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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
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8605895155

Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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Articles

O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.

 

Filtering by Tag: entertaining

Five Hosting Hacks for the Holidays

Chelsea O'Donnell

If you are responsible for hosting holiday festivities, chances are you’ll probably spend this weekend trying to figure out how to fit guests comfortably in your home. While entertaining can be fun, it’s also a time when metal chairs are dusted off, table leaves are unpacked, and spaces are reconfigured to accommodate a crowd. This is also the time when homeowners start thinking about future remodeling projects and how they can make updates to create more space for people to gather. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite holiday hosting hacks to make life a little easier this Christmas.

  1. Keep the chef sane. The kitchen is always a major attraction for people to congregate to see what’s cooking, help with clean-up, or just to linger for a chat. This type of gathering can be stressful for a holiday chef on the move, so it’s nice to have a plan to keep people out of the way. I like to create temporary seating in eyesight but away from the cooking area itself using a few chairs, benches, or even a spare sofa. This will accommodate guests who want to be part of the action while keeping them away from the food preparation.

  2. Make a holiday cocktail for all. Festive sangria, mulled wine, or spiced cider are all great options that will please a crowd without having to spend a fortune on too many different types of beverages. Plus, a punch or winter warmer encourages guests to serve themselves, allowing the hosts to be more focused on food, fun and other aspects of entertaining.

  3. Keep the fridge functional. Speaking of drinks, don’t let lots of small items such as bottles and cans, condiments you’re not using, and old leftovers take up valuable real estate. Set up a cooler on the back deck for beer, water, and soft drinks, and hide another one away to store the day-to-day items that you won't need for Christmas. With so many ingredients to keep cool, every square inch of space can be useful in some way.

  4. Give the oven an upgrade. Somehow there is never enough space for everything that needs to be cooked. While kitchen remodels are certainly off the table for this time of year, a simple three-tiered oven rack is a great way to increase your capacity instantly. It’s like having a double oven and is the perfect solution to get plenty of pies and sides in with that turkey or ham.

  5. Don’t forget to de-ice. You never know what kind of weather Christmas can bring so be sure to be prepared with plenty of salt or sand for the driveway, sidewalks, and walkways. It’s also a good idea to have de-icer on hand for your guest’s windshields in case it snows while the party is in full swing.

On a personal note, it’s been a wonderful year and I want to wish you all a safe, happy holiday season and a fantastic 2019. Merry Christmas!

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


Inspiration for Creating the Basement of Your Dreams

Chelsea O'Donnell

Last week we talked a little bit about the logistics of a basement remodel, so now it’s time to have some fun. A basement is a big, open space that can be transformed into a quiet sanctuary or a spectacular play place for everyone to enjoy. All you need is a little imagination to create an exciting space for everyone in the family to look forward to coming home to. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Games Galore

Games Galore

The Gamers

Traditional rec rooms conjure up images of big screen TV’s for movie nights and some serious video game competition. These are fantastic ways to make the most of a winter day, but I also like the idea of keeping active with Wii Sports or enjoying some downtime without a screen. The ideal game room should have a mix of digital entertainment and old school board games, checkers, or chess that can be enjoyed by both kids and grandparents. Of course, a foosball or pool table makes for great family fun all year round.

Craft Corner

Craft Corner

The Artists

Designing a space for creative kids is a great way to allow them to explore art without making a huge mess of the house. It’s also a versatile idea that can be updated and upgraded as the young ones grow. A simple table with coloring supplies can easily be replaced with easels for the budding Picasso or even a pottery wheel for the ceramicist in training. Best of all is that art spaces don’t need a lot of fancy renovations and can be kept rawer for easy cleanup with no stress.

Party Time

Party Time

The Entertainers

This one is for the adults. If your house is the go-to spot for a fun Friday night, a custom bar and entertaining area is a great way to keep the party going without spending the weekend cleaning the whole house. I’d suggest installing a kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink, and mini dishwasher to keeping running up and down the stairs to a minimum. A small wine storage unit adds a sophisticated touch and be sure to design plenty of storage to keep bottles and glassware off your countertops.

Work It Out

Work It Out

The Fit Fam

A home gym is a great way to stay in shape all year round, but exercise equipment is bulky, unsightly, and not exactly a home design dream. Luckily, the basement is the perfect place to create a fun fitness retreat that can be enjoyed by the whole family. My own home gym occupies a good part of our basement and I can go downstairs to get my morning workout in without disrupting everyone else in the house. Plus, no one gets upset if I forget to rack the weights.

A Quiet Retreat

A Quiet Retreat

The Zen Masters

While most rec rooms are used for fun and festivities, many people like the idea of using the extra space as a retreat to get away from the world. With yoga and meditation rooms gaining in popularity, designing a zen space for quiet contemplation can offer huge mind and body benefits. Best of all, it can be easy to transform a dull nook into an inspiring oasis. Giant floor pillows and warm Moroccan lanterns add ambiance while candles and curtains create a warm intimacy that can help the day melt away. Up your relaxation game with an infrared sauna and you’ll be far away from the real world in no time.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.