Hope you had a restful and relaxing few days with family and friends! I took a much needed break… no work, no computer, very little media (even on Black Friday!) and attempted to keep all focus on what I’m most thankful for – that awesome bunch of family that I’m so fortunate enough to have. BUT I snuck in a few online deals post-Thanksgiving, when everyone was in that nap/football/book reading zone.
I am also just about finished with my Christmas shopping list. I love to brainstorm, shop for and sometimes even make Christmas gifts, so these coming few weeks will be full of delicious fun (rubbing hands together with a twinkle in the eye). More so than usual, I’m hand making a good chunk this year and I’ll keep you updated on my ideas over the next couple of weeks to see if some of them resonate with you, too.
First things first, Liv is getting a DIY kitchen so that she can ‘cook’ along side momma and dadda. Here’s a peek at my inspiration.
Annie’s awesome creation, (built from off-the-shelf home improvement store cabinets) complete with magnetic paint on the little fridge and a soap dispenser as a working sink.
Carla’s Ikea hack (previously two MALM nightstands), I love the little tile backsplash!
Holly designed a play kitchen with vintage knobs and a sweet little shelf to hold tea cups and what not…
Love Jane’s chalkboard detail and those little legs!
Don’t have the original post for this one… Pinterest leads me here. I love the little burners and the oven.
This looks like it used to be a changing table! Perty clever.
Loving this modern kitchen Ikea hack, too!
Finally, this YHL kitchen is full of cute ideas on how to make a cabinet makeover both pretty and functional.
So many fun ideas , four weeks to build. Will keep you posted.
Tags: DIY, Kid's Rooms
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Olivia | 3 Comments »
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 »
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! I meant to post pictures of Liv’s costume and our party prep yesterday, but time started to run out and costume changes were being made with cobwebs still to be hung… and then everyone arrived for trick-or-treating. So here we are with a fun little round up of yesterday’s events! I hope you had a wonderful, safe night full of trick-or-treating (or handing out candy, or sitting fireside with a nice glass of wine), too! Those being affected by Sandy right now, you are in our prayers.
First up a few halloween decoration shots from around the house. We didn’t go crazy this year, just a few sprigs of black spray painted fake flowers to mix in with the usual mantel decor (made those guys a few years ago) and a couple of pumpkins (that we can keep up through Thanksgiving).
I also added a few Halloween additions to the gold dipped pumpkins on the buffet…
And spent most of my time decorating outdoors on our new deck! Look at that baby, she’s finished! Needs a coat of stain but she’s ready for a Halloween party.
A few globe lights and white paper lanterns in the trees and near the fireplace, too.
And a row of candles, burlap and black frames for the NEW table that Kevin built for the side yard (more on that to come!).
Then our little trick-or-treating crew began to arrive!
And soon we had the entire gang. No one was very happy about the obligatory group pic.
(Check out these same babes just a couple of years ago. Some of them weren’t here just yet…)
And then off to trick-or-treat! Forgive the blurry photos, I didn’t realize my focus wasn’t set correctly until the night was through.
We actually went through a few costumes with Liv before she agreed to dress up for Halloween, and even then it was as her friends were arriving that she put on her final attire (nothing like a little peer pressure…). My first costume for her was a cute little cupid outfit (with momma and daddy wearing hearts that connected), but I should have realized earlier that the tiny wings were just too overwhelming and would result in tears every time we pulled them out of their box.
Soooo plans b & c were a cow costume that Mimi (Grandma) sent or a duck (thank you for Killer B for the fabulous last-minute inspriation!). Liv decided no cow (they’ll work great as PJs) and so we went with the yellow and pink wings that resulted from my morning felt fest (while on a conference call with our main office with my regular 9-5 job… shhhhh don’t tell).
The process to create the cape was quite easy. I first cut enough ‘feathers’ to cover my cape template (which was basically a slightly curved rectangle) and applied a simple stitch to hold each overlapping feather in place. A ribbon at the top allowed me to tie the cape around Liv’s shoulders.
At the last minute Liv wanted to wear her owl cap (a previously brainstormed costume), so we added a turquoise belly and brown pants to her outfit and turned her into an owl!
Which she was keen on and we were all happy.
After candy sorting, it was time to continue the party and share a delicious potluck dinner.
Followed by delicious Halloween desserts! Nice job, Steph and Melanie. Below are adorable owl-oreo cupcakes and nutter butter ghosts. We also had little mini cupcakes and delicious creamscicle cocktails that I neglected to photograph.
That’s our Halloween! A fun night with great friends and a lively street full of trick-or-treaters. And just in case you’re wondering, that’s Kev above in his last minute costume as Ron Burgundy/Ron Swanson in the wig and mustache. You stay classy, San Diego.
Happy day after Halloween .
Tags: Crafty Solutions, Decorating, Desserts, DIY, Halloween, Parties & Entertaining
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Family & Friends, Holidays, Olivia, Parties & Entertaining | 1 Comment »