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 »
Happy Monday! Before we jump into this giveaway, I have to share that Liv has been cracking me up lately. The rate of words that she is absorbing from everyday conversation, stowing away and reusing these days is just crazy to me. She asked for a shovel while playing with sand yesterday and I gave her a side-eye glance because I had no idea she knew what a shovel was, let alone how to say it and how to then fill up her bucket while singing to herself. And here I am trying to remember remedial Spanish for our trip to Spain, awkwardly sounding out verb conjugations when it’s just us in the car and failing miserably. I need a toddler brain asap.
Speaking of quick changes, I have a new hallway project that I wanted to share with you despite the crazy happenings that are going on on the outside of our house. And this post ends in an awesome giveaway! Double bonus and a big thank you to Lowe’s for sponsoring.
Lowe’s is launching a new program called $50 and Change. I don’t know about you, but it seems that $50 is often that magic number when it comes to tackling a small project from start to finish – and recognizing that, Lowe’s is challenging bloggers and readers alike to create our own projects with this budget in mind and to post those ideas over at the Lowe’s Idea Exchange on Facebook.
Beginning in September and continuing on every other month for a while now, I’ll be sharing one of my own $50 and Change projects as well as giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card so that on reader can tackle their own, all courtesy of Lowe’s.
High on my list of must-finish-soon projects is to repaint a Craigslist corner unit for our hallway. I kid you not when I say that this bookshelf has stayed in its ‘antique white’ form covered in odds and ends (and other ‘where does this go?’ objects) for the past two years. Though it didn’t come with the house, the unit looks like it was intended as a built-in just for this corner! and I sadly neglected it and turned it into a dumping ground of sorts.
But thanks to a little motivation and a friend coming to town to work on a few paint projects, I stripped this shelving unit down and gave her a full makeover (just like exercise, blame partner accountability to get projects finished!).
Once dry and decorated from items around the house (some will likely stay, some will eventally get switched out as the bookcase evolves), I’m so happy with how this bookshelf greets me now when I enter the hall!
Favorite finds include these two conch shells from a garage sale I happened to drive by on our street – $3 each! And this great vintage painting that I scooped up for about $8 at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Also finding a new home in the hallway is a lounging cermic bird (thrift store), a stack of vintage (or just really old?) sailing books from Kevin’s collection, a few favorite black and white photos, my Etsy watercolor find (which provides just the right pop of color and contrast to the blue), a white vase from West Elm (on super sale) and a cut of wood that I’ve outlined our small family tree on for Father’s Day for Kevin.
That blank shelf is staring at me… but I think I might try to track down a triangular basket to give myself even more storage, or load it up with more rolled white towels for guests.
The process was a bit bittersweet. I struggled coming up with the right lining for the shelves, trying out various Paper-Source sheets of wrapping paper to wallpaper to random shades of green, pink and blue before deciding on a dark peacock-navy.
With all of the natural light and soft colors going on in the hallway, the bookshelf was just asking for something deep and saturated.
Plus, when that right door is open you can see the bedroom just beyond, a color that played well with my patterned curtains was a must and this particular blue was almost pulled right out of a scrap of fabric from those curtains.
I actually ended up breaking my own mixing rule and added 1/3 parts Castile to 2/3 Plymouth Blue from Olympic. Armed with a sample of each to test out, I found this combo to be the perfect mix of navy and green – sort of a dark teal, if you will. I saved just a bit of the mixture for patching purposes should I need it.
But before any blue could be applied, this guy needed to go from an antique/manilla white to a nice bright white so that it tied in seamlessly with the trim and doors.
Here she is with a nice layer of primer.
Primer was followed by a semi-gloss bright white followed by taping off top of back bookshelf area and my new favorite blue. That plus lots of touch ups because the edges wanted to keep bleeding on each other…
Looks so great now! So fresh and so clean. The shelf definitely appears to have that built-in quality now that it’s the same shade of white as the trim, and that blue is an unexpected pop of color that meets you as you round the door into the hallway.
My total budget for this project was $50, though I have to admit that I came in about 25% lower and splurged on some extra paint and materials to cover up the back of another bookcase in the house. Details to be shared soon.
My gift card covered: 2 samples of paint in Castile and Plymouth Blue by Olympic (that were eventually mixed together to create that pretty blue-green teal), a small wire frame for rolling (similar to this one – great for cabinetry), a pack of sponge roller brushes, a quart each of primer and a bright white sem-gloss paint, painter’s tape, traditional black sponge brush to help with beadboard (inside of bookcase) nooks and grooves, a drop cloth and paint tray. But you could conceivably tackle this project for $6 (cost of two samples) if you have all of the above painting supplies on hand!
Giveaway: A $50 gift card to Lowe’s!
To Enter: Leave a comment here with the $50 project you have in mind for your space.
Giveaway ends Wednesday, September 12 at midnight PST, winner will be chosen randomly and announced on the blog. Good luck!
For more hallway makeover progress (like my painter’s tape wallpaper), check out this link.
PS If you’re an email subscriber, my apologies if you received ‘half’ an email on Saturday! This is the entire post .
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Blue, Paint, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Giveaway, Home, Our Hallway, Project Lowe's, Renovating Adventures, Tools of the Trade | 40 Comments »
I have an ever so subtle update to share today from the nursery…
Notice anything new? Okay, I gave a little hint in the post title but I ‘dipped’ Liv’s little table legs in a bright green paint as just a small added detail.
The idea stems a bit from this project but on a smaller scale, and I think it would be a fun addition for so many projects in the house, from dining room chairs to kitchen bar stools to house plant pots. An ever so subtle ‘dip’ of color.
Hard to even see the contrast in these photos but the green is soft and subtle and really makes a nice difference to the birch table.
To accomplish, I simply flipped the table upside down, used painter’s tape to help form my ‘dipped’ lines, and then painted away. Took me maybe 10 minutes with a sponge brush (which I really like to use on already painted/stained furniture to prevent brush marks), and then I repeated the process three times for a thick, seamless look (just like spray paint I prefer to add one layer of coat of paint – even if brush marks are visible – let dry and repeat until smooth).
Sometimes it’s all in the details! Have a lovely start to your week!
More Project Nursery posts found right here.
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Decorating, DIY, Green, Home, Paint, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Liv's Nursery, Renovating Adventures | 9 Comments »