The beautiful days of June have finally arrived, and this issue of American Lifestyle is ready to help you make the most of the season with a look at an historic vacation destination, tips for keeping your home free of sun damage, two scrumptious grilled recipes, and important strategies for maintaining your home.
With so many hot spots to choose from, it’s not always easy to pick where to visit next. Lucky for you, this issue includes a closer look at one must-see city—Savannah, Georgia. You’re not going to want to miss the article inside highlighting what makes it so unique.
You likely know how dangerous the sun’s UV rays can be for your skin and eyes, but have you ever considered how it impacts your home? Those same rays can cause just as much harm to your furniture and fixtures, so be sure to read the enclosed guide on what you can do to keep them safe from such damage.
Summer is a great time to throw a backyard get-together with your family and friends. But before you toss a bunch of hot dogs on the grill, consider trying the grilled recipes included in this issue for a tasty meal everyone is sure to love.
When you purchase a home, you become responsible for the maintenance of the property both inside and out. That means doing regular upkeep and paying attention to small problems that may become bigger issues if left alone. The guide in this issue can help you better understand what you need to do to keep your home in great shape all year long.
Here’s wishing you a great start to summer! As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
New York City often gets all the accolades for its grid design, but Savannah, Georgia, was actually America’s first planned city. Founded in 1733, it originally consisted of twenty-four squares laid out across a series of grids, bringing together streets, public squares, and city parks for its citizens to enjoy. And despite how much it’s grown since, twenty-two of those original squares remain today.
Though Savannah’s history is complex, the beauty of the city is undeniable. Visitors are sure to encounter a great mixture of historical, whimsical, and modern architecture, experiences, and even dining. With a little something for everybody, it’s a prime destination for quick getaways and longer family vacations alike.
Thanks to its rich history, Savannah boasts beautiful, enchanting sites around every corner. You can spend a full day strolling down the city streets, taking in nearly three hundred years of architectural history and getting lost in the beauty of the different periods and styles. You could also book a guided tour with Architectural Tours of Savannah, a locally owned tour company, to learn more about the story behind each building.
For a more unique dive into history, visit the only American museum dedicated to the era of Prohibition, the American Prohibition Museum. Besides its twenty exhibits, it also boasts an authentic speakeasy where you can enjoy a 1920s craft cocktail or mocktail. You could also take a break from history with art: explore contemporary pieces from both established and emerging artists at the SCAD Museum of Art, or walk through the three distinct buildings and art collections at the Telfair Museums.
No visit would be complete without a stop at two of Savannah’s most iconic churches, the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist and the First African Baptist Church (FABC). The gothic-style Cathedral is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the state, and its towering twin spires are a noteworthy part of the Savannah skyline. The FABC, which was founded in 1773, is a National Historic Landmark filled with ornate stained-glass windows and original pews, light fixtures, and baptismal pools, along with numerous other historical and cultural elements representative of its past and present congregations.
Savannah is broken up into multiple city districts, each of which is filled with unique architecture, entertainment and dining experiences, and stories that are just waiting to be told.
Located eighteen miles outside Savannah, the charming beach town of Tybee Island is a must-visit for your vacation. It’s the perfect place to slow down and relax: find a spot to lay out on the three miles of pristine beaches, take a bike ride throughout the island, or rent a kayak to explore the marshlands by Back River Beach, a hidden gem away from the usual tourist crowds. You can even go fossil hunting on Little Tybee Island, an uninhabited nature preserve that is only accessible by water.
As you unwind, make sure to check out the town’s many historical landmarks, including the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, which is home to Georgia’s tallest and oldest lighthouse, and the Tybee Pier and Pavilion, a great place to fish or sit and watch the sunset. Then wrap up your trip with a performance or movie at the Tybee Post Theater.
Tybee Island also offers a unique collection of local produce stands and restaurants, including the Original Crab Shack. This restaurant boasts the best and freshest seafood in the area, but it’s more than just a dining experience. You also have the options of feeding the numerous alligators located in the Gator Lagoon and playing a game or two in the arcade.
With its mix of history, art, quirky and fine dining, and relaxing spots, Savannah is a great choice for any vacation. Make the most of your visit, and take in all the fantastic sites and experiences it has to offer.
