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17 Divinity St
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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: trends

Create a Hip Backyard Centerpiece with a Fire Pit

Chelsea O'Donnell

Fire pits are a major backyard trend right now and one that I personally enjoy on many summer and autumn evenings when the temperature gets cooler. If you’re thinking about building one in your backyard, there are several options to consider depending on your set-up and preferences. Let’s dive into a few of the most popular choices.

 The number one consideration for an open fire is always safety over aesthetic. A fire pit creates a beautiful ambiance that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but a fire is always something to be very cautious about. Make sure to check with your town to understand the rules around bonfires and fire pits before you get started. As an example, according to the Fire Department FAQ’s on the Bristol, Connecticut website, open burning in a chiminea, fire pit, or patio hearth is allowed as long as the fire doesn’t exceed three feet in diameter and does not extend beyond 1am. Again every town is different, so be sure to check with your fire department first.

Once you have the all clear, it’s time to start thinking about the look you’d like to achieve and the space you have available to you. For smaller patios, the most popular options are generally chimineas or fire bowls which are not affixed to the ground and can technically be moved around. When buying a freestanding unit, be sure to invest in one that’s heavy enough so it won’t tip over, and always utilize a fireproof mat underneath, especially if you’re using it on a deck or wood surface. 

If you’re trying to choose between a chiminea and a firepit or bowl, think about whether or not you’re planning to use it for any kind of cooking. I like pits or bowls over chimineas because you can always throw a grate on top for sausages or access the flames for s’mores.

For something more permanent, the most popular fire pit building materials are brick, stone, and concrete. All three materials are very sturdy and will handle a fire just fine, so the choice of materials really depends on your home aesthetic and the budget for your job. Concrete will generally be less expensive while high-end stone can run you several hundred dollars.

What’s even more important than the material, of course, is space. The last thing you want is to build a fire pit to then realize that there isn’t enough room for friends and family to sit around it. A nice pit for four should be about three feet wide, plus you’ll want to leave a two-foot gap between the rim of the pit and where your chairs will sit to ensure no one gets toasty shins. When it comes to height, I recommend building slightly lower than the seats of your chairs to ensure that the fire is appropriately surrounded but still has enough room to let off plenty of heat. Now sit back and enjoy!

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob 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.


Color Your World with the Interior Paint Trends of 2019

Chelsea O'Donnell

We’ve seen a fair bit of winter white in the past few weeks, but with spring hopefully on the horizon, now is the best time of year to tackle an interior painting job. Fresh walls not only liven up your living space but they can also add value to a home if you’re thinking about putting it on the market this spring. Choosing one of the latest, of-the-moment colors will help you score major bonus points with potential buyers too. So let’s see what the biggest names in paint are forecasting to be all the rage in interior color for the season.

Pantone is the authority on color, influencing everything from home style to fashion. For 2019, their pick is Living Coral, which in their words is “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” What a description! For me, the color is very tropical, pairing well with bright green and aqua for a Bermudian feel. While maybe not a living room color, I could see this pairing well with a bold, leafed wallpaper in a bright and sunny bathroom.

Next up is Behr, whose color of the year pick is a little more neutral. For 2019, the company announced Blueprint as their top choice in what they call “an honest, approachable color that conjures up the blueprints builders rely on to bring architectural designs to life.” The hue is just that, a mix of blue, green and gray that works perfectly for interior walls, cabinetry, and even a bold exterior siding color. This one is my personal favorite as it’s warm and inviting, yet interesting enough to make a statement.

If Blueprint isn’t your cup of tea, Sherwin-Williams’ Color of the Year explores the other end of the spectrum with their 2019 pick - Cavern Clay. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Utah and Arizona deserts, Cavern Clay is a rich, earthy terra cotta color that the company calls “ancient, yet fully alive. Bohemian, yet totally refined.” If you like the idea of going with something warm and natural that pairs well with greens but isn’t as bold as Living Coral, Cavern Clay might be your perfect match.

Finally, we have Benjamin Moore, whose color of the year pick is the most neutral and easy to implement into any home. The hue, Metropolitan, is a layered gray which the company says, “emanates nuance, harmony, and extravagant ease. Always adaptable, it softens to matte or shimmers with sheen. It's neutral. It's understated. It just is." Marketing spin aside, the sophisticated twist on gray is really appealing and plays beautifully with warm pink hues or deeper jewel tones. If you’re looking for an alternative to white, Metropolitan is an easy transition that doesn’t offend.

With such a wide range of trending colors, I am excited to hear what you think about the 2019 picks. Would you go bold with Living Coral or is Metropolitan more your speed? Does Blueprint tick the boxes or are you feeling the warmth of Cavern Clay? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros


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.

Bobby O’s Five Favorite Exterior Home Design Trends That Are Here to Stay

Chelsea O'Donnell

Trends come and go but some things remain timeless, especially when it comes to your home. Keeping a house up to date is important, but going to the extreme in design can be an exhaustive and expensive process. So to help you stay current without breaking the bank, I have rounded up my favorite trends that have been around for a few years and show no signs of letting up anytime soon. Let’s check them out:

Using Different Textures

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing that will continue is the use of several different exterior finishes to give a home some uniqueness and personality. Gone are the days of solid colors - many homeowners are now choosing to upgrade to a look that combines traditional cladding with lap siding, vertical panels, cedar shakes, and stone and brick accents. This is a great way to give a home a modern look while sticking with a more neutral color palette.  

Dark Exteriors and White Trim

I would have never had a request for a black house five years ago, but recently darker colors are beginning to become more and more popular. Charcoal, blue-grey, and navy exteriors can look sophisticated and modern, especially when paired with white or light trim and a brightly colored door. Keep in mind that dark homes tend to work best on a lot that gets plenty of sunshine.

Incorporating Natural Materials

Even the most modern homes are embracing their natural environment. Vinyl siding manufacturers continue to get more creative every year, creating products that mimic well-worn barn wood or incorporate more natural textures. It’s also easier to get stone or brick incorporated into your home as well as thinner, lighter, cheaper veneers are beginning to dominate the market. With a myriad of colors to choose from, natural materials add great character to any size or type of home with a look that’s timeless and elegant.

Minimalist Doors

In years past, extravagant entry doors were all the rage. With glass paneling and intricate design, they set a home up for quite the entrance. Today, styles are more simplistic with homeowners favoring barn style and minimalist looks with heavy, statement handles and knockers as well as keyless entry. Glass will continue to be popular but clean lines will be more on trend than elaborate cuts.

Multi-Use Yards

Expansive lawns have become less popular in recent years, especially after long bouts without rain in years past. Drought resistant plantings have taken over as more and more homeowners are now looking for ways to beautify their homes in a way that’s good for the environment and easy to maintain. Using fencing and natural elements to section off a yard and create more functional, multi-use spaces will continue to be a popular trend in landscaping too.

Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob 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 www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.