Whether you’re starting a business following the 2021 Great Resignation or your established business is outgrowing the spare bedroom, a garage can offer an attractive alternative in terms of size, existing infrastructure such as wiring, and with it being a stone’s throw away from your home location. Transforming it into the ideal home office, however, can be a task beyond the experience of the average homeowner. Just as you bill yourself an expert in your profession, this may be the time to call on an experienced contractor – or at least an avid DIYer – as well as an interior designer well-versed in melding practicality and personality, like Toscano Interiors.
Setting the stage for renovation
Depending on your discipline for shrewd organization and vehicle maintenance, it’s likely you have some decluttering and deep cleaning to do. After finding a new home for every item previously housed in the garage, you’ll want to remove the telltale signs of its former functionality, such as oil stains in the concrete, and hooks and nails that held everything from bicycles to water hoses. For this early stage, you won’t need a permit, but you may need one before you move on to more extensive renovations, so be sure to check with your local permitting office before you go any further.
While you’re checking your permit requirements, talk to your business accountant or other qualified tax professional about whether your converted garage will qualify for a home office deduction on your tax return. This deduction allows you to deduct certain expenses from your business income that relate to running your business from your home and is in addition to any other legitimate business-related expenses that you claim on your tax return.
Once you have your permits and other business tasks in order, gauge your current electrical wiring in the garage to see if it’s suitable for your office layout, particularly the number and location of outlets. If your garage is separate from the house, you may want to section off some space for a small bathroom, and perhaps a small kitchen area for a refrigerator and coffee maker.
Regardless of climate, insulation is a must-have, if you don’t already have it in your garage. Your licensed contractor should add the necessary wiring and plumbing prior to putting in any additional insulation. In addition to tempering the outdoor weather effects, insulation quite literally helps to “insulate” you from outside noise. If you’ve never worked with insulation yourself and want to save some money for your more aesthetic improvements, consider taking classes at a nearby home improvement store.
Blending practicality with creativity
You’ll likely want to hire someone to replace your traditional garage door, especially if you have a need to welcome clients and vendors. Since most garages don’t have a lot of windows, consider adding a few to let in some natural light and create a more open feel to what will be your new office.
Now you’re ready to set the stage for your office décor. Start from the ground up, deep clean those concrete floors before putting down your choice of flooring; an easy route is to finish the concrete with an acid stain and will complement attractive rugs. If your space is relatively small, light colors for your walls can create a more open feel, especially if combined with mirrors. You can add pops of color with artwork, furniture, and accessories. Finally, your office furniture is important, so be sure you mix comfort and practicality with style – even the mouse and keyboard you select matter when it comes to physical comfort.
Passion and productivity
Many business owners spend a great deal of time in their offices, so it should surround you with inspiration as well as comfort. Hiring a professional isn’t just for knocking down walls and doing electrical work, so if you’re finding the design functions more challenging than you expected, reach out to Toscano Interiors for creating the workspace that fuels your passion and your productivity. Once you get the office of your dreams, you’re off to the races!
Blog written exclusively for Toscano Interiors by guest blog contributor, Tina Martin with Ideaspired. Tina Martin is an author and successful Blogger. Find more of Tina's work at https://www.ideaspired.com/blog/www.ideaspired.com/blog/
This week's blog post is courtesy of Karl Kennedy with Projectortop.com. He has you hooked up with how to enjoy your summer nights by creating the BEST outdoor movie theatre!
Watching a movie on the big screen is always fun, whether you’re by yourself or enjoying a good film with company. But sometimes, it’s rather inconvenient traveling to the theaters and spending all of that money on a cinema experience.
What if we told you that there’s a way to avoid going to the local theaters? All you have to do is install your own personal outdoor movie theater in your backyard! It’s perfect for the summer months, it’ll save you money, and over time, the backyard cinema will have paid for itself.
Let’s not forget that having a movie theater at home gives you the utmost comfort and privacy. You also won’t have to choose from the movies that are currently being offered, like at the movie theaters. You’ll have the opportunity to put whatever it is you want to watch on the screen.
And, before you get too worried, know that the process of buying the equipment and setting it all up is a lot easier than it sounds. It’s even easy to stick to a budget if you do your research. An outdoor home movie theater can be as simple as a projector and sheet combo or it can be as boujee as a large outdoor screen, receiver, and speaker mix for the best audio and video quality.
Enough jibber-jabber, let’s get into explaining the core components you’ll need to pull your at-home, backyard movie theater together.
Buying a projector is the better movie, especially when compared to bringing your flat screen television outside every time you want to view a movie.
