Well, after a very, very long wait the patio area is FINISHED and despite some set backs, I literally could not be happier. Here’s the whole story….
When we bought the house the courtyard was a huge attraction for us. To have space right off the dining and living room that overlooked the backyard was a real fantasy for this lady. Reminder – I have two toddlers and was desperate for an outdoor space for them to go wild as well as have an space to overhaul, too. So this patio might not seem insanely special or anything, but to us it is everything. I look at it and I see casual Saturdays where we don’t leave the house, our kids running in and out all day, Brian and I reading the paper and drinking coffee, while they dig for bugs and push each other in the swing (HA) while humming Chopin. I can’t control those kids, but I sure can control how this space is designed.
First up – the inspiration.
I wanted it to be ‘English Grandma meets California mom.’ That style sure wasn’t in the style quiz diagnostic. I wanted it to be jaw-dropping with some tile, plants and then keep it simple and more affordable with the furniture. We wanted a dining area, a place for drinks/food and maybe a sitting area, too. Eventually we want to put in a custom outdoor kitchen, but I’m pretty sure the “patio investment fund” is empty for a while (see below for how much that tile + installation cost … EEK!)
First up is to straighten it out, and get rid of the cutouts that were there for trees that no longer exist.
As much as we loved the ivy growing all over the railing, we wanted to gain that square footage. We removed it and I was shocked at how much happier we were. It feels so much more open. we are going to plan some jasmine or another less thick vine (any suggestions?). I got three quotes on just that project which included – cutting the ironwork, replicated it to be straight, welding it back, filling in the concrete, removing the stumps and painting. One quote was $1200, one was $2500 and one was $800. I’ve hired the $800 guy a ton for my house projects and while sometimes it’s not the best quality, it has always been totally good enough. The same with this case – he did it in 2 days and it looked GREAT.
Then I started setting it up…
I was waiting for the tile, which typically has a 3 month lead time but it was stuck in customs FOR A MONTH. This has never happened before and I wouldn’t mention it except you’ll see below that we had to shoot it before the tile went in and then redo it afterwards. More on that later.
I shopped around for tile for a while, but every single day I came back to the pattern above (I believe Commune used it). It feels English Tudor-y to me, but modern.
It’s called the Burgos pattern and here is how it can look overhead:
But check this out, you can choose where every single color goes and it can actually also look like any of these based on how you arrange the colors and then how you lay the tiles:
Crazy, right? I loved the top design the best, and I always have. They sent through the color samples and then of course I had a HUGE decision on my hands.
Here is what you have to think about – anything super light would get crazy dirty, anything super dark could be really hot. I didn’t want to go with a bright color because I wanted it to be timeless and feel like it was original. That really narrowed it down. I loved a lot of the colors, but ultimately (as you have probably seen on Instagram) I chose Midnight and Hawk. Hawk is a lighter/cooler tone of the exterior color of the house and midnight navy is a darker tone of the trim color. Navy and taupe certainly feel english tudor-y and classic to me.
Next the plan for how it would be installed –
We wanted to add a border to make sure that it felt more traditional. I know that cement tile is very trendy right now so I didn’t want it to feel too 2017, but more 1927. The border absolutely helps. Calculating all the square feet versus linear feet with bullnose, and risers is not my favorite job in the world (and why you hire a designer) so Mel and Ginny helped out with that. We got the quote and received a 30% discount but that beautiful stuff still added up.
Total Cost: $5353.65
8×8 patterned tile: $3,509.60
Edge/Bullnose Tile: $1,357.20
Tax/Warehouse Fee’s/Etc: $486.85
So without the designer discount that they offered it would be around $8K for the tile and shipping. Not nothing, but absolutely worth it if you want to invest aesthetically into your house. I definitely debated this as it’s the biggest purchase I have ever made, but here is what I told myself:
- You can see this space from the kitchen, dining, and living room. It’s not just a contained space that you never go in, it’s probably the most used space and it has the most impact visually than anything else in our house. I had an opportunity do something stunning and while I was tempted to take the cheap way out, I was pushed by my team to go for it.
- We plan to be in this house til’ at least the kids are in junior high. That’s 10 years.
- I am a designer, and one whose work is seen all over the internet – it is OK, in fact it is important to splurge sometimes to make spaces stunning (I repeated this over and over).
So we ordered it and it was on its way for months… and months. Thus is life with anything custom, right? Meanwhile one of my favorite jobs for Target (as of this year) is to create content for their website in addition to the usual content I create. This means that almost 100% of it needs to be Target. I was psyched to deck out my patio (ha) in all Target but the only caveat is that we needed to have it up online by a certain time when people are shopping for outdoor furniture (NOW, basically). I had pushed off the shoot for WEEKS waiting for that tile, stuck in customs, so finally had to shoot it without. Obviously the ‘before’ floor wasn’t good enough so I hired my dude to paint it.
We went with the trim color (Downpipe by Farrow and Ball) and picked up epoxy/floor paint to make sure that it would hold up. Two hours and $120 later it looked ONE TRILLION TIMES BETTER. I can’t believe I lived with that previous floor for 4 months when it would have taken 2 hours and was so easy I could have even done it!
We shot it once for Target and made our deadline. Phew. It looked pretty darn great (full reveal of that on Wednesday but here is a sneak peek).
Literally 2 days after the shoot I get a call from Granada that the tile was in. I booked our tiler (without getting quotes, whoops) and they started the following week.
I know that it doesn’t look like a big or difficult job, but it is and that tile was so expensive that I wasn’t going to allow any mistakes. They all needed to be straight, and so we laid it out before they adhered it to the ground (not the entire space, just most of it). It took 5 days of 3 guys to get it done and sealed properly and man it looks GOOD. The bill for the install was $5400 which I honestly was not expecting and might negotiate. And then two days later I shot it AGAIN for HouseBeautiful.com, with a lot of different styling, but mostly target furniture.
Yes, a lot to tell you and I know you have a lot of questions, but you’ll have to stay tuned for the full reveal of those two different shoots.
All the ‘Get The Looks’ are coming next week but for those of you who want to some outdoor decorating this weekend, we rounded all my favorites up on a page HERE. Happy shopping and TGIF.
***Sneak Peek Photos by Tessa Neustadt