Category Archives: Outdoors

Outdoor decorating time!

I thought I’d pop by and give you a quick update on how our back yard is coming along. We spent pretty much all of last year just building the pool decks, but this year we finally get to start making them functional and pretty! chaise lounge by pool

We doubled the number of chaise lounges to 4 and added another umbrella (they are from Target). One for each member of the family.  If it’s sunny out you can pretty much count on finding me here with a book. We also added some new planters and trees.

large planter for tree

In fact the new planters with arborvitaes are my favorite. Not only do they soften all the hardscaping but they provide a little privacy with the neighbors. I can’t wait to watch them grow up. We picked up these awesomely large planters at a local place called @home for only $79!

grey deck

We also finally got around to staining the decks. Unfortunately, we don’t like the color. The grey has a little too much blue in it, so we will be trying out a new color next spring.

outdoor sectional

The screened in porch got a new outdoor sectional from Amazon and we moved our old family room rug outside. Two new chairs from Lowe’s complete the conversation area.

outdoor curtains DIY

On the dining side I added some curtains from Ikea which not only keep the afternoon sun out of my little one’s eyes at dinner but also provides some much need privacy in the evening.  I picked them up at Ikea for only $10 for two panels.

outdoor sectional

The sectional though is seriously one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. I did a lot of research before deciding on the Ohana 7 piece sofa set in sunbrella . It’s large enough to host large groups and comfortable enough for afternoon naps. You can literally find us out here every morning with coffee, every afternoon with a book, and every evening with wine.

outdoor lighting

I also picked up some outdoor string lights last year at Target for half price. The glow they put off in the evening is beautiful. We usually have them on every night even when we’re inside just so we can look out and see them.

Well that’s where we are for now. The weather finally turned warm enough for us to start using the pool, so we’ve put off any new projects in order to enjoy some more family time.

You can get more info on the pool and deck installation here.

And find all the gory before and after pictures of the porch here.

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Backyard Makeover 1 year later

It’s officially been 1 year since we started planning our massive backyard makeover and guess what???? It’s still not done.  Sigh….. However, the big stuff is finally done so I thought I’d finally share some pictures with you guys.

Here’s a reminder of what we started with:

Back yard

And here’s where we are today:

backyard pool

 

You can see all the construction pictures here!

 

outdoor kitchen

backyard pool deck

Pool house

wood pool deck

pool waterfall

backyard makeover with pool

 

Check out more fence and gate pictures here!

fence with arbor

 

Beaubo Approves

backyard

Here’s what we still have to finish:

  1. Cable railings
  2. Finishing touches around steps
  3. Build bridge between deck and boardwalk
  4. Stain all the decking gray
  5. New furniture and lots of potted plants

Most of this will be done by the fall; and I’ll finally be able to share true “after” pictures with you. We’re just excited that for now the whole space is functional; and we’ve been taking advantage of it with plenty of pool parties.

backyard makeover

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A beautiful fence and gate with an arbor

fence with pergola

Now that the pool construction is finally done, it’s time to start making the backyard pretty. First up was a new fence. Our old one was falling down and wouldn’t have passed the pool inspection anyway. Here’s what our side yard looked like during construction:

side yard

You can actually see the old fence pulled off in the upper right side of the picture. As you can see the construction pretty much destroyed the yard. This is the main entrance into our backyard so we wanted to make somthing special.

fence with pergola

We decided to build an arbor integrated into the new gate. Isn’t it absolutely stunning?  For the fence the hubby integrated this premade lattice on top of plain old fence boards to dress it up.

pergola with gate

I love how the arbor perfectly frames out the new pool house. Eventually there will be vines growing up the arbor.

fence with arbor

We also built a ground level deck walk way (what we call The Boardwalk) to connect the front of the house to the new pool house. fence with arbor

Behind the fence houses our trashcans and new HVAC units. There will also be lattice on this side to block their view from the boardwalk.

build your own fence

Fences are expensive, so to save a little money we built just a standard plain fence for the sides.

custom fence

I created shade gardens on both sides of the boardwalk with hydrangeas and hostas.

backyard garden

Eventually we will build a small bridge over the stepping stones  to attach the board walk to the new pool decking.

custom fence

On the left side of the house we built a matching gate but with out the arbor.

fence with lattice

This is one of my favorite spots in the yard. Just look at the size of that hosta!

So what do you think about our new fence? Our neighbors have been stopping by to tell us how much they like it. Once the wood acclimates properly (maybe in the fall or next spring) we plan to stain the fence a darker brown and the boardwalk grey. I’ll share more pictures as the plants start to mature as well!

