The Deck, One Year Later + What’s Still to Come!

June 7, 2017

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

Almost exactly one year ago, the deck as a structure was complete! It’s been a wonderful addition to our home and we can barely remember life before it. But I figured it was time to check in on it again (before the stars come out, that is) since we’ve had a few new additions this year and have one more big project to do out here.

The photo above is the “before” angle of the first photo. We never spent time out here when it was in that state, so it feels like we gained a lot of square footage by adding on this outdoor area. A few weeks ago, we added the cedar planter boxes and filled them in with strawberries, peppers, miniature asparagus, and some decorative grasses up top. Furniture-wise, we finally found the perfect coffee table for the main seating area.

This round concrete table (on sale!) took a couple weeks to arrive, but it was worth the wait. The size is just right and we really needed something round to soften all the squared-off edges we have out here. Our DIY fireplace is made to look like board-formed concrete (full tutorial of the fireplace in this post) and this coffee table really plays off it well. It’s pretty heavy and has already been rained on twice and dried like new–whew!

Another new addition, I mentioned in this Casual Friday post, is a pair of hanging chairs we put on the far side of the deck.

Our deck is large and basically divided into three sections, with the fireplace right in the middle and the dining area on the other side. We had thoughts of maybe one day adding french doors leading from our bedroom out to this side with a hot tub over here (really, really grand-way-down-the-road dreams, you can see), but when I spotted these hanging chairs on sale, I scooped them right up. We don’t have a structure to hang them from, so we also got the chair stands. They have been such a casual, fun spot to hang (har, har) the past few weeks. Plus, it’s nice to have a little smaller, more intimate seating area, too.

Neither of the throw pillows are outdoor, but the pretty navy cushion in the seat is, as well as the pouf I picked up at Target. From this angle, you can see we left ample room from the back of the couch to this seating area so it didn’t feel like anyone was hovering over the people sitting on the sofa. We also added a few potted plants around the swings to help define the area.

Perhaps the least exciting addition for you readers (but a very necessary one for us) was this deck box to store throw pillows when rain is about to come. Our furniture covers when it’s nice and sunny. It also houses our pressure washer, a few balls and bubbles and games the girls like to play outside. Our big basin for drinks we pull out for parties. It’s actually kind of wonderful to have! We keep it on the far edge of the deck (kind of behind the hanging chairs) so it’s out of the way, but still handy.

Here, you can see how everything is laid out from this angle.

Aaaandd the view looking the other way:

As for what is coming next, we’re getting ready to start on our outdoor kitchen! There’s a space, right outside the kitchen window, and adjacent to the outdoor dining area, where the deck juts back and creates a nice little L-shape that was always designed for an outdoor kitchen one day. It’s really going to be more of a built-in outdoor cooking area.

It’s not a huge space, by any means. But will be perfect for a built-in grill, some drawers, a stove-top and nice counter-space. We’ve also toyed around with the idea of building some sort of small pergola over the area since Chris grills year-round. I’m really letting Chris take the reigns with this project, since he has been dreaming of it since we moved in. He drew this simple sketch of how everything will be laid out and we’re still sourcing a few materials for the finishes. We’re leaning toward doing a dark green tile base and maybe a gray concrete counter to tie into the fireplace–but nothing is nailed down, yet.

In fact, the only thing we do have is the grill top and all the drawers and burner–they have been in our garage for over a year!

Last summer, when Chris was still writing for Charbroil on the side, Saber (Charbroil’s luxury sister brand) sent us the built-in grill when they caught word we’d be doing an outdoor kitchen one day. He has been dying to use it! We ended up running out of time last year, but after a magazine reached out to us to see if they could come shoot our whole house this September (and wanted an exclusive of our new outdoor kitchen area), it lit the fire under us. The space under the counter in the drawing will be for a smoker. The side drawer will be for paper towels and the other drawers will be stocked with grilling utensils (that currently take up three drawers in our actual kitchen), plates and pans and I’m sure a few things that Chris is dreaming of. We really wanted to add a small sink out here, but unfortunately, it’s not recommended in our area because the winters can get around -20 and the pipes would likely freeze and burst. But we’re excited to move forward with everything else ASAP! I feel very lucky Chris makes such good food day in and day out for our family and for all the time he dedicates to the task, it’ll be fun to see him in his element out here.

So that’s where we’ve come from, where we’re at, and where we’re headed this year. Now we just have to find a way to get all of you here for a big bbq! :) I’ve included a full source list below!


White Rattan Lounge Chairs | Tall Basket | Area Rug String Lights (similar) | Wood Sofas | Black Sofa | Concrete Coffee TableOutdoor Blue Slash Pillows | White and Black Tassel Lumbar Pillow | White Pinstriped pillows | Tall concrete planter (similar)|  Black planter | Small concrete planter | Dining Table | Black Dining Chairs White Wire Dining Chairs | Black and White striped umbrella | Firewood Storage | Hanging Chairs | Hanging Chairs Stand | Navy Seat Cushions | Outdoor PoufDeck Box DIY Fireplace Tutorial | DIY Tiered Planter Boxes Tutorial


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What do you think?

  1. Michelle Cook says:

    LOVE THIS! ???? How do you keep white cushions clean? I want to copy this for my new patio but scared to destroy white fabric.

  2. Brooke says:

    Any suggestions for a black and white umbrella like yours but without the bigger price tag…we need two! I found one at world market but the pole reviews are terrible so wondered if you had any suggestions. Thanks!

  3. Bethany says:

    How has the couch held up over the year – any issues with the cushions or wood? We plan to keep it covered and store it over the winter but reviews have been mixed.