For more info, go to visitsavannah.com or tybeeisland.com
Sunlight peers through a steel-framed window, bestowing a pleasant golden glow throughout a room. It gently touches curated artwork, the upholstered arm of a sofa, and the vibrant fibers of a valuable rug. Everywhere it goes, it gifts immense beauty—and slowly renders permanent damage.
Our star is generous enough to provide warmth and boost our mood with its glimmering rays, but in exchange for our appreciation, it warps, cracks, dries, and fades most surfaces it touches. Over time, the results of this damage may become evident and, depending on the cost of the damaged goods, potentially horrifying. What can be done to protect your indoor valuables without shunning the light completely? The answer is simple: strategize your design around the sun. Then you can continue reveling in natural ambient light indoors.
Just as the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are responsible for sunburns and other skin damage, this radiation light can also roast your home’s decor. Consider that many popular home materials are made of organic matter, including wool, leather, and cotton, and you can fathom how direct sunlight would produce similar results with the accoutrements throughout your home. UV light can fade rugs and artwork into irreversible ruin, and wooden furniture can darken unevenly in sun-soaked areas. Upholstered furniture wrapped in plant-based materials can also fade, while leather will harden and crack in the sun.
Even paint can succumb to the effects of UV sunlight, which can bleach it into unpleasant shades over time. This is not to mention how the sun can wreak havoc on seemingly resilient building materials like hardwood flooring and wallpaper. Just about every material except for stone falters in the face of direct UV light exposure.
The sun moves from east to west across the sky, casting light into your home at different times and intensities depending on the direction your windows happen to face. While east-facing rooms endure the most intense sunlight in the morning hours, west-facing rooms bear the brunt of afternoon and sunset rays. North-facing rooms receive the least amount of natural light, and south-facing windows absorb consistent light throughout the day.
A less-than-ideal home orientation can put your valuable decor at risk of premature damage if placed in a room that receives too much light. For instance, a bedroom that faces east and receives obtrusive sunrise light might not be the best spot to hang revered artwork. Conversely, a living area directed due north that appears noticeably well-shaded all day would best protect your precious pieces (and may give the room a needed spark of life).
Window treatments are the obvious and most time-tested solution to obtrusive sunlight, but the proper treatment type will vary by room. When decorating, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of window features that either filter UV rays or omit sunlight completely, making sure to factor in how you’d like to enjoy each setting.
Thick blackout drapes are best hung across bedroom windows, lending the perfect combination of privacy and a blockade to direct morning sunshine. They can also reduce energy costs by insulating against outdoor temperatures. If you appreciate awakening to gentle indirect sunlight, you could also consider hanging thin, light-filtering curtains, which sift light without obstructing it completely. For a hybrid experience, try double curtain rods, such as these West Elm pieces, which can support two types of treatments in a streamlined fixture over a single window.
Those with north-facing kitchens may crave extra daylight, especially in the morning. Hang charming roller shades like these modern designs by the Shade Store to vary your light exposure throughout the day and welcome soft northern or western light. If your kitchen faces a less ideal direction, like east or south, consider thicker blackout shades, which you can adjust to eliminate sunlight during the brightest hours.
A UV-filtering tint can reduce the damaging effects of sunlight without obscuring the view of your lawn and garden, making this the ideal type of window treatment for living rooms, dining rooms, dens, and other common areas. Tinting bare windows also permits you to embrace a spacious indoor-outdoor design. While tint can work in combination with other window treatments, it’s best implemented in rooms where you’re more likely to spend time lingering during daylight hours.
If you work from a home office or have a home library, the stimulating effects of sunlight are especially valuable. Design these study spaces with bare, tinted windows, then hang light-filtering curtains for a classic Tudor-influenced design. Adjust the curtains accordingly to reduce the glare on your screens and to optimize appealing webcam lighting throughout the day. Blinds and pleated shades are also purposeful in these rooms, but curtains lend a more formal style.
Should you risk exposing your interiors to unfiltered sunlight, at least apply the decor version of sunscreen. Invest in a fabric-protecting furniture spray that can shield upholstery from the effects of UV radiation. Note that it’s important to follow the product’s directions, as application times and appropriate surface types may vary.
In addition, just as limiting your time in the sun safeguards your health, you can also put forethought into where you position your decor. Lighter-colored upholstery is somehwat more fade resistant, as are synthetic fabrics, so place only these suitable pieces in the path of UV light. Framing art behind glass offers slightly more sun resilience, but be forewarned that treasured art belongs well out of reach of direct sun. You may also want to place your most valuable furniture and decor in darker or sun-shaded rooms. After all, embracing sunlight may be pleasant, but respecting it is shrewd design.
