Dexter Backyard: a space for summer

THE DEXTER HOUSE

With summer officially kicked off, it seems appropriate that todays post is about the Dexter House backyard.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Enter 2

We’ve been working on this 700sf-ish space sporadically through the Spring, and luckily it’s coming together in time for Summer.  If you’ve ever been to Seattle in the summer, you know how magical it is.  The weather is 80s or so and the city comes alive with pale, friendly faces, float planes and ferry boats.  Plus all that rain in the winter means green everywhere.  Yeah, so this family of pale faces is pretty happy to spend time in our little Seattle backyard.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Large 1The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard CouchThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Metal PanelThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Large 2
You may have noticed that the Dexter house is really urban (at least by Seattle standards). There are houses and apartments and balconies looking into our little property from every angle. That’s just how it goes in the city. But because of that, I really wanted this outdoor space to feel private, like a reprieve from the hustle and bustle, a space to escape and relax. So we built the fence 8′ tall (the maximum allowed) and topped the back section with an arbor, which will have wild, purple wisteria blooms weaving around it in a year or two.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard fence

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard HouseThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard DoorThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch close 1The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard planter detail

Once we realized that the old fountain was broken beyond reasonable repair, we converted it into a planter.  And I really dig the mix of flowers and green in the center of the yard. You may have noticed that we left a “hole” in the fence for our peek-a-boo of the lake. You can see a teensy tiny boat waaaayyyy down there.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard View

Did you see it?

We call it our view. Yeah. That’s just how we roll.

We found some furniture from Craigslist for this backyard.  First came the small table with four chairs a couple months ago.  I may still pick up an umbrella for a little shade to help on those few days above 90.  But either way, this is a great spot for alfresco dinning.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Table

As I mentioned last week, I also found the wicker couch on Craigslist.  And although it will not likely stay in this spot for long (I have a much better spot for this one, just wait…!!!) it’s been nice to have a cozy spot to hang out back here for now.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch detailThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Couch close 2

Up next we’re going to build a narrow shed on the side of the house.  Plus we have a few more plants to put in.  And then there’s the small matter of that fresh growler of beer, those golden string lights, and that cozy new couch.  I’m looking at you Garrett!

Happy Summer to you all!

Previous posts on the backyard project here and here and here.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. There are just so many amazing backyards.  Seriously! So I’ve pinned a bunch of them and compiled them here.

p.p.s. This brownstone renovation is stunning.  Add in the fact that that house was built in 1804 and I have big heart eyes all over it!

p.p.p.s. one thing that I’m loving in kitchens right now is shelf rail like in this kitchen. How lovely is that?!   You’re with me, right?!

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Dexter Backyard: Sneak Peak

THE DEXTER HOUSE

Happy Friday friends!  I wanted to share a sneak peak of the Dexter backyard with you today.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard seating 2

That’s our new wicker couch that I bought on Craiglist and Garrett picked up.  That’s how it goes around here…I buy vintage stuff and Garrett drives all over the Puget Sound picking it up. Seems like I have the better end of that stick. Anyway, the couch is pretty old, but really sturdy and the perfect spot to take a nap, if you’re into that sort of thing 😉

Do you remember what the backyard looked like before?  Check out my previous posts on this space here and here.

We’re working on a few punch list items in the backyard and elsewhere at the Dexter House this weekend.  Plus it’s fathers day (!) so there will be hiking and brunch and a trip to the brewery.  All good things!  I hope you have a great weekend!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Emily Henderson’s three best design tips EVER!  Don’t mind if I do.

p.p.s. A trip down memory lane on Jersey Ice Cream Co’s first renovation.  Oh goodness! this brings up memories of our first project…

p.p.p.s. Despite the sunny weather as of late, I’m in the mood for…well, mood.  Warm, nostalgic, and rich interiors that feel authentic, like this bedroom and this kitchen!

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Dexter Backyard: the Beginning

THE DEXTER HOUSE

When we first bought the Dexter House last year, the backyard resembled a wild, overgrown jungle.  There was so much foliage that you couldn’t even see that there was paving on the ground.  I wish I could dig up a picture for you guys, but apparently I never took one.  Anyway, sometime mid-summer, Garrett and Papa unleashed a pruning massacre upon the backyard – which was totally unsanctioned, I should add – that left nothing in their wake.  I was less than pleased.  The backyard was now sparse and looked even worse than before.  But even I had to admit, at least we could finally see what were working with.  The backyard also served as a staging ground for construction debris, which explains what you’re about to see.

IMG_8817

Yeah, it’s bad.  I know.  But we’ve been sporadically making progress on the backyard ever since.  We’ve pressure-washed the concrete patio, turned the broken fountain into a planter, did some more pruning (seriously, those tree/bush/shrubs grow like weeds!), and tore down that old, rotting fence.  I’ll show you more about that in the weeks to come.  But today I wanted to introduce you to this space and show you what we’re working with.  Here are a few pictures from earlier this year.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard in MarchThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard From Door 03-2016The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Door Trim 2

Our backyard is 780sf.  Not big.  But still pretty awesome for a small, urban house in Seattle.  Garrett and my goal is to turn this space into a welcoming courtyard.  A secret getaway in the middle of the city that doesn’t quite feel like the middle of the city, if you know what I mean.  Sure, this isn’t going to be an outdoor spot to play soccer or host a wedding but hopefully it will feel like another room for us to share with the boys during the summer months.  Here are a few inspiration images:

