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How We Keep our Outdoor Furniture Clean

Since we’ve been sharing a few sneak peeks of our deck lately (we’ve added a few more pieces and will be sharing the full reveal next week), the number one question we are getting on Instagram right now is how we keep our outdoor sofas clean. They all are very light white or ivory, and while that usually can mean they would get dirty–fast, we somehow have kept them clean for over a year now. Here’s what we do. First, every climate is different and each piece of furniture or fabric will react differently. If you live in an extremely wet climate, you may have to worry about mold. We live in the desert of Idaho. It’s very dry here, rains very occasionally, but it is extremely windy. And that can sometimes mean dust, dirt and debris everywhere. Here’s a glimpse of what our couches looked like after a wind storm. Our first line of…

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Budget-Friendly Outdoor Dining Plans

One of our most asked about pieces on our deck are our wood framed facing sofas. They are from World Market and ridiculously affordable at just $399 a pop. We got them last year, during one of their outdoor sales and spent just over $500 for both. We love them. I’m actually working on a post right now about how we keep them clean, so look for that this week, too. I linked to these sofas during one of World Market’s outdoor sales in a Casual Friday post, and received an email the next week from World Market, thanking us and seeing if we’d be interested in partnering on a project in the future. I was thrilled that so many of you snagged a good deal and we’re always up for making over spaces–so why not? Since our deck is pretty set as far as furnishings go, we asked if we could pay…

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A Night In (On the deck!)

This special series is sponsored by Article. Once May hit and we were pretty sure the snow was over (#idaholife), we started working on pulling our furnishings out from storage and setting our deck up for the season. In addition to the planter boxes we recently built, we also added two of Article’s Sala white lounge chairs and their tall Grid basket in white (those leather handles–c’mon!) for easy-access blanket and pillow storage. From May until October, we live out here. We host parties and have dinner and lounge and play–it’s our main hub. In the spirit of A Night In, our ongoing quarterly series where we invite a handful of our favorite bloggers to share their home after the sun goes down (linked at the end of the post!), we wanted to share a few pictures from the first of many nights out this season. As the sun is just setting, Chris lights the fire and our…

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A Really Good, Modern Exterior Fixture for under $20

Well, we haven’t painted the brick yet, but this week, we did make a tiny (both in price and in size) update that made the front of our home a little more visually appealing. The light that’s just about over my head in the photo above used to be an outdated brass number (see below) that is not uncommon on homes, but not attractive either. What made the situation worse, was the location of the light. I’m not sure why they opted to install the fixture 6 feet away from the front door to start with, but it has made finding something that will work there a little challenging. It needed to be something that didn’t protrude too far, didn’t hang too low, and didn’t draw too much attention to itself. We also hoped for something a little more modern since the front of our home looks pretty traditional and we love…

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How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Our backyard underwent a major transformation this summer. We added a sprawling deck to our backyard and furnishings and finally, built an outdoor fireplace as the finishing touch. As a reminder, just a few months ago, the space looked like this: We went between the idea of fire pit vs fireplace, but in the end a fireplace had the architectural elements that a fire pit didn’t offer; the height and the fact that the even when it isn’t being used, it still looks great and intentional especially sold us on the idea. I loved the look of a few board-formed concrete fireplaces I had seen, so with inspiration in hand, we built our own in a week for around $1300. Instead of board-formed concrete, which is a pretty intense process, we used James Hardy siding (a non-combustible cement siding) which gave us a really similar look at a budget-friendly price and…

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Painting Our Shed + Our Favorite Paint Sprayer Giveaway

Last summer, we moved a rather large shed from our property to my parents’ next door. You can see how that went down in this post. It was an exciting and absolutely nerve-wrecking couple hours with a huge crane and we were left with a pile of rocks. That is to say, things looked way worse. As nice as that shed was, we have plans to turn that big slab of concrete and neighboring bed of rocks into something more playful, beautiful and functional. This is a recent photo of one of our side yards. Pretty sad, right? We have big plans, but if you need to take a few minutes to judge its current state–we understand. We’ll talk about our plans for this whole area another day, but today, we wanted to share with you a quick makeover we did with the shed we bought last October to replace the monster…

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My Childhood Home (And the Trouble with Our Current One)

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, growing up in a red brick home. And when we were  in Pittsburgh last month renovating a kitchen, we did a drive by of that home. It wasn’t the fanciest house and my parents were never concerned about home decor trends–I slept on the third floor in a wood-paneled room for at least a decade–but I really loved that house and I still do. Maybe, it was even my first love. It’s always kind of nerve-wrecking to visit childhood homes, right? I’m worried it will be so changed and look so different than the loving memory I have locked in my head. But this house, minus a few hedges, looks just the same. I told Chris I’d love to live in a red brick house again one day and every time we pass one, he points it out, “Do you love that…

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Before and After: Our New Front Door!

Our new front door is in and we have some photos to share with you today! First I should say that ordering a door online was a bit of a risk. Especially since we wanted a wood-toned one and tones are somewhat hard to read online. But as soon as it got here, we inspected it before signing (as we were instructed to do) and it was just what we wanted. Here was our front door when we first moved in, a super glossy maroon. The glossiest! We painted it Onyx by Benjamin Moore but I’m still not sure that was a huge improvement. And when the handleset broke off  (aye yi yi!) and we temporarily replaced it with a mismatched knob–it wasn’t pretty. But after 2 years of living here, we realized nixing the one sidelight in favor for a single door and beefier trim would serve us best….

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A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

In October, we got a new entry door hardware because our handle actually broke off. Chris fixed it no less than 3 times and it just kept falling off, which didn’t make us feel very safe. Weird. But after we finally got a new slick modern black set from Schlage, I couldn’t bear to put it on our current front door that I was dreaming about upgrading. Was this the push we needed? Was this our sign? Eh, who knows. But we decided to put on a cheap temporary handle on our front door (that completely mismatched our deadlock) and for the last four months I’ve been entry door shopping while the first impression of our house looked like this: That photo was taken shortly after we dragged a bunch of drywall inside so it’s really good bad before photo. Although I guess the real before photo would be this: When we…

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An Exterior Light Facelift

Although there’s so much going on inside, we try to spend time every week making sure our exterior stays maintained. We actually have some rather large plans for our backyard space, but that will have to wait until next year. Nowadays, we’re just happy to keep the lawn mowed and the flower beds weed-free, but making some sort of improvement every year keeps things progressing in the right direction out here. Last year we got a fence (no small thing…or price! ouch!), but this year with most of our budget and efforts going into the kitchen, we turned our attention to something we could do quickly that would make a big impact. We zeroed in on those minuscule lights flanking our garage doors–I mean, squint!–and started looking for replacements. Although they look low, these lights are about 8.5 feet up and the 5 inch width was entirely too small for…

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