Purchasing a projector will absolutely “wow” your guests every time they come over. It’s bright enough to showcase any movie as soon as the sun sets, but keep in mind that it won’t do too good in the daytime.The visuals once the dark sets in are impeccable, to say the least.
Just remember that items like the projector and similar technological equipment should not be left outdoors all the time; the rain and other conditions could always temporarily or permanently ruin the technologies.
Projector screens aren’t necessarily needed, but they definitely come in handy. Many first-timers will use the side of their house, primarily because it’s a free alternative to a screen. However, we do not recommend it in the least. Movie screens are supposed to be smooth and color free, and we can guarantee you that the side of your house is anything but that.
If you’re looking for a more affordable solution, you can definitely purchase a large white sheet and hang it up; you’ll get decent viewings. But, you’ll have to try your best to keep the sheet wrinkle free and secure it to something. The wind can technically cause the “screen” to move, and that’s highly inconvenient in the middle of watching a film.
Honestly, buying a projector screen is your best option. Plus, it comes with a sturdy frame to avoid any blowing over.
Now you need to think of how you’re going to watch the movies. Sure, you can always resort to a DVD or Blu-ray player, but streaming sticks are way more magical.
Not to mention they connect directly to the projector, pick up Wi-Fi fairly quickly, and have a plethora of movie options to choose from.
Good audio is a must when it comes to a great outdoor movie theater set up. To get you started, the projectors have minimal speakers, but they don’t work very well. If you’re looking to use the built-in speakers, you should plan on only having a couple people over to view the movie. If you would like to be the host for the evening and have a big group of friends or family over, it’s best to get larger speakers. The additional support is much appreciated.
Think about it this way, a big screen deserves big noise, it’s the best scenario. And, if you don’t know what specific speakers to purchase, just head on out and ask a professional to get the best, most extraordinary experience with your at-home, backyard theater.
Are you using these 15 tips to bring the Christmas spirit into your home?
1. Tie your throw pillows with holiday ribbon to resemble a gift for Christmas decor.
2. Hang up a string and clothespin your greeting cards along the line all month long.
3. Pile artificial snow on a silver platter, or mirrored tray with vintage glass ornaments and votives in to create a dramatic effect.
4. Place a bunch of candy canes in a clear vase for a cute and easy decoration.
5. Have any neat branches outside? Pick them and spray paint them silver and gold for elegant and vintage reminiscent decor.
6. Don’t have Christmas stockings? Buy some large sized holiday socks to hang from the mantel!
7. Fill a vase with cranberries and water for an elegant centerpiece.
8. Use wrapping paper as holiday art in simple frames.
9. Take a bunch of old wine bottle and spray paint them in holiday colors and fill them with twigs for a stunning mantel display.
10. Fill clear vases with water you tint with food coloring in holiday colors and float a votive! Great centerpiece!
11. Wrap your front door to look like a Christmas present!
12. For your dining table centerpiece, try a runner with round glass ornaments spread down the length. Quick & Easy!
13. Instead of name tags for guests at the table, create cookies and write their names in icing to place at their setting!
14. Add garland to your staircase with lights and ornaments!
15. Use candelabras and place decorative round ball ornaments on top in a cluster for a great centerpiece
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!
The Toscano Family
It's November, and how fitting this next blog post is, which just so happens to be a guest article, from Jim Williams, with On-Site Property Management. For the month of October, my design topic was 'Planning For The Holidays'. Keeping along that theme, but incorporating November's topic, 'Christmas', Jim shares with all of you some great holiday decorating ideas...for renter's.
The holiday season is the time of the year when people are able to spend the most time with their family and friends. That’s when neighbors are friendliest, there are lots of gifts, plenty of food to share, and time away from the daily stress of life. And the buildup to the season is just as enjoyable as the holidays themselves; half the fun is the excitement of decorating your home. Many people relish the chance to go back to being children for just a few days of the year.
But when you live in a rented home, your experience may be a little different from the experience of someone living in their property. You are somewhat limited in the options you have for decorating the house, condo, or apartment.
You have to think about how your decorations could damage the landlord's property or affect other people in the building. Landlords are usually wary of tenants hanging ornaments on their property and often include this in the lease agreement.
From the point of view of a tenant, this clause could put a damper on your decorating ideas and make the holiday season a little less enjoyable. But from an owner's perspective, there are good reasons to do this.
Allowing tenants to put nails in the walls of a rental will damage and devalue their property. But just because your landlord has placed limitations on what you can do when decorating the home, he or she has not barred you from decorating altogether.
There are things you can do to get your home into the holiday season without violating the property owner's restrictions. Here are some important considerations and tips for when you are putting up holiday decorations in a rented apartment.
Keep your neighbors in mind
This is particularly important when you live in a multi-family rental or a condo. You have to think about how your decorations will affect other people in the building. But even if the rental is a single-family dwelling, considering neighbors' well-being is still important.
As a general rule, it is best to avoid decorations that obstruct pathways, disturb the peace, or anything that could fall on people. Be careful of motion-detecting ornaments that play music when someone passes, putting decorations on your balcony railing (they could fall and hurt someone), as well as low-hanging decorations that block the way.
Avoid fire and injury hazards
Decorative lights use electricity and that makes them a risk. There is a huge chance that your lights could start a fire or shock somebody. There is also a possibility that lights that are not firmly secured can get dislodged and become a tripping hazard.
The first step to ensuring that your holiday lights are safe is to buy quality lights; the cheap stuff may not have passed quality control. If the lights are going to be hung outside, make sure they are rated for outdoor use. Before you hang the lights and switch them on, make sure to test them first.
Do not damage the walls and doors
Many tenants take issue with their landlord's refusal to let them hang things on the walls using nails. They feel they are left with no way of placing their pictures, ornaments, or decals on the walls of the rental. But this is only because people assume that the only way to hang stuff on walls is by using nails. There are lots of options for placing decorations on the walls, doors, and, windows which do not involve making holes in the property. Here are a few of them.
We hope these tips will give you some holiday decorating ideas to enjoy your holidays in your rental. Have fun!
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Holy shit! I can’t believe it's only a month before Thanksgiving! Time is flying! Then Christmas will be here before we know it. However, I think it is safe to say we are all excited to get 2020 over and behind us.
For me personally, it has been a crazy couple weeks with design appointments, interviews for my new designer position, homeschooling 4 kids, and I still have several more weeks of design appointments before I can get excited about taking a few days to relax and spend time with family and close friends.
I'm thinking about hosting holidays at our home this year, so I wanted to spend my day today making my home cozy and beautiful. It's snowing today, so there's no reason for me to go outside, nor do I want to. You may be wondering why would I care about how my house looks and feels a month before the holiday season officially begins. If there is one thing I have learned from COVID, it is I DO have a little more time to plan things, where as before it would have been a very different scene….. most likely where I spend the whole day of, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to find just the right napkins, plates, name tags, flowers, etc. for the perfect holiday dinner. The day would then conclude with me frantically screeching into the driveway, unloading bags of “stuff” I don’t need, feeling incredibly stressed and probably picking a fight with my husband because he is sitting on the couch with his feet up doing exactly what the holidays are all about… relaxing and enjoying himself!
Over the years I have had to learn about the “art” of being not only a happy host, but also a happy guest at my own party.
Something else I've learned from COVID is how quickly the things we once took for granted were taken away...quickly. No more birthday parties, weddings were cancelled, vacations (not us) cancelled, dinner parties and date nights forbidden, the list goes on and on. Once we were "allowed" to have those moments back (with limitations), I realized a great occasion is really about presence. Even if we’re surrounded by the very best and beautiful things, we can’t enjoy them if we don’t have the presence of mind to truly be in the moment.
Whether you are going to be the host or a guest the year (because WE WILL NOT LET THEM CANCEL OUR HOLIDAYS), the most important element for a Happy Holiday gathering is your presence, more so this year than any.
When we are present (instead of perfect), we have such a greater chance at enjoying everyone around us, dancing with unexpected twists ’n turns, and most importantly being grateful for what we have.
With all that being said though….
There are many tangible things we actually CAN do to help ourselves be more centered and grounded this holiday season.
Below are some of my favorite tips for being both a fabulous host and guest this holiday season! I hope you find these helpful and be sure to share any other tips and tricks you may have of your own in the comments below!
Wishing you a beautiful, peaceful and fun holiday season with your family and friends!
Holiday Planning Tips For Hosts
Look at lighting.
Beautiful lighting can create a sense of warmth, connectedness, and flow. Adorn your home with candles, soften those overhead lights, and make it cozy!
Think about who’s coming, and what would make them most comfortable.
Would your guests get squeamish if you asked them to take turns saying what they’re grateful for? Then don’t do it! Tailor your plans for your guests’ comfort: from the food to the activities to the seating arrangements.
Be a peaceful leader.
As the host, your presence truly ripples out to everyone there. If you’re stressed about the turkey or anxious about Uncle Jack, your guests will pick up on this, and be stressed, too. However, if you’re calm (and not just pretending to be calm!), everyone else will relax. Plan for everything to be ready and settled 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive, so you can put up your feet, read a magazine, and enjoy the calm.
