Recently, I shared our refreshed deck area that was upgraded in partnership with Home Depot (head to their site for even more photos and project details!). I've been wanting to take a little more time to walk you through the space, and our process in approaching the project - and finally have this chance today!
Our deck is a big L-shape, accessed directly from sliding doors in our dining room. The doors are located to the left of the grill (above). Given the size of our house (less than 1,000 sq ft) and the fact that we're in the city, it's an extremely generous outdoor area and essentially doubles our common living space (!). In San Francisco, this is a rare treasure and we don't take it for granted. And yes, there are houses pretty close to us on both sides (welcome to the city :)). On the other side of the white curtains (above) is a new construction project, which is definitely changing our whole backyard experience quite a bit, but this won't stop us from enjoying the home God has given us!
Our living room is on the other side of these three windows, so as you can see, it's truly an extension of our living spaces! In the years we've lived here (almost six!), I've made the space somewhat usable in various ways, but it never quite felt permanent or finished. We tackled a mini-renovation last spring with the One Room Challenge, which really gave us a great foundation to begin with for this makeover, including painting the house exterior (soft white) and fence (matte black). We also added the amazing rattan sofa which continues to be a staple in this year's revamp. Many of the other pieces we used last year were borrowed from other rooms in the house and/or not really suited for long-term outdoor use.
Above you can see where the deck wraps around to the right. This little nook area gets the most sun, and I've always dreamt about some type of chaise lounge situation back there. We've had various pieces of furniture there over the years, but it never felt quite right. This is the only area you don't really see from the house, so unless there's something very compelling back there it tends to be "out of sight, out of mind." I knew we would be motivated to use a loungey-type set-up, and also loved how it would fill the space well, making the entire layout feel more intentional and finished.
As I gathered inspiration, these (below) were the images that really stuck with me. My initial plan, in order to keep things simple, was to go with something clean-lined, like these light blue lounges at Sara Ruffin Costello's gorgeous New Orleans home (below, left). But one day when I was looking through my inspiration again, the curved legs of the image on the right triggered a great idea! I remembered that I had some pieces of a salvaged bed frame that could very well be used as the legs for the lounge bed. I consulted with my friend who was going to help me build the thing (I can dream up pieces all day long, but my carpentry skills are lacking), and he confirmed it was a go! I shared the basic instructions here, but feel free to ask additional questions and I'll do my best to answer them!
With the large space, we needed to approach similar to the way you would decorate a long living room, by breaking it up into separate, distinct areas. After playing around with various furniture arrangements, I decided on one large seating area, combining the (freshly painted!) rattan sofa with the four chairs from Home Depot. This area is just a few steps from the sliding doors, and feels really welcoming as you step out onto the deck. The area rug is a big part of the cozy factor as it feels great on bare feet, and really grounds this furniture grouping.
Along with the second-hand sofa, I wanted to bring in a few additional pieces from different styles for an eclectic mix, full of subtle character. At the same time, my goal was really to keep the space fairly neutral (for me!) and relaxed. Although I'm a huge lover of color in general, I find that my favorite outdoor oasis spots are the calm ones -- keeping to a limited color palette, paring back on accessories or unnecessary elements, and just feeling restful to the eyes overall. With interiors, my eye easily gets bored and I like to use color/pattern/layers to keep things interesting, but I'm typically heading outdoors to rest and let nature do most of the talking. :)
This super cool lazy susan-style table was a thrift store score, and I love it! I really wanted some hits of white(-ish) out here, to contrast all the brown of the deck itself, and was thrilled to find this piece. The rotating surface - although a little quirky - turns out to be extremely convenient (as well as giving a two-year-old an opportunity to feel very strong as he rotated the table-top for us ;)).
Last year, one of my favorite additions to the deck was this grill cover (made by my sister!). I'm telling you, everyone with a grill should make this small investment! A few yards of outdoor fabric (I found mine in the clearance section of Jo-Ann's) and you've gone from industrial to pretty. Not that our new grill from HD isn't gorgeous, because it is…but on a daily basis, I like the soft touch this brings!
Here's a tip: use furniture in the way that works best for your home, your style, your family! I love the "coffee table" that came with the set of four chairs, but didn't want these five pieces to dictate the style story of this entire seating area. To break it up a bit - but still make good use of the great surface space - I quickly spray painted the table frame (in ice blue, to coordinate with some of the accessories), and used it as an end/corner table. I love a generous end table when space allows (inside or out!). It provides a great anchor which feels strong and purposeful, and the substantial surface space is always a welcome addition, for both decorative and practical use!
The light screens were rescued from a neglected pile of stuff on the floor, at a thrift store last year. They had a strange film on the inside of them, and were originally light rattan in color. I used them and loved them in the natural color last year, but after a wet winter they were in rough shape and presented the perfect opportunity to bring in more of this ice blue (and less brown :)). The little plaster plant ledge on the right was a last-minute thrifted find, and I LOVE the classic addition.
To help keep things light and bright feeling, I replaced the chairs' original back cushions with smaller lumbar pillows. The set actually came with lumbars (in addition to the full back cushions), so I essentially re-covered these, removing just a bit of the foam filler for a slimmer profile. We still use the larger back cushions for longer periods of sitting, but I love having the option for either!
I need to snap some nighttime photos for you, because these bistro lights are just fabulous. I'm sure you all are aware of how pretty they are, but let this serve as a reminder…they really are the simplest (and inexpensive!) way to add some magic to your outdoor space!
photos by Isaiah Beiser Photography
If you have considered investing in your home with the help of a designer, this is a great time to do it! I'm currently offering a promotion to benefit my church's upcoming mission trip to Monrovia, Liberia. These packages are deeply discounted and will be offered for a limited time. Also a fantastic gift idea! Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you!