The side yard is almost finished! The entire backyard feels transformed and we are now very close to crossing it off of our list. In a couple of months it went from a space that you practically had to pull on mud boots to wade through, to a relaxing read the morning paper/play with Liv/dine under the stars snuggle spot.
Cue the collective ‘ooooo’. I can’t take much credit for this space and I hand over all of the glory to Kevin.
We put it to good use on Halloween when we test drove the new dining spot with a few close friends and their families:
It was perfect. And thank goodness for this beautiful San Diego weather that we have through the better part of fall! I think we’ll get plenty of use before it’s too chilly to eat outside.
We partnered with Lowe’s for pieces of this project as a part of their Curb Appeal campaign this year, and I’ll be sure to point out areas where their expertise and product played a big role. You’ll see more of my favorites in the final reveal when pots are in place and flowers are a bloomin’. It is a huge honor to represent our favorite home improvement store on the blog, so a big thank you to the folks over at Lowe’s – you guys are awesome.
Back to the side yard transformation… it is still amazing to me that there was SO much space hiding in those bushes! Here’s a shot from the front of the side yard looking back.
We expanded the deck all the way out to the new wall and property line between our house and our neighbor’s, which essentially took a foot path that was three ish feet wide and turned it into a deck space 3 times that width.
I last left you all with pictures of the wall as it was beginning its ascent. The wall was an arduous task – who knew so much cement and cement block could take so long? But as soon as the wall was finished it was time to lay the footers and frame out the future deck. These photos were from days before we left on our big trip, so we actually brought in a couple of recommended guys to help us knock it all out. Local San Diegans, hit me up for phone numbers if you need deck or flagstone contacts.
After much research and many hours spent perusing the forums of deck builders (yep, they exist), we settled on pressure treated douglas fir for the frame of the deck and redwood for the top. Choosing a synthetic vs real wood deck is very much a preference and budget choice – there are so many options out there these days and it all comes down to the look and feel that you are hoping to accomplish as well as the amount of upkeep you’re willing to supply on every-few-years basis.
We chose natural wood for a variety of reasons, a few included: the overall look and feel of the deck (wood vs wood-like), redwood is naturally weather-resistant (though we’ll seal it annually to prevent damage) so it won’t bow or shrink as it retains and sluffs off water from a storm, there is little expansion/shrinking of boards over the years, it contains tannins that make it least-termite friendly and rot prone of natural woods, it’s easy to work with, it’s quite durable and most importantly, it fit our budget. Other materials considered: oak, cedar, tropical woods (like ipe), pressure treated wood, plastic and composite options.
This is where we finished up before leaving for Europe. A functional deck but not yet stained or sealed (bad!). Now we’ll have to pressure wash it back down (as well as possibly sand) so that we can seal the deck asap.
We have a little surprise going in at this end for Liv!
The flagstone path from the front of the house now wraps around to the back. We’ll eventually replace that window above the path (the only aluminum guy in the house), the door in the forefront of the photo (with a version that matches the paneled sliding doors) and add a nice gate to the front of the side yard, too. Also on the list is texturing and painting the garden box that is still sad and grey.
Mid-deck build we asked our electrician to come out and help us install deck lighting. Kevin chose to wrap rope light all the way around the base of the deck so that a subtle uplighting would highlight the space at night.
Oooo, so soft and pretty (and energy efficient). Here’s a glance at the under side, the lights are held into place with U shaped nails.
We also had electrical outlets added to the outdoor kitchen island and porch lights installed on either side of the kitchen sliding doors. These guys are great! and very cost-efficient.
Kevin and five of his strong buddies added the new table to the deck just in time for Halloween, but we’ll pull the 1,000lb beast off again before we stain. Can’t wait to share how that table came together so quickly!
The outdoor dining area sits right off of the large four paneled sliding doors from the kitchen with the goal being that the two spaces could easily be integrated on warm summer nights.
Still need to find or DIY some sort of long candle plate to hold my white pillar candles (from Ikea), so that any potential tip overs don’t hit the actual wood table or deck.
Here’s a view from the grilling area that we built back when we first moved in. We found the grill, doors for the various storage compartments in the island and the beverage bin on Craigslist for a steal (a landscaper had just pulled them out of someone’s property for an upgrade), and then Kevin built them into a cement block cooking area that was eventually plastered a neutral sand color.
To the right of the grilling area is our outdoor fireplace (Kev also built that from scratch a couple of years ago) and the outdoor sectional that we semi-DIYed (the cushions at least ) for cozy fire-side wine nights.
The original plan was for the deck to stop after the side yard, but Kevin came up with the idea of wrapping it around the back of the house and it was brilliant! Now the two spaces feel very entwined and connected.
I hope to one day replace that decomposed granite that continues to crawl around the back of the house with a lawn area for Liv to run around on. But it’s very pretty and neutral for now.
The above photo is deceiving, but that DG actually stretches another twenty feet to the left. I’ll have to snap a few photos and show you all soon – perhaps when the chicken coop is a bit more photo ready!
Bodie and Liv, best friends forever.
I found a cute set of wicker chairs at Ikea a while back as well. I need to treat them for outdoor use (I’m already starting to see the side affects), but Liv’s a huge fan of sitting on the porch and playing or ‘reading’.
She really digs Liv-sized chairs right now.
One more post on staining and sealing (still deciding on colors – possibly just a nice clear to really show the grains in the redwood and so that it contrasts nicely with the table) and then our deck is finished! To be completed on the yard front is the flagstone path that stretches from the back of the house to the garage, a remodeled chicken coop, finish the garden bed and find a beautiful gate to seal it all up.
