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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Deck Makeover

Last summer our focus was on the front of the house. We figured that we had ignored the outside for long enough, and that our neighbors would appreciate us improving the curb appeal a bit. So we slaved and toiled all summer long, and into the fall to take the front of our house from drab to fab. All of our efforts paid off, when we ended up with the front looking like this:

But the back of the house received zero attention. :-) We've tried really hard to balance out our life with our renovations, and not allow them to take over completely. With that in mind, last summer we decided to only work on the front. Which meant that the back of the house still looked like this:

Not quite as pleasant, right? So this summer we thought we would tackle at least part of this mess in the back, and at the same time spruce up a fun little deck area that we could enjoy throughout the summer. My other two goals were to mostly tackle projects I could do myself, and to not spend huge amounts of money or time by changing anything. We would simply work with what we had, using paint, new light fixtures and simple accessories to make everything liveable. And here's what we accomplished:

Quite a difference, right? I need to mention here that we ignored the left side of the house entirely. Its time will come, but we need to kill some weeds, get rid of some garbage and take out some planters before we can even think of "sprucing up." So this is two thirds of the back fixed up. :-) We continued with the yellow and green color scheme we started with in the front, and then added in some fun shots of red, blue and colored glass to make it very festive.  As you can see, the difference is drastic.

Painting all of the exposed wood, and caring for the neglected deck wood really changed the overall look. For all of the wood that I painted, I simply sprayed off any dirt, then followed with a coat of Kilz primer, and finally with outdoor paint. I love how sunny and warm the yellow is, with the bright pops of green. Caring for the wood of the deck floor was a little more tedious. It took me several hours to sand it all smooth, then I sprayed a deck cleaning solution on, and scrubbed that off. Finally, after everything was clean and dry, we spent a Saturday afternoon applying an outdoor deck stain to the freshly scrubbed boards.

The color is super similar to the concrete paint color we used on the front porch floor. Although not intended, I love that there is such a continuity from front to back now. The other thing that made a huge difference was painting the storm door that leads into the house and swapping out the old handle for a new black one. It's just a simple plastic door, so it looks much better painted.

The deck isn't large, just 10x11 feet, so there was just enough room to add two chairs by the door, and a table and chairs on the opposite side. We made the table from a table base found on Craigslist, and an old cabinet door screwed on as a top. Eventually, I'd like to make a nicer top, but for now, covered with a red and white gingham cloth, it looks sweet and allows us to eat out here in the summertime.

See how rich the wood looks now? And it is splinter free, which encourages bare feet. :-)

The plants, other than the silk poppies on the table, are mostly clearance finds at the garden centers. Next year I hope to grow some healthy geraniums and petunias to fill up all the pots, but for now, these bargain babies provide some much needed splashes of color.

These last ones, the red petunias, are my favorites. We found the little red pails at Target for $1.00 a piece, and I filled them with a six pack of red petunias from Walmart. They are the perfect scale for the corners of the deep windowsills, and they make me smile every time I see them.

I ordered a new light from Overstock for the funky pole in the middle of the deck. The halogen spotlight that was previously there was broken, and had way too much wattage for the small area. This little wall mount lantern was a much better fit. We purchased a decorative halogen bulb at Lowes for inside, and I love how it looks through the glass of the light.

The aqua colored votive holders on either side were clearanced out to $2.57 at Pier 1. I used some floral wire to string them from the ironwork above, and they are so pretty with the sun shining through them, or with tealights inside at night.

I wanted this area to be slightly reminiscent of the balconies in Spain, so I hunted down some pretty plates to hang on the wall, as they so often do there. Beneath them are some colored glass jars and bottles I thought were cool, and a metal smiling sunflower from Christmas Tree Shops.

Lover also made up a bunch of glass tiki torches. We simply collected some little bottles we liked, and filled them with tiki fluid. The wick is a length of sisal rope, threaded through a hole made in a bottle cap. Once the sisal is saturated, these torches burn super clean and work wonders at keeping the bugs away from the deck. The green torches below were made from cooking wine bottles, and we repurposed their tops to hold the "wick" in place.

We also painted the front of the entryway, and it looks tons better. I'm slowly building up a pretty flower garden for this planter, and already it looks tons better than it did before. My beautiful morning glories from last year naturalized, and I love how they look climbing up either side of the window.

