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Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims: How to Navigate Your Way Through

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims: How to Navigate Your Way Through

For Houston homeowners who survived Hurricane Harvey, insurance claims are the next big storm on the horizon. Here, Wayne Franks, owner of Outdoor Homescapes of Houston walks through a flood-damaged property in Bellaire documenting building materials, finishes and furnishings to make sure the homeowner is fully reimbursed by the insurance company. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

 

For Houston homeowners dealing with flood damage from Hurricane Harvey, a second ominous storm looms on the horizon – dealing with insurance.

“I’ve talked to 15 to 20 people just this week about this very issue,” says Outdoor Homescapes of Houston owner Wayne Franks, who’s been walking street after street piled high with debris.  “Everyone’s got sheet rock removed from the lower 4 feet of their walls. Everyone’s had their flooring removed. Their homes are destroyed, their lives and routines are turned upside down – and now, they also need to deal with insurance, too.”

Concerns abound on the part of homeowners, from how long it’ll take to actually get reimbursed by insurance to whether the insurance company will short them on what they’re owed. Compounding the worries is a law just passed by 

So Wayne offers these tips to help you navigate your way through the claims process, and make sure you get fully reimbursed for your property. If you don’t have flood insurance, there are tips for for you, too.

Hurricane Harvey insurance claims are the next storm on the horizon for Houston homeowners with flood-damaged property. Outdoor Homescapes of Houston is helping people navigate their way through the process with insurance claim analyses of building materials, finishes and furnishings. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Do your homework

Gather as much information as you can about the damaged property. If you can’t find receipts or documentation for building materials, finishes and furnishings, local design-build experts can be help you be as specific as possible in your claim, and help make an insurance adjuster’s notes as specific as possible.

For instance, explains Wayne, who’s offering $300 off an analysis when a homeowner decides to renovate and rebuild using his services: “I’ve seen adjusters write down “tile floor” when it’s really premium-grade travertine, or “baseboards” when it’s stacked exotic hardwoods, or “granite countertop” when it’s a 3 cm thick custom slab with bullnose edging – which costs more than standard edging.”

These are the kinds of details that, if not properly documented, you’ll end up paying the difference for. So it helps to have an expert on hand who can represent your side in an insurance claim, just as the adjuster represents the insurance company.

You also need to do your homework when hiring those professionals. “Yes, there’s a shortage of labor right now, and you may be desperate to get something done,” says Wayne. “But your problems will only get worse – and you’ll be out more money – if you hire one of the unskilled, unscrupulous ‘storm chasers’ posing as contractors in pickup trucks.”

Hurricane Harvey insurance claims are the next storm on the horizon for Houston homeowners with flood-damaged property. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Don’t assume you’re not covered by insurance

If you don’t have flood insurance, you’re not alone – only 12 percent of people do, according to federal statistics. You may, however, have provisions in your homeowners insurance policy that cover some of the damage. Yes, homeowner policies specifically exclude damage from flooding, but you can call your insurer and find out what water and wind damage you may have incurred that you could be covered for.

You may also have separate wind damage coverage via the Texas Windstorm Association. Those without flood insurance will likely receive some federal assistance depending on the details and nature of the relief package Congress passes. If you haven’t already applied for federal assistance, the quickest way to do that is online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at (800) 621-3362. But you should know that FEMA grants, which cover temporary housing and some rebuilding costs, are capped at $33,00 and most people receive significantly less.

Hurricane Harvey flooding caused lots of mold in Houston homes, and homeowners are trying to navigate their way through insurance claims. Outdoor Homescapes of Houston helps them through the process with tips. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

DIY at your own risk 

“Because many of the homeowners I’ve been talking to don’t have flood insurance, they’re trying to save money by fixing the damage and doing a lot of the remediation work themselves,” says Wayne. “Or, they’re accepting help from friends, neighbors or even some of these storm chasers. And in the process, some people are making dangerous mistakes.”

One of those mistakes is assuming something is dry when it really isn’t.

“You need to get a moisture meter, which can detect the presence of moisture under what looks like a dry surface,” says Wayne, noting such meters are only $40 at Home Depot or Lowe’s. “Anything above 16 percent – you’ve still got a problem.”

