7 Min Read – It looks as though we still have months of extra “at home time” ahead. As of late, we’ve really been looking at our home with a critical eye. Are we really maximizing the space? Are there some areas in dire need of being reimagined? For us, the deck just outside our bedroom was one such “dead zone” So, creating a cozy deck oasis became the new project.
Normally, it’d be easy to dismiss the untapped “nuggets” around the home. Why tinker with every corner of your home when there’s so much to do away from home.
Yet, the situation we currently find ourselves in gives us a greater appreciation for comfortable, inspired space. And, we might as well take advantage of the time to tinker!
The Before – Filling the Void
In the 6 years we’ve been in this house, I’ve never ONCE sat for more than 5 minutes on our bedroom deck. When moving in, we put out chairs from the last house, which served to fill the space. At no point did we consider how we’d actually want to use the space. It was simply cheaper and faster to repurpose the lawn furniture from the last home.
When our oldest moved out last month, we sent the lawn chairs with him, effectively letting us start on the deck from scratch. We now had a clean slate.
Why didn’t we use the deck?
Everyone has unique needs/challenges when it comes to creating a comfortable space. For us, the most important step was really discussing how, or if we would take advantage of the deck. It would also be reasonable to conclude you simply won’t use the space. So why expend a lot of extra funds.
Ultimately, we felt the deck could really be a space we’d enjoy. So, why has the deck been neglected?
1st – During the day, the deck gets a lot of Sun… way too much sun (whiney Californian). If you wanted to work or relax on the deck, the Sun would quickly take its toll. And the Sun comes in at an angle rather than overhead, rendering an umbrella moot.
2nd – I’m aware of the irony with this one after the too sunny issue: As we are near the beach, the deck also gets chilly (whiney Californian). Seriously, the fog rolls in & it gets a little nippy.
3rd – Our deck chairs weren’t comfortable to spend time in. They didn’t lend themselves to a longer sit.
4th – The deck is street side &, as with many homes in California, close to our neighbors. We love our neighbors, but a little privacy would be nice; especially if we want to work or log some quiet time.
5th – The deck floor gets cold & gritty. Not pleasant on the feet.
6th – At the end of the day, it’s nice to sit down, catch the news, a game or maybe stream a show (We’re crushing the new season of Fargo & Perry Mason right now). While it’s not critical, it would be nice to have access to TV on the deck.
Outdoor Floor Matt
To address gritty deck & cold feet we added a rugged, reversible floor mat from Fab Habitat. Our new matt is made from recycled premium plastic, mold & mildew resistant & easy to clean. The woven plastic passes the foot test & also adds a nice splash of color to the deck.
Tackling the sun & privacy were both addressed with outdoor curtains, made from Sunbrella fabric. The biggest outlay of cash, curtains offer us privacy, floor to ceiling shade from the sun & warmth when it’s cooler out. Multiple panels also offer lots of variation on how much air/light to let in. Curtains drawn: warm & cozy inside…
Bev found a local shop that sells Sunbrella fabric & cuts the curtains to specification. We went with a double layer of Sunbrella fabric to give the curtains weight & greater shading.
It was an education measuring for curtains, curtain rods, grommets etc… There’s lots of good info online to measure all the pieces correctly. If you’re not feeling the DIY of curtains, have a professional come in to measure.
The Right Furniture
Comfortable furniture makes you want to linger longer. Outdoor furniture from Living Spaces is attractive, sturdy and relatively inexpensive. Alaterre also makes attractive outdoor furniture. Example links here: Love Seat & Armchair
The Fire Pit
The Bali Outdoor fire pit quickly addresses the nippy weather issue and gives a nice warm glow to the space. Our’s uses a small propane tank, since we don’t have a gas valve on the deck. Proper ventilation and clearance from the curtains/ceiling were all considerations.
Modular projector instead of a TV
We did consider mounting a TV on the wall, but the issues of running cable, the space required & care of the TV made it less desirable. Instead, we decided on a more modular approach. Connecting an AppleTV box to a Miroir Micro projector. With electricity & WiFi, we can watch movies or, using HULU Live watch TV shows, sports etc…. We were going to purchase a modular screen but stumbled across another solution. The blackout screen for our bedroom serves as a nice pull down movie screen.
Plants always add an inviting tone to a room. We went with succulents for their beauty, drought tolerance & difficulty to kill. They also don’t shed much in the way of leaves. We don’t really have green thumbs.
Finally, everything on the deck including the furniture is light & modular, making it easy to rearrange & quickly clean the area. Even the succulents are on wheels, to move them around quickly & easily.
Creating a cozy deck oasis was a DIY we felt we could handle & we do actually use the area. Talking through what would draw us to the space, before we bought anything, was really helpful. We’ve already begun on another underused space downstairs. This time with the help of an interior designer. As one kid has moved out and the other is really a couple months a year visitor, it’s nice to reimagine spaces that you’d really enjoy versus what your kids might need.