We had two rocking chairs on either side of that bookcase, and a little
plant stand table on either side. See? Not much to it. So here's the work in progress:
My mom and dad were so awesome and came down to help me wash and stain. My dad power washed the deck and the back of the house, and did most of the staining. I helped a bit too, since I had had some practice on Saturday mornings back in high school. :)
What a huge difference already! Just staining the wood made it look much richer, and much cleaner.
We hung some antique windows to kind of create a "wall" or a barrier, without actually screening it in or using curtains. I love that it still is open and feels breezy, but added a decorative element.
I knew I wanted a big bench or sofa-type of seating, so you could really kick back, the kids would feel comfortable, and it would be a very casual and cozy feel. I saw this idea on pinterest (that has now been repinned 635 times!) and knew that's what I wanted. My dad, being the amazing woodworker he is, made the beautiful benches for me for my birthday!
He had made Scott this amazing bar/grilling station last year for his birthday, so we were well on our way to furnishing the space with beautiful handmade pieces.
So now I had the perfect blank slate to begin bringing in color and personality and bits of ourselves to the space to really make it feel like ours.
Since the benches were wooden and backless, we needed cushions and pillows. And I wanted LOTS of them. Like move them out of the way to sit down there are so many of them. And I didn't want to stick to a particular color scheme other than every color. I wanted big, bold, pattern, solid, vintage, modern, boho, traditional, and everything in between. So, I started on the hunt for my pillows.
I didn't pay more than $15 for any one pillow, and paid far less for most of them! Luckily, I already had a ton of inserts so I bought a lot of discounted home decor fabric, and made over half of them myself. A few were added from TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, and Anthropologie (a huge Euro Sham that was on sale for $15, and I used the insert off our bed!), and the pillows were complete. But I still needed cushions, which I was afraid I was going to have to make. Turns out, though, that the benches are the exact dimensions of a chaise lounge, so I found some chaise lounge cushions on overstock.com for an amazing deal right before Memorial Day, and in a nice neutral sand shade, they were perfect! To offset all the pattern from the pillows, I wanted a very bold, graphic striped rug. I SEARCHED up and down the internet, and finally found a great outdoor rug again, from overstock.com. Once I laid it out, the room started to come together, and I was totally falling in love.
Our perfect outdoor family gathering space!
I love how the colors ended up all working together so well, and with a few DIY projects, I was able to interject our personality and family heritage into the decor. I had considered changing out the fan for a fun light fixture or chandelier, but for as hot as it gets during a Georgia summer even in the evenings, I couldn't bear to get rid of the ceiling fan!
Our backdoor need a new paint job due to the normal wear and tear, but I wasn't sold on just touching up the white paint. I used it as an opportunity to bring in some more color, so 'sunflower" it was!
And I was so happy to update the accessories on the bar. I actually shopped my house for most of it, and everything on the top. The wire basket and twine wrapped wine bottles weren't being used anywhere else, and I have started collecting 5's in addition to my L collection, since we now have 5 members in our family. So I hooked it right onto the wooden basket. The white wire ferris wheel is actually the cupcake holder from Brantley and Grayson's Carnival Birthday Party a few weeks ago (which I was actually pretty sure I would never use again!), the red bunting is also leftover decor from their party we had the bottles but weren't using them, and I spray painted the vase blue (it had been red in a previous life) to add another jolt of color.
Underneath, I retired the old and worn basket that had been there holding charcoal and wood for the grill, and actually replaced it with a wicker laundry hamper for one reason...it had a lid! We still need a good place to store grill things that are very functional, but not so pretty. So a laundry hamper is perfect, and could hold all the charcoal we need, but can be covered up to keep it all neat and tidy!
And I loved these wooden crates I found at TJ Maxx with the chalkboard sides. On the shelves of the bar, one box holds toys and bubbles, sprinkler attachments, jump ropes, etc., and the other one contains outdoor tools like lighter fluid, Scott's grill tools, and other items that we use outside like sunscreen, bug spray, and baby wipes.
One of my favorite DIY projects was the "Gather" sign over the center window on the deck (which is actually the window into the girls' bedroom!). I bought a 2x6 from Home Depot, and had them cut it to 3 feet for me. I stained it the same color as the deck (we had plenty of leftover stain) and let it dry. Once it was good and dry, I measured and traced the letters (I used picmonkey.com to design it, and then just traced the letters onto white paper off my computer), and used this method to transfer the letters onto the wood. I placed the white aper with the traced letters right on top of the wood in the correct places I wanted them. I went over each letter again, baring down pretty hard, and making sure that I was creating indentions in the wood along the outline of each letter. Once I got the word spelled out, and each letter was nicely copied onto the wood, I got out a small paint brush and white acrylic craft paint, and painted in each letter. And that was it! Very simple, and rustic and exactly what I wanted to go over that window.
I gave this clock to Scott on our first wedding anniversary, and it has "Luton Family Est. 2006" engraved on it. I gave it a fresh coat of paint, and I love it in the corner.
Underneath the clock I have one of the kids' play tables, with a basket of my homemade and family heirloom quilts and blankets, perfect for cuddling on the benches, or for an impromptu picnic. Underneath the table is a nice, big galvanized bucket where we all keep a pair of flip flops, or play shoes so we don't track in dirt or mud into the house! The table also doubles as a kids dinner table if we decide to dine al fresco on nice summer evenings!
I loved the "Gather" sign, but this is my favorite corner of the whole thing.
I knew I wanted to string hanging lights over the windows, and found these perfect mercury globe lights at Kroger (of all places) and grabbed them on a random weekday grocery trip!
This is the corner of the deck where the grill used to sit! We decided to keep the grill off the deck to afford us more room and seating space, and (more importantly) to keep it looking pretty! We created a cute little grilling station in the yard, though, so we can still grill in the backyard.
I found the chair in our basement, and spray painted it a grassy green. We used a few plant stands, and added some pretty flowers to the corner for a bit of nature onto the deck.
I knew we were going to need a coffee table of sorts, but, of course, wanted to keep to cost down. I bought one of these half-whisky barrel planters from Home Depot for $35, and turned it upside down for the perfect little table for appetizers or holding cocktails! I had thought about adding a glass top to it, but I was too afraid of it breaking with the kids, plus the maintenance of having to keep a glass tablecloth clean was reason enough to pass. I like it flipped upside down just fine, especially with our cute little wicker tray on top!
I also snatched up that cute little white bench by the bar, from an antique store near our favorite park in Loganville. I thought it could kind of multitask; if we needed extra seating, people could sit on it. If we needed it as a side table for resting your drink, we could use it for that. Right now, I love how it looks holding the sweet burlap pillow my mom got us with our wedding date stenciled on it!
So, thanks a lot for scrolling through the four million pictures, and I hope you like our new deck! I am really proud, and am so, so happy with how bright and cozy it is. I know we'll enjoy it so much more now, as it really is a comfortable place for us all to gather and enjoy each other's company in the beauty of our Georgia backyard. Here's to many a cocktail on the new back deck!