Well, it's finished. We started in the spring with a blank canvas and have transformed our backyard into a perfect little oasis.
Let's look back at where we started.
A small little deck off the back door was all we had. It quickly came down.
Then after days of removing sod, shoveling gravel, lots of wood, the deck was starting to take shape.
Stephane really worked hard to get the building done and I did as much to help as possible, including the staining at the end and the landscaping. We used two colors of stain, one for the deck and one for the deck walls. I really like the contrast.
Here is our finished product.
My favorite parts are:
The tree lights in the evening.
The deck walls with the mirror.
The "catwalk" stairs to the lower deck.
I'll be back later with some more details for you about the build.
i've been documenting bits and pieces of our apartment since making little updates like these DIY abstract paintings. the result is the mini home tour below and upon reflection, i have a problem - i seem to have forgotten that i live with an adult male.
i love our place now, but i want to build in masculine elements to our home, so our space is interesting and appealing to the mr. (and actually looks like a man lives there). luckily, i have time to figure it out because james indulges my predisposition for all things girly.
The dining room table and chairs in my dining room have been on loan from my Dad since I bought the house over four years ago. They are pieces that he refinished and are quite beautiful. I get lots of compliments on the table however, I had other plans for the room and replacing them for something more suited to my style was always the plan.
The problem? What was my style? Modern chairs with a rustic table? Modern glossy table with clean lines? I couldn't quite figure it out. Plus, what I like often didn't fit the budget or the style of my home. Quite the conundrum I tell you!
Anywho.. the reason I am bringing this up now is because we got new chairs! I love them for two reasons. 1. They have a really nice shape and a ladder back which I love. Plus they are teak! 2. They sat around Stephane's kitchen table when he was a little boy. A little bit of sentiment and I'm sold:) His Mom is down shopping for a house here (yep! She's moving to PEI!) and brought them for us.
Of course, they need a little work but I'm up for it. A good oiling and some new upholstery and they will be perfect! Speaking of upholstery.. I ordered a few samples last week from my favorite fabric shop Tonic Living. I had to keep in mind that the curtains in the dining room are a tad bossy when it comes to picking coordinating fabrics. Although a subdued pattern and color tone, they definitely dictate what works in the room.
Here is what I came up with. A few solids and a couple of patterns. Any guess to which one I picked?
Of course, I had to get Beaufort opinion too. He really didn't seem to care either way.
This is the one I picked and ordered this morning. It's called Bethe in Robins Egg. Did you guess it?
I realize it may get dirty but for a couple of yards of fabric and a little time it can be quickly changed. Can't wait for it to arrive so we can get started on recovering them! Then, we will need to decide what we are doing for a table but they look fine with the one we have for now.
so, if you follow me on twitter or instagram, you might have seen the gloriousness of this michael kors handbag. i was walking by the MK store on michigan avenue, minding my own business, and just as i was passing by, this little voice in my head said, "well, you could just stop in and look." see, i've been looking for a great black leather bag - a go-to, big enough to be a carryall, but not as big as my work bag. i didn't find my black bag, but i found this python-embossed beauty on sale!
and now that i've convinced myself that it will meet my black bag needs, i'm already thinking about how i can take this bag into fall.
while i typically think of cream/tan/eggshell etc. for spring and summer, lines are blurring around when you can wear certain colors. after all, the bag is neutral, and therefore, a blank canvas. i love the idea of pairing this bag with all black - for fall, i'll ground my look with rich fabrics in jet black. but until then, i'll rock it with my summer dresses!
bag|cape|boot i'm thinking of making "have this? need that!" into a series. have an item you love, but you're not sure what to pair with it? or need inspiration for a new way to wear a much-loved piece? e-mail me and the next "have this? need that!" will be yours!
the weekend the mr. and i had reminds me why i love chicago so much. the weather was beautiful and we took full advantage by exploring surrounding neighborhoods, street festivals, and antique shops.
the mr. and i went to retro on roscoe on saturday, a fun street festival, complete with retro cover bands, artisan vendors and local eats. we enjoyed a beer over lunch in between visiting vendor tents and checking out the live bands.
on sunday, we finally visited praha, a home goods store in our neighborhood, which we've been meaning to check out since we moved here. i'm so glad we did because we found this gorgeous crystal lamp that had been on the floor for less than an hour! we snapped it up right away since it was only $46!!
and my subscription to house beautiful just started, so i've poured over my first issue while we caught up on the last of the olympics.
That's a lot of Fs! I few months ago, I went out to a local flower shop in search of a fiddle leaf fig tree. I was spotting them in some gorgeous spaces in some of my favorite magazines. If plants can be hot, no plant can be hotter than this one right now!
Unfortunately, they didn't have any but he offered to check with his supplier for me. This week, he let me know that he got some of the fiddle leaf fig plants in but was not yet able to get the trees. While cute, I decided to hold out for the tree.
This weekend, I had the chance to read a few of my favorite online magazines (Lonny, Matchbook and Rue) and saw a couple of them in the latest Lonny issue. Have you spotted them everywhere too?
Here are some great rooms that feature the house plant.
if you've followed ANC for a while, it's probably no surprise that i'm getting more and more into home design and decor. the mr. and i are slowly updating and redoing our little apartment by doing things like refinishing hand-me-down furniture and spicing up the living room with DIY abstract paintings. and of course, many of the beautiful wedding presents we have received have helped!
one thing that i'm dreaming about for the future is a full-size, beautifully organized linen closet. i have a serious obsession with linens - i love bright white soft sheets, cozy down comforters, and plush towels, and i love having a stockpile of clean ones on hand so i can change them as often as i like. if you haven't read annie's post on the importance of clean linens, you should!
we don't have space for a closet dedicated solely to linens yet, but when we do, i'll be drawing my inspiration from these images.