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Race to 7/20: Jess and Caitlin Are Racing To Decorate Their, Let’s Say, Challenging Balconies… Here are The Plans

Last Tuesday, Caitlin and I were still feeling kinda meh and not very inspired (or at least I wasn’t). It was a big “WHAT DO WE CARE ABOUT/WANT TO TALK ABOUT? WHAT DO THE READERS CARE ABOUT? DO WE CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE???” So after throwing a bunch of ideas out we both decided we wanted to tackle our “unique” balconies. Now I know some these intro posts have ended up being a bunch of empty promises (rip my tiled medicine cabinet cover). BUT this time is different. We have set a deadline, or more so a finish line. The plan is for us to see how fast we can turn these babies out with the absolute latest day being 7/20. This means our reveals will be designed, shot, and ready to publish by that date. It’s a cutthroat race but also a very supportive one:)

So why July 20th? Well, it gives us a little over a month (even though I am placing a big bet on myself to finish much sooner. Watch out Higgins!) and I thought it was a funny play on Armchair Expert’s “Race to 270” where two of Dax’s best friends raced to get to 270 lbs. Caitlin has never listened to a single episode of any Armchair series (I KNOW!!) so she had to take my word for it. They didn’t have a timeline and we don’t have any potentially dicey moral issues (Monica and I were very aligned in our concerns). Oh, and there may only be one update because that’s how fast this is going! Otherwise, it’s practically the same thing. And hopefully just as entertaining! Ok, I’m now going to pass the mic to Miss Caitlin to describe in all her hilarity what determined women we became that fatal Tuesday evening…

HI, IT’S CAITLIN. Jess is right – I’ve been feeling really uninspired to take on projects in my own home right now. Exactly two weeks after getting my second Pfizer shot in April, my internal monologue switched from “I deserve a home that feels like me” to “why work on my apartment when I could work on going to beer gardens and sitting in the park and going on boats and seeing my friends again???”

The next thing you need to know: over the past year, I have grown to be like, uh, a little codependent on Jess. (TBH it’s healthy, but we are just very close!!! It’s very cute!!!) I think we talk for at least 20 hours a week – not even about EHD business, just friend stuff (outside of business hours, of course!) – and so when she called me after work on Tuesday and told me about her plans to do her challenging balcony, I said, “OH, ME TOO. My balcony is also tough! I will design mine and we will do it together,” because what are friends for if not glomming on to your ideas and forcing themselves into your projects?

But it turns out that it’s just what these two indecisive Libras needed, because by Wednesday morning, we both had mood boards and guys, WE STARTED PLACING ORDERS FOR THINGS. Money is leaving our accounts (and in my case, I’ve already gotten some things delivered!). This is happening. Side note: In a true non-competitive competition, we placed these orders while FaceTiming each other and we cheered when the email confirmations came through – it is very nice to have a friend to hold me accountable 🙂 That said, BUNGO IS GOING DOWN BECAUSE I’M GONNA BE DONE THIS BALCONY ASAP. Let me show you what I’m working with…

This space has been my problem child for a full year (or uh, two years, I guess. Woops!). It has okay dimensions (10′ x 4′), which would normally be great *if* there wasn’t a door that opened straight into the space – those with sliding glass doors, you are very lucky – but beyond that, it feels like a full-on UFC cage match in here. I really oscillate between thinking the bars are a charming architectural feature and thinking that the bars are the bane of my existence, but I guess that both things can be true. My original plan was to get planters and to grow some vines up the bars to increase the privacy factor, but getting the right size planters to sustain healthy plants would kill the amount of floor space and make ~comfy~ seating arrangements untenable, so I just kinda ignored the problem and figured that I’d deal with it one day when I felt smarter and more capable. But finally, the stars have aligned and the day has come!

Before I jump into the inspo and plans, though, GET A LOAD OF THAT VIEW. That’s what folks move to LA for!!! It’s beautiful and the bars definitely add a little something extra. This is exactly what I had always dreamed of when watching old sitcoms based in Beverly Hills – just true glamor here, guys. The other day when I was measuring in my PJs, I was catcalled by someone in the drive-thru. So like, SOS, I NEED PRIVACY RIGHT NOW. On to the inspiration…

design and photo by gray malin

TBH, even *I* am shocked that this is where I ended up, but I’ll walk you through the catalyst a little bit when we get to the moodboard. Doing a whole Beverly Hills Hotel-inspired apartment would be a little too much for me, but in 40 square feet? I LOVE IT. I’m not traditionally into cane or rattan or wicker but I love how functional and light and fun it is for an outdoor space, especially when paired with some cabana stripes.

image source

Ah yes, we’re clocking in on a definite theme here. Gimme some banana palm printed cushions, gimme some outdoor curtains with fun tiebacks, and gimme some fun hits of pink and stripes! I’M READY. I’m ready to share my early plan (with notice that things will probably change or shift a little, since finished is better than perfect!).