The other problem? Using bleach to kill mold. “Bleach doesn’t completely kill mold on every surface,” explains Wayne. “It’s fine on nonporous surfaces like glass, tiles, bathtubs and counter tops. However, it cannot completely kill mold growing in porous materials like drywall and wood.”

Instead, you need to use a microbiological agent specifically designed to kill mold, like Concrobium, which Outdoor Homescapes of Houston has been using in its water remediation projects. A gallon jug costs $32 at Home Depot.

“You survived Hurricane Harvey and the flooding – you’ll survive the insurance process, too,” says Wayne. “We’re just glad to be able to help in whatever way we can.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dealing With Flood Insurance? Houston Homeowners Turning To Us!

Dealing With Flood Insurance? Houston Homeowners Turning To Us!

Dealing with flood insurance, Houston? Don't settle unless you talk to design-building professionals who know materials, finishes and furnishings! They'll make sure you get the FULL amount back for your property damaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey! More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

In trying to submit claims for their flood insurance, frustrated Houston homeowners (like the owners of this destroyed property in Bellaire) are turning to us for our insurance claim analysis!

“I’ve been talking to homeowners needing remodels since the flood, and watching as insurance adjusters write down ’tile floor’ when it’s really expensive travertine or marble tile, or ’2 cm granite countertop’ when it’s really 3 centimeters,” explains Wayne Franks, owner of Outdoor Homescapes of Houston.

“People have spent years making their house a home, and they’re already dealing with that loss – not getting the full amount of their investment back shouldn’t be an added stress,” he continues. “We want to advocate for them – trying to get them their home – all of their home – back through their Houston flood insurance claim. Because you know on the other side, the adjuster is representing the insurance company.”

Houston homeowners dealing with Hurricane Harvey insurance claims for flood damage need someone representing their side of the story to the insurance company. Read more at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston’s interior design-build professionals are perfect for the job, because they KNOW building materials, finishes and furnishings! “From what I’ve seen so far, the insurance adjusters just don’t have that specialized knowledge,” says Wayne. “So we can talk to them before they draft a final settlement offer, or we can look at the final settlement offer and recommend corrections.”

At the Bellaire water restoration and remodel project pictured above, for instance, Wayne made sure to speak with the insurance adjuster, suggesting changes.

Houston flood insurance claim? Don't settle until you talk to Outdoor Homescapes of Houston! Here, a crew member uses a moisture meter to see if there is wetness underneath the tile. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

 

 

“I met with the insurance adjuster on site before the claim was filed, noting that even though the tile floor looked dry, we used a moisture meter on it (see above picture) and it was still quite wet underneath,” says Wayne. “He also thought the tile was porcelain, but it was really travertine – which is more expensive.

Wayne also made sure to tell him that, because the lower counter cabinets had to come out (because the water had been 20 inches high), that the insurance company should give the homeowners credit for the granite countertop, because granite can often crack when you take out the cabinets.

Don't settle on your Houston flood insurance claim until you get an insurance claim analysis from design-build professionals like Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. They can recommend changes to an insurance adjuster whose notes on your building materials, finishes and furnishings aren't specific enough to get you the full reimbursement you're owned! More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

The adjuster agreed with Wayne on these changes, and also agreed that the granite countertop (see above) was a centimenter thicker than he’d noted and had a bullnose edge on it that cost more than a standard edge.

“These things add up,” notes Wayne. “And we’re glad we can help people out in this way.”

That’s why Outdoor Homescapes of Houston is offering $300 off their insurance claim analysis when Houston buy design services from them for their post-flood remodel. 

Interested? Just contact us online!

Or give us a call! (713) 569-1341

 

 

 

 

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Houston Flood Damage? Get Full Amount Back With Insurance Claim Analysis!

 

Houston home flooded in 2017? Needed to remodel anyway? Take advantage of Outdoor Homescapes of Houston's insurance claim analysis, which makes sure homeowners get the full amount reimbursed for building materials. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Did your Houston home flood in 2017 and you want to make sure you’re reimbursed the full amount for your property?