Yay for fall projects! And more Curb Appeal posts headed your way as we finally finish painting the house, continue our work on restoring the windows and add pretty winter foliage to the bare spots that still need a little love.
We are incredibly excited to have partnered with Lowe’s for various parts of this project, including those great dining chairs (more on that when I share about the table), outdoor lighting and deck framing materials. All opinions are always our own and as usual we try to keep it as real as can be.
Tags: Before & After, DIY, Home, Side Yard
Posted in Construction, Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Our Yard, Project Lowe's, Renovating Adventures | 7 Comments »
I rolled up my sleeves and crossed one big holiday-related project off of my list this past week after a little motivation from Katie and Sherry’s seasonal Pinterest Challenge. Too early for Christmas? Maybe, but making this project happen (with all that I have stacked for the big holiday season) was high on my priority list for Liv this year and I’m SO happy to have it ready to go for the holidays! Liv totally digs it, too. Even if we have to box it up and rehang it in about a month.
I imagine turning this into an Advent calendar of sorts when Liv is old enough to open up one ornament each day to add to the tree (maybe even ornaments we’ve made together?), and the concept behind Advent. Maybe I’ll try a version this year to… to be determined.
I love me a good deadline to make a project that I would normally push off and off happen. It could be a visit from family, a dinner party or a challenge like this one! Previous Pinterest challenges have produced my ombre stool for Liv, painter’s tape wallpaper, DIY gold mercury glass, shimmery chevron napkins (a bit of a womp, womp – these guys didn’t wash so well, though they look awfully cool) and the capiz pendant/chandelier that hangs in our office.
What a neat idea for a toddler? Liv is at that age where she loves to mimic and especially loves to replicate whatever I’m doing on her own – she likes to carry a purse when I have a purse, cook when I’m making dinner, pretend to drive when we get into the car, attempt to apply lipstick in the bathroom mirror…. and the best solution for her to recreate and to copy momma and dadda, without actually cooking or carrying around my purse, is to give her her own version. Hence why this felt tree is genius.
I hope that when it comes time to decorate the ‘big’ tree, she’ll be just as cheery at decorating her own version. And perhaps not try and undress or reorganize the real version in the living room?
A few of the ornaments I assembled in advance, like the poinsettia flowers and the striped pink and turquoise bulbs. A little stitch or glue holds these guys together so it’s easier for Liv to move the entire decoration. It’s wonderful that felt sticks to felt – no adhesives to attach the actual ornaments to the tree.
Others I left unglued so that she can play with and rearrange bows and packages and Christmas lights.
Creating this guy was fairly simple. I way over bought on yards of felt (1.5 of green for the tree, 1/4 each of the various colors) which left me with about $18 worth, this project was probably made with a fourth of that though so you can add this to the extremely budget-friendly category.
I opted for a modern, basic triangular shape for my little tree and chose the dining room (with a big open space on the wall while our fiddle leaf fig soaks up some sun closer to the window) as its home.
Various votive candle holders and glasses made for the perfect stencil to make my round ornaments, the rest were basically free hand.
One of the best tips I have for messy projects like this (aka lots of bits of felt everywhere) is to use the ol’ Rachel Ray scrap bucket rule. I love this! instead of leaving your scraps (of food on the prep table, in Rachel’s case) out, collect them all in a bowl for the trash or composting pile. In our case, a felt scrap bowl. As we cut out ornaments, we immediately pushed all of the extra bits and pieces from the table into the bowl leaving us with a cleaner workspace.
Which resulted in faster ornament making!
I’m imagining the felt board possibilities… We can keep rearranging and updating this tree through December, Liv has already stripped it down a few times to start again. What next? An ocean scene? or maybe a play kitchen out of felt?
And as of tomorrow, back to Halloween. Can’t wait to show you Liv’s homemade costume and my plans for our annual Halloween dinner party. PS I owe you all updates on our recent travel adventures, painting of the house, new deck (new side yard!) and so much more. Forgive me, I’m so behind.
Happy Pinterest pinning! If you participated in the challenge, I’d love to see your project!
Tags: Christmas, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Green, Kid's Crafts, Pinterest Challenge, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Olivia | 15 Comments »
When we turned the back den in our home into our kitchen a couple of years ago, one of my favorite parts about the entire remodel was how we opened up the space to our back yard area and into an entertaining zone (pending outdoor yard transformation) with big four pane glass doors at each corner.
It helped to add plenty of light to a darker space (the floors really add to that), but it also moved all of the attention of the space to the very end of the giant room, where the center of the kitchen sat. The space between the island and my office has always felt like some sort of empty zone that you had to pass through to get to the kitchen, and not really as if it was connected in a functional way. It’s an odd space in need of a cozy, textile-filled lift that would help soften and bridge kitchen to rest of house.
We’ve played around with the idea of building some sort of additional cabinetry or bar into that open area, but the more and more I think about it, the more and more a breakfast ‘nook’ is calling my name.
I would like to bring sunny yellow and maybe one contrasting pop of color in in the form of a cheery bench fabric and pillows. As far as the seating goes, I have a couple of ideas on how we can either repurpose a piece of furniture or use the same cabinets that are in the rest of our kitchen, but maybe with the addition of legs to form a bench. With our dining space just off of the kitchen, Kevin is not so sure it’s the best use of space, while I can already picture reading the morning paper and drinking coffee curled up. Inspirational photos are always helpful in making these decisions.
We’ve come a long way since it all began four and a half years ago!
And back to light filled kitchen…
PS You can filter all posts by just our kitchen remodel (and watch the entire room start from scratch) here.
Tags: Breakfast Nook, Decorating, Fabric, Home, Kitchen
Posted in Home, Our Kitchen Remodel, Renovating Adventures | 1 Comment »