Consider the color on the siding or brick, shutters, trim, and roof of your home. Most people want to create a nice contrast. A bright pop of color at the front door tends to make people feel welcome. You may even want to consider the landscaping near the entrance of your home. If you have red flowering plants nearby, would it be too monotone to have a red front door as well? If you get a lot of sun exposure at your home’s entrance you may not want to choose a dark color for your front door. 


Hardware and Tech


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The hardware you select for your front door needs to have aesthetic cohesiveness with the rest of the entryway. Also keep the security features of your hardware in mind. Once more, your choice should accentuate your home’s style. There are many metal finishes to choose from, such as brass, oil rubbed bronze, nickel, stainless steel, bronze, or wrought iron.

Of course, the hardware and the door should be complimentary to one another. Deadbolts are safe locks, but now you can choose electronic keypad locks. Keypad locks are perfect for allowing family members access to your home when you’re not there. The fear of losing your keys and getting locked out of your house will also be a thing of the past.

If you invest in the newest smart technology for your front entrance you can use Bluetooth recognition. Imagine walking up to your home and just opening your front door with no key required? There is even an option for programming codes to work during certain hours. You can even have your system email you when someone accesses your home.  


Whether you can’t wait to select your new front door, or you’re overwhelmed at choosing from so many options, ELM Construction is here for you! Contact us today for a free estimate on your next remodeling project:

Creative Storage Solutions: Minimalism Behind the Scenes

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Do you love the minimalist look but struggle to achieve it in your own home? Kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms, are high traffic parts of your home. The newest storage trends keep these well-used spaces streamlined. Perfection is not as effortless as it may appear; there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to achieve organization and clutter-free surfaces!

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The Newest Kitchens Cater to Cleanliness

One of the latest kitchen trends eschews upper cabinets in favor of below-counter storage. Floating shelves, stone sills, and cabinets without doors are popular, but are often staged like displays. On one hand, it can be a headache to keep open shelving looking picture-perfect and free of dust, but everything is in sight and within reach. Many homeowners install customized drawers and cabinets below their countertops. Under counter storage is ideal for storing dishes, cookware, and food. Drawers with pegs keep plates and bowls stable in drawers to avoid breakage. Adjustable dividers, in deep drawers, allow you to customize compartments for individual items.

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Of course, pull-out trash cans and recycling bins are still more popular than ever. Tall roll-out cabinets are perfect for storing utensils upright, or taller items, like canisters of flour or bottles of oil. Your countertops will stay clear because you have a space to store everything. You are also less likely to misplace perishables. Walk-in pantries are trending but if you don’t have the space, roll-out pantry cabinetry works. Roll out cabinets allow you to see all the way to the back of the cabinet. Losing food items on a crowded pantry shelf is one wasteful occurrence that happens due to out of date storage options.

Up to Date, Organized Laundry Rooms and Bathrooms

Some older homes only have washer/dryer connections in the kitchen, creating an eyesore. We thought an ingenious solution was installing a pair of custom cabinets, disguising a washer and dryer in our client’s kitchen. Remodeled laundry rooms boast custom storage options like fold out ironing boards, tilt-out hampers, drying racks, or drying closets. Basic cabinetry for storing cleaning products has become elaborate and spacious. Linen closets or storage cubbies for individual family members are now widely available in the laundry room.

To keep bathrooms organized vanity drawers are becoming deeper and more plentiful. Many bathroom drawers also have dividers. Some bathrooms have specialized drawers with heat resistant holders for hair tools! Separate, freestanding shelving is also popular. Built-in niches keep showers free of shelving units, which can rust and collect a layer of soap scum. Shower niches tucked out of sight from the bathroom’s entryway, or played up with elaborate tile, are attractive choices.

Because people are so busy these days, design trends must serve double duty. Not only are the newest designs beautiful, but they are almost guaranteed to make your life easier. Wiping down your countertops is much easier if you aren’t moving several gadgets with no dedicated home. Cleaning your shower is faster when you don’t have to remove a ton of products to scrub a metal shower shelf. If you want to remodel your home with any of these trending options, contact ELM today. We have a creative solution for your all your storage challenges!


The Hottest, Cool to the Touch, Trend

Induction cooktops are one of the newest trends in cooktops and ranges; they have the same sleek, surface as most glass or ceramic electric cooktops, but they use an electromagnetic coil beneath a glass surface. Selecting a cooktop is a personal choice reflecting your individual preferences and cooking habits. You may not want to choose an induction cooktop solely because it is the newest technology but instead weigh whether it fits your cooking needs. If you enjoy cooking on gas and a gas connection is unavailable, induction cooking gives similar temperature control. Here are some of the biggest selling points and some of the idiosyncrasies of induction cooktops.


Clean and Efficient

The metal from the bottom of the pan interacts with a coil below the cooktop’s surface, heating only the pan, saving energy in the process. Because the pan alone is heated during cooking, energy is not wasted, your kitchen will not warm up, nor will the cooktop retain heat, potentially burning someone or causing any spills to scorch onto the glass. You can even place a piece of newspaper between the cookware and cooking surface to catch spatter, then just toss the paper out when you are done cooking.


Speed and Responsiveness

The speed of induction cooktops is a selling point for some cooks; however, even though water boils more quickly using induction, it is only by a few minutes, but every minute does count in our hectic day to day lives! 

Much like gas burners, induction burners cool down quickly when the temperature is lowered. Most cooks appreciate the ability to make immediate adjustments to their cooking temperature, and fine tuning is more difficult on an electric range. 


Details of this New Technology    

One noteworthy detail of using this new cooking technology, is that you will need cookware receptive to magnetization, such as cast iron and some stainless options. Nowadays, most cookware is induction compatible. You can test the bottom of your cookware using a magnet.   

Induction burners do not have a glow the way electric burners do. Some cooks find this lack of visual representation to be a slight hindrance; for this reason, some brands have made induction cooktops that use LED lights on the burners or on the stove’s knobs.   

One safety feature of induction cooktops is that they will not heat up when turned on unless there is an induction compatible pan on the burner. Although the surface of an induction cooktop does not heat up the way that electric cooktops do, some heat may be transferred to the cooktop’s surface from the bottom of the pan. While the cooktop may retain some heat passed from the pan, it will cool down quickly. 

The technology of induction cooking is not available in ovens, so if you purchase a range with an induction cooktop, it generally comes with a standard or convection oven.