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm, beautiful weather. Add some simple yet delicious grilled meals, and you’re set for a fantastic season of backyard picnics and barbecues.
This charred-chicken recipe calls for a healthy smothering of a spicy sauce that is sure to have your guests coming back for more.
You can never go wrong with a grilled patty topped with a slice of cheese. This smash-style recipe takes this summer staple to the next level with a tangy, flavorful special sauce.
recipe by patterson watkins
photos by patterson watkins
A tangy sriracha-ranch sauce adds incredible flavor to this grilled chicken and creates a beautifully charred crust you won’t be able to get enough of.
Tip: You can also ask the butcher at your grocery store to spatchcock the chicken for you.
recipe by patterson watkins
photos by patterson watkins
Give classic grilled burgers an upgrade with this smash-style preparation and a special sauce that has just the right amount of zest.
Tip: This sauce is so special that you may want to make more. It will keep in the refrigerator for one week.
Whether you have owned your home for decades or are moving into a new one, you’ll need to regularly maintain it to keep it in good shape and looking its best. If you overlook important fixes or updates, you could face significant problems down the road that could impact both its function and its value. Luckily, it’s never too late to start regular maintenance for your home—what you do now will help it better serve you in the long run.
Set a calendar reminder to inspect your home at least twice a year. Walk around the exterior and through each room looking for water issues, general wear and tear, and anything else that needs attention. Create an itemized checklist to refer to so nothing is overlooked—if you can catch issues and fix them immediately, you could avoid more extensive and expensive repairs later.
Your home’s roof, gutters, downspouts, and siding are its armor, and if any of these components are compromised, your home will be too. As you walk the perimeter, look for loose, missing, or damaged shingles or siding, and be sure to check for leaves and other debris in the gutters and downspouts. A roof or gutter in poor shape may allow water to make its way into your walls, basement, or foundation. While giving your home’s exterior a once-over, also check for damage that could let pests in, such as holes in your window screens or siding. Repair any issue immediately. If you see evidence of carpenter ants, termites, or other pests, consult with a professional to eliminate them.
Visually inspect your walkways, driveway, and patio, and use a concrete or asphalt patch product to correct imperfections before they become a bigger problem. Check your deck for structural defects that need fixing; for wood decks, reapply stain every two to three years to prevent water damage. If you have a paver patio, keep it swept and weed-free, adding sand between its joints as needed to help hold it together. You should also pressure-wash your walkways, patio, deck, and siding at least once a year to remove harmful mold and mildew.
In addition to your exterior, you should pay close attention to important features like your furnace, plumbing, and windows. Switch out your furnace’s filter every one to three months, and have professionals inspect your HVAC system, fireplace, and major appliances yearly. Small leaks can compound quickly, so investigate your bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and basement for any water issues, and if you have a sump pump in your basement, make certain it’s working properly.
You should also take a close look at your windows to ensure they aren’t letting moisture in or cool or warm air out. Peeling paint, mildew-covered bathroom walls, and moldy surfaces are all signs of excessive humidity. Take steps to clear it out, such as by installing or repairing exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen, running the air conditioner or a dehumidifier during warmer months, and opening the windows when taking a hot shower. Then promptly fix the damage that’s already been done.
Cleaning your home frequently will also help it stay at its best. Wipe your kitchen cabinets with hot, soapy water to remove accumulated grime, and scrub your bathtubs and showers regularly to prevent mold buildup. If you find moldy caulk in either, replace it with new silicone caulk. And, of course, always wipe, sweep, or vacuum spills and dirt immediately; messes that sit could ruin surfaces and floors. An added benefit of all this cleanliness: since even simple clutter gives pests a place to hide, it makes your home less attractive to them.
Your appliances could also benefit from regular cleaning. Rid the inside and outside of your washer, dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher of dirt and grease that could corrode them, and bring in an expert when needed to keep them running properly.
If you have a fireplace, have a professional clean and inspect it at least annually. The more you use it, the more regularly you should have it serviced because creosote buildup, a smoke byproduct, is a fire hazard. While you’re at it, verify that your home’s fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries.
With frequent attention to detail and some TLC, you can ensure that your home remains in good condition so it can shelter you and your family for many years to come.