Did you need to remodel anyway?

Take care of both, with our insurance claim analysis of damaged building materials and decor! It’s complimentary when we do  post-flood remodeling or redesign work in your home. If you’d just like the analysis, the cost will depend on the extent of the work.

“We know building materials, finishes and furnishings, and we’ll be more specific about what was damaged in your home than an insurance adjuster would be,” says Outdoor Homescapes of Houston owner Wayne Franks. (Below, you can see his crews repairing drywall at a flooded home in Bellaire, TX).

Outdoor Homescapes remodels a flooded Houston home.

For instance, in the flooded home Outdoor Homescapes is remodeling now, the insurance adjuster didn’t know that the 1-foot-high baseboards were exotic hardwoods, or that the floor was an expensive kind of travertine. But he did.

“I really feel like we’re able to help people now, by protecting their investment” says Franks. “People have spent a lot of years making their house a home, and if they aren’t properly reimbursed for what they lost, that’s a gap of I don’t know how many thousands of dollars they’ll end up losing.”

Don’t lose out on your investment. Contact us for a building material insurance claim analysis today!

 

 

 

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Unique Houston Patio Features Colorful Tile, Wine Trough, Basketball Court

Unique Houston Patio Features Colorful Tile, Wine Trough, Basketball Court

This unique Houston patio features a colorful, detailed-tile "area rug," a "wine trough", minimalist furniture and a basketball court! More info at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

The owners of this unique Houston patio didn’t want what everyone else had.

They had a specific vision in mind – colorful, detailed tiles, a more contemporary look, minimalist furniture – all next to an oversized basketball court.

“The client – a professional couple in their 40s with kids – was very sure about what they wanted from the get-go,” says Lisha Maxey, head designer for Outdoor Homescapes of Houston and owner of LGH Design Services in Cypress. “They wanted a truly unique space and were adamant about not using the typical heavy stone that we see a lot of our clients lean towards in outdoor spaces. The finishes made it unique, and we were happy to accommodate them!”

As you can see from the original layout, the existing space included the basketball court, an odd-angled walkway to a detached garage and a basic, narrow, rectangular patio. (Click on any image to make it larger).

“While the patio itself is mid-century modern, we also brought in Tuscany touches on the kitchen island,” says Lisha. “You’ll see the wine trough there and also the hand painted murals. It’s definitely a unique mix, but it works!”

This unique Houston covered patio addition includes painted Tuscan details on a concrete counter, plus a "wine trough." More details at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

The area filled with smooth rocks between the basketball court and new patio, she explains, is a French drain. “The client didn’t want gutters on the new roof,” she explains. “They wanted to keep the metal frame for the roofline clean and sleek and not covered up by a gutter system.”

This unique Houston patio features a French drain next to a basketball court. More details on this patio project at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

The outdoor ceiling of the new hipped roof extension is pine, stained with Minwax ‘Golden Oak. The modern-looking posts are metal, painted black. Two industrial-sized fans and lots of recessed lighting keep the area bright and cool. 

“The client wanted a ‘rug’ look using the detail tiles, creating a designated area for seating and dining.” says Lisha. “We went through many iterations to get it exactly the size/type they wanted.” 

The outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven is a Forno Bravo (pssst! see our Forno Bravo pizza oven special!) Below it is storage space for wood. 

The outdoor kitchen, faced in ledgestone and topped with a concrete counter, also houses an RCS stainless steel outdoor fridge and wine cooler.

The client was more than happy with the results. 

“We came into this patio project with strong demands and high expectations,” reads the client’s review of this patio project on Houzz. “We had a modern, chic patio in mind and Wayne accommodated our needs. The crew – his tilers, framers, roofers, painters and plumbers – produced excellent quality workmanship and were able to meet those expectations with relative ease.”

 

 

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Houston Kitchen Remodel & First-Floor Redo – From Blah to “Aaahhh!”

Houston Kitchen Remodel & First-Floor Redo – From Blah to “Aaahhh!”

Houston kitchen remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com

This Houston kitchen remodel and whole-house redesign was nothing less than a time machine – zooming a 40-year-old living space into 2017!

