One of the biggest projects we tackled this summer was creating an outdoor dining area on our back deck. We built this deck about 3 years ago out of redwood and it just didn’t hold up well against the elements. We knew it needed some repairs, but we decided to make it bigger and better than it previously was.
My goal was to create a cozy outdoor dinning area that fit in with the flow of our backyard design. I had a vision for a sleek looking deck with a simple, modern style pergola on top.
First we removed all the old warped and scratched redwood deck boards. We replaced them with Trex, a composite deck material that is able to stand the test of time and weather. This was the best choice for the deck because it’s requires no maintenance. We went with the pebble grey color and I absolutely love it!
After we finished the decking it was time to design the pergola! I knew we would have to make a custom size pergola because the deck is an odd size to fit the back section of our house.
I came across the Toja Grid system and it was the perfect solution to the design I had in my head. Toja Grid makes heavy duty metal brackets that fit wood posts to create a modern looking pergola. The brackets can be purchased in many different kits. For our project we used the 4×4 double pergola with 2×4 roof rafters. This kit made the daunting task of building a pergola from scratch a lot more achievable!
It’s a super easy system and basically fits together like a puzzle. We used 4×4’s for the posts and 2×4’s for the slats on top. We cut our vertical 4×4 posts to fit just under the eves of our house, giving it a true custom look. Each piece of wood fits nicely into a bracket and then they all attach together with the provided screws.
It took us a few hours to get the Toja Grid put together and boy was it worth it!! From the moment we stood it up and attached to the deck I was in love. It completely transformed the whole deck and gave it the cozy feel I was hoping for.
Finally, we moved on to the finish work. We used a semi-transparent black stain that doubles as a wood water sealer. We then added some beautiful outdoor furniture, outdoor decor, plants, and some string lights across the top.
This was a big project but the the result was better than I could have ever imagined. We will enjoying this space for years to come!
If your backyard is screaming for a Toja Grid like mine was I have a great limited time discount offer to pass along to you all. Use code: GREYBIRCH to save 10% off your entire purchase from July 7th- July 21st!!
Your front porch is such an important part of your home but it is often overlooked. It’s the first impression people get when they come to your home and it sets the tone for what to expect inside. When I recently designed my porch I wanted it to represent my interior style but also give off a warm and welcoming feeling when people approach our front door. I chose furniture from Grandin Road because I wanted something comfortable and stylish. They have some of the most beautiful, on trend furniture and decor around!
For years and years I had a small wood bench on my porch that wasn’t very comfortable. I knew I wanted to change that and when I saw these big oversized chairs (Vaca Chair) I knew they would be perfect! They are super comfortable and I find myself hanging out on the porch just so I can relax in these gorgeous chairs! I paired them with some adorable black and white pillows and a cute black metal side table. Since my porch isn’t that big I picked an end table instead of a coffee table to keep the space open.
For the entire four years I have lived in my home I have struggled with keeping real plants alive on the porch. The morning sun is intense and then shady the rest of the day, making it difficult for plants and flowers to flourish. Thankfully Grandin Road has the perfect solution: their outdoor faux greenery!! I added these faux hydranjia pot fillers to these amazing wood look tall planters for the exact look I was unable to achieve with real plants. These pot filler florals are my favorite. They look so realistic without all the maintenance and expense of replacing real plants!!
To finish up the cozy porch I added an outdoor rug to compliment the pillows and chairs, along with a wreath on my door and a couple oversized candle holders. I’m so happy with how my porch came together and love the cozy feel of this space.
I wanted to create a more updated modern farmhouse feel to our bathroom vanity and with just a few changes I was able to completely transform this space. It seriously doesn’t even look like the same bathroom vanity!
The first step was to do a little demo. We had the standard builder grade mirror that had to go! These can be a little tricky to remove but the best and safest way is to tape the mirror, a lot!! This will help keep the mirror from shattering and flying all over the place in the event it breaks. You can’t use too much tape on this step so go crazy! After that take a pry bar or something that you can slip in-between the wall and the mirror to carefully pry it off the wall. Typically these are glued in a few different spots with a strong adhesive. This can damage drywall, but in our case we were putting up shiplap so we weren’t too concerned about any drywall damage.
After we removed the mirror we started the fun part, shiplap! For a more modern spin on the traditional shiplap I decide to do vertical seemless shiplap. We used true MDF shiplap boards These are easy to work with because the spacing is already done for you and will line up perfect every time. By using MDF instead of real wood you get a more smooth uniform finish without all the wood grain. We attached the boards to the wall with instant grab construction adhesive and a couple nails in the top and the bottom. To accommodate the vanity light wires coming out of the wall we drilled a one inch hole in the shiplap and pulled the wires through.
Once we finished putting up the shiplap we trimmed it out with PVC trim. This gives it a more clean finished look and hides all the raw edges and nail holes. Then came my favorite part, the finishes and decor!!