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Surprise! We got a pool!

pool This post has been 6 months coming. You may remember back in January when I mentioned we were working on a super big super secret project……well we got an in ground pool! I’ve shared some pictures of the progress on facebook and instagram, but I was holding off mentioning it on the blog until the pool was actually installed. I thought that would be back in October, but we ran into just about every snag possible combined with terrible winter weather. Our back yard has literally been under construction for the last 6 months. The pool is officially done now but the back yard is still a mess, so bear with me on the still in progress pictures.

 

pool pool pool construction

pool construction

pool construction

 

The pool is only 12 x 24 feet and runs from 3 to 5ft deep.  My favorite part is the second step which is 4 feet wide to create a shallow tanning ledge. We went with a pebble gold liner to create a darker grey blue appearance to the water. The pool deck is stamped concrete.

pool construction

 

Here is a collage of the construction project. #2 was taken in October.

There is still a lot to get done to make the back yard usable. You may have noticed in some of the pictures that we built a pool house (i.e. glorified shed) and put up a new fence. I’ll share more details on those later. This week they are finishing the final grade, moving the HVAC units, and inspecting the pool. After that we will be building 4 new decks that will completely surround the pool including one that will have fountains coming off of it into the pool. Near the screened in porch we will be building an outdoor kitchen and a pergola will be built coming off of the new pool house.

pool plans

Our goal is have it all done by Memorial Day. I’ll share tons more pretty pictures as we get it all done.

Screened in porch makeover reveal Phase 1

The screened in porch makeover was suppose to take 3 months. Instead it took 7 months! The good news? It’s finally done! I haven’t shared much about the makeover on the blog because frankly the steps were pretty boring. I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate a whole post on painting. The only project I’ve shared to date is the floating buffet table we made out of reclaimed wood.  Let’s start with the before shot so we can all remember how this room looked when we bought the house:

Screened Porch before This porch was actually a HUGE selling feature of the house. While it needed some cosmetic work a porch like this would easily have been a $20,000 addition. And in a place like coastal Virginia having a way to be outside without getting eaten by mosquito is priceless.

Phase 1 of the makeover consisted of improving the structure itself. Here is what we did:

  1. Replaced warped posts
  2. Painted all railings and posts white and the ceiling blue.
  3. Added screens and a screened door
  4. Added rot resistant molding to the outside of the structure
  5. Replaced the fan
  6. Installed a drain in the floor
  7. Tiled the floor

Phase 2 will consist of the decorative aspect of the makeover including new furniture. So, for now please ignore the old dirty furniture. And here’s how it looks now:

screened in porch makeover

screened in porch buffet

outdoor room makeover

porch makeover

tablescape porch

porch makeover

Isn’t the transformation amazing?? I love how cheery and bright the space is now. It really does feel like an extension of our home.

porch makeover before and after And here is some exterior shots:

backyard before

exterior screened in porch

porch exterior

So, there it is! I can’t even begin to describe how pleased we are with this space! As for the rest of the backyard…..we have huge plans in the works. I mean like the most exciting plans we’ve ever made for this house. Hopefully I will be able to share them soon!

Outdoor Reclaimed Wood Floating Buffet

reclaimed wood outdoor buffet I’m finally ready to share our first real completed project on the screened in porch with you. It’s a floating buffet made out of reclaimed wood that actually hinges up for storage. And the best part is that is cost us basically nothing (we only had to buy the hinges!) Let’s back track a little to where this project started.

porch before There was this nice empty spot between the french doors and the windows on our porch that was just begging for a table. And there was the nice pile of wood sitting in our backyard from when we took down the old play set.

reclaimed wood We decided to build a rustic industrial buffet that would float or hang off the wall and could be hinged up for storage in the off season. It’s super easy to construct, but I’ll break it down for you in a couple of pictures.

rustic outdoor buffett We started by picking out 3 of the best pieces of reclaimed wood then screwed in 3 pieces of scrap wood vertically to hold the table top together.

industrial pallet buffet Next we added three more pieces to the underneath of the table.

reclaimed wood table Finally we finished off all of the edges with cedar left over from the reclaimed window pane window box project.

reclaimed wood buffet In order to secure the table to the vinyl siding we added a piece of wood at the height of the table making sure to screw it into studs. I then painted the white board the same color as the siding.

reclaimed wood outdoor buffet The table is hung  from two places. Its secured directly to the house by two hinges that are hidden underneath the table top and from two chains that we simply screwed into studs behind the siding. The chains were also left over from the window boxes.

Outdoor wood buffet for porch This view really allows you to see the character of the wood. We sanded it down lightly to remove the dirt and grime then I finished it with a coat of coconut oil (because that’s all I had).

DIY reclaimed wood industrial table It’s really amazing how much more functional the porch is now. We love being able to put drinks and snacks on the buffet while we’re entertaining guests outside. It’s also a much nicer view now from the outdoor furniture. Remember this is what is looked like before:

porch before And now!