“The kitchen had formica countertops, old wood cabinets, a strange layout and low ceilings,” says Lisha Maxey, lead designer for Outdoor Homescapes of Houston and owner of LGH Design Services. “We basically took it down to the studs to create the new space. It even had original terrazzo tile in the foyer! Almost never see that anymore.”

Here’s a gallery of pics from the project. Click on any image to make it larger:

The new look is all 2017, starting with a pure white maple wood for the new kitchen cabinetry and a 13-foot butcher block island. The china hutch, beam and columns are walnut.

The small kitchen countertop (on fridge side) is Corian. The flooring is solid hickory with a natural stain. The backsplash is Moroccan blue glass.

Houston kitchen remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston - before and after. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blogIn the island, Outdoor Homescapes added a small, stainless steel prep sink and a large porcelain sink. All finishes are brushed stainless steel except for the pot filler, which is copper.

“The look is very transitional, with a hearty mix of antiques the client wanted incorporated and the contemporary open concept look of today,” says Lisha. “The bar stools are actually reclaimed science class stools that my client picked up at a local fair. It was an awesome find!”

In addition to the kitchen, the home’s first-floor half bath, living room and den also got an update.

Outdoor Homescapes also built storage into the space under the stairs and warmed up the entry with custom blue and beige wallpaper.

“In the half bath, we used the client’s favorite color, orange,” says Lisha. “We added a vessel bowl that was also found at a fair and an antique chandelier to top it off.”

The paint in that room was textured by running a dry brush vertically while the paint was still wet. “It appears to be wallpaper, but not!” explains Lisha. Outdoor Homescapes also used black/white custom tiles in the bath and laundry room to tie it all in.

Lisha used antique pieces in the laundry room with a custom black/white porcelain floor. To open up the wall between the old kitchen and living room, we had to install a 26’ steel I-beam to support the second floor. It was an engineering feat! Took six men to get it into place!

“The client – an empty nester couple – had already done their upstairs remodel and they knew the first floor would be a gut-out,” continues Lisha. “The home was in very poor condition prior to the remodel, and everything needed to go. Basically, wife told husband, we either do this remodel or we sell the house. And Mr. inherited it from his Mom, so it has sentimental value to him.”

Lisha loves how original it turned out, noting the refreshing department from the usual all-white kitchen with black/white flooring, Carrera marble or granite countertops and subway tile. “The clients were open to mixing up styles and working with me to make it come together,” she says. “I think there’s a new excitement in mixing the decades and finding a way to allow clients to hold on to treasured antiques or special pieces while incorporating them in a more modern space.

Her favorite area is the large island.

“I love that they will spend holidays and regular days around that space,” she says. “It’s just so welcoming!”

Some more “before” pics of the former kitchen and rest of the house: 

screenshot fox before pic lamp in bare room screenshot fox family room before screenshot fox kitchen before 4 screenshot before fox vanity area screenshot fox kitchen redo before 3 screenshot fox kitchen redo before 2

 

And here are more “afters” of the rest of the house:

 

 

 

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Outdoor Homescapes Wins 2017 Best of Houzz Award

Outdoor Homescapes Wins 2017 Best of Houzz Award

screenshot best of houzz 2017 top of reviews page

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston has won the 2017 Best of Houzz Award for customer service!

That’s three years in a row now for this prestigious award, based  on the number of positive reviews on Houzz – the world’s leading platform for home remodeling and design!

screenshot 2017 best of houzz badgeThe 10-year old outdoor living and interior design firm was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

“We’re proud to have won this award three years in a row,” says Outdoor Homescapes’ owner, Wayne Franks. “When you receive an honor based on what customers think of you, the proof is really in the pudding there.”

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors for 2017 were based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016.

A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge now appears – along with the Best of Houzz 2016 and 2015 badges – now appears on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Outdoor Homescapes of Houston,” says Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

 

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Outdoor Homescapes of Houston Now On Home Advisor

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston Now On Home Advisor

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston is a member of Home Advisor! Their profile can be seen at this link: goo.gl/jtMxW6

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston is pleased to announced we’re now on Home Advisor!

