SURPRISE! I secretly finished and shot my building’s communal patio last November. That’s right, just in time for Santa to grab a glass of natural orange wine and soak in those sweet warm rays. So why did I not reveal it as snow was about to say “what’s up?” to most of the country? I’d love to tell you (said like Elyse Meyrs, obviously). Well, the timing felt um wrong. We were all gearing up for the holidays, ready for bottomless hot chocolates and endless trays of freshly baked cookies. No one, not even I was wanting to take in outdoor patio content despite how much I loved how mine turned out. It was holiday cheer or nothing as far as I was concerned. And when you work really hard on something, that’s not exactly how you want most everyone to feel.
And look it’s not even February. New York is an icicle. But here’s the long and the short of it. This month has already felt like a year for most people I know. And come the spring you may be like, “Hey, let’s makeover this outdoor space we have!”. But then you look at the lead times and well, your springtime makeover dreams might turn into summer dreams or even early fall dreams depending on when you purchase. I don’t want this to be a warning makeover! That would be horrible and hopefully isn’t even a thing. BUT I do want your 2022 to be as great as possible so you might consider considering looking now if this is the year you want to spruce up your great outdoors. Lead times were the main reason this wasn’t shot until November and things aren’t much better. I promise I won’t use the “S” word.
BUT as I said. This is NOT a warning makeover, this is a happy makeover. A makeover about community. A makeover about reminding people that just because a space looks depressing and hopeless doesn’t mean it can’t transform. I have proof. Remember these pictures?
Yeeeeah, this is what happens over years of tenants randomly putting and leaving their “outdoor pieces” on a communal patio space. Not a ton of cohesion. And this is not a dig to my amazing landlord! She had plans to spruce it up but the pandemic hit and there was a decent amount of turnover due to people reconfiguring their lives and housing needs. Lucky for me, this building was perfect for my new housing needs and getting to bring this space to life was so cool… and nerve-wracking because who am I if not someone who thinks her designs make zero sense until she all of a sudden she loves them as things start to come together.
Sofa | Umbrella | Umbrella Base | Faux Natural Fiber Pom Pom Indoor/Outdoor Pillow | Navy Striped Outdoor Pillow | Tassel Lumbar Pillow (similar) | Patterned Pillow (unavailable) | Striped Throw | Navy Outdoor Rug
Here she is!! Ok, just one side of her! I wanted to honor the traditional style of the building (which you can’t see) but bring in jolts of freshness, A LOT of pattern, and A LOT of texture in some unexpected ways. That was my way of disguising the not so pretty parts that I couldn’t change. But before we talk about anything we need to talk about this sofa from Neighbor. The first thing my across-the-hall neighbor (ha) said was that he couldn’t wait to take a nap on it which he has since. It’s great because it’s stiff enough to nicely hold its shape but still comfortable to sit (and apparently sleep on). Honestly when he said that it made me so happy. All I wanted was for this to be a little oasis for everyone who lives here. Drinks, meals, and naps are welcome. I was a little nervous to choose “a color” because I had really pictured the cushions being light cream but I now can’t imagine it any other way. The warmth it brings to the space is so special. And while any color would have held up fine since the fabric is Sunbrella, I think the darker tone is ideal given that a ton of people are going to be using it over many years. The darker color is an extra insurance policy. Neighbor was also kind enough to send the protective cover so it still looks brand new.
I would also like to point out that I built it all by myself and it was super easy. I’m not a stranger to building things but you absolutely don’t have to be. Uhh and look at those chic cylinder legs! I love that modern touch so much.
Rattan Stool | Faux Potted Fern (similar) | Clear Ribbed Glass | Lanterns (similar) | Coffee Table | Stackable Vases | Pillar Candles | Glass Pitcher | Pink Fluted Cups | Woven Coaster (similar) | Bowl
Pattern play was high on my list since I wanted to keep the color palette pretty limited and classic. I had my eye on that umbrella from Business & Pleasure from day one. I love the skinny stripes and how they perfectly contrast the larger pattern scales of the pillows and rug. And get out of here with the fringe. It’s the best. Speaking of the rug, it’s from Annie Selke and it almost gives the illusion of tile which was my goal. The tile that’s there is super generic so adding in this stunning and boldly patterned rug completely distracts your eye and makes you forget about what the floor really looks like…
Keep your color palette limited so you can go wild with pattern and texture. This way it will feel really layered and interesting but not visually overwhelming.
Planters (Hand-Me-Downs from Emily) | Lantern (unavailable)
Remember my plan to create a plant “privacy wall”? Here it is. I love it so much which is a relief because it was by far the thing that stressed me out the most. Plant styling is an art and I am veeeeery much a student. Julie gave me some great advice in the heat of my frustration and told me to think of mixing plants like mixing patterns – keep a consistent color palette, vary the sizes (in height and width), choose a variety of textures and leaf sizes. That’s how I approached it and it didn’t turn out horrible!
Oh and let’s talk about that coffee table. I bought it from CB2 during their Labor Day sale I think so it was $100 off (still not cheap but not too shabby of a discount). I actually almost said, “screw the patio it’s staying in my living room with me!” But I realized it really wasn’t right for my living room and looked pretty perfect outside. It is an outdoor coffee table after all and I love the added texture of the woven top and the sleekness of the metal legs. That “sleekness/airiness” is an important visual contrast when you see the other side of the space. Anyway, 10/10 for a chic outdoor coffee table. Oh, and if you live in a colder climate than LA (so most places) that coffee table can be flipped over and stored on the sofa under the cover. It all fits!
Reminder: Mix your plants like you would your pillows. Play with scale, textures, and a consistent color palette.
