Deck update…

Today on my lunch break I stopped at Home Depot to pick up the paint for my soon-to-be outdoor bar. I introduce to you “Dark Cobalt Blue”:


Then I ran to the Dollar Store to pick up some knickknacks for cheap! The pillows and candle holder are new but they came from Pier1 after a quick stop yesterday. I got the white pillow on sale for $16 and got tricked into the non-sale striped pillow for $20. I love that it ties in my colors though, so I’m stuck with it. The woman did say that I could check back for a price adjustment within 14 days if the sales switch over. The candle holder not part of my plan (SHOOT) and it was just short of $9 on the sale rack. I do like it but I kicked myself once I made the trip to the Dollar Store today and saw how much more I could’ve gotten for less.

The little watering can was, of course, $1. I also picked up 2 sets of 2 $1 baskets to add to the bar, a $1 cutting board that I won’t mind leaving outside, and a $1 towel to clean up any bar spills.


And last but most importantly, I remembered that I already had in my possession the biggest budget saver for our deck! I have been pricing out garden stools everywhere but could NOT justify purchasing the $80-$120 ones I was finding everywhere (and thereby destroy my budget). My $1 watering can got me fixated on that orange-red color and it dawned on me: I already have a perfect garden stool! I climbed to the back of the garage and dug under shovels, brooms, and salvaged wood to uncover my one-of-a-kind garden stool. It was covered in cobwebs, flaking paint, and dead bugs (EW!) but I absolutely fell in love with after a good strong hosing down!


I always thought those bloggers were lying when they said they found their great budget saver among their own things while redecorating an area of their house. But as luck would have it, it can even happen to you and me! Remind me to show you the old metal push mower we found in the attic too one of these days!

Happy Heart.

Starting the Deck Makeover

Freddy is awesome at setting project budgets. When we bought our house, he budgeted out every single one of the rooms and I scoffed at his detail down to the nails he’d needed to purchase. Of course I was amazed when we were able to accomplish what we set out to do at our budgeted amounts; that’s when he really became the project master of the house – not just with his handy skills but with his planning know-how.

When Freddy approached me with a budgeted number and a challenge to makeover our deck area, I gladly took him up on his offer! Our deck is accessed through my favorite room of the house, which hosts a fireplace and (currently) the patio table and chair set passed down from my parents; the room is functioning as our dining room today but it’s in preparation to become our future relaxation room.

The deck is big enough for a few chairs and harbors an awfully dilapidated grill that was left over from its previous owner. The grill, in turn, harbors an awfully mean looking family hornets. The space is definitely in need of a little summer TLC! In all honesty, we’ll probably tear the deck down sooner or later and replace it – which means the updates need to be mobile. 


With all of that in mind, I began scouring magazines for ideas (Thank you HGTV and Better Homes and Gardens magazines!) and drawing up some sketches on my sketch pad. I clipped out examples or ideas from my magazines and pasted them into my drawings. Then I started adding up the costs… Let me tell you, this project budgeting comes a lot easier to my husband!

I knew I wanted an outdoor rug, first and foremost, to highlight our existing seating area. (We purchased the green Adirondack chairs back in our apartment days and got a great little side table thrown in on a Craigslist deal for some patio chairs and a table late last fall.) I read a suggestion for a potting bench turned outdoor bar that would go perfectly to the right of the doorway and I could have Freddy build me a corner bench to save some of my budget. With a few more odds, ends, and color – I started seeing how I could have my deck under budget after all!


I found the picture seen above in the top right corner of my sketch pad that used a table and lattice instead of purchasing or building a potting bench and it dawned on me – we have a rickety old table downstairs holding our laundry detergent that is the PERFECT size for this! It was a leftover when we moved in. I could paint the table with some outdoor paint and add a lower shelf and have my own version! Here’s a picture of the before:


Then I got on at the prompting of some magazine suggestions and found the cutest outdoor rug for $40 (flat rate – no shipping charges added!). Wouldn’t you believe it, that rug arrived today and it is EXACTLY what I had in mind! That’s not always a sure bet off a computer screen!


Don’t you love it?! I have scouted a few more odds and ends that I haven’t picked up yet but I was so excited today that I couldn’t wait to share the beginning planning stages!

Phase Two: Wallpaper Be Damned!

As you may have guessed by this post’s title, phase one is complete! We are very proud to announce that there is no remaining carpet in the upstairs of our house. In fact, we not only championed the carpet, Freddy also broke up all of the linoleum in the kitchen and one of the living spaces. He did it all while I was at work and even remembered to snap some pictures. He is AMAZING!


Sadly, we spent about three seconds celebrating our victory over the carpet before diving into the next evil: Wallpaper.

The wallpaper wasn’t as bad as the carpet goes as far as quantity but all of us who have experienced wallpaper know that that doesn’t mean anything… and yes, that last picture is indeed ceiling paper…

Until Chateau Shier, I’d never taken down wallpaper. I have heard horror story upon horror story and made sure to peruse every DIY blog about the best wallpaper removal solutions, but wallpaper is just one of those things that you don’t really know until you know.

After all of my research, I decided to give an at-home remedy a shot before looking to rent a steamer. I ended up with a spray bottle, hot tap water, and Extra-Strength Dawn. I was lucky enough to have a wallpaper-seasoned girlfriend join me during the process and I will say that without her, I probably would’ve scraped off all of the kitchen drywall on the first go. It came in off in full sheets! We started with a corner and pulled until it ripped off by the ceiling. A miracle! (We don’t need to talk about the mudding that is taking place now to cover up all of the bare spots that we left behind…that’s another post).

Here are some things I learned with wallpaper removal: Patience is a virtue (and you need to make it your virtue if you’re going to take down wallpaper). Score the wallpaper; laziness is not rewarded. Keep the water hot at all times. Spray and wait. And spray again.

We got quite a bit of the wallpaper down this week and my initial scoffing at wallpaper complaints was soon-after silenced. It got harder and harder as we progressed and we ultimately ended up at a would-be dead-end. “Would-be” because today my parents arrived with an SUV full of tools, supplies, and a STEAMER! My godparents have a knack for providing me with exactly what I need at just the right time and they certainly pulled through on this one; they sent my parents over with their steamer as a much welcomed surprise. My girlfriend and I were joined by my mom and the three of us steamed through the cloth-like paper, went back over to steam the glue, and eventually got it all down… in the kitchen and half bath.

Full bath and ceiling paper to go! But the weekend is young. And we are determined!