Being on Home Advisor means we’ve passed the home improvement help website’s stringent screening process. This involves third-party criminal and legal background checks and verifications that our business is licensed and in good standing with the local community.

Outdoor Homescapes of Houston is a member of Home Advisor. That means they've passed the home improvement help website's strict pre-screening process. Outdoor Homescapes of Houston' Home Advisor profile can be seen at this link: goo.gl/jtMxW6

“We decided to join Home Advisor because it makes finding a reputable home improvement pro in your area much easier,” explains Outdoor Homescapes’ owner, Wayne Franks. “With the site’s list of pre-screened and customer-rated local service professionals, you never have to worry about shoddy work or a contractor disappearing.”

HomeAdvisor.com also offers tools, products and resources for home improvement, maintenance and repair. To get quotes from three pre-screened pros in your area, simply type in what kind of services you’re looking for in the “Find Pros” box, then enter your zip code. Or, choose a service type category under ProFinder in the main menu.

The pros will quickly contact you with estimates, and you’ll also see the average cost for such services in your area (from their “True Cost Guide,” also available via the main menu). That way, you’ll know if each quote is on-target.

Once you’ve chosen a pro, be sure to check out their profile page for photos of their work. Check out our Home Advisor profile.

“We’ve done our homework, and Home Advisor is a trusted name in the home improvement community,” says Franks. “We’re very happy to be a part of it, and that we’re able to offer our clients one more tool to make their outdoor living project as easy as possible.”

 

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How to Grill a Turkey for Thanksgiving (Or Any Holiday)

How to Grill a Turkey for Thanksgiving (Or Any Holiday)

Grill a turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas – or any other holiday – and you won’t be sorry!

Grilling or smoking your turkey outside will make it juicier and more flavorful than one done in a traditional oven. And Fix.com has the best info (and some great infographics) on the subject.

So here’s Fix.com’s post, “Grilling a Holiday Turkey,” re-run with their permission! Enjoy!

Grill a turkey this holiday season and you won't be sorry, according to Fix.com. Re-run by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston with permission of Fix.com. More outdoor living blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

For many people, the holidays mean a house full of family and a small kitchen putting out a lot of food. One problem never fails to arise in this scenario. Most houses only have one oven, so it becomes problematic and stressful to bake a turkey as well as all of the side dishes, breads and pies that are also on the menu.

The easy and fun solution is to grill or smoke your turkey outside! This not only provides you with a superior, great-tasting turkey, but also frees up your oven space and stove top, and gives you a great excuse to get out of the house (far away from your Aunt Dorothy) while enjoying the crisp air with a cold beverage.

Dry Rub and Butter Injection

The best turkey dry rubs have a nice depth – multiple savory flavors that complement the turkey. My favorite turkey dry rub mix includes two tablespoons each of hot dried red pepper flakes, dried parsley, fresh ground black pepper, kosher salt, and two teaspoons of garlic powder. Mix the ingredients together well. After the turkey is cleaned, generously apply the rub all over the skin of the turkey and place as much underneath the skin as you can.

Let‘s face it: no matter how you cook a turkey, it has the potential to be a bit on the dry side, as compared to a big juicy beef steak, for example. The only way to ensure a completely juicy turkey is to use a butter injection. Food injection kits are available at most grocery stores and consist of big syringes with large needles, barrels and plungers.

Melt one whole stick of salted butter and mix in one teaspoon of fresh, finely ground black pepper and one teaspoon of garlic powder. Draw the butter mixture up into the injection unit. Inject the butter mixture into the thickest part of the turkey breast and slowly withdraw the needle while carefully applying pressure to the plunger. Do this at least four or five times in each breast to ensure complete coverage. You can also repeat the process in the thickest area of each leg and thigh.