Porch after buffet You might also notice that the doors are now the same color as our shutters and the trim got a nice white paint job. The windows also received some window treatments (more on that soon). For now please ignore that tiny outdated light fixture and the terrible metal storm shutters. Those are both updates for another day.

We’re continuing to finish up the trim on the outside of the porch as well as lay a new floor, so look for more porch updates soon!

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6 budget friendly ways to improve your front door’s curb appeal

improve your front doors curb appeal We spent the last couple of weekends working on some small and budget friendly ways to improve out front door’s curb appeal. Ideally, I would love to rip the door out and replace it with something  more modern and why not throw up a portico while we’re at it. Those plans are actually in the works but with a cost of about $2500 they are in the 2-3 year maybe we’ll win the lottery plan.  Meanwhile I didn’t want to sit around with a door I hate think could use some improvements. So, if you are also stuck with a door you despise and no money to replace it here are 6 budget friendly ways to improve your front door’s curb appeal.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1. Upgrade the lighting Our house came with these mediocre carriage style lights flanking the front door. Ideally they would be a little larger, but they actually fit the colonial style of the house nicely. They were; however, a little faded, but no fear it winds up painting an exterior light is super easy.  After disconnecting the lights the glass simply slid out and I spray painted them in a semi-gloss black. I also upgraded the lights bulbs to LED bulbs which have a softer light and better shape than our older CFLs. Not to mention they are even more energy efficient.

Total I spent $6 painting the lights and $20 on the two new LED bulbs.

2. Add planters I actually already owned these planters but they had seen better days, so I gave them a quick paint job with left over paint from the lights. As for adding plants I recommend going with one color to  make a bigger impact from the street.

2 pots refills were $14

3. Paint Everything! This is by far the biggest impact you can make.  The door was originally a dated burgundy that was faded from the sun. I painted it Glidden Roasted Red Pepper (the color was a little bright for the house so I wound up darkening the paint by adding black acrylic to it). The new color feels so much more fresh and instantly draws the eye to the entrance. I also painted all of the trim around the door a bright white. Even if you already have a color you love, freshening up the paint can really make the front door shine.

1 qt of paint was $9

4. Change up the door hardware Ok, I must confess that this was not cheap. We saved so much money on the rest of the project that we splurged on the Schlage Century Keyless Entry System in Antique bronze from Build.com We justified this purchase in part because the handset can be moved to a new door eventually. Did I mention this system can be connected to your smart phone and be unlocked remotely? Ya, it’s pretty awesome and by far the nicest handset we’ve ever bought.

New handset= $321 with free shipping If a new door set is not in your budget than consider spray painting your current one. This will completely change the look for the handset for about $6!

5.  Add large house numbers This is an easy way to add a big impact for little time and money.  This is also a great way to cement the style of your house as numbers come in everything from modern and traditional to craftsmen, cottage, and Spanish style. Larger numbers will also make it easier for friends to find your house. Consider the placement of your numbers carefully. They don’t have to go back where they were. Find a place where they will make the biggest impact.

$4 a number from Home Depot (P.S. you could also spray paint your old ones 🙂

6. Add in a whimsical door mat For me the door mat is a place to have fun and further cement your design style. They are cheap and easy to change out, so go a little crazy. Mine is bright green with a bicycle print on it from Target.

Door mat= $7

Well there you have it. 6 budget friendly ideas to improve your front door’s curb appeal that you could easily tackle this weekend. And just for fun here is a bonus:

7. Remove stuff Too many things around the door will just make it feel cluttered so remove shoes, hoses, toys, or watering cans that may be lying around. Those of you who follow my blog regularly may also notice that we removed the glass storm door. Not only did this dramatically increase the visual appeal of the door from the street but it also improved the functionality of the steps. Narrow top steps and storm doors that open out don’t work well together. Finally, remove all the dirt. Wash the windows and power wash the steps and concrete.

Here’s a quick reminder of what the front door used to look like (this is after we replaced the pediment but before we did anything else). front door curp apeal before and after Linked up with:

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A new idea for old windows

I’ve been teasing all of you about a new outdoor upcycle project for a while, and I am so excited it is finally done! It was actually a really easy project to do, we’ve just been extra busy lately! Well without further ado here it is:

what to do with old windows Let’s take a quick step back and I’ll tell you how this project came into fruition.  I had two problems that had been plaguing me:

  1. I had two old windows from our kitchen just sitting on the patio begging for a new life.
  2. The view into our back yard is ugly! There are no gardens and because we have plans to gut the whole area and put in a pool (in like 3 years) we don’t want to waste the time or money to install any.