Inspiration Worthminer paved backyardInspiration CocoCozy Gravel Inspiration Megan Pflug backyard

sources: One | Two | Three

Okay, what do you guys think?  Are you on board for our courtyard/getaway/outdoor-room concept?

xoxo
-Cathy

p.s. Did you guys see this master bedroom makeover?  It’s sooooooo good!

p.p.s. Have you guys been listening to the Chris Loves Julia podcast?  I especially love episode 3 about renovating with children.  Don’t leave a kid alone in a room with a can of paint…SOLID advice!
p.p.p.s. Vintage Chic in Paris.  This is just So. Dang. Lovely!
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December Progress on the Backyard

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

I sure hope you are all have a great start to 2015!  But before we delve into the new year, I want to get you caught up on all the work we did last month on the backyard of the Ravenna House.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder 1

Despite the rainy weather, we made some good progress on the backyard.  And yes, by we I mean Wilder and his “hammer”.  Plus a little help from Dada 😉

In December we poured a concrete curb at the patio, laid the foundation for a shed, and installed pipping for a future hose-bib.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Patio Edge 1

That’s a picture of the concrete curb on the edge of the patio.  We put this in to keep the pavers from settling over time.  Unfortunately we poured the concrete just before a massive downpour and we didn’t get a chance to finish the top of the concrete.  So yes, it will always be this rough. But since it’s outside I really don’t care.  Besides with a little landscaping and the right outdoor furniture on the patio, I’m hoping you’ll never even notice the concrete!

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder and DadaThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Form

Someday there will be a shed in this corner of the backyard, which will provide some much needed storage.  The picture above was taken while Garrett was forming the concrete pad that will sit beneath the shed.  He used 3/8″ rebar (on the edges) and mats (in the interior) for strength.  We poured the concrete the next day, just as the elusive winter sun was passing overhead.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Garrett pouring concreteThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed PourThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Handprints in Concrete

We all managed to get our handprints in the wet concrete as it was drying…a first for Wilder!

The pictures above also give you a good shot of the fencing at the Ravenna House.  We plan to replace the green falling-down fence at the back of the shots with a new cedar fence and continue it in front of the chain link fence at right. And with Wilder’s skills with a “hammer”, that fence will be up in no time!

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder 2

Oh and one more photo, because I just don’t know when to quit.  These are Garrett’s shoes after pouring the shed’s concrete pad.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Concrete on Shoes

Up next, a shed!  And a potty-trained toddler.  Okay, I’ll settle for either one of those…

More on the patio here and backyard inspiration here.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. I’ve been trying to feed my Serial addiction with other podcasts and this Ira Glass piece is the trick!

p.p.s. Who knew Richard Gere had such good taste in real estate?!

p.p.p.s. This Cape Dutch renovation does not disappoint.  I am loving all that white…of course I am!

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It’s a Patio…in my backyard!

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

Well guys it’s officially rainy season here in Seattle.  You know what that means.  We expect a lot of wet weather, day in and day out, for about six months.  But  this year has been different.  We’ve gotten a spell of cold that’s had the sun shining bright and the falling-leaves dry.  So far, it’s actually been a beautiful fall, and we’ve taken full advantage of it to make progress on the patio.

After we got back from New Orleans, we rented a plate compactor and leveled out the gravel base we had laid in the backyard.

The Grit and Polish - backyard patio prep

Disregard the mess along the sagging fences.  Some day Garrett is going to build me a storage shed.  And than a fence.  🙂

We wanted the patio to be long – about the length of the parking pad – and 12′ in width.  That way we can use it for overflow parking if need be.  We prepped the patio area with gravel and after we graded and compacted it, we started laying pavers.

The Grit and Polish - Patio Construction 3

I scored some free granite paver left-overs from a commercial plaza downtown through a connection at work.  The pavers are generally 1’x2′ in size but we also got a lot of miscellaneous-sized cut pieces.  So we fit them together like a puzzle.  I think it looks pretty cool plus they were free.  And free is my favorite price 🙂

To lay the pavers, we set down a couple inches of sand in a small area – about 10sf- and leveled it using a 2×4 and some old yard-tool handles.  Here’s Wilder stepping in the leveled-sand on the first day of laying pavers:

The Grit and Polish - Patio Construction 1

Wilder didn’t actually get to lay any pavers due to the fact that they weigh upwards of 50lbs.  Per piece!  But Wilder did get to throw the small cast-offs around.  Plus he helped by “digging” and picking up leaves.  This kiddo loves to help. When he sees dada put on his work boots, he starts jumping up and down and squealing, knowing he gets to go outside and help dada work.  And when I come out to inspect the work (someone’s got to do quality control after all), he loves to tell me about it in giant hand-gestures and babbled-sentences.  It’s really the sweetest!

Here we are about half way done laying the patio:

The Grit and Polish - Patio Construction 2

And here’s the finished product, Wilder-tested and approved:

The Grit and Polish - Patio Construction 4

I’m noticing our concrete driveway is looking a little lackluster these days.  While I doubt we’ll get around to repairing the concrete, hopefully it gets a good power wash.  Or maybe just a good rain.

We swept sand in-between the pavers.  After a rain storm or two we’ll probably have to lay some more, but for now it’s done.  We still plan to lay some kind of border around the patio – not sure if it will be concrete or just a flower bed.

Well it’s nice to be able to say (finally) that the patio is done.  Done, done, done!  Next up: a shed for mama and a fence for Bubba!

More on the backyard renovation here, here, and here.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. This New Orleans house is amazing.

p.p.s. Have you guys been listening to Serial?  Get on board…it’s awesome!!!

p.p.p.s. I would live in this NYC apartment.  Oh yes, yes I would.

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