Outside

Since I’m Genetically One-Quarter Egg Chair…

John described me that way in this post, and it made me laugh because let’s face it, it’s true. I’m also one-quarter dog fur (it’s always all over me) and one-quarter ceramic animal (no further explanation required).

How quickly this post got off track.

Anyway, now that we have a sofa and a coffee table on our back porch, the next thing on our list was a little more seating to round out that side of the room in the form of a comfy chair. Our first option was just to buy the $749 chair that matches our sofa. We liked that it would definitely tie into the color/look of the woven sofa without us having to worry that it would clash or look off. But we wondered if we would wish we went for something a little more fun and a little less matchy down the line, and it did take up a pretty big rectangular footprint, which might crowd the corner where we wanted to put it.

Another contender was a hanging egg chair like this $498 one from Anthropologie, just because we thought it could be fun in a lounge-y outdoor space. But we questioned the comfort factor (without plush seat and back cushions, would it get much use?) and we worried a little about the kid-stunt factor (some of Clara’s friends are a bit more… acrobatic). Didn’t want any broken wrists on our watch – especially with the hard tile below. We also worried about the logistics of it holding enough weight to be safe since John the Builder actually had to reinforce the overhead beams on the showhouse’s front porch to accommodate the porch swing.

Then we talked about an egg chair that hung from a stand instead of the ceiling, like this $590 option from Joss & Main, but still didn’t fully trust that we’d want to constantly enforce the whole “do not swing on this” rule (would kids try to twist it around and ride it like a tire swing?). We also thought the futuristic silhouette might not go as well with our outdoor sofa. Although we did remark that Nuni & Nooni would love it.

We also saw this one on Pinterest from World Market, which might have gone better with our sofa, but when we clicked over to see the price it was sold out. Oh well, it still had that hanging-on-a-chain-probably-isn’t-ideal thing going on.

Then there was this one from Joss & Main, which was more like a boat than a chair, but it did look pretty cozy. It was too big for our space, and the $1500+ price tag was more than we wanted to spend, but if we ever have a  spare house in Bali to our name we wouldn’t be mad at a few of these out by the pool.

We kept saying things like “I wish we could find something that sits on the ground like the egg chair at the showhouse.” We loved everything about that chair (the color was great, it swiveled, it was super comfortable, etc). And although we checked every shop we could think of, as well as just doing some random googling, we didn’t come up with anything that really compared.

It kind of reminded us of this one that Pottery Barn used to sell for $1300 a few years back, except that one was a little too warm to go with our cool brown/gray sofa, and it didn’t swivel.

Then we realized we could try buying an identical egg chair to the one from the showhouse directly from GreenFront. We just had to see if they had another one in their store. And as we were telling one of the folks from the showhouse this story they said “why don’t you check with John (the Builder) to see if the showhouse egg chair is one of the borrowed pieces that he’s planning to return, because if so I bet you can buy it over the phone from GreenFront (around 50% of the GreenFront furniture we got was on loan and they were picking it back up after the show).

So we called John the Builder to ask about it, held our breath, and… he said we couldn’t buy the chair. Sad clown. But the reason he wouldn’t let us buy it was because the whole team wanted to go in on it as a thank you to us for working on the showhouse with them over the past year! We couldn’t believe it. We’re still doing that “no way just take our money” thing, so we’ll have to report back if we can sneak them the cash somehow (my mom is a fan of the “hide-it-in-their-purse” method, but most of the team is purse-less…).

Doesn’t the wicker look like it was meant to be paired with the sofa? We’re so glad they work so well together. We also appreciate that the seat is Sunbrella fabric, so it should hold up to Clara’s bubble-solution-covered hands and Burger’s muddy paws. As for the side table, we decided it was a little too much wicker for us (you know my love of ceramic garden stools – especially to add color outside) so we sent it back to GreenFront with the rest of the borrowed pieces that they came back to collect instead of purchasing it – but it was nice to take a look at it first to be sure.

Now it looks more like this in that corner (we took this photo after the others in this post, so ignore the wicker side table’s presence and pretend you see this shiny red beacon of garden stool love):

But back to the chair. It has already been getting a LOT of use from this guy…

… and even some lounge-time from this guy…

I’m getting in on the action too. Sometimes I find myself out there, just gently rocking with the baby in my arms while Clara plays with her water table (swivel action FTW). Definitely one of my favorite new spots.

So that’s the Great Egg Chair Hunt of 2014. Although when you pan out it’s clear that we still have the other side of the sunroom to furnish. I’m thinking a little bistro table under that second fan would be nice since there’s still room to walk around something like that. And of course we still need to build a box to cover those ugly wires that snake down the brick wall.

Here’s a wider shot from further back. You might notice that we parked our dining chairs around the table just because we thought they’d get more use out here in the nicer weather (they’re outdoor chairs so they ain’t afraid of no ghost rain). The jury’s still out whether it’s a temporary move for them, but Burger has already been found lounging on their plush seat cushions, so that’s one vote for them staying outside over the folding chairs that were there before.

Are you guys shopping for any outdoor stuff lately? Are you one-quarter garden stool? I might be too. Hey, maybe we’re related.