Boxwood | Striped Outdoor Curtains | Chairs | Bistro Table | Runner | Semi-Flush Mount | Leaf Pillow | Pink Pillow | Planter | Hanging Chair | Drink Table

My jumping-off point here was the cabana stripe curtains – they’re made of Sunbrella which means they’ll be really easy to maintain, which is key for me since I live off a major road and everything is constantly covered with a layer of black soot – and I love that I’ll be able to manage the amount of privacy on the balcony. My apartment gets REALLY hot and it takes a long time for it to cool down in the evenings, so I love sitting out on the balcony at night – I can’t wait to draw these shut, flip on the light, and lounge on an egg chair in a sports bra with my book and my $11 Sauv Blanc from Walgreens without a million folks seeing me.

Everything else fell into place pretty organically after that – like, if you’re doing a cabana stripe, you may as well lean into the rattan…and the brass…and the fun prints. I HAD TO. For what it’s worth, I had never been a big bistro table set fan and would have never thought of putting one out here buuuuut a few weeks ago, a gentleman caller came over to make me dinner and he wanted to sit outside (because again, hot apartment) and I was MORTIFIED, so that table and those chairs have already been acquired. #iboughtthis #problemsolver #fasterthanJess

I know that once the “big” pieces are installed, I’ll pepper in a ton of pink & green accessories in terms of pillows, dinnerware, candles, flowers, etc. TBH I would have loved to go for a true Beverly Hills hotel vibe (a little bit of a lighter palate – white chairs, a white drink table, a baby pink rug) but I’m trying to balance out the imposing prison bars while picking pieces that won’t look disgusting after a week of soot exposure. And while my middle door placement drives me crazy, I am pretty excited about the natural separation it makes between a “lil spicy date night” side and a “relaxing like a fetus in my sweatpants” side. In any case, I’m VERY EXCITED to have a new and usable space that I won’t scream about in case a boy ever comes to my house again. Passing it back to Jess, but I’m excited to hear any feedback from you!!! See ya!!

Hi again! Our codependent relationship has become one of my most treasured gifts of 2020 and I am 100% that horrible coworker/friend that facetimes without asking permission but she graciously answers almost always (I have gotten A LOT better about asking before I call even though she’s never complained). And she is also correct that our Libra indecisiveness makes it near impossible to make a quick decision so last week was an exciting but anxiety-inducing roller coaster. Normally, I spend weeks making sure I am making the “most perfect” decision I can for a room. Hence why my projects take…a minute. But not this time! Exhibit A: I searched for maybe two hours and decided to buy a 10950s vintage lounge chair without the “but what if there’s something better” thoughts taking over. I didn’t even sleep on it! Well, I kinda did because it was off of Craigslist and I couldn’t get it for 2 days but you get the point.

HOT DESIGN TIP: Create a friendly design race with a friend to hold your overthinking butt accountable so you both can enjoy each other’s spaces in the actual near future!

And being held accountable is what I needed (well, we both needed). Remember in my “I Moved” post where I talked about my long list of what I had to have in my next apartment (talking about this one)? An outdoor space was probably #2 on the list of importance. #1 being it had to be bigger:) But the embarrassing truth is I’ve never used it. Sure, I’ve used the building’s community patio with my neighbor friend for some drinks but that’s it. Honestly, it’s un-freaking-acceptable. Walk the walk, Bunge.

Ok, I’m walking here (!), let’s talk about my little slice (literally) of heaven.

Here is maybe the longest and skinniest balcony in the Los Angeles Area. But I don’t care because she is all mine… as I mentioned, there’s a larger communal patio for the building to use when I have more than just Caitlin over for some alfresco drinks and snacks. Can you believe that that statement is a reality?!?! Having more than one person in my apartment feels like rave-level excitement. Not that I’ve actually been to a rave but you get the point.

As you can see from these photos the layout is my number one issue but I have a plan that I think is going to work great for me and having those four doors is crucial.

