Archive for May, 2012
Our deck project kind of got back-burnered amidst all of the party/dollhouse/bedroom stuff, but we have made one decision in that time: much like both of our parents chose for our houses growing up, we’re going the pressure-treated wood route.
But making that call was no easy decision. We actually weighed a bunch of options, got a few quotes from a few different sources, and endured the all important “sleep on it” step. Then we second-guessed ourselves a few times because the right choice isn’t very obvious. Haha. There are so many ways to go, so it really is one of those it’s-different-for-everyone things. In the end it just came down to personal factors about look, price, effort, keeping in line with our neighborhood, etc – so we can definitely see why people come to different conclusions (and also develop some pretty strong opinions, if the message boards I’ve been reading are any indication).
So we thought we’d run through our thought process for anyone else facing a similar decision. For us it quickly came down to two materials: pressure-treated wood vs. composite. We eliminated cedar (wasn’t our favorite color/look), exotic woods (for their cost) and vinyl (looked too unnatural) early on, so I think that helped us focus. But we went back and forth between PT wood and composite options more than a few times.
Composite seemed like the obvious choice at first. Lots of friends had “heard it was really nice” and several of you even commented about liking it. We actually even put an offer on a house partially because of its awesome composite deck back when we were house hunting. The pros we kept hearing about were: low-maintenance (it doesn’t need to be resealed or stained) and that it looks good (some might say “upscale”). We personally have mixed feelings about the look and feel of it – sometimes it looks really great to us, but sometimes it also looks really plastic-y to us. It can also fade in the sun, which we hear can be frustrating. But the thing that put the specialty decking screw in the composite coffin was the cost. Various estimates that we got put it between $2,000 and $3,000 more than wood for the same sized deck built exactly the same way! Yup, it more than doubled the total cost of pressure-treated wood – and that was the lower-end composite stuff vs. premium pressure treated wood.
So it goes without saying that cost was a big factor in picking pressure-treated wood. We’re still working out final estimates, but using premium pressure treated wood (which is less prone to warping than the basic stuff) is likely to cost us around $1,000. We got estimates from Home Depot and a smaller specialty lumber place about a half-hour away called 84 Lumber, and 84 Lumber came in around $400 cheaper for the same amount of pressure treated wood so we’re happily going with them (like HD, they also came in 3K more for composite). It’s pine wood harvested down south, and is all treated to be safe for human contact, so we’re not worried about scary things like arsenic which used to be used in pressure treated wood years ago.
So 1K seems like a much more digestible figure for our “little deck project” over 3-4K. We realize that some of what we save now will be spent on future maintenance (it’s recommended that wood be sealed every 1 to 2 years) but that was a trade we were willing to make since we’re DIYers through and through – so we’re no strangers to sealing something. Plus, wood is a material that we’re comfortable with – both building and maintaining, so in some way it felt easier to have some staining or sealing projects in our future than the unknown of composite (what if we picked a color that looks “in” now but looks dated down the road? what if we eventually convert a window in our bedroom into a door out to the deck and damage a few boards of the composite stuff which might be harder to repair/replace/match than regular old wood? what if we over-improve our house for the area?).
The thing that ultimately secured the victory for wood was it’s look. Not only do we like the more natural appearance of it, but we also think it’s better suited for the character of our house and our neighborhood. Somehow sticking a swanky composite deck on our little brick ranch felt like wearing Prada loafers with my Sprite t-shirt. If we were in a newer construction home or a neighborhood where people were making these types of upgrades all around us, we definitely would rethink our choice, but we’re surrounding by homes with wood fences, decks, and porches – there’s nary a composite deck to be seen.
We both grew up with wood decks and remember our parents sealing them every few years (sometimes with our help) and also talked to close friends of ours (who bought a home with a giant wood deck a few years back) and they’ve said they really love it. Even right after spending a weekend resealing it they said they were really happy with it (it was at least 15 years old and hadn’t been sealed or maintained in years before they moved in, but afterwards it looked like new).
Once we get our plans finalized and our permit secured (next week if all goes well!) we’ll be good to place an order for all that lumber and finally get this ball rolling. Of course we’ll share all of the delivery/building details as we go. Oh and when it comes to the actual wood slat pattern, we’re debating something cool like mitering the corners of all the border pieces so it looks like it’s framed out (sort of like how the right edge of this deck looks). We’re also thinking about placing the boards in a modern way, like this shot that we took at the Virginia Museum Of Fine Art:
See how there are these really cool zipper-looking seams?
