Posts Tagged ‘patio’

Outdoor Kitchen Part One

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Posted by Rebecca, May 7th, 2013

This weekend, we finally got started on building the outdoor kitchen we’ve been dreaming of for 3 years.

patio with grill

When we planned out our wood plank stamped concrete patio, we knew that we wanted to add a caddy cornered type of built-in grill. My brother and sister-in-law built their own grill and bar area when they moved into their house about 5 years ago and used BBQ Coach. They sell grill frames, complete with plans, instructions and videos. You basically choose the shape you want, along with how many appliance cut outs, and they send you the parts. When we were ready to pour our patio 2 years ago, we went on the site and chose the New Yorker BBQ Island. With the measurements in hand, we decided how large to make the one curve of our patio.

new yorker island measurements

(via BBQ Coach)

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We assembled the frame this weekend, so we finally got to see how it was all going to work out!

I don’t have many pictures or much info to share at this point, but I figured I’d try to keep the progress up to date…And avoid a giant, overwhelming (mostly for me) “after” post. I admittedly did zero work on this, since I was with Easton all weekend while Mike and our friend Steve worked away. Steve’s sister is married to Mike’s brother so he’s kind of related and was more than willing and excited to help us out.

They spent the whole weekend just getting the frame up due to confusing directions and a whole lot of parts.

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The frame was 3 rectangular pieces, connected by two 45 degree angles.

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The good thing was that a) whenever Mike had a question he could ask my brother, who had built one of these in a different shape a few years ago and b) BBQ Coach responded so quickly to Mike’s emails that it was practically real-time support.

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This is where we stand at the moment.

island frame

We finally brought out our patio furniture and though the island looks huge, it really works well with the size of the patio. I’ll have to take an aerial shot from Easton’s room one of these days, but we even have room to keep space behind the grill to add some bar stools. We could have done without that element, but we wanted it to feel nice and cozy out there.

Up next we have to decide how thick of a counter top we’re adding to finish out the frame. We want to do a concrete one and bought the thicker steel to support it. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make one, or my concern, how to actually get it up on the frame since it’s going to be so heavy.

Then it’s adding concrete board, stone to the bottom, a backsplash and appliances. Who tackles a giant project two weeks before hosting a large first birthday party and having out of town guests? We do. I accepted a while ago that we are not logical thinkers. I just roll with it now.

Big Blue

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Posted by Rebecca, June 27th, 2011

Our umbrella has arrived! Okay we’ve had it since last week, but we needed a base for it. We checked Target during one of our many visits there and they had nothing. In fact, most of their outdoor area is already on clearance and it’s not even July 4th yet! On Saturday we made a spontaneous trip to the Crate & Barrel outlet and were lucky enough to find an umbrella base there, among other things. That place was magical on Saturday. Anywho, back to that umbrella!

It’s definitely larger and prettier than I imagined. The patio just feels so classy now πŸ™‚

The blue breaks up all of the brown we have going on with the stained stairs.

The umbrella base we found worked out perfectly. I really wasn’t going to be picky about a base, since no one is going to see it and it will mostly be kicked, but I love the one we found. Most of the others I saw in my brief search were black and had a wrought iron type of design.

In complete Pottery Barn fashion, the umbrella opens by a rope and pulley system rather than a crank thing. I still have yet to figure out what to do with the rope when the umbrella is fully extended, so for now I’ve just been wrapping it around one of the metal parts. I’ll have to check the PB images to see what they do.

All of the inner parts of the umbrella are wood, which is probably my favorite part. I’m looking forward to hanging some laterns all up in there πŸ™‚

Thank you reward points for a free umbrella! Okay I guess we technically paid for it, the least Pottery Barn could do was throw in an umbrella with our patio furniture purchase. Nothing is really free, right?

The backyard is slowly coming along. Last weekend Mike seeded the freshly cleared part of our backyard, but nothing has grown yet πŸ™

That green stuff you see around the sprinkler? Weeds. Why is it that they always grow and grass doesn’t?