This puppy’s usable dimensions are 30″ x 20′ and below is my current layout that likely can’t change if I want all of the elements I have planned. Essentially the two inner doors will always stay closed because they all swing out towards the balcony. I can then access each chair and side with the two outer doors. It’s for sure going to be tight but totally doable. Then my awesome new lounge chair, which you will see in a minute, can be off to the side so I can more comfortably read, bask in the sun, or drink some wine with my legs up. Oh and I really want a small tomato plant because after eating fresh tomatoes from my dad’s garden last summer, I’m forever changed (and they are apparently very easy to grow which is necessary for my skill level).

Ok, let’s take design. You are probably not surprised that I am going for a vintage European/Parisian look. Predictable, yes. But I love what I love and it’s the right vibe for the exterior of my building.

design by athena calderone | styled by colin king | photo by gieves anderson | via architectural digest

My main inspiration is Athena Calderone‘s Brooklyn terrace. I have been drooling over this patio the moment I first saw it a few years ago and knew that if I ever had an outdoor space this would be one of the top inspirations. The blue and off-white tiles, the unique iron furniture, the pop of colorful greenery. All a total Jessica dream.

And so is Emily’s old patio! Beautiful, bold patterns, colorful, and fresh yet soulful. Also I just I really love special metal outdoor furniture.

Another issue is going to be greenery. I want to have a good amount but also know my limitations in my plant care abilities. I really want to get better though!

I sadly can’t do vines up the walls like Anita’s wonderful side yard or Seamus’s stunning outdoor dining nook. But do you see those plant stands in the back of Anita’s space? Well, I was pursuing World Market I grabbed myself something similar! Not sure if I will use it for a plant or a lantern holder but love that it’s going to giving me some levels. Since having a vintage look is paramount, I found a DIY how to quickly age (aka rust) metal quickly which I think would give it that feel I want.

Now let’s see my full plan before I go into more specifics…

Floor Lantern Hook | Lantern | Faux Flowers | Solar String Lights | Vintage Outdoor Bistro Set | Floor Tiles (going paint blue and white) | Vintage Lounge Chair | White Planter | Terracotta Planter | Clear Glass Lanterns

Do you see the vision?? The floor tiles are going to be the biggest transformation and the biggest project. I’M SO PUMPED. So they are actually the IKEA outdoor click-together tiles that I am planning to spray paint to make that blue and off-white checkered pattern. I was thinking of trying to create a diamond pattern but it’s really going to be sooooooo much harder and the check is going to be great. I’ve already consulted with DIY expert Rashida about the painting process so fingers crossed it lasts. I should mention that they have been purchased and are awaiting paint and some cutting! I told you we are MOVING QUICK.

That bistro set was about to be in my cart from Chairish until I realized it needed to be shipped from across the country and made it way too expensive (I really thought I had clicked the “local” feature!). I was bummed. But then my spirits were lifted when I found that INCREDIBLE lounge chair on Craigslist for $125 which was a lot more affordable than most of the new stuff on the market. It’s a special piece I plan on keeping and loving for a long time. Plus the extra great part is that it’s only 22″ wide which is perfect for the very narrow space. I could maybe get a drink table y’all! Pillows and a throw will be added for extra comfort, color, and style:)

So the hunt for the bistro set continues which might be the one thing threatening my victory because I really want something vintage. I probably will also want something a little less curvy than what is on the moodboard since the lounge chair has that detail handled. But aside from that, the solar lights and clear glass lanterns have been purchased as well. So now I just need to fill in the decor. Oh and get on those DIYS because I want to WIN!!!

So that’s the deal! Are you ready to take bets? Should there be a prize like “the loser” cooks dinner for the winner that they can enjoy on the winner’s patio together?? Hopefully, you are as excited as we are!!

Opening Image Credits: Left From: Design and Photo by Gray Malin | Right From: Design by Athena Calderone | Styled by Colin King | Photo by Gieves Anderson | via Architectural Digest

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Key
5 months ago

Love this idea so much! (friendly) competition, + peer pressure (read: accountability) –it’s bound to be a success!! Currently seeking a co-dependent relationship so I can get my projects done…

DeniseGK
5 months ago
Reply to  Key

Lol, we need a tinder-style app for hitting personal design/decorate deadlines!

