Maxing Out Your Home

After 9 months in lockdown and the prospect of a few months more (including a long winter for some of us) it is more important than ever to maximize your home environment for the happiness and health of you and your family. 

This means creating spaces for hobbies, fitness and relaxation. Check out my ideas for how to maximize your space and time at home below.

1. Home Gym – working out is a great way to spend any extra time you may have – it relieves stress and keeps you healthy. Unfortunately it is more difficult than ever to go to the gym or a class. Fear not – your home certainly has space for workouts. Consider using a spare room, garage, basement or your outdoor space. You can transform nearly any space in your home to an awesome gym with some basic equipment and imagination! Consider adding some of the following equipment: 

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Cardio: a simple treadmill, Elliptical, Rowing Machineor even Stationary bike (skip the expensive peloton) can provide hours of exercise. 

Bands: if space is an issue consider purchasing versatile Exercise Bands – one set will allow you to get in a variety of great workouts! Check out this Set for Set Blog  for some inspiration. 

Bench and Squat Rack: if you have the space and miss the gym a full heavy Bench and Squat Rack.

Kettlebells and Dumbbellswill provide you with a full workout with minimal equipment. Check out Anyman Fitness for help getting started.

2. Spending so much time at home really impacts your social life – dinners out, bars, concerts, movies and other entertainment have been reduced if not eliminated. Modifying your home to allow you to unwind from work and socialize without leaving the house can be a great way to keep the fun in your life. There are many ways to do ranging from inexpensive ways to enhance your drinking or entertainment experience to building a whole new space for unwinding such as a basement bar or entertainment room. 

Upgrading your entertainment can be as simple as a new massive flat screen or adding a killer or Sound bar for theater like audio

If you miss going out for drinks consider upgrading your drinking experience – a Home draft system will have you drinking nice cold beer at home. Another great option is a Mixology Class from a local bartender – try making your own version of a cocktail.

The full restaurant experience is difficult to replicate but some great options to bring joy back to dining include making a big deal out of takeout – support local, trying iconic foods from a service like Goldbelly (I am a sucker for the pizzas and barbecue) and taking a virtual cooking class from a local or celebrity chef using sites like Master Class

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Finally, consider turning some under utilized space into a game room, home bar or wine tasting room! The possibilities are endless. 

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3. In these turbulent times we could all benefit from more relaxation. There are a number of ways to introduce more space to relax at home including:

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Create a yoga or meditation space – it doesn’t take much room or Yoga equipment to carve out space to find your center.

Build or buy a sauna – these are surprisingly affordable and don’t need to take up much space. There are indoor and outdoor options. Saunas are a great way to unwind after a long day or a hard workout 

Upgrade your bathroom to be more spa like – this can be expensive if you don’t have DIY skills but some options are affordable such as New rain shower headIf you want to splash out add a jacuzzi tub, steam shower and more! 

4. Home Office: now that work from home will seemingly be a fact of life, at least part of the time for many workers you should consider upgrading your workspace. I had resisted spending any money (or space) on my work area. However, now that I have a dedicated, quiet and comfortable space I feel more productive while working and more relaxed while taking time off. Carve out some space – ideally with a door and add some basics to make yourself more sane and productive. Consider the following:

Chair: an old kitchen chair won’t cut it – spend money on a nice ergonomic chair

Desk: whether you want a standing desk or a traditional desk go ahead and get one. Your back will thank you.

Supplies: don’t skimp on supplies you used in an office – I love a desk calendar, whiteboard and post it’s! 

Headphones: If noise is an issue or you spend a lot of time on conference calls don’t cheap out on nice headphones.

Zoom Supplies: in the new Zoom world consider putting your best face forward with a ring light.  Also, add a bookshelf for a professional background. 

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5. Get Creative: use your extra space to relax through creative activities such as arts, crafts, brewing or really anything. It doesn’t take much to create a space to get into a creative flow. A dedicated space for your hobby will get you much needed time away from family and work. 

6. Other hobbies – brewing, wine making, distilling – use a garage

12 Golf Courses to Play Before You Die

My number one goal in life – after a healthy and happy family – is to play these 12 golf courses! These courses are a mix of prestigious courses and unforgettable locations. Anyone lucky enough to play even one of these courses should count their blessings!

These courses are all over the world and might contain some surprising selections!

    The Old Course – St. Andrews Scotland

A pilgrimage to the home of golf is at the top of any self respecting golfers bucket list. Getting a tee time isn’t easy but it would be worth the hassle. Ideally, you could extend your visit to Scotland and include plenty of scotch tasting and golf the other magnificent courses.

    Augusta National – Augusta, Georgia

A round at Augusta National would require some finesse or connections but surely it would be worth the legwork. The home of the Masters is truly an American masterpiece. A round here would be the focal point of an epic golfing tour of Georgia or the Carolinas.

  • Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach, California

The number one public golf course in America can seem expensive but the unmatched setting of coastal Northern California make this course worth any price. Combine this trip with a round at San Francisco’s venerable public courses for an amazing West Coast swing. Don’t forget to indulge in some wine tasting

  • Sunningdale – Berkshire, England

This quintessential English course is a short hour drive from London in the picturesque English countryside. A golf tour of England would be woefully incomplete without a round at the Old Course in Sunningdale. Pack for all weather and prepare for some pints at the pub during an English golf adventure.

  • Old Head – Kinsale, Ireland

The rugged coast of Ireland hosts a number of spectacular courses. The best in class is Kinsale’s Old Head. The course is highlighted by a landmark Lighthouse and tremendous winds. Pack a wind breaker and let’s go!

  • Cabot Links – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Just a quick flight from New York or Boston this Canadian gem will have you believing you are playing a coastal Scottish course. Put this links course on your list and make a point to get it done soon before it starts to get too popular!

    TPC – Scottsdale, Arizona

Escape the winter blues and head southwest to the home of the fratty Waste Management Open. Don’t let the rambunctious tourney atmosphere scare you – this is an amazing course and a great place to kickstart your season.

    Ocean Course – Kiswahili, South Carolina

The Ocean Course at Kiawah is the best course in the Southeast outside of Augusta! Spend a week eating and golfing around Charleston in early autumn!

  • Mid Ocean Club – Tucker’s Town, Bermuda

Picture yourself teeing off while enjoying a nice breeze off the Atlantic at this Bermudan gem. A quick flight from the US but a world away the Mid Ocean Club has a luxurious yet relaxed feel. The challenging course has been played by a number of US Presidents so be sure to book a tee time well in advance!

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    Fontainebleau Golf Club – Fontainebleau, France

Just a quick hour drive south of Paris sits a quintessential European track. While most Americans don’t think of France as a golf destination there are a number of excellent courses. Treat your wife to a trip to Paris while treating yourself to some unforgettable golf!

    The Olympic Club- San Francisco, California

The esteemed San Francisco club offers 45 incredible holes with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. A round or two at this picturesque club would pair nicely with a West Coast wine and golf trip!

    Bandon Dunes – Bandon, Oregon

The 5 links courses in Bandon make for an amazing golf vacation. I am dying to make the trip to southern Oregon for some unforgettable golf.

Upgrade your Basement Laundry Rooms

A basement remodel project is incredibly fun to plan as you dream of your basement bar, gym or mancave but you cannot forget the utility you need from the space such as storage or the dreaded laundry area!

Now a laundry area is never going to be your favorite part of the house but with a little thought and planning you can upgrade your basement laundry area!

An amazing basement laundry area will offer plenty of storage, folding area, clothes hanging functionality and maybe some diversion from the drudgery!

To spark some interest in the forgotten area of your basement renovation I have compiled some of the coolest and innovative basement laundry areas that I could find on Pinterest!

Adding shelving for storage and a surface for folding makes doing laundry less of a chore! These upgrades can be done inexpensively and easily!

The great Bob Vila shows how a simple curtain can enable you to hide the laundry area!

A nice laminate floor coupled with a folding surface and repurposed kitchen cabinets turns a laundry area from drab to welcoming !

Happy Organized Life offers a number of great and inexpensive ways to get organized in the laundry room. Below is an example of inexpensive cube shelving and hampers plus an extendable hanging unit.

Consider recycling old kitchen cabinets to make a full blow laundry station appear organized and bright.

Decor Pad highlights a luxurious basement laundry room with a contemporary flair. Add a bar and this might become your favorite room!

This fun and functional small laundry room from Decoria shows that you can add a nice space without eating into the rest of the basement!

If you are sufficiently inspired get started with your remodel! There are great organizational items available here, here and here! As usual, Amazon is a great place to pick up items for your project!