I picked up some $4 planters at the Crate & Barrel outlet, but other than that, we don’t have much else planned for the patio at the moment. Summer is quickly running away from us and we have so many weekend commitments that I’m not sure how many patio projects we can fit in. It looks like our built-in grill plans will actually be pushed back to next year. My bank account is very thankful πŸ™‚

Having It All Together

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Posted by Rebecca, May 31st, 2011

Can I tell you how much I love three day weekends? That extra day is like gold. Five days on with two days off every week just isn’t enough. Someone needs to make 4 day work weeks πŸ™‚

Friday after work we finally got around to putting together some of our patio furniture, but we didn’t get to the table before it got dark. So first we had phantom table…

The chairs were super easy to put together since we only had to screw on the arms. Each chair came in 4 pieces with the back piece, the seat and the 2 arms. The back legs were attached to the back piece and the front legs were a part of the arms. I took some pictures of the process but apparently my memory card wasn’t in the camera properly. But it was pretty simple, thank you Pottery Barn!

The table weighed 135 pounds in the box, so the hardest part was getting the thing to the patio with just the two of us. That didn’t happen. We opened the box in the driveway. I couldn’t push that thing for the life of me. Thankfully, the assembly was even easier than the chairs since we just had to screw the legs on that guy. But we finished putting the table together and seriously 2 minutes later a torrential sun shower came down on us.

Yes, we waited this long to a) find furniture b) get furniture and c) assemble furniture and this is what happens to us?? We were scurrying around trying to get the giant boxes out of the rain and trying to cover my precious new table. My hair was so wet that it looked like I had just taken a shower, but it was in the 90s all weekend so it felt wonderful πŸ™‚ Our table adventures had to wait yet another day.

Thankfully, the rest of the weekend was dry and we could finally enjoy our new patio and furniture!!

We’ve had this giant free-standing umbrella for a few years now. When my brother and sister-in-law bought their patio furniture, they ended up not needing this umbrella and generously gave it to us for when we had a patio. I honestly had no clue what it even looked like until this weekend, but it works very nicely πŸ™‚ Plus it adds some shade until we get a table umbrella.

We’re planning on moving that big umbrella (temporarily anchored with the concrete things from our downspouts) to behind the adirondack chairs we got from Lowe’s last year. Since I handed Pottery Barn my arm and a leg for our table and chairs, we decided to live without a loungey area and to just spruce up the plastic chairs with some new pillows from the ‘Barn.

Once we get our reward points from our Pottery Barn credit card, we are planning on buying an umbrella in this color blue for the table πŸ™‚ Hopefully soon!

We are also very happy that we will have plenty of space for everything we want to do on our patio. It is very hard to visualize these things until you actually put some furniture on it for perspective. Thankfully we planned well (remember our early paint sketches?)

We have 6 chairs and a bench, but I am rather partial to the bench with the two extra chairs hanging around until the table needs to be extended πŸ™‚

We’re also super excited to report that tomorrow we are having our dead trees and brush removed! See those dead messes up there?

Totally messing with the backyard view. I previously mentioned that we were only going to remove the brush this year and would wait to cut down the dead trees next year to save some dough. But then we learned that a) the price wasn’t as much as I thought I heard and b) if we make the guy come back next year he may charge us more since it makes more sense to get it done in one shot. So we decided it was best to cut down those dead trees now instead of later. I cannot wait to see what it looks like all cleaned up! (We’re keeping the big, healthy trees of course!)

On a slightly unrelated note, we picked up this cooler from Target before we had some family over on Sunday. I liked this one because the handle was positioned more like luggage than the others they had that rolled like a wagon.

More than 48 hours later, in 90 degree weather, with the lid slightly open since yesterday, THIS COOLER STILL HAS ICE IN IT.

It’s kind of like how we just threw away a loaf of bread that was weeks old, but had no mold on it. Or how milk takes weeks to smell these days. How on earth did this ice not melt??? This cooler is some sort of miracle of science….

Something about our patio makes this place feel like home. It is so peaceful and relaxing out there, and we’ve only just begun with our laundry list of plans for the space. It feels good to be ours πŸ™‚

Outdoor To-Do List

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Posted by Rebecca, May 25th, 2011

The weather is still playing mind games with us. There has been a chance of thunderstorms nearly every day this week, which makes it difficult to plan to do anything outside. We have a bunch of projects we want to do, large and small, so I wrote them all down. Since it’s a 3 day weekend (YAY!!!) I figure one of those days has to be nice, or at least portions of those days and the list will save some of the time we normally spend trying to remember what we wanted to do. Here it is, in no particular order. We’ll call it the Spring/Summer 2011 Outdoor To-Do List, because I am in such a creative mood πŸ™‚

1. Paint garage doors

In a perfect world, I would love to have some craftsman style dark wood doors with square windows at the top. But for now we’ll settle for just painting them the same brown as our shutters and front door. Maybe someday we’ll look into replacing the top panels with some square glass windows.

