Outdoor Decor: Black, White and Rad All Over

That was the cheesiest title, no? I couldn’t help myself.

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Black and white in any combination with always be classic- and that stands doubly true for exterior and patio decor!  I love a good black and white patio scheme- it’s so crisp and classic and gives you perfect base to add a pop of color or just let your greenery and scenery be the vibrant focus of the space.  My favorite places to shop for outdoor decor are Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, CB2, Crate & Barrel, World Market, Williams Sonoma Home, Target, Homegoods, Ballard, Frontgate and Terrain.

My few tips on outdoor decorating:

  • Always make sure you are using the right materials in the right spots- not all furniture deemed for “outdoor use” can withstand the elements- many labeled as such are for covered patio use only.  A good example are many of the bistro style chairs we all love- the woven seats can take just about anything, but if the frame is made of real rattan or bamboo they can’t be left out in the rain and snow.
  • To really be safe and maintain the quality of any patio furniture invest in a set of covers!
  • Avoid buying everything in sets- sure, having a matching sofa and chairs can look great, but don’t buy the coffee table and side tables too.  Mix up styles, finishes (woven wicker with sleek metal for example) and vendors for a unique look.

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Weekend Green Thumb

On Saturday we had gorgeous weather here so I thought it was high time I got rid of the dead Christmas greenery splayed sadly in my window boxes and plant some colorful stuff for spring. A was able to do our little refresh during one of Henry’s (very quick) naps and now I feel much better about pulling into my driveway.

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I wanted to compliment the chartreuse color of our front door with the plant choices- and also add a complimentary color, in this case a deep plum.  So I came up with a plan (on the fly at the plant store, but we can pretend I was as thoughtful enough to do a Photoshop layout of it beforehand):

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An Inspired Patio

I saw this drop dead gorgeous image of the terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York and thought it was fantastic inspiration for anyone’s own patio!  I have some of Peter Dunham’s Fig Leaf pillows in my own sunroom and even though it’s been seen everywhere I have to say I STILL love it above all other pillows in my home.  Some things just stay fresh, and this print is one of them.

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So here’s how I’d translate this terrace into a patio or porch design…

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sofa // curtains // light // pillow // glasses // table // chairs // lantern // string lights // rug // planters

And if the Peter Dunham is too pricey, there is a great alternative on Spoonflower by Domesticate called Tropicali Afternoon.

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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!