Works in Progress

Project Patio Begins

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Some people have written to me asking, “Hey Kate, we’ve seen the close-ups of your flowering plants, but why have you never given us a full tour of your backyard?” 

*crickets* 

Okay, I’ll be completely frank. There are sections of our yard I’m rather proud of, like our grapevines, my lavender plants and my perennial beds which give me gorgeous blooms. Then there are sections that, truth be told, are still in an unfinished state, hence the silence on the backyard tour. 

We have a very nice courtyard area next to the house (will show that on Thursday at the ‘Outdoor Ideas’ par-tay) but we also have a large patio area we’ve never fixed up, times are tight doncha know.  We’ve grown Syrah grapes in our back hill for the last ten years (you can spy them growing to the left) and this is the one area of our yard that has the best view.  But as you can see, as of today, this space has nothing going for it except a pretty good BBQ.  

upper patio before

I have a decent set of outdoor furniture, but my cushions are several years old and the fabric is ripped and in my opinion, pretty gross.  This patio zone has been in need of some serious help for some time.  The other day, I was contacted by American Express Membership Rewards, offering me access to points to show people how to spruce up an outdoor space.  Count me in, cause I have the perfect space that is in dire need! 

The assignment?  Create a stylish outdoor space that provides shade and comfort to relax and entertain guests in the summer months.  Also, we plan to fill in this circular patio (below) I mentioned earlier this year as part of our Home Goals of 2011.   I’m not quite sure how at the moment, but I’m looking at all options, including mosaic tile and various stones. 

fill circular patio

 

I need your advice.  I’m still coming up with a design plan, but I need to know, what do you see happening in this space?  A pergola or cabana?  An outdoor rug, new cushions, planters, a few outdoor accessories?  That’s what I have in mind so far.  I would love to hear what you think I should do.  Those of you who have tackled this kind of patio, what do you recommend?  Tile, flagstone, slate, cement?  Do share your tips.

I will be redeeming points and shopping at these specific retailers: Home Depot, Kohls, Crate + Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware.  There is so much potential here, so stay tuned for all the updates over the next few weeks as we transform this space with a few DIY projects!

Disclosure: I have been provided with 150,000 complimentary American Express Membership Rewards points to spruce up this outdoor space. 

 

 

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Alma Update: Media + Storage

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Hey everybody, hope you moms had a relaxing Mother’s Day!  Last week, I spent a few hours constructing a media and storage center for our Alma Project.  I struggled for weeks on how to accomplish this task, at first scouring thrift stores and Craigslist for bookcases with no luck.  Why is it so hard to find two solid wood matching bookcases these days?  I contemplated either going to IKEA or having them built, but the bid came in at $400 which I was not willing to spend. 

My parents came to the rescue.   They moved all their belongings last week and they happened to have two solid bookcases they didn’t need anymore since they’re downsizing, so they generously donated them to this project. 

To create the new media center, I reused the existing TV stand and paired it with the donated bookshelves, one on each side.  Then I purchased two new pressboard shelves for the top and between the bookcases.  I primed the pieces, then assembled them all together and painted it all white to create one large wall unit.  And we did it all for under $60 dollars.

Here is what the family room wall looked like a few weeks ago:

tv wall before media

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Here is the wall after we constructed a new media and storage center:

alma media storage center

Fantastic right? 

 

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