Prep for Spring: My Patio Project

Spring is supposed to begin in a couple of days- it certainly doesn’t feel like it here.  It’s still flipping freezing and hope is waning in these parts.  But as the snow melts (and we pray we don’t get any more) I can start thinking about outdoor living again!!!  In the warmer months I spend as much time as humanely possible outside, it just makes me happier.  So when we bought our house I knew I HAD to get a patio installed sooner rather than later. Luckily, we did to get to design and install a fabulous one last summer thanks to the fine folks at Quikrete ,Pavestone  and Chris Miller Brick Paving.  If you are thinking of adding a patio or re-doing one at your home this spring I thought a little step by step may be helpful!
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We have a long narrow yard, but after living in the city for years it felt like a farm to us. 

1. Product arrives!  Yay!  Site preparation – level patio area and remove any tree roots, stumps, or anything you may find (there’s more on this whole process in my book because it was kind of hilarious/dramatic.)   The fun part of excavating any area new to you is you NEVER know what you might find!

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2. Lay down QUIKRETE HardScapes Base Sand and make it level so the pavers have a level surface to be placed.  Note: slope patio away from any structures for drainage. This protects your basement from water problems which we ALL want to avoid! You’ve seen Property Brothers- wet basements are a HUGE bummer.
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3. Place the pavers on the level surface. I used the Venetian Stone™ Combo 80mm in charcoal and in 4 different sizes to achieve a slightly more “natural stone” look.  The grey color is great and works nicely with the classic New England style of our house.

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4. The pattern, while seemingly random, needed to follow the design so it seemed random.  Follow your plans and the pattern plans to make sure the repeat looks it’s best!  It’s a OCD person’s dream to figure out and perfect this puzzle!

And Here We Go Again….

We have started the process of picking finishes and getting bids on our phase two renovation and addition on our house. This one is gonna be a DOOZY as it’s a big, expensive (to me) job but one that takes this house from being livable to truly functional and enjoyable for us.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my kitchen and new bathroom but having ONE full bathroom is NOT my idea of awesome. We plan to knock down our garage with it’s bizarre bedroom above (that you access through a teeny Hobbit sized half door) and rebuild a new garage with a master suite above, turning Andrew’s office into the master bathroom AND adding a mudroom, pantry and laundry room off the kitchen. HEAVEN!!!!

But back to the bathroom- I’ve started plotting and planning and am pretty sure I’ve nailed down the look I want. This is a SMALL master, and since we never take baths we’re opting for a big walk in shower instead of a tub/shower combo seeing as our current full bath/ soon to be guest bath has a tub if need be.  I am thinking this time I’ll go with brass.  I just love the richness and warmth and we already have a chrome/Cararra marble bath so why not mix it up a bit?

I have been madly in love with Walker Zanger’s Helsinki floor tile forever. And since it’s a small floor I am hoping I can afford to use this in there. It’s stunning. Pairing it with a grey vanity, white Caesarstone top (no more stains!) and two recessed sinks I think I’ll be a happy gal.  I looooooooove these Restoration brass rivet medicine cabinets, especially when paired with these Crate & Barrel sconces.

The shower will be simple with white beveled subway walls with white grout and white penny tile floor with darker grey grout (hides grime).  AHHHH, I’m getting so damn excited now!

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A close up of the plan….

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The Best Christmas Gift.

Christmas was lovely, but the most exciting gift? Plans my dad did for our new addition and exterior renovation!  Not sure when this will get underway, but it’s so awesome to get to visualize what we can do! A master suite, laundry room, pantry, mudroom and expanded entry! YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!  Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday!!!!

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Yard Crashers, EOS Style!

So, we’ve been here almost a full year (September 1) and we are finally getting down to redoing our little yard!  I love the privacy it gives us, the fun it provides our dogs and the size, which is just enough to not be a total pain in the ass to take care of.  But one thing it’s currently lacking is a PATIO!  I am someone who loves being outside- so having a space to hang out and entertain outdoors is super important to me in a home.  So we are going to maintain some grassy space for the pups and future EOS spawn while adding a fabulous new patio to the mix!

