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OUR FALL DECK REVEAL + WILDFIRE UPDATE

OUR FALL DECK REVEAL + WILDFIRE UPDATE

Deck design before and after

I am thrilled to be home and back to working on my blog.  As some of you may know we were evacuated from our home for weeks because of the Cameron Peak fire.  Then we were evacuated from the place we were staying because of the East Troublesome fire.  Things have definitely been stressful!  The wildfire did come onto our property and burn some of our trees but our home is fine and so is our new back deck!

Brian finished the back deck in July but after a few weeks many of the boards shrunk despite us acclimating the wood.  We suddenly had dangerous wide gaps between the boards, so he had to unscrew each board and move it over, buy more wood and also let that acclimate. Then my patio furniture was on backorder for 10 weeks.  Once the patio furniture arrived and we put the finishing touches on the deck for the second time, then we were suddenly evacuated because of the fire.  Looking at the fire satellite map we knew the fire was on our property and we had accepted the fact that the new deck was cursed and might had been damaged or completely burned.  But I’m happy to say the deck was just fine… the deck curse is broken!

Ok let’s see some crazy before photos back when this area was a hideous looking sunroom.

Deck design before and afterDeck design before and after

I dismantled the interior and filled in nail holes while Brian removed the structure piece by piece.  We kept the back metal wall of the sunroom as a retaining wall and covered it with deck boards.  Brian did all the wood work while I painted the back of the house and the exterior metal stairs and stained the deck.

Deck design before and after

Deck design before and after

We love the final result and yes it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.  We have a front deck that we love with an incredible mountain view, however it gets very sunny and it’s not very private.  The back deck has a completely different feel from the front deck.  It’s isolated, cozy with trees and rocks, and is always shaded.  So now we have the best of both worlds.  Below you can see where the fire burned next to our house.

Deck design before and after

Tree face and string lights

Does anyone else love tree faces as much as me?  They’re so cute and look like tree people!

We went with Polywood Adirondack chairs again because of the durability.  We had them at our Texas home and they were very durable in the harsh summer sun and I felt confident they would survive Colorado winters.  I was also concerned with chipmunks and squirrels chewing things up so again I felt confident going with Polywood products.  Polywood is made in the USA and made from recycled plastics so it’s an overall win for me.  Plus they have a ton of colors and styles to choose from.

We did have a big rock roll down during the fire that broke the bottom of a chair you can see above but Polywood has a great warranty and replacement parts available.  Luckily nothing else was damaged.

Polywood black Adirondack chairs

Faux outdoor trees

Briefly we had some real potted plants on the deck and they were eaten instantly.  So I went with faux evergreen trees and shrubs.  They look very realistic from a distance and sort of real up close but hey… they’re animal and winter proof.  Plus no watering!

Tree Face and string lights

We’re no strangers to outdoor string lights, I’ve bought so many over the years from various places but these LED string lights are hands down the best we’ve ever bought.

Outdoor deck design

This is just phase 1 of our deck, you can see above how the boards just stop.  That’s where we plan to continue the deck into what I call mega-deck!  Mega-deck will extend off towards the area where the fire burned.  So I’m actually relieved we hadn’t started any deck work over there yet.  Mega-deck will extend around the trees, have a dining area, a bar counter, another lounge area and if I get my way with Brian some swings and a slide that goes from one level to the other.  It will be epic.

Cameron Peak fire damage

I love to change up my decor seasonally inside and out so I went with washable removable pillow covers to compliment the buffalo plaid pillows.  So once Christmas comes I’ll change the orange covers out to red.  Yes, we will be enjoying this patio in the winter, that’s what heaters and blankets are for!

Outdoor orange and buffalo plaid pillows

As for the fire you can see how it wrapped around our driveway, into our side yard, and in a small area went up on the hill behind our deck.  Firefighters had hoses and sprinklers around our house to prevent the fire from spreading.  We are extremely grateful for everything they did to save our home.

Cameron Peak wildfire

Cameron Peak fire damage

Cameron Peak fire damage

We did lose a few trees, and I’m worried about the trees that seem to be alive now but have charred trunks and branches.  Only time will tell I guess.  Hopefully this summer everything comes out nice and green again.

outdoor string lights at night

SHOP THE POST

Adirondack Chairs | Bench | Side Table | Plaid Pillows | Pillow Covers | Pillow Insert | Faux Tree – 36 in | Faux Shrub | String Lights | Tree Face 1 | Tree Face 2 | Sconce Light | Cheetah Door Mat | Berry Wreath

PAINT COLORS

Deck stain is Ready Seal in Natural Cedar

Exterior is Rockies Brown, by Benjamin Moore

Trim is Appalachian Brown, by Benjamin Moore

Door is Sophisticated Teal by the Home Depot Decorators Collection.

