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Our Outdoor Living Room + Firepit Area Is The Sleeper Hit Of Our 2024 Summer

We did the smart thing (look at us!) by living through a full summer (and then some) here before making more final decisions on the backyard. And in that time we found two big holes when it came to how we enjoy this wonderfulness. I’m happy to say that while we still need a designated BBQ area (to replace the janky grill that just rolls around the yard), we have officially checked off the “comfortable shady place to hang near pool” box. The grass between the mini-pool and our house faces extremely east, the back porch has four hours of hot evening sun starting around 4 pm, so the space between the pool and the poolhouse/gym became the obvious choice, getting shade around 4 pm and facing west (i.e. not in our eyes). I shopped around, found what I wanted, pitched AllModern and weeks later it was done, ready for its debut. So today I’m presenting our outdoor living area, donned with a firepit table, a simple sectional, and two non-matching but coordinating chairs that we love.

Oh, she’s beautiful, streamlined, and sturdy (and I’m not talking about that lady in the dress). But wait, here’s what she looked like last year (the yard, not me).

When we shot this area last year we had a few folding Adirondack chairs around a Target firepit – of which we lit no more than twice. It was a blank space, and yet super bright during the day so we couldn’t really eat at the picnic table for lunch without an umbrella. And while we love the idea of a real wood firepit, and even have tried the solo stove, for the amount that we entertain it was no longer practical – we opted for a gas/propane fire table (yes, I realize I wanted and continue to want to decrease my unnecessary gas usage, but there is not an electric option here and having a firepit lengthens the time you hang out outside both in hours of the days and months going far into fall).

This area was just unused. When the kids were swimming I would throw a blanket on the grass but it would be so hot/bright and unbearable. So then we’d just sit in Adirondack chairs (also let me be clear, most swimming-confident kids are fine on their own in this size of a pool, but I still like being within earshot if I don’t know the kids super well).

Sectional + Additional Chair for More Seats | Accent Chair (Loveseat Version) | Fire Pit + “Side Table”

First off: I really wanted a big old sectional. This area is pea gravel (and therefore can get messy if moving furniture a lot) and there is a lot going on (plants, fence, etc) so I wanted the simplicity of a big sectional that could fit a lot of people. I narrowed down my choices and found that this one would fill out the space well enough while working aesthetically with the vibe of the pool furniture (just wood and white).

It’s totally modular so you have a lot of flexibility and extremely heavy/durable. The cushions are firm which was initially surprising but we love that they stay put, hold their shape, and hopefully will for a long time. White was a bold choice, but it’s outdoor fabric so obviously my hope is that it will clean up with the annual power wash and look fresh again.

Yellow Square Pillow | Yellow Lumbar Pillow | AllModern Outdoor Pillows

If you are wondering about the vines, let’s just say I went to the nursery (shout out to Cornell Farms) and bought the most mature vines that can be in full sun. I then spent 4-5 hours listening to podcasts as I untangled it from itself and trained it up and over the too-short doors. Why are the doors so short? We originally were using leftover doors from our house from Sierra Pacific (another story), but our contractor didn’t realize that they were too tall and when they opened outward they would hit the roofline (LOL) (and they couldn’t be revered to open inside). So at the last minute, we put in these too-short doors to just finish the project and ensure a family of raccoons didn’t bathe in our cold plunge (OMG HOW CUTE WOULD THAT BE). Anyway, the vines help fill the empty space which was always my backup plan. Will I change the doors? Sure, if I find something magical worth changing them for (vintage, dutch, etc) but otherwise this is very low on our priority list and the vines look awesome.

The AllModern team put everything together upon delivery, which was a DREAM (yes, most pieces are white glove and they even remove the boxes after they assemble – 10/10 customer service y’all). The teak arms will gray out a bit and in the winter I’ll store the cushions. I’m just so impressed with how solid this sectional is and I really love that it’s modular (I could separate it into chairs with a loveseat so easily).

Accent Chair (Loveseat Version)

I also ordered these two side chairs that came as a sweet little set. I loved that they worked with the sectional without being the too-matchy-for-me armchair version. I also love the built-in side table for drinks (convenience FTW).

Pillow Fabrics

I had a bunch of pillows made from my friend Max Humphrey’s collection with Pindler and Sunbrella and I think they are perfect in this setting. Farmy, but Sunbrella so more durable than if I had turned an actual quilt into pillows.

Sectional + Additional Chair for More Seats | Accent Chair (Loveseat Version) | Fire Pit + “Side Table” | White Side Table

The whole seating area can sit 12 people (especially with both chairs, which we reduced for this shot so you aren’t staring into two seat backs).


We ordered an umbrella for the 2-5 pm hour should we want to hang out here during the day, but we forgot to order the base for it so here you can see someone behind a plant holding up the umbrella as we shot it. The base is on its way and we are so excited (but yes when you order any umbrellas, even cantilever umbrellas make sure that the base comes with it).

It’s pretty darn dreamy and we feel so lucky that this is where we live.

Nightime Hang Sessions

We invited a few people over to test drive everything (and the kids really did). That large balloon dog bench (from FatBoy) is the real hit right now with the kids climbing over it all the time (and I personally love the whimsy).

Attackle Bench

I do NOT think that this bench is meant for this but my goodness the kids loved playing on this frisky fellow (and it’s very strong, despite not wanting to hold four almost 10-year-olds).

Wicker 2 Seater Chat Set

Thanks to Lindsey and Nuria for modeling this cute little garden chair set with me. Being a blogger’s friend is always weird.