HerselfInDublin
5 months ago

These sound great, really looking forward to the finished result.
Re the apartment getting very hot during the day – do you have heavy curtains or blinds you can close during the day? Stopping the sun coming in makes a big difference to how hot it gets. My north-facing bedroom only gets the sun in for a few hours in the evening and I often close the blind 80% of the way and leave the window open to stop the heat building up. In hot countries they have shutters so you can stop the sun coming in and also have the window open.

Admin
5 months ago

i do have pseudo-curtains. (and some rolling shades!) but they definitely aren’t the most helpful. next up on my list is grabbing some ACTUAL curtains from everhem 🙂

Eve
5 months ago

I love the stripped curtains!!!

Sally
5 months ago

Excellent point. Shutters are ideal because they let the breeze in but keep the sun’s rays out. Plantation shutters are even better because they allow you to angle the light and are super popular in Australia, but are expensive. Awnings are good too, but also expensive.

Jane
5 months ago

Chiming in about curtains! I have a HOT HOT HOT west facing window that cooks my LA apartment from 2 – 6pm.

When my old roommate moved out and took her curtains with her, she told me I HAVE TO BUY blackout panels and sew / attach them to the back of my curtains.

It keeps the apartment as cool as possible, and I got to buy cute curtains. The blackout panels are a much thicker material than any blackout curtains I’ve ever bought, so I think they work better.

Jane
5 months ago
Reply to  Jane

Here’s what I’m talking about for anyone interested: https://www.potterybarn.com/products/universal-blackout-curtain-liner/?catalogId=84&sku=2693621& Mine hooks onto my curtains.

Liz
5 months ago

This is so fun! Caitlin, if you’re doing artificial boxwood anyway you could consider doing a partial privacy screen, like if you look on overstock for “Artificial 12-piece Boxwood Privacy Screen Faux Plant Wall”. I bet you could even cut the top to make it wavy/scalloped and get more of a topiary look.

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Liz

P l a s t i c 🙁

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Liz

i have thought about that, but i’m so worried about fading!!! does anyone have experience with how things like this hold up outdoors? i get BLASTED by AM sun!

Rusty
5 months ago

A cafe near me put them up and they faded to a lime-greeny, yellowish in @ 6 months.
Please don’t buy plastic Caitlin, please.🌏

Lori
5 months ago

I’ve seen people use them in Austin and the plastic is weirdly shiny and fades within the month. I would avoid!

Roberta Davis
5 months ago

The only thing I’m betting on is that both of these spaces will be fantastic! I was going to suggest those IKEA tiles- what a great idea! And for plants- a gardener once told me, give plant light, water, air and dirt and they will grow! Just make sure to water your plants every morning- pots dry out very quickly in the heat and sun. And tomatoes need a lot of water. I love it that you two have gotten through this pandemic together and stronger!

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

Also Jess-my Mom had a tomato garden in the backyard. True, it is in the Mid-West, but she had to build a cage around it so the animals didn’t steal them all. Watch out for squirrels, etc. lol

kk
5 months ago

These are BOTH so cute! Catcalled from the drivethrough had me LOLIng… For space #1 I would advise standing screens as well as curtains, so you can really block things in a flexible way based on mood/ sunlight . My second idea, less useful given the deadline- is add hard furnishings it as slowly as you can esp in the long narrow space. It’s easy for outdoor spaces feel overstuffed with furniture. Also comfy furniture is key. I’d use canvas chairs or wicker not metal, which is stiff and heats up in the sun. I’d also add a hummingbird feeder( you can DIY the nectar) , bird bath ( even a little water tray for plants works) , and a maybe bird feeder ( feeders on a hanger stand in a plant so the poop and mess fertilizes them….), maybe some bird and bee houses… As a container garden veteran I have some FUN stuff to say which is a key way to make your space feel special is the PLANTS and SMELLS that attract BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES WOOHOO! It’s not just when you are in the garden but seeing the pretty garden supporting plants, insects and birds from inside… Read more »

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  kk

kk…. Truly exceptional advice!
Good on you. I’m a gardener too and your advice is on the money!! 👍

kk
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Ah thanks I kinda went nuts with it on my rainy Monday morning !