Gold Beverage Bin | Side Table (vintage IKEA)
One thing you should know about me is I am Team Spindrift. No other soda waters or even spiked hard seltzers can hold a candle. I won’t disparage other brands by name but IMHO everyone else need not apply. If anyone from Spindrift is reading I will gladly be a spokesperson. So it was more than fitting to have Spindrifts in a beverage bucket for my fake patio party. But what I would actually like to talk about is that side table. I was with my friend neighbor (this one) at the Rose Bowl when I saw this cutie. It was only $20 and the top is a removable lid!! Why is that so exciting? Well, first it adds more pattern AND it’s a built-in furniture cover storage bin for when people are using the patio. I was thinking of painting it but everyone voted to keep it natural. Glad I listened.
Oh and see that little black table? Another $25 Rose Bowl find. Also, all those planters were courtesy of Emily’s LA patio. This patio was unintentionally, but clearly very inspired by that masterpiece. Maybe this post should be renamed “How to Get Emily’s LA Patio When You Can’t Retile”?? That rug is doing a very good job of giving a similar look and feel. Thanks again Em!!
It’s hard to pick a favorite shot but this is a top contender. If you couldn’t tell, Emily Bowser came and worked all her styling magic. I wish we could have plates and treats set up every day by her. But let’s talk furniture for a sec. That table is from Article and it’s incredible. It’s somehow both extremely special and unique while also being neutral and so versatile. Oh, it could easily fit six people. All that being said, that table (Calliope) is currently not on their site but should be restocked when they launch their Outdoor 2022 line. If you really love it, might I recommend you shoot them an email or DM asking them to make sure they bring it back. Could help to ensure its grand return:) The chairs I snagged from Target and pray they heavily restock them because they are unexpectedly very sturdy and wildly comfortable.
I’m also super pumped about that round rug. If you look at the before photos, you can see that there’s a little staircase down to the patio. This made it impossible to just get one extra-large rug to cover the majority of the floor. So to help create a little reading/lounge nook moment, and distract from the tile, I asked Annie Selke if they wouldn’t mind sending this great little round rug. It adds even more texture and pattern (can you tell that was really important to me?) and it has a slightly sticky sort of film on the bottom so once it’s set it doesn’t budge but can easily be moved. SO nice.
Pattern and texture can come from anything. So do not just think textiles. Also remember that furniture, planters, and other accessories can add in a ton of pattern and texture too.
Flatware | Woven Basket (similar) | Cloth Napkins (similar) | Patterned Plates (unavailable) | Pink Plates (unavailable) | Dark Gray Bamboo Melamine Dinner Plate | Ceramic Oval Tray | Faux Branches (similar) | Mint Green Footed Basket (vintage)
Bowser obviously gets all the credit for the table styling. I was honestly sad that we didn’t have a “house party” after because it was so beautiful. That wire-footed bowl was another Rose Bowl find for $15. That stays out there year-round.
If you’re wondering “where does she keep all these plates and cups and utensils??” Great question. I have a lot of cabinet storage in my apartment so I have a bin with all of my outdoor-friendly wares. I figure everyone in the building can use their own stuff when they want to use the patio and we can combine forces when we finally have a building celebration.
Please take another look at this great table and the stacked planters in the corner:) What can we say, the tree just looked better taller so we made it happen.
Medium Handled Basket | Lanterns (unavailable) | Ceramic Bead Garland | Pink Tumblers (unavailable) | Stacking Acrylic Clear Wine Glass | Blue Bowls (unavailable) | Wine | Copper Mugs (similar) | Vaso Grey Acrylic Drinking Glasses
Now let’s finally talk about my and my dad’s peg rail DIY (scroll back up to see the original one)! I’m SO happy with how it turned out. We only had a couple of fights, both pulled our weight (he’s not going to read this so I can confidently say that), and it was his idea to have the shelves be a different wood tone. Genius! It’s such a great place to set up cups, small bowls and plates for all the fun gatherings I plan to have this spring and summer (well fingers crossed). I actually can’t fit a decent-sized dining room table inside of my apartment so is will be the perfect extension:) This was not the sole motivation I promise!
And now see from this angle how cute the round rug looks under that very special chair to your left…
UGH. Isn’t that chair perfect? When I saw this chair from Stori Modern in Shavoda’s backyard reveal I knew that if I ever had an outdoor space large enough I would see if there could be any way I could get one. Fast-forward a year later and somehow my manifestation (and their generosity) made my dreams a reality. It’s another piece that really can work with so many styles. It can easily go super modern, or eclectic traditional (like this space), modern boho (like Shavonda’s), and so many more. Why I think it works so beautifully in the space is that there’s a woven detail that talks to the woven details in so many of the other pieces. So while different in style, it totally works. And get out of here with those curves! I think it’s so chic but practical because you bet that fabric is Sunbrella too. I will say that I would recommend getting the matching ottoman or a pouf like the blush one I got. It just makes the lounging experience 10/10. I would have asked for the matching set but my space wasn’t wide enough.
That crescent pillow is sadly not an outdoor pillow (and it was Bowser’s) but it’s still available and it’s awesome. I also got a chair cover from Amazon that does the job and I put the pouf on the chair so both are protected in case you were wondering how I plan to keep those looking nice too.
Don't constrict yourself to one style when building a space. Play with mixing styles as long as they live in the same color palette and materials.
A photo at night? I know we almost never do them but the sun was setting and it looked pretty beautiful. So now you can really imagine how my future parties are going to look.
And now for my favorite part…the before and afters!
Thanks for stopping by my home once again. I would be lying if I didn’t want to reimagine this space because I wanted a place to go get some fresh air and hang with friends. But knowing that if I wanted that, I could also bet that the rest of the building wanted that too. Hope that we get a chance to do it all together soon because my neighbors are pretty great.
Love you, mean it.