Before & After

Our Patio Cabana

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Hey all, happy Friday, and welcome to anyone who caught my appearance on the Nate Berkus Show yesterday!   I”m still on vacation, but promised a peek at our new patio.  I’ve been working on the design for this space over the past few weeks, and I’m proud to announce this patio is one we now call our outdoor oasis!   How about a quick tour?

You may recall how our patio looked a month ago, pretty lousy and void of any appeal, except for the nice view of our vines.  We started this transformation by installing a new stone circular patio which leads to this concrete patio.  We then turned our attention to this 13′ x 16′ long space  to create a place to relax and entertain.   It required an open plan with two entrances, and we didn’t want to obstruct the view from the kitchen window.

The design plan was to create an outdoor “room” protected from the sun with the feeling of an enclosed space, but still one that feels open and breezy.   We shopped four retailers courtesy of the American Express Membership Rewards program:  Home Depot, West Elm, Crate + Barrel, and Pottery Barn.   I also threw in a few of my own finds so the space didn’t look completely ’out of a catalog’.

Here is the patio last month:

And today: 

 

Come take a closer peek of the inside!

I ordered some new deep seat cushions online from Home Depot, and I’m digging the fact that they’re the same color as our house, an unexpected bonus when they arrived on our doorstep.  Jute trim pillow covers from Pottery Barn. 

 

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Instead of the mosquito netting that comes with this 12′ x 12′ cabana from Home Depot,  I hung off-white curtains instead.  The “curtains” are cotton/linen flat sheets I found on clearance for $5 at a local outlet hemmed to the height of the cabana and hung with simple rings.  Both the curtains and the cover come down in autumn when it rains, then I imagine the metal structure will look fantastic all lit up with a ton of twinkle lights.

The side tables are halves of wine barrels simply turned upside down.  I found them at a local hardware store for $20, they make the perfect rustic end table and also fit the style of our yard.  Lantern from Pottery Barn, square planter from Crate + Barrel.

 

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New Stone Patio

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Hello!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We shared a lot of food and great wine with a huge gathering of friends and family over the long holiday, it was so relaxing and such a great party!  We also had the opportunity to show off our new stone patio, wanna see?

Here’s a glimpse of a few weeks ago:

stone patio before

And now

patio after

Pretty fancy, right?   This has been a project we’ve been meaning to finish for many many moons.  This patio has been sitting empty since we regraded the yard and built the retaining walls over five years ago.  I mentioned it as one of my Home Goals for 2011, and I’m soooo proud to be checking this one off my list! 

Two weeks ago, I spied a natural stone at Home Depot that I thought would be just perfect for this space.  I redeemed some American Express Rewards points for a gift card at Home Depot, and we got to work!

Before we could bring in the new accessories for the adjacent patio (beyond), we had to address this longtime problem of our unfinished circular patio.  The first thing we had to do was fill in the small walkway that connects our two patios.  That was accomplished with some concrete as a base filled to one inch below where we intended to lay the stone. 

 

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Thrifting 101

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Happy Monday everyone!  We spent the weekend working outdoors on our patio, more to come on that project later this week.   Meanwhile, I thought I’d offer up my very best tips for thrifting, plus a peek at my latest thrift store before and after. 

There are plenty of people who don’t care to shop thrift stores.  Perhaps they dislike or are afraid of used goods, or their local thrift stores carry nothing but useless junk.  I’ve seen my share of thrift stores that carried mostly unusable items, but I’ve also scored a few finds in thrift stores that could be resold for hundreds of dollars.  It all depends on the particular store, they’re all so very different.  I’m asked now and then for my best advice on thrifting, so I thought it time to put them all in one place!

Here are a few of my tips for shopping thrift stores:

Stay Focused.   When you find a great thrift store, it’s like shopping in any second hand forum.  Your visit can quickly turn into ”Hey that’s cute” or “Oooh, I like that too!” and before you know it, your tab has climbed higher than you planned, and you’ve brought home things you don’t really need.  Before you walk through the door, remember what you’re there for.  Stay focused on your needs and your budget.    

Know The Sales Days.  Find out when your local store has sales and show up early.  My local St. Vincent de Paul has furniture sales when they have too much in stock (typically after a big donation weekend) so I’m in the habit of stopping in every Monday or Tuesday to see what’s new.  My mom loves to shop at the Goodwill on Tuesdays when anyone over 55 gets a 25% discount.  She’s found so many designer labels and even items that are brand new and have never been worn, you just never know what you’ll find!  It pays to know when your local store offers discounts. 

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