Such an improvement from a gross unusable smelly sunroom to a gorgeous outdoor living space.  I’m thrilled with the results, and fingers crossed we will start mega-deck soon.  Thanks for reading.

HOW TO KEEP OUTDOOR PILLOWS PERFECTLY IN PLACE

HOW TO KEEP OUTDOOR PILLOWS PERFECTLY IN PLACE

Hello Monday… another fresh new week is here!  I’m taking it easy this week blog wise, I need a lazy week.  I’ve had a lot of high stress moments last week, not blog related, life related.  I’ve decided this week I’m going to have some fun cooking and read a book.  It sounds a little boring… but mostly awesome.  Even though this week is chill I wanted to share my pillow trick.

I love the look of outdoor pillows but I can’t tell you how many times I come home and see my pillows looking like this!  And this is on a good day, sometimes when it’s windy I’ll even have one blow way out into the grass.  I found a simple way to keep them in place, and it just takes a few minutes!

You just need a few simple supplies… ribbon, scissors, a needle, and thread.  That’s it!

Since I can see the back of the bench in my office and the sides of the bench are really visible from the porch I went with black so it would blend in with the bench.   I cut 2 sections of ribbon, one for each pillow, and I made sure they were long enough so they would easily tie into a bow.

Center the ribbon over the back of the pillow, taking the needle and thread stitch it into place until it feels secure.

This should be the last time you see this bubble gum pink grown out gel manicure… I see a future nail salon trip happening very soon!

Feel free to make the stitches as ugly as possible, use the above photo for inspiration.

Now just tie them up and you’re good to go!

Are those pillows going to blow around anymore??  I don’t think so!   It’s a nice clean look from the back and the sides too.  With my bench design it was obviously easy to tie the ribbon, but I think with even smaller openings like wicker or adirondack chairs it’s still possible.  It may just take a bit more patience to tie them up.

Sunbrella makes terrific outdoor pillows by the way, this pattern is from Ballard but you can find Sunbrella at other places too.  They are machine washable, stain resistant, and dry very quickly after a rain.  Direct heat is bad for them from an iron or dryer but they do just fine in the hot sun.

LIFE ON THE PATIO

LIFE ON THE PATIO

Hey there friends!  Hopefully you’ve had some time to poke around my new website.  I’m thrilled with the change!

I’m also celebrating because it’s patio season!  Well, I say that now, the week before I took these photos we had unbearable heat.  I’m talking hundred degree weather with rainforest humidity the first few days of June.  I was about to hand in my Texas card, telling everyone we we’re moving to Alaska and I wasn’t joking this time, then luckily the heat and humidity calmed down.  We’re back to the 90’s with dry air – hey I’ll take it!  When the weather cooperates where I live, usually mornings or evenings the patio is my happy place, so today I’m sharing photos of my happy place with you.  I think we could all use a bit more happy, don’t you?

What can I say about patio life, other than it is good!  I still get a ton of traffic and some questions on my Pottery Barn SectionalI have a full review of it on the blog.  It’s been hands down one of the best investments we’ve ever made, and the fact that you can buy washable slipcovers is just pure genius. These slipcovers get down right filthy too, and everything washes out, sunbrella is such a tough fabric!  We did the build your own outdoor sectional just because the other sets didn’t fit our patio well.  So I was able to measure each piece and get the perfect size, but after the sectional was delivered I realized we did have a bit more room so I ordered another seat to add on.  For patio furniture it’s pretty comfortable too, if I wasn’t so afraid of bugs I could sleep on it.

The $5 bookshelves I painted last year did bite the dust, indoor furniture just won’t last as long on a Texas patio facing west clearly.  I was actually a little excited it fell apart because I had my eye on this herb storage cabinet.  Again, it’s indoor furniture but it’s just so perfect for the patio, so I’m hoping it holds up.  The owl wall art has done surprisingly well the few years it’s been outdoors.  It’s indoor wall art from Pier 1 but it has’t faded one bit.  In fact we get severe storms and it sometimes blows out into the yard and I laugh because it still doesn’t have one scratch.

When I designed and decorated our covered patio my goal all along was to have it feel like an outdoor living room, and I think we definitely achieved that.  I was also adamant not to have our dining table on the main patio.  I knew the majority of the time we would be having a drink and lounging more than eating a full meal outdoors, although I did add a bar height bistro table just in case.  I wanted the dining area to feel charming and secluded.  So we built a separate pergola for our outdoor dining room and planted vines growing on the pergola.  I am very impatiently waiting on these vines to grow, so far we’ve not had the best luck.

