Turn your house outside in with a new screened porch

David Berryhill, Archadeck of Chicagoland, asks if you would like to see some of his favorite screened porch designs on You Tube.

When I look back at my portfolio of some of my favorite Archadeck of Chicagoland outdoor deck designs, those that stand out the most are the ones that include a screened porch.

Picture this. Walking out through your rear patio door onto a diagonally-patterned wood deck (or composite, if you want virtually zero maintenance). And to your left is an awesome screened porch, your private sanctuary.

It’s the perfect place to listen to your favorite music, with maybe your favorite scented candle nearby, and a glass of chilled chardonnay — just perfect for a warm weather evening. And let’s bring a bowl of fresh fruit from the farmers market.

Most of my clients literally change the way they live once the new screened porch is completed. It’s almost as if they can escape to some leisure oasis, to escape the trails and tribulations of a long and tedious work day.

I’m think of posting some of my screened porch designs on You Tube. Would you be interested? And if so, what would you like to see? Are screened porches of interest to you?

Top 25 BBQ recipes for your outdoor grilling

Top 25 BBQ grilling recipes from About.com, featuring simple and delicious rubs and BBQ sauces, just perfect for cooking in your new Archadeck outdoor kitchen.

You know, it’s funny. After enjoying a lot good food during yesterday’s Super Bowl (Go Saints!), it occurred to me that with all this good conversation about our new Archadeck outdoor kitchens, there hasn’t been any talk at all about what to cook on them.

And that, my friends, is about to change. About.com has some incredible rubs, sauces and even slow cooker recipes that are simply awesome. For the top 25 BBQ recipes, click here.

Enjoy, Chicago! Grilling doesn’t get any better than this.

Outdoor kitchens perfected

David Berryhill designs and builds custom outdoor kitchens with virtually everything — even the “kitchen sink.”

Everything you’ve ever dreamed of — including the “kitchen sink” (see the right side of the photo) — all outdoors — courtesy Archadeck of Chicagoland. For a free design consultation and estimate, just ask.

With David Berryhill’s new custom outdoor kitchens, Chicagoans may never cook indoors again

David Berryhill is designing affordable, functional and beautiful custom outdoor kitchens for his lucky clients in Chicago.

Come Spring 2010, with one of my new custom outdoor kitchens, you just may be tempted to never cook — or entertain — indoors again.

Archadeck of Chicagoland can now custom design a stunning outdoor kitchen right before your eyes — on your computer.

That’s right. Our expert custom outdoor kitchen design team will meet with you online — right in front of your computer — to create a custom design plan that fits exactly what your looking for.

For example, if you have a small patio but want big cooking and entertaining, we have a design for that.

Looking for a efficient and multi-functional outdoor kitchen to go under a covered porch, yes, we have a design for that, too.

Need a big, expansive outdoor kitchen to cook up a big feast for a family reunion? Yes, you know that you’ve come to the right place…Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Outdoor kitchen with bar

Here’s one of my personal favorites, a raised counter with bar stools connected to a highly efficient outdoor kitchen.

Sound good? Well, there’s lot more good news to share. Call me at 847-359-8002 for your free design and planning consultation. We can quickly come up with a perfect solution to extend your outdoor living entertaining hours in beautiful, functional style.

True, there may be no such thing as a “free lunch,” but there is $500 worth of free landscaping with a new Archadeck outdoor living space

A free gift for you, Chicago! Get a $500 gift certificate for Hawthorn Gardens when David Berryhill from Archadeck of Chicagoland designs and builds your new outdoor living space or addition. Limit one per household. Projects of $10,000 or more. Offer expires June 30, 2010.

We love our outdoor living customers in Chicagoland, especially those in Hawthorn Woods.

They always seem to be very forward-thinking about how to best design and use their new decks, patios and outdoor kitchens from Archadeck.

So this Spring, I have decided to run a half-page ad in Woodtales, the Hawthorn Woods newsletter, featuring a $500 gift certificate from Hawthorne Gardens as a thank you for any new outdoor living project of $10,000 or more.

If you don’t have the newsletter, just print this ad and give it to us when we come to your home for your free design consultation.

Tweet about your Super Bowl 2010 favorite ads, Chicagoland

Mullen Advertising has teamed up with Twitter to bring us Brand Bowl 2010, a social media equivalent of an indoor tailgate party for those who will not be celebrating America’s favorite pastime in their outdoor living spaces this year.

The idea of watching the Super Bowl from your outdoor living space sounds like a strange idea, you may think, but it’s not.

I can custom design and build your family a 4-season sunroom that will be affordable, functional and fabulous all year long — especially for watching weekend football in comfort.

With energy-efficient wrap around windows, French doors leading to your deck or patio, and a fireplace to warm your minds and bodies on cooler days, Archadeck of Chicagoland can create the relaxation retreat of your dreams.

In fact, check out our latest outdoor living custom designs right here.

Superior quality and service is alive and well in Chicagoland outdoor living spaces

Testimonial: “I have had bad experiences with contractors in the past and Dave Berryhill from Archadeck was by far the best we have worked with, and he worked hard to earn our business.”

As I read the most recent news about the Toyota quality problems, it makes me so very thankful for the high standards we hold so dear here at Archadeck of Chicagoland. I love receiving letters and calls from customers after we finish their jobs.

Here’s one of my favorites.  I received this from Alan Weisz in Deerfield, Illinois.

“I have had bad experiences with contractors in the past and Dave Berryhill from Archadeck was by far the best we have worked with, and he worked hard to earn our business.”

Alan then continued by listing the five key things he most appreciated:

1. Professionalism
2. Courtesy
3. Staying informed of each step of the process
4. Exceeding his expectations by going “above and beyond”
5. Our personable demeanor

Well, Alan, back at you. You were a delight to work for, and we are so pleased with the outcome of your beautiful new screened outdoor room.

Decks, still a good investement!

Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.

The 2009 – 2010 Cost vs Value Report by Remodeling Magazine is out.   Again Decks have held strong when considering their return on investment in the Chicago area.   Amongst several common home improvement projects wooden deck additions ranked 3rd highest with an 80.6% return.  This is based upon an average deck price of $10,675 in 2009 dollars.   Composite decks also offer a strong return but do not hold up quite as well, at a 71% return.  The difference is due to the higher initial cost for the project at an average of $15,619.    Check out the full report at Remodeling Magazine.   Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.

How do we begin the design process for our deck or patio?

Outdoor design begins with understanding what you want to do. A great place to start this process is by identifying what furniture groups you plan to use. Form should always follow function!

Creating outdoor living spaces requires outdoor design.  Obviously outdoor furniture will be a central element to enjoy the spaces with your family and friends.  The outdoor furniture you plan to use is a great starting point for planning your outdoor living space(s).   Knowing what type of furniture and activities you plan on using will drive the new spaces design.  Obviously it will affect size but also shapes and transitions. Form should always follow function.

When we begin the design process for a screen room, paver patio, deck or any of our projects we start by asking about use.   I like to understand what rooms they wish to have in the new outdoor spaces.   Most want an area to dine and to cook, some want a family room, many want a space for a fire pit or fireplace, some want spaces for hot tubs, and many have other ideas for outdoor spaces.   Often getting this conversation started is difficult.   Most people have not thought about their backyard in this way.   Asking about the outdoor furniture that they plan to use gets the conversation started.  Most home owners want to include a grill and a table for dinning.  Beyond these two staples each home owner adds those elements that create their unique outdoor space.

The base for creating outdoor design always flows from the functional needs.   Once we know the basic spaces that the homeowner wants to have we begin blocking out the project.   When we apply the aesthetic tastes of the client the design takes a more exact shape and form.

Deck, patio, pergola

Rehabing your deck (replace decking and reuse the structure)

Often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure. The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings. Redecks are an option that provides significant savings.

Will that deck make it through another summer?    As the snow melts, hopefully soon, thousands of decks throughout the Chicago suburbs will be revealed.   The wear and tear from another season of sun, rain, freeze, and snow will show itself.   What options does a home owner have?   If the deck boards are beyond normal maintenance, pressure washing and staining, it’s time to consider new material.  Does that mean a new deck?  Not necessarily, often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure.  Have the structure evaluated by a professional deck builder or qualified contractor to insure the structure is safe and worth saving.  Poor structure with new surface material is a bad investment.  Having said this, it is very common that the structure can offer many more years of support for your deck.  The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings.   Of course, we also review the structural plan for the deck. Healthy material won’t compensate for poor design.

Assuming the structure is sound, perhaps with minor structural repairs, there are many options to rehab and reuse your deck space.  The decking can be replaced with new wood, low maintenance deck boards (such as TimberTech or Azek), or even “stone like” tile options.  With in these choices exists a multitude of natural as well as synthetic materials.   The pros and cons of these choices are best left for another blog.  Okay, several blogs.   The key is that a deck rehab, or redeck, is a very viable option.  Redecks are an option that provides significant savings. 

These rehab’s can involve replacement of decking only or any combination of surface components.  We have done many combinations of deck rehab, including several that involved shape changes, adding screen rooms, or integration of a paver patio.  As always we start by asking questions to understand the homeowner’s priorities.  Once we have a clear picture we will offer recommendations.  Ultimately, we will build what the client wants assuming, it’s safe and legal.  However, there are a couple issues that really make sense for most deck rehab’s.  First, if you are planning to replace the decking on the stairs, it’s best to replace all elements of the stairs.   I don’t reuse strangers.  Second, reuse of non structural materials from the old deck is not worth the effort.  Using new material is so much faster for carpenters that it’s less expensive then reusing old materials.  Not to mention that I have never met a carpenter who is happy working with old material.  Remember, the carpenter is a craftsmen and their happiness will directly affect the results of your project.  Happy carpenters equal a successful project; that sounds like another future blog topic.

A deck rehab is often the perfect solution.   Whether you simply need deck boards replaced or wish to recreate your outdoor living space(s), using the existing foundation can give savings.  It can give savings of both money and time for your project.