2. Have brush cleared

This one should be coming very soon, since we already have someone to do it and he said it would be a couple of weeks before they could start. We actually have a decent chunk of land, but the builder didn’t clear all of the logs and sticker bushes and random stuff back there. So we’re having the brush removed and of course, keeping the large trees. Should make for an awesome treehouse someday πŸ™‚ and I’m super anxious to see what our lot actually looks like in its full glory.

3. Stain backyard stairs

We plan to stain these stairs a dark color to compliment the furniture we bought and to bring out the awesome darkness we have going on in the “grain” of our concrete.

It’s funny because from a distance, the patio looks lighter than we wanted. We knew we could always stain it darker so we weren’t that concerned, but on Saturday when we finally stood on it, we saw where those 2 coats of sealer went. And I love it. It looks so realistic and has so much character now πŸ™‚

4. Add mulch & river rock to garden beds

We need to freshen up our mulch a little and we want to define some edges with river rock.

5. Landscape around patio/walkway

We already planted a lonely hydrangea by the walkway, but we want to make this whole area an inviting garden that will hide the hose, air conditioning units and the awkward outside part of the fireplace.

By the patio, we’ve been saving any extra dirt (or rather, frozen peanut butter type clay) to fill in where the patio drops to make some raised garden beds there.

6. Replace dead plants in front (halfway done!)

These flat things aren’t dead, but I hate them. I’ve been itching to dig them up. I want something with more height to cover the bottom of the garage. So they’re getting kicked to the curb (literally)! Does anyone in the area want them? I’d like to see them find a good home πŸ™‚

ps- that picture is from a few weeks ago and our grass is nice and green now

7. Install storm door

This picture is from the fall, but I thought I had another one on my memory card and I don’t… and it’s already dark out. But sadly, we want to install a storm door. I say sadly because I know it’s not going to be pretty for the curb appeal and ideally I wouldn’t want one. But we get such an awesome breeze through that front door and on nights like tonight when it’s 83 degrees inside and 75 outside? We could really use it. One of our requirements is to get a brown one with the lowest profile possible, so it won’t look as bad.

8. Pick up that damn pile of wood

I know you guys are probably sick of looking at this mess in our backyard. Believe me, we are too. But we know how time consuming it will be to return it to its former glory, hence the procrastination.

9. Build outdoor kitchen area

I wrote about our plans here. It may happen this year, it may not. We’re going to play the wait and see game.

10. Seed backyard

Pre-patio picture from the last weekend in April, but our grass back there isn’t looking so hot. Especially compared to our neighbors on either side, whose grass is much fuller in the back. We waited to reseed because we want to throw some seed back where the brush is going to be cleared.

11. Add planters and find a bench for the porch

These chairs were always a temporary porch solution and will be relocated to the patio for this year. I’ve been on the lookout for a character filled bench since we moved in. Maybe this year I’ll get lucky? I also want to plant some flowers in some pots we already have.

And because I like to cross things out and this was actually on my handwritten list….

13. Buy patio furniture (done!)

But I should probably change this to “Put patio furniture together” because that hasn’t happened yet πŸ™

Now that I think about it, I should probably make an indoor to-do list incase of inclement weather. Though I’m pretty sure that would just say “paint entryway” 10 times πŸ™‚

The End of an Era

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Posted by Rebecca, May 16th, 2011

First, thanks to all of you who gave me the heads up about the Pottery Barn coupon that was making the email rounds today.

Second, I did get one, but the coupon was too late πŸ™‚

On Friday after work, Mike and I hustled our rears to Pottery Barn and bought theΒ Chesapeake dining set. Yes after months and months of searching (which you can read aboutΒ here,Β here andΒ here if you’re bored), we finally took the plunge. And what a completely random plunge it was, considering my entire dining room is furnished with things from Ikea and Target.