DeniseGK
5 months ago
Reply to  kk

For anyone reading the (great!) comment above, may I just put in a small plea: Please make your hummingbird nectar 1/2 strength! A lot of tutorials say to use equal amounts of sugar and water, this is actually bad for the hummers. That much sugar in their drink can suppress their proper hunger cravings while giving them all the immediate energy they need. They will keep coming back to the feeder all day and not hunt for bugs very much. This means they miss out on all the protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals bugs provide and the birds need to grow and stay healthy. Did you know that hummingbird metabolism is so fast that they are actually on the verge of starvation every morning when they wake up? If they have a diet of mostly sugar water, they can weaken and starve rather easily – especially if your area is given to multi-day rain patterns. Just by making the sugar-water half strength (so 1/2c sugar for every cup of water, for ex.) you don’t suppress their natural cravings for bugs, the birds stay healthy enough to weather the storms, and you get a serious decrease in the number of pests… Read more »

kk
5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

So helpful! Thank you!

Kristi B
5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

Ohhh- I’ve literally been making hummingbird water for years at 1/4 strength…4 c water to one cup sugar. Is that too little? Also, I read to just clean it with water not soap. Remnants of soap can kill them.

Jeanne
5 months ago
Reply to  Kristi B

I do 4 water : 1 sugar as well. The hummingbirds have been my pandemic pet project and now I have between 6-12 that hang around.

More feeder advice for others: 1) The sugar water doesn’t need the red dye. They are drawn to the red plastic and the dye is chemical and harmful 2) The feeder needs to be scrubbed out weekly with soap and water and rinsed super well. Mold will develop from the sugar and sun and we all know how dangerous black mold is, particularly to their teeny bodies. (I’ve removed the yellow fake flowers and found it’s easier to clean. Plus the birds haven’t needed them at all)

Ruth Ann
5 months ago
Reply to  Kristi B

No, 1-4 is the exact correct ratio for hummingbirds!

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

Wow thank you for that tip!!!!! Makes total sense!

Anon
5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

I have a hummingbird feeder and LOVE it! It’s so cool to sit on the patio and watch and hear the buzz of their wings and calls while they feed and have in flight “dog fights” (think WWI airplane battles) over feeder territory . Where I live we have the birds year round and my feeder is always out and filled.

I make the nectar using the Audubon Society’s recipe 1 part sugar to 4 parts water (20% sugar volume to volume). See https://www.audubon.org/news/how-make-hummingbird-nectar

I also plant impatiens (shady patio) for the hummingbirds and participate in the Audubon’s Hummingbirds at Home citizen science project. You can report individual sightings of hummingbirds or watch a feeder or your yard for a period of time and help science! 🙂 See http://www.hummingbirdsathome.org/

It’s totally cool to watch the hummingbirds!

Annie K.
5 months ago
Reply to  kk

kk this is amazing. I’m going to be referencing this for years to come.

Caitlin, I hope you get an answer about the idea for the privacy screen with the fake plants – fading would be a super bummer, but it would be great if you could get the privacy without cutting off airflow. I wonder if you could get those super minimal, thin linen-y white curtains from ikea and then paint your own lines on them…just like, really prioritizing minimal weight/breeze blockage for maximum privacy.

So fun!

Kiana
5 months ago
Reply to  kk

Such great advice kk, thanks! Another idea for cheap plants is friends and neighbors who have gardens. They will be able to give you small seedlings of things just growing and reproducing in their yards or you can graft things from them. In my backyard, every time it rains, a baby elephant ear plant pops out of the ground. I put them in soil in a glass jam jar and give them away to friends. Instead of fancy hostess gifts, I bring plants!

Anon
5 months ago
Reply to  Kiana

Yes! Please ask for cuttings or new little plants. I have sooooo many plants that I can’t give away. I accidentally propagate plants. If something breaks off, I pop it in some soil or water and voila! new plant. yes! please ask your friends like me for cuttings or young plants! I would love to give my plantlings to a new home where they will have a chance to live on without me.

Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  kk

Kk, THANK YOU!! Gem of a comment. I’m a city gardener and am moving to an apt with a bigger deck and am so excited to expand my garden and welcome the bugs and birds! Paradise

Suzanne
5 months ago

What a fun, friendly competition! I love both designs.

Jess, I spent forever hunting flea markets to find my tiny bistro table. I did finally find it, but I hope your search goes faster. Also, I wonder if you can get a planter and a add a trellis or tower of some sort to plant a climbing plant to get more height. I’ve seen some bougainvillea in pots before, and it does so well in LA. I wonder if it’d work.

Caitlin, you might consider pink sheer curtains, because when they’re closed, they’ll make your patio glow. I have pink curtains (IKEA Sanela — not even sheer) in a bedroom that has western exposure, so I close them in the afternoon, and the room has such a pretty soft pink glow. Also, I totally get the black soot thing. I live in the flight path of our airport, and it’s a constant struggle to keep outdoor furniture clean.

Good luck to both of you. I can’t wait to see the reveals!

DeniseGK
5 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I have had good luck by finding out the names of all the small towns (actual little old towns, not suburbs) around my city and searching Craigslist for “[piece of furniture I want]” with a town name or two tacked on. People who inherited their family’s 100+ year old home, but want contemporary furniture are an absolute gold mine. It means I have to be willing to drive up to 90 minutes (so, probably double that for LA living bc I think 90 minutes is how long it takes to get to the next neighborhood over, right? 😉 but finding vintage furniture that hasn’t already been assaulted by terrible painting is MUCH easier.

Suzanne
5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

Good tip!

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

ahhh you had me at glow!!! maybe i’ll do some sheers and some solids so i have both options? i love!

Suzanne
5 months ago

Caitlin, I bet you can layer them. Have the cabana stripes as the outer layer with the Sunbrella fabric, and the inner layer can be pink sheers. Then you can adjust light as you need and want.

MKP
5 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Yes! I was thinking sheers too so you can have privacy but still feel like you are outside. Would also soften the metal bars. If you have heavy curtains only I’m afraid you won’t be able to enjoy the breeze, fresh air, light. May just feel like you are still inside your apartment. And pink sheers sound PERFECT for your vision. If not this, then maybe something to block the lower half (like a screen) while leaving the top half open. Again so you get privacy but still feel like you’re outside.

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

AND if you put it on the opposite end of the lounge chair it will give you more privacy from the next balcony!!

Rusty
5 months ago

Oh, my goodness!!
You two take aeons to make decisions … so this’ll be interesting!! 🤣🤣

I HAVE TO SAY THIS TO BOTH OF YOU: SWAP THOSE DOOR HINGES AND INCREASE YOUR SPACE!!!
Reverse the swing of the hinges and when you eventually move you can can swap them back so the doors swing out again.
It’s not like it’s a thoroughfare in a rainy climate or anything and it looks as thpugh ypu both havd ample indoor space to accommodate the doors opening inwards.
JUST. DO IT.
And tgank me later!😁

“…a gentleman caller came over to make me dinner”?!?!?! Caitlin! Wot!?!? LOL You mover n shaker, you!! 💓

Jess, just don’t ever water the leaves of your tomato plant and you should manage to keep it disease free.

I’m SO EXCITED for this one , spesh after the bathroom makeover non-events.

Def, the loser makes the winner dinner and does the dishes too!
Bring it on!🤩

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

HAHA. thank you!! <3

Anon
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

Isn’t this a fire code thing? i.e. doors that OPEN in the direction of EGRESS? It doesn’t sound like a good idea to reverse the way the doors open when there’s probably a fire code reason behind it.

There was a tragic fire in the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago in 1903.

“Building codes are regulated on a state-to-state basis, but all of the 50 states now have laws in place that require the egress of public buildings to be equipped with outward-swinging doors. Illinois originally started the trend after the Iroquois Theater fire of 1903, when almost 2,000 panicked patrons pressed against the inward-opening doors, rendering them useless.” https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/22330/stories-behind-6-safety-precautions

MJ
5 months ago
Reply to  Anon

Egress in this application only applies to public buildings, not private residences. As you noted, it’s just a consideration for lots of people having to exit a building all at once which is not the case for an apartment or house. Besides, a balcony without a fire escape would not be considered a emergency exit as you would just be trapped on the balcony!!

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

LOL I just posted the same idea for Caitlin!!!

Beth
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Switching door hinges has made a huge difference inside my home–so much space freed up!!! It’s something I always consider now.
Exterior doors often swing out because it makes it harder for someone break in (they have to pull instead of push/kick in), especially on patio style doors which might not have secure deadbolts like a reinforced front door. It’s a safety feature to consider. Outswing also offers better weather sealing from winds and water.

5 months ago

This was such a fun post to read and both of your spaces are going to be great! Jess, as your tomato grows it is going to need a cage to keep the stems from falling over so you can either spray paint a metal cage to blend in with your wire furniture or I’ve also used green bamboo stakes in a tripod arrangement with natural or green twine tied horizontally at several different intervals. Or maybe you can find a vintage tomato cage? Just wanted you to know there will be a need for some functional materials there so you can plan it into your design. Can’t wait to see!

DeniseGK
5 months ago
Reply to  molly

I just watched a video of someone (was it P. Allen Smith?) use those bamboo tomato stakes that come in 3-packs to hold up his old-timey-looking mini black lantern string lights for an outdoor dinner party. It was very cute, but I was thinking “This would be even cuter if you had those stakes for actual plants and you still hung the lights over them.” If Jess gets the tomatoes, she could do this and it would look right for the style from her inspo photo!

5 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

That sounds super cool!

Sally
5 months ago

Posts like this are why I read this blog. I skim read the big flash Portland/mountain/farmhouse house posts, skip the shopping posts which are boring as batsh#t and feel exploitative to boot, and have zero interest in Emily’s clogs/bathers/jeans but I absolutely love seeing the team create their unique, personal, creative and modest spaces and read those blogs over and over. It’s like old Apartment Therapy! Can’t wait to see the end results and am sure both will be awesome. So lovely to see your friendship as well – very heart warming.

Nancy
5 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Me too, and all the house plan drawings make me dizzy.

Sarah
5 months ago

Jess,
anthena’s patio is the stuff dreams are made of
and I come to this blog mostly for you (tho everyone is great!)
i can’t wait to see what you do!

Sarah
5 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

ha! I just read what you wrote! I guess we both find it a dream!

Caity
5 months ago

I love that you guys are such good friends! Real friends are so very precious!!

Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Caity

i also love that we are great friends 🙂 can’t believe i get to work with my favorite gal every day!!!

5 months ago

I love that you guys have such different jumping off points. I can’t wait to see them!

Michelle
5 months ago

Fun! Excited to see what you two come up with!

Patricia
5 months ago

As a fellow Libra, I so get this. Actually, what cured me of Libra indecisiveness was having a job where I did nothing but make decisions all day long. For real money. And real issues involving real people. You can get better at it. And by the end of this project, you’ll both be fabulous! And have cool balconies.

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

I am a Gemini, so I like too many styles…therefore make no decisions. LOL. I really need to get on it in my apartment. I am tired of looking so mismatched, etc!!

Emily
5 months ago

Hanging tomato planters! They free up valuable floor space (or put another plant below to help catch the water runoff), plus you get tasty tomatoes 🙂
Also as an FYI – someone above suggested changing the door hinges to swap the swing of your door inside – realistically most door frames aren’t built to do that – you have to swap the whole frame which obviously isn’t feasible in a rental.

Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Emily

It can be done on the same frame, using the same recessed installation point. The trick is to buy the same sized hinges.

Beth
5 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Switching door hinges has made a huge difference inside my home–so much space freed up!!!
Exterior doors often swing out because it makes it harder for someone break in (they have to pull instead of push/kick in), especially on patio style doors which might not have secure deadbolts like a reinforced front door. It’s a safety feature to consider. Outswing also offers better weather sealing from winds and water.

Reanna
5 months ago

Thank you for reminding me that small projects that allow me to enjoy my space are a good investment! Some things really are a “just do it” opportunity.

Sheila
5 months ago

Jess, while you’re searching for that bistro set, you might keep an eye out for a small French baker’s rack that could help distract from the pipe at one end or the AC unit at the other and elevate plants to eye level or above. They come in all heights and depths.

Eve
5 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

Great idea!!!

5 months ago

I feel so inspired after this! It makes me want to have a friendly competition like this.
Stephanie | <a href=“https://spvliving.com>SPV Living</a>

Irene
5 months ago

Jess, did you get the acacia wood tiles from Ikea? Your link went to the gray ones. I was fascinated and spent some time looking at all the colors and materials. I even read reviews – and several people said it was a lot more difficult to click them together than the video made it seem. They said it took two people with tools … soooo … if it’s going to be tough anyway, and maybe your very handy Dad might be helping, why not again consider putting them in a diamond pattern? The blocks will look fine, but I think diamonds would be incredibly amazing.

Can’t wait to see it finished, whatever you decide.

Irene
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

i must not have looked as closely at the description of the acacia ones as I did the others!
Your Dad’s travel plans sound marvelous – hope he has lots of fun.

Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

And Les bunge just gets more and more interesting!