Grill a turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas - or any other holiday - and you can start with this turkey rub and butter injection recipe by Fix.com. Blog post re-run with permission of Fix.com. More outdoor living design blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Charcoal Grilling

Many of us have a simple, black, kettle-style charcoal grill. Luckily, this type of grill works perfectly, even for a big 20-pound turkey. Turkeys are large birds and must be cooked over indirect heat. This means the heat source should be away from the turkey and not directly under it. The easiest way to arrange this with a charcoal grill is to place charcoal on the left and right side of the kettle, but not the center. Underneath the cooking grate, in the center of the grill, place a large aluminum drip pan to catch the turkey drippings and to provide an area under the bird from which no direct heat will emanate. Place enough charcoal on each side to get the barbecue to around 400 degrees F. Position the turkey directly on the grilling grate above the drip pan and close the dome. If you have a really large wide bird place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath each of the turkey legs, as they will probably hang over the direct charcoal heat and burn a little. The foil will protect the turkey legs and wings from burning by refracting some of the heat. A turkey will take about one-and-a-half to two hours at this temperature, and by the end of the cook the grill should have only dropped to about 350 degrees F. If the grill temperature drops too quickly, add some additional charcoal during the cook to keep the heat going. The turkey will be finished when the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. This applies to all cooking methods listed below as well.

Grill a turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas - or any other holiday - on a charcoal grill, with this blog post and infographic by Fix.com. Re-run by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston with permission of Fix.com. More outdoor living blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

 

Gas Grilling

A three-burner gas grill works the best for grilling a turkey because the left and right burners can be used to provide heat, while the middle burner remains turned off. Most gas grills do not have enough room under the grilling grate to position an aluminum drip pan, so simply sit the turkey inside of the aluminum tin above the middle, inactive burner. Adjust the left- and right-side burners so the grill reaches a temperature of 350–400 degrees F. If the turkey legs are hanging out of the aluminum tin, add a small piece of foil to protect the legs from the heat, as with the charcoal method. A turkey will take about one-and-a-half to two hours at this temperature range.

Grill a Turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas - or any other holiday - with this blog post and infographic by Fix.com. Grilling turkey on a gas grill is just one option. Post re-run by Outdoor Homescapes with permission of Fix.com. More outdoor living and grilling blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Smoking a Turkey

Smoking a turkey is an amazing experience. A turkey will take much longer to cook on a low-heat smoker, but the resulting pink smoke ring and corresponding mild taste of smokiness is priceless. There are many types of smokers with different cooking arrangements. Most smokers will allow for an indirect cooking process. Set up the smoker for a typical low-and-slow barbecue temperature of approximately 250 degrees F. Select a light smoke wood such as apple or cherry and place the wood chunks throughout the charcoal so an even mild smoke is distributed throughout the cook. On a multi-grate smoker, sit the turkey on the top grate and position an aluminum drip pan underneath it, on a bottom grate. Depending on your specific temperature for the cook, the turkey will take approximately 30–40 minutes per pound.

Grill a turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas - or any other holiday - with this blog post and infographic by Fix.com. Smoking a turkey, as seen in this graphic, is just one of the many options. Re-run by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston with permission from Fix.com. More Houston grilling blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Rotisserie Turkey

A very nice, reasonably priced, rotisserie attachment is available for the typical charcoal kettle grill. The attachment is strong enough to handle a large turkey. The rotisserie provides a unique way to keep a turkey extra moist and flavorful by allowing the juices to rotate or roll around the turkey while it spins on the rotisserie spit. It is helpful to truss the turkey with cotton butcher’s twine when using a rotisserie. Start with a long piece of twine about four to five feet long. At the center point of the twine, wrap it around the bottom of each drumstick twice, and pull tightly to bring the drumsticks into direct contact with each other. Flip the turkey over and wrap the twine around each wing, then flip the bird back over to tie the twine on top of the turkey breast. Different methods of trussing a turkey are acceptable; the goal is simply to keep the legs and wings from flopping around as the turkey rotates. Arrange charcoal on one side of the grill to achieve a heat of approximately 400 degrees F. Remove the grill grate and place an aluminum pan underneath the spot where the turkey will be rotating. Add the turkey securely to the rotisserie spit, then install the spit on the rotisserie attachment. Do not replace the grill grate, as you might need the extra room for the turkey to rotate without bumping into the grate. Counterweights can be attached to the end of the spit to keep smooth rotation. A turkey will take about one-and-a-half to two hours at this temperature and by the end of the cook the grill should have only dropped to about 350 degrees. If the grill temperature drops too quickly, add some additional charcoal during the cook to keep the heat going.