I love the look of mixed metals so I picked these brushed bronze sleek vanity lights. They are truly a show piece and the focal point of the vanity. To compliment the vanity lights I added some brushed bronze faucets with a modern look and feel. To finish the look I added the round mirrors in matte black and two different size cabinet pulls. I put the larger size pulls on the doors and slightly smaller size pulls on the drawers in the matte black finish to compliment the black in the mirrors! I kept the decor simple with a wood vase and some greenery
This was a fun and easy update that made a huge difference in our bathroom! I couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out!!
The beginning of the year for us, like so many others, started out looking very different. We had decided to sell our home and move to the next city over and build a cute farmhouse in a fun community. That all quickly changed largly due to the pandemic that hit us hard in March. Although at the time it was hard for me to see, I soon realized this was a HUGE blessing in disguise!!
I was always a little sad about the thought of leaving our current home because we put our blood, sweat, and tears into making it what is is today. The one area of our home I always wanted to make changes to was our kitchen. I originally picked out off-white cabinets but they always looked a little yellow to me.
Fast forward to late March – I’m not going to lie, I cried like a baby after we found out we weren’t going able to get the new house. But I have the world’s best husband and he knew my heart was broken. So he said to me “how about we do a kitchen remodel and turn our current house into everything you wanted” Seriously this made me cry happy tears way more than sad ones!
This project was mostly cosmetic. I love the layout of our kitchen – it was one of the big reasons we choose to build this model home back in 2015. What I wanted to change was the cabinets, countertops, and of course a farmhouse sink!!!
I had all my cabinets painted bright white (this is just the white base color without any additional color added in). I find this to be the truest bright white. We had the island painted Nevermore Grey by Sherwin Williams. We then had new white quartz countertops installed and modified the sink cabinet to accommodate the most beautiful farmhouse sink I found from BLANCO.
I chose the IKON® 33″ sink for a couple reasons. It’s a granite composite material that is stain and scratch resistant, which is super important with 5 kiddos in the house! It’s also a matte finish which gives it a more modern feel. This fits in perfectly with the new modern farmhouse design I’m going for in this kitchen remodel. I also picked out this gorgeous MERIDIAN™ faucet from BLANCO. It’s design makes me feel like a professional cook even when I’m not!! In all seriousness it’s not only beautiful but one of the best faucets I have ever had!
We took our sink cabinet doors to a custom cabinet maker to have the doors cut down to size. My farmhouse sink has a 10″ apron but our older sink was just a basic drop in. That meant our doors were too tall and didn’t fit under the sink anymore. We also had to change the support braces to hold the sink properly. We built small brackets inside the cabinet for the sink to sit on and lowered part of the horizontal cabinet face. Now my dream of having a farmhouse sink is a reality!!
This kitchen remodel is the largest project to date that we have done on our home and easily the most rewarding!!
BLANCO is a fantastic company and we have been extremely happy with their products. Our BLANCO farmhouse sink and faucet can be found here:
At the beginning of the year I had one project in mind that was at the top of my list: refreshing my bedroom!! The bedroom furniture had definitely seen better days – it was the same set we had when we got married 15 years ago!!
I started this bedroom project by painting the shiplap wall this beautiful navy blue color (blue endeavour by Sherwin-Williams) that I quickly became obsessed with, and the rest of the room bright white. I knew I wanted a more modern but still comfortable bedroom design so I headed to one of my favorite local furniture stores,
I ended up picking out these nightstands The big selling point for me was the power strip in the top drawer so I can charge my phone and keep the top of the nightstand clear of clutter – total game changer! I also fell in love with the matching highboy dresser I love the color and texture of the wood in these pieces. To soften the look I wanted to bring in an ulpostered bed and this grey tufted bed couldn’t be more perfect!! The soft color, nail head trim detail, and clean lines are exactly what I was looking for!
To bring the whole design together I added new clean crisp white bed linens, some pillows, and a blanket with pops of navy to complement my newly painted shiplap wall. I also added two cute stools at the foot of my bed and some fun pieces of decor! I’m beyond excited with how it turned out and I know these pieces will stand the test of time!
I recently gave our loft/playroom a refresh that fits our growing kids and their needs. I loved how the room came together but the TV wall bothered me. When we replaced our old TV with this larger TV the photo wall didn’t look right anymore. I needed to come up with a different design.
I had a vision in my head and for a certain type of picture shelf but I couldn’t find it anywhere – so that meant I had to DIY it! The TV wall is long and I wanted one large shelf, not two put together.
Since the wall is 12′ we cut the board down to 10′, which fills the wall but leaves a little bit of space on the sides. We used a circular saw to make the straight cut and then stained the wood with black wood stain and cloth rags
I found the best was to apply the stain evenly was to work in smaller areas and wipe off the stain quickly after applying it. If you have an extra set of hands it’s quick and easy to have one person apply the stain while the other follows right behind wiping it off!