It’s honestly so peaceful out here, and now that we have a more designated place to hang I might be able to convince Brian to build out the other side with a more designated BBQ area.

We all sat down for some smores around the firetable. We bought a propane version (that hides inside that black “side table”. It’s pretty mellow with lower BTUs so it gets warm and has a flame, but isn’t crazy bright or hot. If you are wanting something more of a roar then check the BTU capacity.

A huge thanks to AllModern for helping me create this space. The furniture is high quality (it’s so heavy in a really good way), looks very high end and their service was fast and super friendly. Planning on many a summer night party here that will always go too late, but as long as the kids are off screens I’m happy 🙂

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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12 days ago

Beautiful space! Any tips for keeping mulch and gravel separate? Have you used mulch glue anywhere?

12 days ago

It looks awesome! The sum of everything, from the furniture to the landscaping, is beautiful.
I also love a wood fire, but what I don’t love is how my clothes and hair smell afterwards. With a propane/gas fire pit, you can flip it on and flip it off without worry about the smell OR needing to have it burn down to a certain point where you can walk away from it. It’s just easier all around, even if it isn’t quite as charming in the same way. I bought a propane fire table for my deck last year, and I use it all the time, even on evenings when it’s in the 80s.

12 days ago

Magical! I especially love those cute end tables and the natural landscaping. Looks like a dreamy summer spot.

12 days ago

This is absolutely DREAMY!! It’s clear that you’ve planned thoughtfully and worked hard to create this space, and I am so thrilled for you. What a beautiful outcome – and made even more magical with the presence of friends!

12 days ago

Do you leave the sofa cushions out in the summer – and if so, do they dry fast enough to sit on soon after it rains? This is the thorn in my craw – whatever a craw is!

11 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I have this question as well

Kelly Skelton
10 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Believe it or not, it doesn’t rain in Portland during the summer! From the end of June to end of September we have almost no rain.

10 days ago
Reply to  Kelly Skelton

So jealous! In Northeast Ohio we are taking ours in and out constantly due to rain. Would love any brilliant ideas for making this easier! So far, the best solution I’ve found is a custom cover, but it’s a little pricey.

12 days ago

I love those chairs with the shelf on the side for drinks! So cute and practical.
As someone who has white patio furniture cushions, I would highly recommend covers. Even under the awning, ours get bugs/pet hair/leaves/etc on them all the time (even though they’re under an awning!). We still do a power wash every spring but the cushions have helped a lot with keeping them clean and dry. We got ours off of Amazon.

12 days ago

I truly think you’re the only one who can see the short doors. They don’t register with me at all. Toss a Live Love Laugh sign up above them to fill in the space. 😛

11 days ago
Reply to  JEM

How about a vintage brass apple sign instead? Didn’t this used to be an apple farm?

11 days ago
Reply to  JEM

I agree re not noticing them. Once the vines grow you won’t notice them at all. If it’s a bother they could put a transom window.

11 days ago

Looks amazing! Feels like this little house would make more sense to have a dining table + fridge + counter for working and as a flex space to host, and then you move the gym equipment to a designated space in the garage (with sauna!).

Sue Sue
11 days ago

Love this soooo much!

11 days ago

This is magical!! I love when every corner is used! I recommend a BBQ area next to kitchen tho. The BBQ-er will be in and out and in and out from kitchen a lot in prep, in different things taking different times, if you want to smoke and leave but check on temp, if weather is not ideal but you want bbq anyway–believe me I learned the hard way 🙂

11 days ago

Thank you for sharing your space! Can you please tell us what vines you chose? It’s so hard to pick something for my newly completed pergola that’s noninvasive but still fast enough! Thanks!

8 days ago
Reply to  J

A local nursery is almost sure to give you good site-specific advice of what would work best for your needs and aspirations.

11 days ago

I’m so jealous. That looks like the ideal summer hang space. I’m also having serious nostalgia vibes.

11 days ago

I meant to also say I love the dachshund bench. If I had the room and the money I’d buy it in a second.

11 days ago

It’s perfect! I love the little pool house, the great furniture, the fire pit… the whole vibe is just perfect!

11 days ago

I LOVE that the doors are short!!! Great contrast to the grand windows! Makes the building look way more interesting!!!

11 days ago

Incredible. I can see how you’d book retreats here! This looks like top notch hospitality!

11 days ago

where are the green drinking glasses from? i have been looking for those exact glasses!

11 days ago
Reply to  jackie

Search for the Mesa Sage Green Acrylic Tumbler/Double Old Fashion. It’s available from lots of sites and also in a tall glass and other colors.

emily jane
10 days ago

How wonderful to see you, your family and friends enjoying your beautiful-calming-charming-inviting-with a touch of whimsy (my kid is 25 and I still want that bench in my yard ; ) labor-of-love property!

PS. I’ve had trouble opening blog posts lately. I have no idea why (and haven’t been able to read comments so not sure if it’s more universal and already addressed there?) and might be my issue but I thought I’d mention it.

10 days ago

How cute is that Green Striped Shirtdress from Universal Thread? I just ordered it.

10 days ago

Where are the adorable copper gooseneck sconces from?

9 days ago
Reply to  Ann

They are the Carson 12″ Wall Sconce from Rejuvenation in Polished Copper.

9 days ago
Reply to  Kleo

Thank you!

9 days ago

The space is gorg of course, but more importantly – please tell us where that beautiful dress you’re wearing is from!

9 days ago
Reply to  Danielle

It’s the Claribel printed tiered maxi-dress from Ulla Johnson a couple of years ago.