  4. Shannon says:

    What do you do with the outdoor furniture in the winter? Do you leave it out with covers? Bring it into the garage? I want to deck out my deck, but I’m short on storage :/

  5. Kate says:

    How do you like the composite decking? Does it get very slippery when wet or very hot in the sun? Have a deck project next and deciding between materials. Thanks!!

  6. Your deck looks amazing! Can’t wait to see how the rest of your outdoor projects turn out

  7. I recently made some DIY concrete counters and they look great in my kitchen. Just watch out for oil spots around your grill!


  8. Jill says:

    Love your cozy outdoor space! Do the metal tub chairs get hot in direct sunlight?
    Also, we are deciding between the ikea applaro and the World Market table highlighted in another post. Thoughts?

  9. Stephanie Rawlins says:

    I absolutely LOVE your deck! As a landscape designer and someone whose passion is to get people outside, your space is checking all of the boxes. I remember that you had some boxwoods planted between the house and the deck. Did I make that up? If not, how did that work out? They are one of my favorite evergreens, but tricky in northern locals so, I’m curious how they fare in your location.

  10. Ailie says:

    Wow, LOVE this outdoor space! One question, the link to the DIY fireplace on your other post goes to a main homes.com page and I can’t find the step by step. Do you have a direct link for the fireplace step by step? Thanks!

  11. Jessica says:

    Amazing before and after! That has to be one of the dreamiest decks I’ve ever seen, and to think it started out as a weirdly shaped little backyard (sorry to dis your backyard, but I never would’ve seen that much potential in it before!) :D

  12. Trilby C. says:

    Ooooh – I’m excited to see how you guys end up constructing the outdoor kitchen. My husband and I hand-drew up some very similar plans for a kitchen of our own. We meant to get started on it for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, but have been having a hard time pulling the trigger on actually building the darned thing because of a good lack of tutorials (and inspiration) online.

  13. Cindy says:

    Are you going to incorporate a pizza oven in your outdoor kitchen? Super high temperatures without heating up the house?

  14. Nicole says:

    Can’t wait to see the outdoor kitchen, I started following your blog after I stumbled upon your outdoor fireplace on Pinterest!

  15. Katie Mc says:

    Hi! Love it all!

    Did you build the deck OVER the concrete?

  16. Susan says:

    Did you get the canvas or the Sunbrella umbrella from Pottery Barn? I was wondering which one and if it’s held up! I personally haven’t had the best luck with their canvas products.

    • Julia says:

      Our umbrella is actually from home decorator’s collection but it got discontinued! :( So I linked the Pottery Barn one because it’s the most similar. (I believe CB2 also sells a rectangular black and white umbrella). From what I hear, you can’t go wrong with the Sunbrella fabric!

      • Amy says:

        I don’t have personal experience with these umbrellas, but I’ve known about Sunbrella for many years. It’s what they make sail covers out of, which is why I know about it. I honestly don’t think there is anything better for outdoor use! A friend actually had an extra piece and poured bleach on it to see what would happen. The bleach did nothing harmful to the Sunbrella. So I would always recommend Sunbrella!

        P.s. Awesome outdoor space!!!

  17. Ling Wang says:

    Your deck looks *amazing*! Can’t wait to see your outdoor kitchen come together :D

  18. We also have a sink outside that is tied with an outdoor hose faucet with a splitter – one for the hose & one for the sink. It is so simple to winterize. We just unhook if and blow the sink line out. Going strong 10 years later. Love having a sink to wash hands and outdoor kitchen plates/utensils while I am cooking!

    • Julia says:

      That sounds like a great option!

    • Merideth says:

      Agreed – and I never knew how wonderful it was to have the sink out there until we did! No more running back inside to wash hands or trying to open the door with chicken juice fingers. You can use your air compressor to blow out the lines. We have the drain just draining onto an unused part of the yard, though.

  19. Mandi says:

    Looks like a lovely place to spend summer evenings! :) Just a thought on your outdoor sink… we have an outdoor water hook up with a valve(inside the house) to drain the water from the pipe for over the winter, which emits the problem of freezing and bursting pipes. Hope you can find some way to make a sink work out there… I think I would always be running in and out! :D

  20. Good gravy, your patio is my absolute favorite, always and forever.

  21. Emilyjane says:

    We have an outdoor sink and drinking fountain (Utah). It is tied into our irrigation system and outdoor hoses because (unfortunately) we don’t have secondary water. It’s all culinary. But it allows us to blow it all out in the fall to protect against freezing pipes.

  22. Allison says:

    How does the rug hold up throughout the season? Do you take it in if the forecast is rain all day?

  23. Shannon says:

    I love your deck. Like seriously love. It was one of the first posts I read here and I was amazed at how different and wonderful the before/after photos were. And somehow it keeps looking better with every tweak you make! I really like the look of that concrete table. I’m assuming being concrete it’s heavy enough to not blow over in strong wind? Do you ever get strong wind? Also, those hanging chairs are bananas. Can’t wait to see the outdoor kitchen!! Please invite us over for a virtual BBQ.

  24. M says:

    Do you have space for a mini fridge in the outdoor kitchen?

  25. Lauren says:

    What are the dimensions on the deck?

  26. Victoria says:

    wondering if there’s a way to have an outside tap with the pipes inside so only the tap juts out and you can build a sink around it? Or is there an industrial application that would work?

    • Julia says:

      Our kitchen sink is, literally, RIGHT on the other side of this wall, so we were hopeful. We’ll look at some other options.

      • Jessica says:

        I was thinking this too! Just went to confirm where your sink was in a picture. Maybe one of those pot holder taps again like over your stove? So exciting.

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

Here’s the crazy thing about me and inspiration: If you were to go into my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest, there are bathrooms for sure, but there are also kitchens, there are closets, there are mudrooms, and there are hallways of houses! I’m not looking to copy and paste an inspirational image. I’m taking notes […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations