Category: Home Improvement

Our New Kitchen Porch

Finally took the photos and videos for this post and I can’t wait to share it because it changed our house in such a major way. Introducing… the area that we affectionately call our kitchen porch. Aka: the grillin’ spot with all the greenery.

grill | outdoor table | outdoor stacking chairs | large white planter

If you followed along on Instagram Stories for the last few months, essentially this side porch always existed, but after we closed off doors number 7 and 8 from our bedroom which led out here (yes our bedroom had 8 exterior doors & still has 6 of them – more on that here), it was just a floating porch without any door leading to it. Here’s an old photo to show you what we essentially were starting with (this is after the exterior stairs came down from the upper deck, but before we painted the house, got new railings, etc, etc).

Continue reading Our New Kitchen Porch at Young House Love.

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Tendering and Project Management for a Construction Project

The availability of required resources is a key aspect of ensuring projects are completed. Most businesses nowadays have gone ahead and employed procurement experts who work with different team members such as the project manager to ensure resources are available. The role of the project manager is quite large and includes working from every angle with every team member to make certain the building materials have arrived on time and are of good quality.

Tendering and project management mainly focus on completing short-term goals such as a construction project. In this article, we are going to look at some of the steps that are included for the entire process to be a success.

Planning for Tendering and Project Management 

Every development project starts with a plan. What are your plans to accomplish the objectives for tendering and project management? Who are the investors or stakeholders? How much time is needed to complete the project? What is the scope of the project? How large is the budget, and what is the quality level of the materials used? These are examples of questions that you might come across when developing the budget. Answering these questions ensures that there is an appropriate workflow in the tendering and project management process and that issues are aired out and can be resolved in the early stages of construction. 

Begin the Tendering and Project Management Process

Here, the main stage of construction begins. Everything will be determined by the goods and services received. You can start by listing all the potential vendors you are likely to receive resources from. Come up with a list of vendors that you feel will really help with the project. At this stage, you can feel free to communicate with more companies and builders and hear what their proposals are. 

After doing all this, it is time to sit down and make a list of builders and other companies that you want to involve in your project. Reputable architecture companies such as Humphreysandsons will help you with numerous construction services such as making plans, drawing the plans, seeking approvals, and even supervising the project.

Control as Part of Tendering and Project Management

Most vendors will promise you a lot of support in your project, but you need to be aware that not all will fully agree on the same terms. As a project manager, one has to go through and ensure that every vendor and builder has agreed with you about their intentions. Active oversight improves how work is carried out. The more vendors are aware that there is someone watching, the more performance improves at every level. 

Wrap Up the Project 

This stage of tendering and project management involves the project manager going through every detail included in the project and making sure that everyone has done their part respectively. In case of any unaddressed issue, the project manager will try and resolve it by forwarding it to the right person.

At the end of every project, the team ensures that the client is happy with what they receive and also that the team itself has learned from the mistakes made for future growth and improvement.  


A successful project comes with its own ups and downs, which should be expected. The above article provides everything you need to know about tendering and project management. Read it to learn more. 

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What You Need To Know When You Look For a New Rental Home

Renting sometimes gets a bad name from people who think that buying a home is the ultimate goal, and even if it is your ultimate goal, renting can be a great stop-gap for single people or couples who don’t want to be tied down. One of the biggest benefits of renting is that you can move on fairly quickly. You just need to give the landlord notice and pack your things. 

This can be really good if you’re moving to a new city for work, or you just want to try out a new neighborhood.

What’s In A Home?

If you are considering renting, though, there are some things that you should know before you start looking at apartments. This is a list of things that everyone who rents needs to know before they sign on the dotted line.

1. Work with a real estate agent

It’s important to make sure that you are comfortable with your decision, or else it could cause problems later down the road. Look at reviews for local estate agents, search for estate agents in Erdington Birmingham, or wherever you are looking, and see what their reviews are by renters to ensure you’re going with a good agent. They will be able to help you find the ideal home for you. 

2. What kind of space do you need?

Are you bringing your whole family with you, or just yourself? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want to live by yourself or with friends? All of these things can make a difference when it comes to choosing a rental home so think about them carefully. 

3. Think about what size storage space you will need

This is significant because, in some apartments, the storage space is in another unit or building. That could make moving in and out much more difficult if the landlord doesn’t offer help for this process. It’s important to find an apartment that makes moving in and out as easy as possible for the tenant. 

4. Consider neighborhoods

This is important for a lot of reasons. For instance, if you want to live in a neighborhood that is safe and has great schools, this could be beneficial when it comes to your child’s education. If you want to live near a park or restaurant, something like that can also make moving in easier and more convenient. 

5. How durable is the building?

One of the most common complaints about rental homes is the quality of construction and material quality. This can be very important for both tenants and landlords if they want to avoid costly repairs down the line, especially since this will happen regardless of whether you own your home or rent it.

6. Does the property owner have a reputation for managing repairs/maintenance?

The landlord’s reputation is important to know before signing an agreement, especially since these disputes can go on forever. It’s important to have a sense of whether or not the property owner is responsible over the long haul. 

7. Does the property have any history of complaints about pests?

There are some things that are just unavoidable, but some landlords will knowingly rent out properties that have pests. It’s important to ask around and see if the landlord has a reputation for being on top of this sort of thing or not. 


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Weekend Reading 11.21.21

I’m finishing a fun holiday DIY project this week, plus preparing for family guests coming on Thanksgiving. My 17 year old daughter is hosting an outdoor friendsgiving at our backyard on Tuesday, it will be extra work but a lot of fun, she has the greatest friends and she’s a high school senior so it’s extra special since they will all be off on their own personal journeys next year.

My teenage son was making fun of me yesterday because I was playing holiday tunes. He says it’s against the law to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving but I disagree. I have to listen to holiday music when I cook or decorate this time of year! Which camp are you in?

Favorite links from the week:

Don’t miss the lovely library and stone kitchen island (wow!) in this alpine home remodel.

Loving the blue painted bookshelves in this cozy, moody library.

A leather sofa and vintage furniture makes this a very cozy living space.

What a difference a stencil pattern made in this courtyard.

From red brick rancher to modern white farmhouse: this exterior makeover.

Some legit criticisms of new build modern homes.

Very cool process: this coral reef art.

So simple and so cute: this bow tie gift topper.

Tips on handling big holidays when you’re co-parenting.

Made me laugh: this unofficial Target ad.

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Contemporary Electric Fireplaces

Yesterday as I was adding a touch of festive decor to my studio while the fireplace was on and I was reminded of how much I love the one in my small sitting space.

It will be my third winter with this one and it is so great for warming up this room on colder days. This electric fireplace I bought two years ago is still available but in a lighter color wood and also in white.


You can always build a frame and mantel to create a more built in style, there are a lot of tutorial online from people who’ve done it. But if you’re not feeling like all that extra work, these portable electric fireplaces may be just the thing to warm up your space too.

hollis fireplace (also in black)

marble look

portable electric (also in black or white)


off white veneer



traditional white

antero black

antique silver

faux stacked stone


black fluted

wall mounted contemporary

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How to Make Your New House Feel Like a Home

Moving is one of the most exciting yet nerve-wrecking things you can go through during your life. Whether you are moving out of your parent’s house for the first time or moving into your eighth new location, the feelings are still the same. Moving provides the chance for a fresh start as well as new opportunities. There are new neighbors to meet, a fresh town to get to learn, and a place to start the next chapter in your life. 


If you have ever moved house before, you likely know that weird feeling just after a move. Sometimes, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that a new house is actually yours. It can often lead to you feeling like you are a guest in someone else’s home. However, this is only due to the fact that your home doesn’t have that homely feeling. But how do you attain that? You don’t have to wait years until you feel like you really belong in a living space. There are things that you can do immediately that can really make you feel settled in your new home. Here are some suggestions on how you can do that. 

Make the Most out of Your Sentimental Items 

Everyone is going to have that one box when they move that is full of items they are emotionally connected to. This could include the likes of stuffed animals, first clothing items, and medals and trophies. These are really important things to have in your home. They are all significant in terms of different stages of your life. Thanks to these items, you can be reminded of the good times in the past and where you came from. With this considered, you should try to make the most out of them when you are setting up your new home. Display them loud and proud to really make it clear that this is your home. 

Work on the Garden 

Part of having a home you feel like you belong is making it personal to you. This can often require a little bit of creativity. One of the best places in the home to get creative is the garden. There is so much room for unique designs that can make your garden special to you. For example, you can plant a variety of flowers that can really brighten up your garden. By finding gardening seeds sold in Australia from Happy Valley Seeds, you will be able to give your flower patch a unique combination of color and life. 

Don’t Follow Layouts or Pre-set Designs 

Many people will be afraid to get creative when moving into a new house. They follow the set designs and layouts, making their house look just like everyone else’s. However, there is no reason why you can’t get creative and do your own thing. Don’t follow any set of rules when setting up your home. Just do what feels right for you and your family to make it uniquely yours. 

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Festive Bead + Tassel Garlands

I started decking the halls around the house, and the first spot I focused on is the living room and mantel. I bought this whimsical bead and tassel garland for its green hues and plan to swag in a set of three across my mantel.

I swapped the mint green yarn it came with for an earth tone taupe yarn and it’s cute as can be. I’m going with a green and natural palette this year. I have a few different bead and wood garlands I’ve collected, it’s so fun to pull them out and drape them in new places.

The garland seem to get better and better every year. Below are more favorite festive bead and tassel garlands I found online that can be used for seasons to come.

wood bead

boho blush tasselwooden snowflake

bottle brushboho bead

woodland greenery

white felt and bead garland

macramé tassellighted pom pom

mini vintage ornamentbead and jute

red felt & bead garland

stars & orbsfelt & pom

classic christmas colors garland

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Building An Easy Privacy Trellis (With 2 Pieces Of Wood + 1 Planter Box)

BRB, just changing the name of this blog to “Solving Problems With Plants.” And I know we promised a huge pool post, but the pool is still very much in progress. Hopefully it’ll be done next month and we can write one big breakdown with approximately 473 photos. But back to how plants can not only hide ugly stuff, they can also offer some pretty great privacy, as we’re about to demonstrate below.

One of the things that contributes to our house being extra walkable to shops, parks, the beach, and restaurants is that it’s less like a sprawling suburban neighborhood due to the lots being a good deal smaller (you can read more about why a walkable neighborhood and a smaller house/lot really appealed to our family in this post).

It’s a similar feeling to our former beach house in Cape Charles, Virginia, which taught us that we really didn’t mind being that close to other homes.

Continue reading Building An Easy Privacy Trellis (With 2 Pieces Of Wood + 1 Planter Box) at Young House Love.

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A Simple DIY Outdoor Plant Shelf To Disguise Ugly Utility Boxes

When we shared pictures of our front porch last fall, we said that our decorating strategy out here was basically “plants and more plants.” It helps visually connect the porch to all of the greenery surrounding our house and – as we’ll show you today – it’s also helping us hide some less-than-pretty parts of this outdoor area. Let’s call them wall warts. Three large rectangular wall warts. But more on that in a second.

white fluted planter | outdoor ceiling fan |wicker storage box | larger white planter | similar egg chair

First let’s travel back in time to what this all looked like last February when we put an offer in on this house (that’s our realtor in the photo below)

As you can see, we’ve already come quite a long way (you can read more about the exterior updates we did in this area herehere).

Continue reading A Simple DIY Outdoor Plant Shelf To Disguise Ugly Utility Boxes at Young House Love.

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Playing and Pasta Making in Verona

My girlfriends and I found affordable tickets to Italy and traveled there together in October. Our destinations were Venice, Florence, and Verona, we arrived by plane in Venice then did a loop around those cities by train.

Verona is known for the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and it sits on the River Adige. It was a colony of the Roman Empire because of its navigable river, and is famous for a few castles including the Castelvecchio fortress. It was an artistic center in the Middle Ages, and today it’s a thriving smaller city in northern Italy just west of Venice.

The city of Verona is a smaller town that felt like more of a community and less of a major tourist destination. Although it’s known for the Juliet balcony attraction and first century amphitheater, what we enjoyed most were the river views, the meandering streets, and the piazzas filled with cafes. We got lucky with blue skies which were the perfect backdrop to the pastel hues on the old buildings.

For me there’s nothing better than sitting in a cafe people watching and enjoying local food amid centuries old architecture. It’s my favorite part of visiting anyplace in Europe. Below are a few snapshots from my two day exploration of Verona, plus the experience of learning to make homemade pasta!


One of the things I really wanted to do when in Italy was learn how to make homemade pasta. One of the afternoons we were in Verona we took a three hour pasta making class from a local professional chef.

Homemade pasta has a slightly different taste and texture and it’s an amazing experience to make and cook your own. We started from scratch and ended with a meal of tagliatelle in a hearty tomato sauce.

I found this pasta making course on Trip Advisor and booked it for the experience. It started in this charming small professional kitchen where we gathered in a small group to learn from Chef Cristina.


We started with flour, an egg, and a pinch of salt, then turned that into a dough. Cristina taught us how to knead the dough to activate the gluten and then her technique for rolling and cutting. (I’m sharing all the tips in a video tomorrow on Instagram stories if you’re interested!)

The proportions were this: one egg to every 90g of flour (which is between 2/3 and 3/4 cup) and a tiny pinch of salt.


Once we combined the egg and flour and salt we formed a ball of dough. Then we kneaded it for about five minutes, pulling the dough out and then forming a ball again and again. The pulling activates the gluten. We were told you know when the dough is ready when it feels as soft as a “baby’s butt” and comes back into shape when you try to indent it with your finger.

We wrapped our dough in cellophane and let it sit for 30 minutes before rolling, then unwrapped it and rolled it super thin, then folded it over like a crepe. We learned to cut the different widths for pasta (spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle) and the technique for forming tortellini and how to layer and cut ravioli.




With a hearty homemade tomato sauce on the menu, our chef instructed us to cut the width of tagliatelle which we did. She served it to us with a sparkling wine and it was delicious!


What an amazing afternoon with friends! I’ve traveled with these two ladies on multiple international trips and we always have so much fun and make great memories. I wrote an article about what makes a great travel mate last year, if you’re curious about why we travel so well together. I adore these two and we’re already planning trips for next year!


So the real question I asked myself when I got home was could I recreate it? Could I use my new skill and make my own homemade pasta?

I ordered the same Italian wheat flour on Amazon that our instructor used to make my own pasta and gave it a try.

I did it! I made homemade beef ravioli and served it to my teenage son. He loved it!

Making homemade pasta was so much simpler than I thought and there’s no need for a pasta maker. It can be done by hand! I’ve read other recipes that use semolina flour which is a very common flour used for making pasta, it comes from durum wheat and it’s coarser and darker than all purpose flour. The flour I used was a whole wheat flour imported from Italy that I linked to above.

I’ll share my experience and photos from Venice on a later date. Check tomorrow’s Instagram stories for tips and techniques on how to make homemade pasta in your own kitchen too!


Since I’m sure many are curious, there were a few extra documents that were required for us to travel to Italy. To fly, the airline required a negative covid test within 72 hours of arrival and a completed EU passenger locator form. On arrival, they check your vaccination status at border patrol. If vaccinated you’re free to enter, if not, you need to quarantine for five days. However to travel on any train or eat indoors or visit any museums, the Italian government required a green pass or proof of vaccination. To return to the US we needed a rapid covid test with a negative result to board the plane back home which we got at the Venice airport for $35.

People wore masks on planes and trains and indoors in shops and restaurants, but many chose not to wear masks outdoors when walking around or when they were seated while dining. The extra paperwork wasn’t a big deal and we didn’t feel the trip was diminished in any way by the extra requirements or masks. We were so happy to be exploring the world again after being grounded for almost two years. 🙂

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