While bluestone would be lovely, it’s not in our budget.  So we decided to work with Pavestone and Quikrete on a patio project showcasing what you can do with a smaller budget and just as good looking materials that also happen to be durable and practical.  First we decided on a material- it was between these two forms- on the left is Venetian 80mm Combo and on the right is Vintage Stone Combo (as well as the Rumble Stone border we are embedding around the planting beds next to the house). Everything will be installed by Chris Miller Brick Paving.

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Both of these looked great, and I loved the grey color, but I ended up choosing the one on the left due to it’s larger size stones.  I thought it looked more like bluestone and it looked better when wet (something to think of when choosing- I sprayed them down and it made the choice easier for me!)  So, we have a material, now for the layout.

It was VERY important to Andrew that we be able to have 2 chaises for us to relax on- we do love lounging in the sun!  But we also needed a place for the grill, a dining space and I wanted an area for 4 chairs where we could sit with another couple and have drinks.  We also had to plan for our future garage/master suite/ laundry room renovation/ addition in which we tear down the garage and rebuild it larger and taller to accommodate all those spaces.  So the door from the mudroom/garage/ kitchen to the patio will change locations in a year- we had to make sure the patio was planned accordingly.  So here are the “before” pics- so bland and in need of help, my goodness:

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(notice the marks from me spray painting my nightstands?? Ooops.)

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Ugh! It’s so sad looking!  We need to jackhammer up all that pavement and grade the area (which happens to be quite lumpy and uneven) before we start the install.

So here’s my sketch including details we are also adding like a trellis above our back door, rose trellis’ to either side of the door and a mini deck and steps being built out of wood.  We actually decided against the built-in firepit and instead will just keep using our freestanding copper one to allow us to have more flexibility with the furniture layout.

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Pavestone did a KILLER video rendering of what the space will look like when completed!  We’re doing some different landscaping and furniture layout but you get the idea :)  It’s going to be time to call in my Mom for some serious landscaping advice after this is complete!

The trellis and porch we’re doing will look a lot like this:

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We also have a little shed, we affectionately call “the barn” which needs painting and updating.  I have been enamored with black sheds with white trim, but also like Benjamin Moore’s Deep River, which has a smidge of green and is more of a grey then black (you can see my test patch by the door). Still undecided.

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An example of the black/ white option for the shed- our patio will be that color too!

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It would match perfectly with my patio decor plan- which is- wait for it….. BLACK AND WHITE!!! I know, it’s SO unexpected coming from me! :)  It all began with this vintage Brown Jordan patio set my grandparents left me that I love, love, love.  I had it re-enameled in glossy black.

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And here’s where I am with the patio furniture (all IKEA because that’s how we’re rolling these days) and accents so far- still not sure about what accent color I’m using, but I do love coral mixed with black and white.  I’ll have to think about what colors my plantings will be and coordinate!

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Stay tuned here to see progress- we break ground August 9th! I can’t wait to have a backyard I’m proud of!

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Stairway to Heaven

As you know by now, leopard print is my jam. Like, big time. When asked what my favorite color is I say leopard.  So when it came to carpeting our new home’s stairs I immediately knew this was my major leopard moment.

I’ve saved these images from Domino for-EVAH because I thought this was the best leopard print rug I’d ever seen. And for years I could not find it ANYWHERE.

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Then I saw the editor’s picture in Real Simple and there it was again!

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This was what we started with…..

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And this is what went down yesterday morning!!!!!!

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GAAAHHHHHHH! I love love love love love love it. I finally found it (Glen Eden Cheetah– NOT leopard) at The Carpet Workroom in Needham who also installed it beautifully! I also decided to paint my banister high gloss black and it plays beautifully off the rug! Even Andrew loves the whole situation- and it took a lot to get him to agree to let me do this!  It helps that it is super durable and hides EVERYTHING! Bonus! I don’t even care that it’s not technically leopard. :)

It’s all starting to come together!