We’ll share more on the actual design plans as we go (permit permitting, haha). Oh, and if you’re looking for more details about decking materials – here are some of the resources I relied on (in addition to talking to my local Home Depot and lumber yard): The Family Handyman, This Old House, TreeHugger and Better Homes & Garden (<— warning: the lady in this video is very chipper). Anyone else building a wood deck, fence, or porch these days? Or sealing something they’ve had for a while?
“Would love to see another post about your favourite finds at Target. They’re coming to Canada and I’m so giddy I could piddle! Love your blog!” – Jaye
It’s been way too long since our last window shopping adventure (10 months?!?!), so to everyone who has been requesting them (especially if you used the word piddle), we’re psyched to share the goods. For those who remember these things, we just stroll around a store (we’ve done big chains, small local shops, and even random little stores that we find while road tripping) and take photos of all of the things we love. Not for compensation or anything – these sprees are just for fun. So let’s all go skipping through Target together, shall we? First there were these giant blue glass lamps for $49 that we thought were pretty awesome.
And you know we love bees/hives, so these hex vases for $6.99 caught our eye.
There was a bit of an Americana theme going on, with lots of red and white rugs, pillows, and clean-lined side tables in that area with all the featured home accents. The side tables were on sale but I forget what the price was (tried looking them up online but no dice). Hopefully they’re still in the store if you feel like dropping in on them.
Speaking of Americana, this cool blue-stained wood mirror (for $19.99) could be really cool in a frame arrangement or a wall full of mixed and matched mirrors.
At $79.99 these Privet House poufs weren’t super cheap, but they were pretty darn cute (especially the coral one). They felt very West Elm/CB2 to us.
You know me and ceramic animals. We’re like this (picture me crossing my fingers and my eyes). Ever since I spotted this yellow cow creamer here, I’ve been smitten. He’s meant for serving cream with coffee, but wouldn’t he look cute with a small bunch of flowers? $4.99 cow vase, anyone?
These deep coral geometric glasses (for $3.49 and $3.99) were pretty cute.
They also had them in green with a different geometric pattern (same prices):
These babies were $5.49 and $5.99. They’d look pretty charming in a room with some of the red, white, and blue stuff above. There’s something really “lobster-bake chic” about them. Haha.
This sweet little utensil basket would come in handy for carrying stuff out for dinner alfresco once we have our deck built. I think it was $9.99 (and it also came in blue). Didn’t grab it, but I might go back for it as a reward for surviving the big deck-build in a month or two (assuming we do, haha).
These navy striped sheets felt like they could work in a dorm or a fancy Thom Filicia design. I love stuff with range like that. And I think a twin set was $20 and a queen set was $29 and a king set was $39 for anyone wondering.
These lamp shades could spice up a room for $19.99. I love the idea of someone shaking things up in a neutral room by just swapping out a white shade or two for one of these babies.
I guess I was subliminally on sort of a coral kick, huh? Anyway, I thought this quilt was interesting and sophisticated – sort of Thomas O’ Brien or Nate Berkus-ish thanks to the detailed almost-tribal feeling. I can picture it with a deep gray headboard and some navy accents in the room to keep it from skewing too “lady-palace.”
Oh and this gradated serving tray was fun.
I wanted this $12.99 pillow. John had to
physically restrain me verbally restrain me by pointing out I have a severe pillow surplus already. But let the record state that this guy would have come home with me if John hadn’t talked me out of it.
These runners were $17.99 (I would bet they’ll go on sale at some point though) and would be a cute way to wake up a table with basic white plates and glassware.
These $29 full sheet sets (and $39 queen ones) were so cute for spring/summer. They made me want to be one of those people who switches out our bedding for the season. In the end I have just one set of sheets for each bed in our house, but at least it keeps things simple (and you know we’re minimalists when it comes to storing things from our tiny-apartmented days in NYC).
These doormats look a little lackluster in this picture, but I loved them so much. They were soft but made from indoor/outdoor material, so we actually grabbed a few of the green ones for the patio/sunroom to replace some old bedraggled jute ones from Ikea. They were $12 each I think, and so far we really love them (even after a rain/muddy feet, they look bright and happy).
This rug was awesome. I think it was 5 x 8′ and $126, and it had the coolest orange trim, which you can kind of see peeking out of the edge. It felt very West Elm to us. It would be awesome in a little boy’s room or a living room alike.
These glass soap pumps and bathroom items were charming in that “old apothecary” way.
These soft pink ones were my favorite:
I also loved the detailing on these tribal-ish white ones (they also reminded me of something Nate-Berkus-ish in their worldly sort of look):
Mmmm, gummy fried eggs from The Candy Store. Yes, please! If Clara decides to have an egg party next year I’ll have to hunt these down. Haha.