Grill a turkey this Thanksgiving, Christmas - or any other holiday - with this blog post and great infographics by Fix.com. Grilling a turkey on a rotisserie is just one of the many options. Re-run by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston with permission from Fix.com. More Houston grilling and outdoor living blog posts at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

Grilling Gravy

No matter which turkey-grilling method you choose, be sure to save the drippings in the aluminum tin and use them to make gravy on the grill. Not only will this impress your family, it also provides a fantastic, unique grilled flavor while still keeping the stovetop free for other dishes. Once the turkey is done, remove the bird from the grill or smoker and cover it in aluminum foil to rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the aluminum tin, being careful not to spill any of the precious drippings. Add a few extra coals to the grill and rearrange them to the center. If you used a smoker, it’s best to light your regular grill for this step. In a small bowl, combine about half a cup of all-purpose flour with half a cup of hot water and mix well. Drain the drippings from the aluminum pan into a saucepan and place the pan over direct heat on the grill grate. Slowly add in a few tablespoons at a time of the flour mix and stir until the gravy starts to simmer and the desired thickness is achieved. You don‘t have to use all of the flour mix; it will depend on the thickness and fat content of the collected drippings. Taste the gravy and add a little salt if needed. Once the gravy is as thick as you like it, remove the saucepan from the grill and place the gravy in a serving dish. When the turkey dry rub mentioned above is used, no additional spice is needed other than a little salt, depending on your preference. The gravy is spicy and richly flavored from the parsley, hot pepper, black pepper, and turkey drippings.

Grilling or smoking a turkey is a fun way to create a unique holiday experience for your family and friends. Hanging out by the grill for a few hours while there is a packed house and a steamy kitchen has many advantages. Most importantly, however, the flavors rendered by a grill or smoker cannot be replicated by an indoor oven and will have your friends and family begging you to cook your grilled, butter-injected, holiday turkey for them every year.

 

 

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Houston Outdoor Kitchen Goes Mid-Century Modern

This Houston outdoor kitchen by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston features a clean, Mid-Century Modern design. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

This Houston outdoor kitchen reflects a big style change occurring indoors and out.

“There’s a movement toward a cleaner, Mid-Century Modern look,” says Outdoor Homescapes of Houston owner Wayne Franks. “Outdoors, this means a transition away from the rustic look that has dominated outdoor living spaces for several years now.”

For instance, the 18-foot-long outdoor kitchen is faced with 6 x 24-inch smooth, porcelain tiles (“Country Sunset”) instead of natural stone with rugged or split-face textures. And instead of different shapes, sizes – or even colors - of stone, these tiles are arranged in a simple brick pattern.

The outside wall of the outdoor kitchen features the same tiles:

This Houston outdoor kitchen features an outside wall with the same "Country Sunset" porcelain tiles as the facing on the cabinets on the other side. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

“The variation of colors within each tile still keeps it natural looking,” says Wayne. “The same goes for the Noce travertine backsplash, which is also done in a 3D basketweave pattern to keep it clean, yet visually interesting.”

The outdoor kitchen island also houses a built-in, Primo kamado-style cooker and the following stainless steel, RCS accessories: a 38-Cutlass Pro grill, a fridge, a sink and a cabinet with a built-in paper towel holder.

The countertop is Titanium granite.

The floor, meanwhile, is concrete - also popular with the clean, modern look.

The client – a young, professional couple with two kids – also added something unique to the mix – a hot water tank.

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“Usually, the water from an outdoor kitchen faucet is cold,” explains Wayne. “People usually don’t want to deal with running extra gas lines out for the hot water heater.”

The client also added a garbage disposal.