Serving drinks and light snacks are a breeze with the bar cart though, plus it serves as storage.  I had the hardest time finding a bar cart and actually returned several until I happily settled on this one from Ballard Designs, and this thing is sturdy!

Life is just a little bit better on the patio.  From the fountains, to the music played from our bluetooth rock speakers we’ve just had some of our best moments out here.  Facing west it can be intense when the sun sets sometimes, but that’s what the outdoor curtains are for!  Again the curtains are made from sunbrella fabric and are very stain resistant.  I hope you’ve enjoyed a peak at my happy place, its a great place to escape from it all.  Where’s your happy place?

If you’re curious about any of our items, I’ve either linked everything I can find above or below in the shop carousel.

I LOVE OUR FIRE PIT NIGHTS

I LOVE OUR FIRE PIT NIGHTS

I hope everybody has a fabulous Saturday!  Yesterday was the last day of school for the kids, so even though it’s not officially winter yet they’re on winter break until January.  Yay – I miss my big babies when they’re at school all day.  If you’re wondering what we’re doing while you’re reading this we’re driving to Colorado!  It’s going to be 5 adults, 2 teenagers, and my 2 year old niece!  Pray for us…it’s a long drive!!  I can’t wait to share our adventures with you, but as busy as I am it will probably be after Christmas, if you follow me on Instagram I’ll be sure to show you some sneak peaks of all the fun were having.

Our fall has been jammed packed with activities so we’ve been using our fire pit lately to relax and unwind from it all.  We’ve had a few random freezing cold days but for the most part in Fort Worth the weather has been pretty mild.  Nights are cool and crisp…perfect for having an outdoor fire.  Life just seems a little easier outside with a fire ya know?.  Sometimes we’ll come out here with a drink, gather around the fire, and all our stress just melts away.  Staring into a fire is just good for the soul and I love our nights out here.

Earlier this year on the blog I went into detail about the planning of our backyard, if you missed the original blog post about our Fire Pit be sure and read it, it has all the details about the planning and the fire pit kit we purchased, it was a great investment.  The kids love to make smores, they have so much fun, we laugh when we catch our marshmallow on fire, we cry when our marshmallow falls into the fire, and we smile when make the perfect smores.

We use our fire pit area pretty much all year long except the intense peak of summer, but this time of year is ideal, it’s our favorite.  These adirondack chairs are just about the most comfortable chairs ever.  I honestly think I could sleep in them, they’re made from Polywood which is a recycled lumber product.  They’re completely maintenence free, we’ve had them outdoors about 18 months, always uncovered and they still look brand new.  We purchased matching side tables and footstools are also available.

I also like to make my Slow Cooker Apple Cider on cool nights like this…you can make the naughty or the nice version.  Brian and I Iike the naughty version – haha, which is port wine added for me and a little rum for him.  To make our fire pit nights easier I keep some plastic bins over on the covered patio.  One is filled with blankets and another with fire pit essentials, like fire starters, lighters, & roasting sticks.  It’s great wrapping in our outdoor blankets, they’re so cozy.  We put them back into the plastic bin when we’re done which is nice, it helps keep them clean.  If you’re thinking about building a fire pit using a kit I give you 2 thumbs up on this one.  You’ll love it!  Until next time my friends…

 

 

WE FINALLY EXTENDED OUR FENCE

WE FINALLY EXTENDED OUR FENCE

I think in a previous blog post late spring or summer I may of mentioned how we were almost done with the backyard but we still had a few things left.  With us we certainly go through phases in our home improvements.  It gets exhausting and we needed a little break, but we are ready to get back at it!

We’re trying to cross a few smaller projects off our list and the fence extension was definitely a project that needed to be done!  I love having side yard space.  Our south side yard is home to our garden, and extending the north side fence has been a plan for probably a year now.  We just didn’t seem to get around to it though.

The fence originally ended and was flush with the back wall of the house.  At some point we moved it 10 feet toward the road to be even with the neighbor’s.  It was a great spot to kinda hide yard clutter, but we needed even more space and having all this side yard in the front of the house is basically wasted, not to mention there is a large window that I wanted more private & it also seems vulnerable to break ins.  Extending the fence has given us space to build a shed and given us additional security and privacy with our window.

Look how fast our shrubs have grown in 4 months.  Thats crazy!  One of Brian’s employees wants the old fence panel, I think he’s going to do something cool and crafty with it.