Here’s the view from our screened in porch.

backyard before I was stumped with what to do with this space until I saw this pin! All of my problems seemed suddenly solved. I had a purpose for my old windows and a way to add color and dimension to our old shed,  I was lazy and didn’t take pictures of the whole process but basically we built a box out of cedar and attached it to the front of the windows.

hanging window boxes We drilled hooks into the overhang on the shed and hung the windows with chain. The chain is simply attached to the window with a screw.

faux windows And here is a window going up.

window boxes OK, you caught me. I really just wanted to show off my hot hubby. But you have to admit that the new (old) faux windows really jazz up the old shed.

how to make window boxes If you want my secret for making window boxes look lush and full right away check out this post.

flowers in window boxes And look how much the view from the porch has improved!

faux windows If you want more window box inspiration don’t miss my 17 dreamy window boxes you can easily create yourself and my trick to getting gorgeous window boxes.

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17 dreamy window boxes you can easily create yourself

I’ve mentioned Hometalk before but if it’s new to you: imagine Pinterest, but only for Home and Garden related posts and you can directly ask the creator questions about their project! Sounds like a dream come true doesn’t it? You should definitely drop everything you are doing and check it out right now! Make sure to follow me while you are there! After spotting my tricks to gorgeous window boxes; the Hometalk Gods asked if I would curate an entire clipboard of window box inspiration. Of course I said yes! Those of you who were around last year may remember that I also curated a DIY console table board featuring my Greek Key TV console.  This was actually a really timely request because that outdoor upcycle project I’ve been hinting at incorporates a window box (check back Thursday for the reveal!)

Just click the image below to see all 17 dreamy window boxes that will definitely inspire you!

inspiration for window boxes After you’re done looking at all the DIY porn on the site come back and let me know what you think of Hometalk!

How new windows made me not hate my vinyl siding

It’s not a secret that I don’t particularly like the curb appeal that our house is currently harnessing. We started to improve it in the fall by painting the shutters and trim, adding a pediment above the door, giving the mailbox a makeover, and replanting the front gardens. Unfortunately, it was soon winter and all our progress came to a screeching halt. Which means I’ve been driving up to a house for months now and thinking how much I hate the siding, the roof, the front door, and most of all the windows! Our windows were the original single paned wood windows the house was built with and to add insult to injury they had these terrible brown metal storm shutters over them. Even if I could figure out how to work the storm shutters (never did) most of the windows were painted shut anyways, so besides the aesthetic reasons for replacing them there was also efficiency and safety concerns. exterior progress Now let me drop a bombshell on you: we actually hired this project out!

I think it’s actually the first time we’ve ever hired a professional to work on our house. Cody installed all the windows on our first house, but there were a couple of really important reasons we called a professional this time:

  1. The second story is really high. Like dangerously high.
  2. This is our forever home, so things like lifetime warranties start to seem worth it.
  3. We wanted all the wood trim to be vinyl wrapped and we don’t know how to do that.
  4. Most importantly: We didn’t feel like doing it.

After asking literally every person we know, and some we don’t about their experiences with replacement windows, Window World won hands down.

Window world The sales guy came out and gave us a free quote and measured our windows. We already knew what we wanted to it was pretty painless. In the end the 11 windows on the front of our house cost us $4400. That included the 2 extra large picture windows, the UV upgrade, all the vinyl wrapping, the grids upgrade, and fixing some rotted trim and window sill.

It took about 2 weeks for the windows to come in after they were ordered and only about 2 1/2 hours to get them all installed. Except for the first 30 minutes of hammering out the old windows, I barley even knew the installation team was there. And  I was actually shocked how much better our house looked when they were all done!

white vinyl windows colonial We choose to add the grids into the windows which cost us $300 extra, but they’re pretty standard colonial fair and we wanted to  stay true the style. The biggest change we made was choosing clear picture windows for the center of the bays which makes a huge difference in visibility from inside looking out.

bay window on colonial My favorite thing about the whole project though is the vinyl wrap. Not only is it maintenance free, but it so clean and pretty. This section on our bay was completely rotted out before. Wouldn’t know that now. Also I love how the white trim and windows helps tie the whole house together with the white pediment and crown molding. It’s almost as if we planned it that way…….

vinyal trim wrap white And in case you’ve forgotten where we started 6 months ago here is a reminder:

exterior before And here we are now:

white vinyl windows colonial Oh, and back to my original title of this post. I HATE vinyl siding. In fact, I can’t wait to get rid of ours. Unfortunately, it’s in really good shape so it has to wait. I hated our siding even more because it was this yellowy beige.  My neighbors all had a much nicer tan beige, but not me. Then something miraculous happened when they replaced all the windows.  Without all the brown, the siding lost it’s yellowish hue. Nothing is going to make me love this siding, but I’m pleasantly surprised to find myself now tolerating it.

Next up on the curb appeal radar is a mini makeover for the front door and finally sprucing up those front gardens.  Just waiting on the warm weather.  Still waiting…….