My Patio Project
So, you may or may not know this, but, we have a patio at our place!
In all honesty, we have never really used it. We have sat out there a few times with on a random evening having a drink together - but we haven’t used it with company, for entertaining or even considered it as a functional living space and a true part of our home.
But, this year, I want to change that.
Now that I mainly work from home, and with our space being so small (640 sq ft for reference), I want our outdoor space to feel like an extension of our living room. It would be amazing if I could work outside sometimes, just to get a little change of scenery and enjoy the sunshine!
This year is projected to beat record high temperatures in our area, and so while I can imagine that for the most part, I will want to be inside next to our AC unit, I also want the opportunity to enjoy the summer (in a shaded way).
While my taste largely remains outside of my budget (for almost everything but especially patio furniture) I had sort of decided that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to really “do” our patio because I wouldn’t ever be satisfied with the result of it. I didn’t want to buy something that was a “great deal” just for the sake of having a few extra seating options out there - especially when we didn’t use it - and so, I never really found the perfect fit.
For example, these are the kinds of patio/outdoor spaces that I am drawn to:
They are gorgeous but also like, L-O-L for me, since I live in an apartment with a small balcony (which I am very grateful for, don’t get me wrong - but thats not even possible for me to make happen!).
I have mansion dreams in an apartment reality! Ha!
So, with all of that in the back of my mind, I figured that I had other things that were a higher priority in our place. But, now that I am feeling like our living and dining spaces are basically….done (for now!), I am moving onto my last lingering projects. If you are curious they are: the patio, my workspace and that giant empty wall in our bedroom (aka, the home of the DIY mantel failure of 2019).
Anyway, back to the patio project:
Last year I saw this set from CB2 that I totally fell in love with. The price tag was too high and it felt a little too permanent for me - but I fell in love all the same. It became my “one day” patio furniture — if it was still going to be around when the price would be right.
Here is the set for reference:
As you can see it’s beautiful! I love the contrast of the black metal with the white cushions. It’s classy, and sort of Parisian (you know how I feel about that look!), and I feel like it would wear well over time with it being metal - rather than some of the wood furniture that unless you have the luxury of storing it in a dry place throughout the winter, can fade and not look so hot after a few seasons.
ANYWAY, as I said - not in my budget. So I added it to my “one-day-wishlist” and honestly, I didn’t really give it much more thought. But then, I came across this baby:
Now, I understand if you’re looking at this saying, “…and???”, but hear me out! When I saw the shape of this bench it reminded me so much of the shape of the CB2 set. Of course, it’s red, and of course, it only comes in that colour (#classic, am I right?), but this fit my budget a little better at $329 CAD (though, I even think that is a little hefty for this ikea piece - but it’s better than nothing!), and the colour is nothing a can or two of spray paint and some white cushions can’t fix!
I kept revisiting the page thinking about whether it was a project I wanted to take on, whether or not we had the space to spray paint it (TBD on that, but I’ll figure it out!) and whether or not I really wanted to spend $350+ on our deck (heavy on the plus, you know how it goes - one new thing, and you need 25 more to “complete the look”!).
And you know what….I’ve decided that life is short and I really think that I do want to take this one on, and I’m going to tell you why.
When I really think about it, I love our outdoor space - it’s a great size for our apartment, and even for our building. But….here’s the catch:
There is no privacy.
It has glass railings and faces another apartment building. For some reason, I never really feel comfortable just sitting out there. I often see people across the street on their balconies, and I feel like, awkward for them? Awkward that I can see them out there in their boxers — the shirtless man directly across from us often brings his cat out for a little scenic view, whilst in his underwear and while that is cute, it’s also weird that I witness this precious little moment between the two of them.
However, I realize that this is common for apartment living, and it’s really my own issue. My building is only 4 stories, and the buildings across the street are only three stories - so it feels kind of personal. It’s not the same as a high-rise situation where there are literally like….hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of people living in the building across the street.
Here is where the bench comes in…
Right now, we have these awesome “built-in” benches that form an L shape on our balcony. They were built, and then left by the previous inhabitants of our apartment and they are great. They are also storage benches, so while we don’t really keep much in there other than some Christmas lights, it’s nice to know it is available if we need it!
So we’ve got some seating that came with the place, but they, of course, face the glass railings. So, my idea is to place this metal bench in front of the glass railing, facing inward. This would create more of a “conversation circle” feeling on the patio AND, it would provide the privacy that I would really love to have on our balcony.
Here is a current image of what our balcony looks like (unstyled, and unedited, so be nice!)
I realize that these photos don’t really show the space very well, and you might be thinking….”how on earth could you fit a bench out there?” but trust me - it’s actually quite spacious! I’ll be sharing on my Instagram stories about the project - including measuring and finding somewhere to spray paint!
So, before deciding to go ahead with the “patio project” of 2019 I started to gather my mood board for how it could all come together, and what kind of elements I’d love to have out there, how much it would cost to achieve my “desired look” and I think I’ve got it to a good starting point, and I’m sharing it here!
I’m going to explain a few things about it before you dive right in, so bear with me (or scroll on past if you don’t care!).
The benches are not the ones we have, or are getting, but I just threw them in there if you are looking to recreate the look and feel, and to bring in that wood element that we already have on the deck!
The market lights - I picked black ones in the mockup while we already own ones on a white wire. The reason I did this is because when I stood in target a few years ago purchasing these lights, I was torn between white and black, and thought white would look more fresh (this was before I was heavily into black accents like I am now, ha!) but honestly, I regret that choice I made in Target that day - because you know what? The white wires get filthy over time - especially if you live in a high-traffic/urban area like I do! I wish I had purchased the black ones - but c’est la vie! So, I chose the black in my “mood board” so that you don’t have to make the same mistake that I did!
I just know I am going to get some comments about the faux trees - and I haven’t decided whether I will go faux or not, but to be honest, I probably will! I am not good at gardening or loving green things - and like I said, in our area - with the pollution and with this summer set to be so hot, I just don’t really know how my plant mom skills will be. Also, I want these on our patio to help with privacy - so I’m not really interested in spending $150 on real trees, just for them to die and for me to get new ones next year. So, that is my logic - and I know I don’t need to defend my choices, but I just wanted to share what was in my head! With that said, I do have a few real plants out there already, and will definitely bring in some real plants to add that touch of life only real plants can bring.
Oh, and not important, but a fun tidbit - the lanterns in the photos on our patio are from our wedding! I spent the four months between our engagement and our wedding (YES! Four months!) finding them at different shops and collecting them for our wedding! Now I love that we still use them in our home. I also have the vintage turkish runner we used in our wedding, though I have never found the perfect spot for that. In the closet it will be until the time is right!
Okay, I am done blabbering on! Here is where my head is at, design wise:
As always, would love to hear your feedback on this “patio project”. I’m looking forward to executing it as the months continue to get warmer!