“I think we’re going to see a lot more of this cleaner, modern look,” says Wayne. “People aren’t necessarily making every element ‘Mid-Mod,’ but they’re definitely incorporating a lot of its streamlined elements.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Houston Remodel is Perfection, Inside And Out

In this beautiful Houston remodel, we gave the exterior AND interior a complete makeover - with a new outdoor kitchen, patio cover and balcony outside and a Mid-Century Modern redesign on the inside:

 This Houston remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston features an outdor kitchen with a Titanium granite countertop, a travertine tile floor, French doors, a 50-inch outdoor TV and an RCS grill and appliances. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog  PTS-4 shetty interior after 3      

“This project was really unique, not only in the extensive scope of it, but in the number of different elements needing to be coordinated with each other,” says Outdoor Homescapes of Houston owner Wayne Franks. “And our entire team really rose to the challenge.”

Here’s a roundup of photos and details.

Like what you see and want your own upgrades? All you have to do is contact us!

Exterior work

The new outdoor living space for the client – a Houston couple and their two teenage sons – includes a 14 x 20-foot patio addition with an outdoor kitchen and balcony.

Here’s a before-and-after shot of the entire exterior:

This "before shot" of a Houston remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston shows the back yard and patio before an outdoor kitchen, balcony and pool upgrades were made. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog screenshot shetty entire exterior after

And here’s a close-up of the finished balcony:

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We also extended the roof over the patio between the house and the breezeway (the new section is 26 x 14 feet):

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On the patio and balcony, we laid about 1,100-square foot of new hardscaping in the place of pea gravel. The new material is a gorgeous, honed-and-filled Nysa travertine tile in a Versailles pattern. We used the same tile for the new pool coping, too.

Here’s a close-up of the tile around the pool:

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 We also added French doors leading to the patio and balcony from a lower bedroom and upper game room, respectively:

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Also shown in the photo above: Southern Cream cobblestone on the outdoor kitchen island and Titanium granite for the countertop and raised bar.

The 8 x 12-foot, L-shaped kitchen island houses all RCS stainless steel appliances: a 27-inch grill, ice maker, lowered power burner, fridge and sink.

The new outdoor ceiling is tongue-and-groove pine boards in the Minwax stain “Jacobean.”

“We always start with the biggest element in the space and work around that,” explains Lisha Maxey, senior designer at Outdoor Homescapes and owner of LGH Interiors in Houston. “In this case, it was definitely the travertine tile that we coordinated around.”

Interior redo

Inside, we repainted the entire house from top to bottom, including baseboards, doors, crown moulding and cabinets. We also updated the lighting throughout (click on any image in the gallery to make it bigger):

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 “Their style before was really non-existent,” says Lisha. “They did what most families do – got items when they needed them, worrying less about creating a unified style for the home.”

BEFORE SHOTS:

Other than a new travertine tile floor the client had put in 6 months earlier, the space had never been updated. The drapery had been there for 15 years. The wallpaper border and old window blinds had to go. And the living room had an enormous leather sectional couch that virtually filled the entire room.

In its place, we put all new, Mid-Century Modern furniture and from World Market. The drapery fabric and chandelier came from High Fashion Home:

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All the other new sconces and chandeliers throughout the house came from Pottery Barn and all the other décor accents from World Market.

Everyone got bedroom makeovers as well.

One of the sons, for instance, started with childish bunk beds and piles of books everywhere.

“We gave him a grown-up space he could enjoy well into his high school years,” says Lisha.

The new bed is from World Market:

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We also updated the kitchen by removing all the old wallpaper and window blinds and adding new paint and knobs and pulls for the cabinets. (The family plans to update the backsplash later.)

This kitchen is part of a Houston remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. The backsplash will be updated at a later time. More at www.outdoorhomescapes.com/blog

The top handrail on the stairs, meanwhile, got a coat of black paint, and we added a console table (from Kirkland’s) in the downstairs hallway:

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In the dining room, we painted the cabinet and mirror frames black and added new drapes, but kept the existing furniture and flooring

This dining room is part of a Houston remodel by Outdoor Homescapes of Houston.

 

“I’m just so pleased with how it turned out – especially Lisha’s coordination of all the materials and finishes,” says Wayne. “But as a full-service outdoor design team, this is what we do, and our all our great reviews are telling us we’re doing it well.”

 

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