Ask for and receive support.
(Disclosure- this is a struggle for me) Get creative with this! Can you have someone come clean your house the day before or after? Could you book a massage the day before? What about cooking the turkey in the morning, then watching a movie before everyone arrives? Accept support from others before, during, and after the event. (Often, tension as a host comes from a reluctance to receive support, believing we have to “do it all” ourselves. This is complete bullshit! When you ask for help (or receive it graciously when it’s offered), you’ll invite others to take care of themselves, too … which leads to more presence and peace … and that’s where the real magic of a gathering begins!
Shift your furniture to facilitate connection.
Create little areas for different-sized conversations. That lone chair you read in? Pull up a companion for it, so two people can have an intimate conversation. Create larger and smaller arrangements so different sized groupings of people can talk easily.
Adorn your home with intentions.
Every time I light a candle, I say a little intention (for joy, ease, love, etc). So when my guests arrive and there are lots of candles in my home, they’re actually walking into a meadow of meaning! This way, even if my guests aren’t the kind of people who’d love sharing appreciations or setting intentions out loud, I’ve already enjoyed this ritual, in my own way. I also suggest smudging your home beforehand too. Start at the front door of the home and light your smudge stick. Then, begin to move around the home. Move mindfully and with care, walking clockwise around the entire perimeter of the home. Be sure to allow the smoke to drift into even the hidden spaces, like inside closets, basements and dark corners. When you arrive back at the front door, chant your final mantra or prayer. Visualize the entire home is filled with bright white sunlight. Then speak your intention one last time to close the smudging ceremony.
Play soft music.
I think of music as the thread that weaves an event together. We want it to be soft enough so it doesn’t steal the show, but pleasant enough to set a beautiful mood.
Make time for your favorite parts.
For the reasons I mentioned above, you can imagine that Vince (my husband) used to hate it when I hostessed parties. I ran around like a crazy person, attending to all the details — and it wasn’t fun for anyone. When I finally realized that in order to create an enjoyable experience for my guests, I needed to enjoy myself too, everything changed! For me, this meant identifying my favorite parts of hostessing, and making time for them. Back then, I would spend so much time cooking (which I didn’t love), that I’d run out of time to do my favorite: make things beautiful! Now, I’ve learned to get support for the cooking, so I can spend more time doing what I do best and love: creating a beautiful environment for the gathering. Take a moment to identify what you love most about hosting, and find creative ways to make more time for it.
Holiday Planning Tips For Guests
Even if you aren’t the host, you can show up as a leader: model presence, love, and calm for everyone around you. You’ll have a better time — and so will they! Take a few minutes before you leave the house to breathe, relax, and set the intentions to have a wonderful time.
Calmly offer to help your host, in small, creative ways — like setting the table, pouring drinks, or cleaning up. Be sensitive to the fact that your host may not want to receive help, though; if taking care of everything is a source of pride for them, don’t deprive them of it.
Be responsible for your own comfort.
If you need a break, take one. If you get cold, put on a sweater. If you’re allergic to nuts, make sure you don’t eat any. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, wear it. If you feel more comfortable and free without a mask, then don't. It sounds simple, but taking responsibility for your own needs is actually one of the most helpful things you can do. Strive to care for yourself gracefully — and you just might inspire others to do the same. This will help everyone have a better time (including the host!).
Things probably won’t go exactly as you imagined. Go with the flow: embrace that new tradition, try that new recipe, have a talk with that new friend.
Hosting a big gathering takes a ton of work, so be sure to thank your host. Share specific things you enjoyed and appreciated. Let them know that you know how much work they put into things, and how grateful you are.
Whether you’re the host or the guest this holiday season (or staying solo!), take a few moments to set intentions for yourself, get grounded, and truly arrive.
Then let the magic and merriment begin!
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Yes, the holidays are drawing near which means casual gatherings and holiday dinners. Whether you entertain a lot or a little, having a well-stocked home can take a lot of the stress out of party planning. So I have done all the work for you. Being proactive rather than reactive (I say this to my kids a lot) is the key to making the most out of the upcoming Entertaining Season.
I also selected accessories that are versatile and can be used all year round. Tans, creams, and touches of metallics, making it easy to incorporate new themes throughout the year; whether adding touches of orange and yellow leaves in the bud vases, or incorporating berry sprigs in the tall vases- it will be easy to swap out the seasons with this shopping list (click on the images below to purchase)
My Must-Haves For Holiday Entertaining:
Did I miss anything? Share your own entertaining essentials in the Comments!
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."
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