Psst- For more what-we-considered rundowns like this one, here’s one about doorknobs, one about kitchen lights, one about rugs, one about dining tables, one about sectionals, one about washers & dryers, and one about our outdoor sofa.

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A Patio Coffee Table Hack (And A Sofa)

Guess what arrived?! I’ll give you two hints: this and the photo below. Admittedly, both are very strong hints. Maybe I need to work on being more mysterious.

Despite Sherry’s promises to throw a ticker tape parade when our new outdoor sofa showed up, its arrival was unceremonious. Sherry was on a conference call. A big truck pulled up. I handed off the baby to Sherry and ran outside. A big box came out of said truck. Yada yada. Clara was out with Grammy, but when she arrived home she declared it “perfect!” and said “I love it!” and that was that, as you can see in the video below.

What you can also see in the video below is the last appearance of that old white coffee table, which has been a staple in all of our sunrooms to date.

The table is actually a big thrift-store tabletop that we screwed onto an Ikea Lack table, so it was a temporary solution that has long overstayed its welcome. Keeping it outdoors for nearly a year finally put the last nail in its coffin. So if you ever wondered how Lack tables respond to moisture…

We had been planning to replace it with another table that has been with us through three houses, but were just waiting for the sofa to arrive to get started. It’s the metal + glass thrift store table that anchored our first living room and enjoyed a brief stint outside at our last house.

The time that it spent on our old patio taught us two things – the metal is great outside, but the glass is not. We were constantly cleaning pollen / dust / watermarks off it, so it always looked foggy and dirty. So we decided to make a wood top that might be a bit more durable (and will hopefully hide a lot more dust/dew/etc). We kept the glass in case it ever comes back inside, but for now the metal frame is the only part coming out of storage.

At Lowe’s we found this $19 pre-cut panel that was the exact width (20″) and depth (3/4″) we needed, so we happily accepted the shortcut from having to cut a board to size (although this one did need a little trim on one end).

Our main concern was keeping the board from warping – either in moisture or under the weight of items on the table. If we used something thicker, the top wouldn’t sit flush with the metal frame – so I did my best to reinforce this panel with some x-bracing underneath.

I ripped a 1 x 3″board in half on my table saw (any thicker and it would have poked out below the metal frame) and cut it to length so that it would sit in the X-shape that you see above. To make them nest together in the center, I marked where they crossed and used my table saw – set very low – to notch out a groove on each board. They weren’t perfect, but it worked!

We loved the look of the raw wood against the metal, but in the room it just looked unfinished in combination with the new sofa. Since we knew we’d need to stain and seal it for protection against the elements, we decided to be a bit adventurous.

So yeah, we got blue. Specifically River’s Run Semi-Transparent Stain in Olympic Maximum, which is not only used for outdoor furniture, it can also be used on decks and fences.

Since going with a colored stain was new to us, we did some tests on the spare piece of tabletop that I had trimmed off. After applying some Minwax Prestain Wood Conditioner to the whole piece, we tested out what one coat of River’s Run would look like vs. two coats. And then for kicks, we brushed a quick coat of Dark Walnut stain on the end of each swatch to see if we liked the slightly warmer, more aged look of those two stains in combination.

We decided to go with the simplest option: just the one coat of River’s Run. Two coats felt a bit too intense (almost like it was painted, not stained) and the Dark Walnut overcoat was too brown against the metal table to the point that it sort of looked muddy/dirty when we held it up next to it.

With that decision made, we just followed the staining instructions after applying the same Minwax Prestain Wood Conditioner to the wood (remember when we learned how much of a difference that made back here). You basically just brush it on, and it looks crazy-blue and scares you (see below) but once you let it soak in and dry, it ends up being a nice subdued tone…

… like this:

Oh but after our single coat of stain was applied and had dried (on both sides) we did elect to brush on three coats of Safecoat Acrylacq as a sealer (to the top and bottom of the board). We really want this thing to hold up well outside, and when it rains really hard the table in here does get coated with a fine mist of water, so it felt like nice added insurance.

Going back to the sofa for a minute, we’re really happy with it so far. We love the slight color variation/striping in the wicker and the whole things feels very sturdy while still being comfortable. The cushions are nice and dense, so they don’t feel flat or too floppy (which hopefully bodes well for their durability). If anything, they feel like they need to be broken in a little, but we’re already hard at work on that task. Burger takes his job very seriously.

I was a little wary of how the blue tabletop would work out, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it works with everything out there. It brings out some of the blue undertones in the tile while still looking rustic enough to contrast with the metal base. And maybe it’s just the sky reflecting off of it, but even the woven part of the sofa seems to have a hint of blue going on.

It’s pretty exciting to finally have some real furniture out here. We pretty much live out back in the warmer weather, so having a nice shaded place to lounge is well overdue.

The rest of the sunroom is still looking pretty empty (which is why I opted to photograph these so tightly) but we’ve already set a plan in motion for filling things in and adding more function/seating. After all, if we ever plan to reclaim the sofa for ourselves we’ll need to give Burger another alternative.

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