Eve
5 months ago

So excited for you guys!
Jess-I love that thin iron tall hook thing to hang that lantern on! ( I assume that is what it’s for?), I was wondering if you couldn’t just paint checks on the floor to get that aged look as it would fade over time/use? If it’s a No-no landlord thing-couldn’t you just paint beige over it if and when you moved out? I don’t know why, but I am really into painting “rugs” on concrete or weathered wood floors. I love the Parisian vibe you are going for!!!
Caitlin-I was wondering…I’ve seen this done on HGTV before I think, but could you switch out the door hinges so they swing inside instead of outside? Not sure if this is possible but if so-wouldn’t that make it so much easier to use the outside patio? I love your style too and can’t wait to get a hanging chair at some point in my life!!!

Vera
5 months ago

Ahhhh love everything about this so much!! I am INVESTED.

Chris
5 months ago

Um… OK, so I live in Texas and not LA, but if I had metal patio furniture that lived outside, I would be branded for life if I tried to sit in it during the summer. Is this going to be an issue in LA?

Louisa
5 months ago

Do you know about that hotel offcast thrift store in the Valley (I think Van Nuys ish)?? I can’t remember what it’s called, but I got actual Beverly Hill Hotel stuff there back in 2014-15. It was such a fun (and large!) place to go! It was mostly larger furniture but there were definitely decor selections and tableware etc.

Lynn W
5 months ago

What a great way to get the ball rolling and done!! Love the ideas and styles and look forward to finished pics 👍
One thing on Jess’ patio….. I see the floor lantern hook and it’s cool. If you get any kind of wind I’m thinking it may blow over unless it’s more weighted than it looks
Have fun creating your cool hang out spots🤩

Kendall
5 months ago

This is awesome! Consider me following! I’m currently dreaming up my patio piece by piece. I may just unofficially give myself a 7/20 deadline too. 🤠

Trudy
5 months ago

I love a tale of female friendship!
Caitlin – In the photo of the view from your balcony, I see small doors in the outside wall of the balcony. Is that usable storage space? Hmmm…. Have you ever spent any real amount of time in a hanging chair? I don’t find them that comfy, and you cannot reach a drinks table once you are in the chair. It’s a great look, but it may not function the way that you hope it will. I would love to see a deep banquette or loveseat with cushions that you can lounge in and still reach your drinks table. I might even match it on the other end of the balcony, with the bistro table and chairs pulled up to it. Just a thought or two.

Trudy
5 months ago
Reply to  Trudy

Arrrrggggghh! I so wish I could edit this humiliation. Ignore my comment on the view from the balcony, because of course those doors are the buildings across the street. Lol.

Trudy
5 months ago

Jess – I am amazed that you are going to make a balcony just 30″ wide work! I can’t help you out with a vintage bistro set, but maybe this will help: World Market has a “balcony” furniture section on their website, with an iron and glass mosaic top that is just 28″ wide. The legs curve in a vintage way and the top is available in aqua, cobalt blue, or gray. There are chairs to go with it that look a bit like the chairs in one of your inspiration pix.

Trudy
5 months ago
Reply to  Trudy

That’s iron and glass mosaic top table. The top in 28″ wide, height is 30″ or so.

Stefenie
5 months ago

You girls are thee best. When I read what you write, I feel like I’m sitting right there with you. So funny!! I literally laugh out loud. So happy for you both and your special friendship. Just wanted to say that you bring joy to my life. ❤️ CAN NOT WAIT for the big reveal. It’s going to be so, so, sooooooo good!! 😘

Sara
5 months ago

I am ridiculously excited for all of this!!! The painted floor the curtains the (gasp) solar string lights the hummingbird attractors the secret nooks for male companions the reading loungers. LADIES. this is epic! Keep going! I’m jazzed.

Sheila
5 months ago

Thoughts for Jess:

Plants that are super easy to take care of (can confirm, learned to not kill plants this past year):
1. Mountain Spinach (super good for you and tasty too! Love the red color!)
2. Snow peas (they will truly never die)
3. Arugula
4. Most herbs (chives will take over and run your life)

Then you can cook with them as well, which really fits with the old-world European vibe 🙂 imagine fresh herbs hanging from your kitchen to dry…just stunning!

Also, lots of restaurants are shutting down because of the pandemic; look around and see if any of the French bistros that are closing are selling their furniture etc, you might be able to score a cute bistro set that way!

Frances
5 months ago

Jess I’m confused as to which doors open out and which doors open in. Also kinda concerned because I see outside hinges on doors … safety issue? Could you clarify? Thank you!

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