Our next plan is to level the ground in the back and build a shed for storage.  This shed has been in our garage since June!  It was a Fathers Day gift for Brian, so now that the fence is extended the shed can go up. Yay!  Wait there’s more I’m super happy about, with the shed that means less garage clutter and we can finally get our garage makeover plan going!  I’m thinking it may not happen until after January, but hey, it’s in the near future and I’m so excited!  Brian and I have garage fantasies, you know the ones that are perfectly organized, look amazing, and have a perfectly painted garage floor.  Oooh…I’m ready for that.

Again, for staining the fence we used our favorite stain Ready Seal in Pecan.  Normally we painfully brush it on, this time we were open to experimenting with our paint sprayer and OMG we will never brush stain on again!  Brian was able to stain the fence addition front and back in no time at all.  The only negative is it seems we used more stain with the sprayer, but that’s fine with me because it probably would of taken up all day to stain both sides of the fence front and back.

This is the second time we have used our Wagner Control Spray Power Paint Sprayer and it’s such a time saver!

There is a small section of the neighbor’s fence exposed that has their stain on it, so once the new fence stain is fully dried and cured we’ll power spray off their stain and use ours to match.  You can read about our power spraying fence adventures, in our Fence Update blog post.

So far we are thrilled with all our new side yard space.  We probably have close to 40 extra feet of space to use now, space that was previously wasted.  Before we began our fence addition we first checked with our neighbors and with our HOA rules.  HOA rules can be pretty strict, but ours only stated the fence needs to be set back at least 5 feet from the front of the house.

You can definitely tell this was a previously neglected space in our yard.  The grass everywhere else is green, but not back here.

Hopefully (hint hint) we can get the shed built soon to hold our yard clutter!  Once spring comes we will restore the grass, extend our rock stepping stone pathway, and add a little landscaping here and there.  Thanks for reading!

 

COVERED PATIO

COVERED PATIO

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite home improvement projects we’ve ever done, our covered patio.  Actually as far as life changing projects the patio probably surpasses the kitchen, and our kitchen remodel was pretty awesome.  We didn’t build the covered patio ourselves, at the time it seemed a little out of our league and we wanted it done right, but we were heavily involved in the design, and Brian did the electrical work himself.

In this photo you see we added on to the concrete patio and also a metal pergola structure, and it really served us well for a few years while we rented.  If you look closely, just outside the door is original concrete patio.  It was so small that you could barely fit a small table and four patio chairs on it.  Forget about adding a grill or any flower pots.

I thought I had a photo of the original tiny concrete slab but I can’t find it.  In the next photo, if you look at the darker colored concrete near the door that was the original concrete, about 8′ x 12′.

We knew we would be renting for a while so we decided that extending the patio on our dime was worth it.  Whether we were to stay here or move on we knew we loved outdoor time and it would greatly improve the quality of our lives so we paid for it ourselves.  Then we purchased our pergola from Lowe’s, and bolted it into the concrete.  The metal pergola was really nice about shielding the sun, and it also helped define the space.  Even though it wasn’t waterproof we really liked it at the time.  I had potted plants and some small furniture out, we spent many days and nights enjoying the patio.

Even if we had moved the investment would of been worth it in our eyes with all the joy it gave us, but as you know we stayed here and ended up buying our rental home.  Once the inside updates were coming along I immediately turned my focus outside.  We love being outside when the weather cooperates, and I’ve always wanted a large covered patio to sit out in the rain.  So I listed the metal pergola free on Craigslist, free as long as they disassembled it themselves.  A day or 2 later it was gone.

This picture was taken just a few months after Brian had built our new wood pergola, we had to wait a bit to get on our contractors schedule.  The concrete patio looked huge with the old metal Lowe’s pergola gone, but the space was overwhelmingly open and had no shelter from the rain and harsh west sun.  Here below you can see all the changes Brian had to make to our sprinkler system.

Once our contractors schedule opened up and they started working I was amazed how fast everything happened.  I would look out the window watching the patio being built in awe.  I was just so happy it was finally happening after wanting this for so long!

We have a weird roof line along the back of our house,  it was difficult to plan the edges of the covered patio.  The contractor wanted to leave the sides open or start the covered area to the left of the door, meaning if we were to walk outside while raining we would still get wet.  I stood my ground, weird roof line or not I wanted the entire concrete area covered.

So what ended up happening is the 2 awkward edges past the roof line peak became small pergola areas and topped with Polygal roofing.  When properly installed Polygal should not leak water and will hold up to harsh weather just fine.

The right side of the patio ended up being a larger portion of pergola and polygal with the left side being much smaller.