So that's how we transformed our less then stellar deck into a fun, relaxing retreat. I can't decide if my favorite part is the yellow wall color, the happy red geraniums or those cool plates on the wall. What about you?

Linked to Sunday Showcase @ By Stephanie Lynn, Metamorphosis Monday @ BNOTP, DIY Parade @ DIY Showoff


Sarah August 22, 2010 at 3:18 PM  

It looks great! You worked really hard and it totally paid off! Your color choices are fantastic and I'm loving the tiki torches! Great idea!

Mandy's Creative Corner August 22, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

Thanks for following! I'm following back =) I just {LOVE} the beautiful changes you made to your backyard, it's my dream porch!!!

Becky August 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

Your work has turned out splendidly...it is absolutely beautiful!!! That house color is so warm and rich especially with your beautiful plants and accent plants...looks like a Tuscan resort area!!! Applause!!!

Sara P. August 23, 2010 at 2:32 AM  

Beautiful job!!!!!! I would love for you to give me some ideas for our mammoth deck. You know I do not have the decorating knack:)

marlis August 23, 2010 at 5:22 AM  

Your deck is so charming now! I love how you changed the look so completely and yet didn't do a major reno. You have every reason to be very proud.

Jenna August 23, 2010 at 8:24 AM  

Wow, wow, wow. I'm blown away by how much work you guys have put into your place. I love the plates on the wall--beautiful! And the table set with the red poppies . . . mmmm! It makes me want to take a seat.
Oh, and I love the simplicity of this new template, too. Nice. =)

Jane F @ Atticmag August 23, 2010 at 8:45 AM  

You've made so many wonderful changes to your house. I know how long and time-consuming that process can be. But I hope it feels great -- it certainly looks that way.

News! On Friday we're starting a link-up-your-giveaway party (and we'll announce an amazing giveaway). Please join us at http://www.atticmag.com

Jane F

jen August 23, 2010 at 9:39 AM  

what an amazing transformation!! it looks great!

Roeshel August 23, 2010 at 1:09 PM  

Whoa! It looks amazing! What a gorgeous retreat - love the 'vacation' feel it has and all of your details are awesome. Love the bottle tikis and pops of color. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work in the DIY Project Parade! ;)

jen August 23, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

oh…and those tiki bottles…great idea!! I think I'll make some :)

Kim@NewlyWoodwards August 27, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

This looks so amazing. Very Tuscan. So warm. The deck is an amazing transformation. Since we stained our deck, I'll never undervalue the difference stain/paint can make on wood. And, I also love all the flowers, and the light fixture. And, the storm door is such a great pop of color.

Okay, I love it all. Great job!

Stephanie Lynn August 28, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

Jenny I love your deck makeover - so bright and fun! All the added touches make it such a special space. Fantastic job! I have featured this today - stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you are enjoying your weekend! Thanks for linking to The Sunday Showcase. ~ Stephanie Lynn


emily @ thirtyeight20 August 31, 2010 at 9:40 AM  

What a difference! Wonderful job! I know I would definitely feel proud of those results of all that hard work. (It's amazing how much work can go into one small space...) Well worth it!

Jennifer September 1, 2010 at 4:47 AM  

Stephanie Lynn, Wow, thank you SO much for the feature! It is my first ever, and you bet I will be grabbing that button! :-) Have a wonderful day!

Vanessa August 22, 2013 at 5:07 AM  

Good morning! This post of yours is a God send. I have been attempting the wine bottle tiki torches as seen on another site. The ones depicted there are clamped and suspended with a 6 foot extension rod from fence posts. We are trying to line our back fence with them. The components used by this man are relatively simple (or so I thought). I cannot find anything anywhere! I have been to over 7 home improvement or specialty stores and I am still missing many parts. This post of yours saved my project, my sanity, and quite possibly my marriage (those specialty shops can be expensive). Thank you! :) Just a quick question- the sisal rope doesn't need to be prepared with anything before hand? And was it just plain rope purchased from, say a Home Depot? Thanks!

Jennifer August 22, 2013 at 7:12 AM  

Vanessa, I can't remember the exact rope we used (this was a while ago!) but if I recall a cotton rope worked best. You can also order/find chunky wicks at places that sell those bamboo tiki torches and those worked well also. the main thing was just to make sure that the opening was small enough to only let the wick through, and not let the rain in. We left ours out over a summer and they got a little watered down from the rain - and therefore didnt burn as well.

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