Two items that look cute in a garden, baskets and rain boots:
These all natural dog treats from Polka Dog Bakery were adorable.
And I loved their dog toys and colorful bowls too. Too bad this ice cream sandwhich toy was a bit too big for Burger to handle. Haha.
Oh but there is one thing we bought at Target a little while ago that we forgot to tell you about. But you might have seen it in Clara’s party pics:
See that toy storage bin next to those chairs we brought out? It’s packed with footballs and soccer balls and toy trucks and a lot of rock-box items that don’t fit in the rock box when the cover is down. So convenient! And it was on sale for $54 (down from $65) and we got another 5% off for using our Target card.
We’ve heard from a few folks that the lid can drop down on kiddo fingers (there’s no slow-closing function or anything), but since Clara plays in the fenced off patio area and we have this guy in the carport, we grab things for her and bring them over to the patio to play. So she won’t be going in and out of this bin unassisted until she’s a lot bigger. So far we really like how it’s working out.
So there you have a whole lotta Target stuff for everyone who has been requesting a Window Shopping excursion. And it’s so exciting that Tar-jay is finally coming to Canada. Have fun up there, guys! Haha. Tell me what you get!
Psst- Once again for the people in the back, we weren’t paid or perked for this post, I just like taking you guys shopping with me. Check out all of our other Window Shopping sprees (both here in Richmond and on the road, in big box stores or small local shops) here.
It feels like forever since we posted about any gardening we’ve done (over a month, actually), but that doesn’t mean nothing’s happened. We’re just a little behind on writing about it (I like to think that we were waiting for things to fill in a bit so we could snap some pics for ya). So let’s play catch up. Remember when we transplanted some bushes to perk up the area behind our patio?
Well, that was all fine and good for that side of the patio. But it left this big empty, ugly spot in its wake.
So a couple of weeks ago we got our hydrangea on again (thanks to a pair we picked up at Home Depot – along with a pot of petunias) and decided to breathe some life back into that side of the patio.
While it certainly was an improvement to have flowers and fresh mulch over there, we hoped the hydrangeas would fill things in a bit more over time. And thankfully…
… they did!
Fast-forward to this week and the area is already looking a lot better thanks to some blooms in full force and the addition of a ceramic garden friend (Sherry found him at HomeGoods). You’ll also notice that we FINALLY got rid of all of the garden stones that had been sitting on those brick steps for over a year. Some friends down the street bought them from us for their garden so we made about $90 in the process!
The turtle was $16 and I didn’t even put up a fight about it, since our outdoor ceramic animal collection is pretty much zero at this point. Actually, when we first toured this house before putting in an offer, there was a white stone turtle in the back that Sherry loved (he was gone when we moved in though, so Sherry argued that we needed to replace him with this green guy). Clara loves him. Almost as much as my 30 year old wife.
The hydrangeas didn’t waste any time getting their color (we thought they were both going to be blue – but something funny must have happened with the soil under one of them to make it more purple).
I know you can only see so many soft-focus shots of flowers before your eyes start to glaze over, but I had to include this one since a certain someone blurry-photo-bombed the background.
He was busy hunting his newest
prey best friend, a tiny lizard that suns on those brick steps but hides as soon as Burger is near.
Poor Burger. You’ll get to hang out with him someday, buddy. Okay, probably not.
Perhaps Burger should starting hunting turtles. I’d venture a guess that this one would be pretty easy to catch.
Sprucing up that little patio nook hasn’t been all that we’ve tackled. We also decided to address these random black planters that have been migrating around the patio area since we moved. It’s been a miracle that the boxwoods we planted in them back at our old house are still going strong!
But since those hearty boxwoods weren’t doing us much good back there – and since Katherine The Landscape Gal had recommended some boxwoods for the empty planters flanking our front door (which had previously held some seasonal mums) – it seemed like it was meant to be.
So we carefully extracted the boxwood from each of the planters…
…and replanted them on the front porch.
Now here’s hoping that move wasn’t a death sentence, since so far those wooden planters have not treated plants all that well (like how I’m deflecting blame and putting it on the planters?). We promise to water them this time.
As for the now-empty black planters? We picked up a couple more of those white petunias from Home Depot and plopped ‘em in there.
Nothing terribly special, but at least now they’re providing a smidge of flower-age to this otherwise flower-less side of the patio.
And since I don’t think we’ve filled our dreamy flower photo quota yet for this post, here’s one last shot for good measure.
What about you guys? Are you still in full outdoor sprucing mode? Or are you starting to lose momentum now that we’re dancing on the edge of summer?