Polygal is a great solution if you have an existing pergola that you would like to keep dry but still let light through.  Several color options are available and I can’t remember the name of ours.  Sometimes it can look clear, but it’s not.  It has a bit of a smokey tint to it.

When planning our patio I knew it had to have a pitched roof.  Luckily this went along with our roof line anyway.  I knew I would want a rustic chandelier hanging in the center.

This chandelier is from Overstock.  Its not the highest quality item, but for outside I think its just fine.  It looks nice though and it’s held up well with high winds and storms.  If you’re interested it’s the Design Craft Alma 6 Light Chandelier.

We ended up tiling our floor with a slate tile.  I wanted a finished look for the floor and bonus, it covered up our mis-matched concrete add on.  We bought the Adoni Black Large Versailles Pattern from The Tile Shop.  It looked really dark in the store, but we purchased a sample and in the outdoor light it had the blueish gray tone I was looking for.

I ended up purchasing a Pottery Barn outdoor sectional.  Even with the sale price it was a large, scary purchase.  I looked around for reviews and I couldn’t find any.  I absolutely love our sectional so much and I know purchasing large items like this are stressful so I reviewed our sectional.  If you are interested in purchasing the Torrey All Weather Wicker Sectional you can read more details about it HERE.

Sunbrella curtains were added to block the sun.  I love Sunbrella fabrics, they do not fade and are very stain resistant.  I read somewhere Sunbrella fabric is so tough you could even pour bleach on it and it would be fine, but I won’t be trying that.  Sunbrella is machine washable and can handle anything except the dryer.  The curtains get wet all the time when it rains.  They dry very quickly so mildew isn’t a problem.

We used pipe to make our curtain rod and I spray painted it bronze.  Not only did the pipe curtain rod save us money we were able to get the perfect rod size.  Brian just measured the space, went to Home Depot and had the pipe cut to the exact length.

Our contractor had our wood stained in Ready Seal Pecan.  You can buy it from Lowes, Home Depot, or Amazon.  I love it so much that I now use it on everything.

The electrical work was really simple.  We already had a porch light outside the door, and the switch was just inside.  Brian just removed it, added the junction box, and ran wire and conduit up to a new chandelier box on the ceiling.

That green cord coming our of the electric box goes to our string lights.  I love lights strung from the trees, it’s so charming.  It was a dark corner of our yard that needed light anyway.

Brian also added a new junction box and outlet where an existing flush-mount outlet already was.  Then he added this this timer from Amazon into the circuit, so now our fountains and speakers don’t run all the time.

We purchased Bluetooth Outdoor Rock Speakers from Amazon and they’ve been so awesome!!    Music enhances every experience, so if you want to have a great relaxing outdoor experience music is a must.  These speakers have great sound and they’re waterproof so you do not need to keep them under a covered area.  I play a lot of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, they’re my wine drinking tunes.

When designing the patio I didn’t want a full size table and chairs on it.  I wanted just a lounging area, or an outdoor living room.  I did want a bistro bar style table for sipping wine or coffee and I had just the right spot over on the end of the patio.  If you’re interested in the 3 piece Bistro Bar Set you can find it on Amazon.

Instead of 1 long coffee table I purchased 2 square ones and they perfectly fit the space.   These are indoor coffee tables and on the few occasions they have gotten wet from storms  and sideways rain they have dried and recovered nicely.

Surprise surprise they’re from Amazon.  With Prime it’s just so quick and easy to purchase what we need, plus we get a lot of Amazon gift cards.  You can purchase these HERE from Amazon, my tables are the natural 27 inch ones.

You can see our grass is still in recovery from adjusting the sprinkler system.  The grass seed is starting to come out and it’s slowly filling in.

Over to the right I added a serving cart for drinks or to hold gardening items.

I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect outdoor wall art.  I just stumbled upon this owl canvas art from Pier 1 one day and it’s perfect for the spot.  It’s regular indoor wall art.  It gets sun and during some storms with high wind it’s flown off the wall a couple times, but it’s still in great condition.  This owl is tough.  Yay!

Day or night, rain or shine, we love our patio so much!  Sitting out during the rain is so much fun!  Everything stays pretty dry except when we get our sideways rain.  We haven’t had any hail storms yet, but I would love to sit out in a hail storm.  As long as its not sideways hail….ouch.

If you live in Tarrant Country or the DFW area and are interested in using our contractor leave me a comment and I’ll get you his contact information.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the story of our patio, and if you are planning an outdoor patio space I wish you the best of luck!  It’s totally worth it!  If you have any questions leave them in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them the best I can.  You can read more of our outdoor related blog posts here under the OUTDOOR section.