I’m not mad about the coupon, because we weighed our options before we decided to go buy it in person. I priced out purchasing online and realized that with the high shipping costs (even with the current promotion), it was best to order it in store. We know it was expensive and kinda blew our budget. I say kinda because technically we stayed in budget, we just got half of the furniture we planned πŸ™‚ So we don’t get a loungey area this year, but that’s okay since we’re completely in love with the set we ended up with.

The floral cushions on the stock images are killing me, so I gave you the plain ol’ view.

So what made us find this set on a Wednesday and buy it on Friday when I’ve been agonizing for weeks/months? Well here’s a list! Some of which are listed in my previous post, but hey, I like justifying expensive purchases πŸ™‚

1. We love it, which we could only say about the uber expensive Ventura set from Crate and Barrel before this guy came around.

2. It is still a fraction of the cost of the astronomically priced (have I mentioned that before?) Ventura set, and we actually like this set more.

3. It is solid wood and can be sanded and refinished rather than having a cheap set get crummy or go out of style in several years.

4. The table extends to 104 inches long and the extensions are stored underneath the table. Plus the chairs stack for storage.Β We realize that even with just either of our immediate families, we need more than 6 seats. Why buy a nice table if we always have to stick a folding table at the end?

5. We can add to this over time and mix and match other pieces of differing styles. I was having a hard time thinking of what I could add to the wicker sets I was previously eyeing. Plus doing this makes it a little more budget friendly.

6. I think this style better suits the patio, but I had to see the patio done first to realize this one.

7. I just finished 2 graduate classes with 101 average in one and a 99.6 in the other. Work hard, play harder πŸ™‚

8. My twitter friends said I should buy it.

9. We want to sit on the patio this summer, and we’re not getting any younger here.

10. I nearly died this past week, please refer to number 7.

We also picked up a bench to use when the table is extended, rather than picking up extra chairs. We figure we can also use the bench as extra loungey seating, plus I’ve always wanted a table with a bench!

The only “extra” we purchased was 2 of these throw pillows which were 20% off.

I’ve wanted wide striped pillows for ages and I figured I’d make my own, but for around $20 for these pretty large pillows I figured I couldn’t do much cheaper. Oh and I haven’t used my sewing machine yet, so actually making them may not have happened this summer. Β I plan on sticking these on some plastic adirondack chairs we already have to make them look a little nicer until we can do better. We didn’t pick up any of the chair cushions that went with the table or anything because a) I don’t know if we want them and b) I can get them cheaper elsewhere. We started with the bare minimum for now.

We opened a Pottery Barn credit card to receive 10% back in reward points. With the money we’ll be getting back, we’re thinking of buying a fresca blue square umbrella.

It’s amazing, I thought I wanted such a bright and fun backyard but once it started to come together, it just wasn’t screaming bright fiesta. I guess sometimes you can’t plan these things out no matter how much you think you have your mind set!

So we justified, planned what to get and purchased it. Shockingly, the store had every single piece in stock. We have an SUV now, so no problem, right? Wrong. The table box was ginormous. So on Friday, we left with only 3 chairs and a bench.

We asked my parents to come down yesterday with my dad’s pickup and we were able to get the table and remaining 3 chairs. Thank goodness they followed us to Pottery Barn because only the table and 2 chairs fit in his pickup (he has a hard top on it) and we were able to take the final chair. I meant to take a picture of the boxy chaos, but I forgot.

I wish I had a set up after picture to show, but sadly, it rained all weekend and this is what the weather is looking like for the rest of the week.

Whooomp whoomp. Sunday is supposed to be clear so hopefully we can put our furniture together then. Supposedly we “just have to put the legs on” (Pottery Barn Employee, 2011). I hope you get what you pay for in the assembly department and we’re not battling an Ikea-esque purchase. Though I must say, Ikea has gotten way better the past 2-3 years. Anywho, the minute this thing is together I will be snapping pictures!

ps- I’m still recovering from this semester (see #7 and #10 above), so I know I’m way behind in housekeeping around here. I owe everyone an updated blog feed, I wasn’t getting email notifications when I received comments so I’ve been awful at responding to those, and I have 8 million projects left unfinished. I’m slowly easing my way back into blog loving, so bear with me πŸ™‚

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