Let’s Build a Pergola!

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. Here in Chicago, real estate can come at a pretty significant premium. A typical residential lot is long and narrow, usually measuring in at 25′ wide by 125′ long. This slightly cramped footprint (I mean, it’s all relative, really) leads to some pretty creative ways to maximize outdoor living […]

The Case for Not Doing It All: Hiring Out the Deck’s Paint Job

Earlier this summer, we tore down a massive, scary and unsafe 3-story deck on the back of our home. It was replaced with an extra wide set of pressure-treated wood stairs, which has been everything we hoped it would be – a warm welcome to the backyard, inside to outside flow and, maybe our favorite […]

Saving Our Patio Chairs from a Rusty Future

The evening we returned home from completing the Lowe’s Spring Makeover, it was warm. We were thrilled. (Warm weather in April in Chicago? It can’t be!) We were happily exhausted from the weekend and travel, but Scott suggested that we push through and get our front porch ready for spring and summer (and fall, too). I was so giddy […]

The Painted Front Door

This is the story of a painted front door, yes, but it’s so much more than that! It’s sort of silly to keep reminiscing on how far certain areas of our house have come in the last year (while others have remained completely stagnant), but as we check off another to-do on the list, we […]

The Front Porch is (Mostly) Complete!

After tackling the more tedious tasks of painting the front porch railings and staining the floor, planting our garden and wishing our grass to grow (it’s starting to look so good!), we were finally to the point of pulling everything together. With new lights installed and an over-sized swing to swing in (with only minor […]

The Porch Floor Gets Stained!

We’re one step closer to front porch completion (this season anyway)! Our porch is stained! Staining our deck ended up turning into a thing, as most projects (big or small) tend to do with us. (Truly, we drive ourselves crazy sometimes.) Initially, we planned to use a product such as Behr’s Deckover or Rustoleum Restore, […]

Swing Hanging Fixing

They say an ounce of prevention is greater than a pound of cure. We must have been sick the day they taught that lesson. While we’re usually fairly careful planners, we were so blinded by DIY porch plans and nail polish-colored paint that we didn’t actually locate the studs in our porch ceiling before we […]

Our Baby Garden

There are times when starting with a blank slate can be downright terrifying. Even more so? Combining ‘blank slate’ with ‘garden.’ With these two, that’s not only terrifying, but almost laughable. But! Spoiler alert – we survived (with a lot of help!) and have a teeny, baby garden to show for it. Let’s back up. […]

Let There Be (Outdoor) Light!

If it hasn’t been incredibly obvious over the last handful of updates, we’ve really been focusing on our house’s exterior – and my goodness, the power of paint! And new concrete! And well made stairs! (Can you tell we’re thrilled to nix the baseboard talk; if only for a little while?) After all of those […]

An Un-Tutorial for the Front Steps

As Kim mentioned yesterday, we’ve started to realize around here that once in a while, the better fiscal (and marital saving) decision can sometimes be to hire a job out. And after an almost entire wasted day this past Saturday, the stairs leading up to our front porch  just may have been another one of […]