I let the stain dry for a few hours before I put it up on the wall. To install the shelf we held the board up on the wall where we wanted it and used a level to make sure it was straight. Then we drew a level line on the wall across the top of the wood. This makes it easier to attach the brackets to the wall without having to also hold up the wood shelf.
Next we found and marked the studs. For this long shelf we used 4 of the metal brackets. We pre-drilled the holes and then attached the brackets to the wall with 2
inch screws. Once that was done we simply slid the wood into the brackets and then it was time to decorate!
I used a mix of large black and white family photos, hand cut silhouettes of our whole family, and some new house plants I picked up from Trader Joe’s.
I’m incredibly happy with how this simple project turned out. Finally I love every aspect of our new and improved loft/kids hangout room! To see this project in action check out this video of us putting the whole project together!
I have always wanted to be a plant lady! I have bought and killed many plants in my lifetime and thought I would forever have a black thumb. Every time I walked through the plant section at the home improvement store I thought to myself “I can do many things, but keeping plants alive is just not one of them.” They would tempt me every time as I walked the isles picking out my next victim. That is until I bought a ZZ plant 2 years ago. TWO YEARS I have kept this plant alive and thriving!! This got me thinking that maybe there are other plants that can work for people who are challenged in the garden like myself, so I did some research!
Oh boy was I excited to find a huge variety of these un-killable plants. I couldn’t wait to boost my self confidence in gardening and bring my dreams of becoming a plant lady to reality!! Here is my list of my top 5 favorite house plants for beginners!
ZZ Plant This is the one I stumbled on over 2 years ago and it is thriving! Truth be told, the more I ignore it the happier it is, that’s my kind of plant! It has a beautiful deep green leaf and helps clean the air inside your home! These are my favorite house plants!
Pothos These come in so many color variations and each one is absolutely beautiful!! Something really neat about these is you can easily propagate them with a clipping and then have more of these beautiful plants without having to go buy more!
Snake Plant Although I HATE the name (I’m deathly afraid of snakes…) I love this plant! It’s similar to the ZZ plant since it likes to be ignored and only requires 1 cup of water every 2 weeks. It also likes low light and has beautiful colored leafs!
Fern These are beautiful and easy to care for indoor/outdoor plants! You only water the soil when it is dry and they require medium light!
Peace Lily If you want something that has a flower on it then these are a great option. They grow best in high light but can tolerate low light too, making them a go with the flow kind of plant. They do need to be watered weekly so on the scale of low maintenance plants these are a little more high maintenance but still easy!
Our Favorite Summer Time Drink!!
About a year ago I stopped drinking diet sodas. Since then, getting my kids and I to drink more water has become really important to me! This is why my favorite feature in my Samsung Refrigerator is the built in water pitcher. It has the ability to make fruit water, and automatically refills itself after every use! We love it and it’s a fun change for our kids when they get tired of plain water. We have tried a ton of different combinations and here are some of our favorites!
strawberries, lemon, and mint leaves
sliced cucumber and mint leaves
strawberries and pineapple
orange and lime
kiwi and orange
You can use fresh or frozen fruit which makes it so easy! We just slice up the fruit, place it in the middle chamber of the water pitcher that came with our Samsung Refrigerator and then place it back inside the door. We can keep it for 2-3 days and then clean it out to make a new batch! Since it automatically refills itself we never run out!! My kids love making it and it has truly limited the amount of soda and other sugary drinks they drink each day!
I wonder if my plants get jealous of our yummy fruit water?? 😉 😂
We can all agree that times are different. Figuring out what works best for our family and finding our new normal has been key for me to keep things happy at home! I like to look at the positives that have come from this, and the biggest one is the family time we have spent together. We are cooking with our kids and eating three meals a day together, something we never were able to do before! I have also realized how thankful I am for things like my Samsung refrigerator and its ability to hold the larger than normal amount of food we need right now! It’s little things like that that I wouldn’t say I took for granted, but just didn’t give a lot of thought to. After seeing my kids’ new found love for cooking I thought it would be a great time to teach them another life skill, laundry!!
I think it’s important to prepare our kids to be good functioning adults one day and one of the things they need to learn is how to do their own laundry! Since we have this extra time at home what better use of that time then a little “life lesson” from mom 😂 Plus, with as much laundry as we have around this house I could use an extra hand, or five! Last year we replaced our old washer and dryer with this new Samsung washer and dryer set. The biggest selling point for me was the second washer and dryer on the top for delicates and small loads. We dirty a lot of clothes around here and having the option to do two loads at a time cuts down the amount of time spent in the laundry room and gives me more time back with my family!! That is something that makes these machines a level above the rest.
I hope that when my kids look back on this time in history they will remember the family time and memories made at home together 😉