A Night In

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

It’s not often you see bloggers post evening or nighttime photos of their homes. We’ve been trained to only post beautiful, bright, naturally lit photos always striving to produce images equivalent to what you see in magazines. But, in every home (especially a blogger’s home), is a well designed space that is loved and used and lives through a normal nighttime routine just like any home should – whether it be cooking dinner in the kitchen, watching your favorite show before bed, or just overall decompressing on the sofa with your iPad, etc. I was really happy to hear about this idea Julia and Kim had about highlighting the home in a different way. These pretty ladies got together and thought ‘hey – let’s highlight these cozy spaces that we use routinely every evening, and share these spaces and our routine with our readers!’ I was totally into this idea, and became instantly grateful they asked me to join in on the party.

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

My son Zano’s bedtime routine is one of those nighttime rituals I relish. I’m a working mom, I commute at least an hour each direction every day, and most of the time don’t get home from work until 7pm. It pains me not to be able to spend more time during the day with Zano, but I’m comforted that he and I have a routine every night, something special between him and I, something I seriously don’t want him to grow out of!

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

Of course each evening begins with dinner. Zano eats dinner with us, he eats what we eat and it’s usually no thang. No time for two dinners in this house! After dinner is an immediate bath (unless he’s miraculously kept himself clean), then brushing teeth, then a little bit of play time. I’ve learned it’s easiest for Zano to make the transition to bed time if he thinks it’s his idea, so I ask him questions like “do you want to read this book in bed?” or “which stuffed animal do you want to sleep with tonight?” Things don’t go so well if we say directly “OK time for bed!”.  Zano loves books, and is at the stage where he wants to read them to me. Even though he can’t read yet, it’s the most adorable thing! We end the evening tucking him in bed with his stuffed animals. I curl on the end of his bed with him holding my hand until he falls asleep. Gah! My heart! I fear the day he no longer wants to hold my hand for bed.

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

We recently transitioned Zano to a big boy bed about 5 weeks ago. He did it on his own, the day I put sheets on the bed was the same night he proclaimed he was going to sleep in the big bed. I didn’t want to question/jinx his enthusiasm, so we went with it and he’s been sleeping in it ever since! One of the great things about graduating him to a bigger bed is the fact we can sit (or fall asleep) next to him. Cuddle time is important to us mamas!

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

Making a space special for Zano was important for me, since in just a few months he’ll be sharing his room with his little sister. I wanted Zano to feel comfortable in his space, and have ownership in the things that are his. This is his big bed! His nightstand! His book shelf! The overhead light in our room can be too much during bedtime so I wanted to add a light that helps transfer the mood of the room from PLAY to SLEEP. Lucky for us, Rejuvenation offered to help us create the coziest spot in our home even cozier. Even luckier for Zano, he got the light of my dreams!

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

I had been lusting hard over the new Cypress lights from Rejuvenation, and felt the Cypress Double Swing Arm plug in sconce was perfect in both style and function for Zano’s side of the room. What I like most about this lamp (besides that luscious brass!) is that the switch actually allows you to have either the top, the bottom, or both lamps on at once. We can swing the lamps at any 180-degree position if we need one of the light sources pointed elsewhere. Also, the plugin option offers so much freedom. We’re not sold that this is the final resting place for Zano’s bed, I definitely wanted the freedom to re-position this fixture should we move his bed to another wall. The plug-in option totally gives us that freedom.

A Night In featuring Rejuvenation | brittanyMakes

Lucky Zano, right?! I keep telling him he has the coolest mom.

Lucky for you, I’m not the only blogger sharing A Night In! Check out more of the coziest evening spaces from my favorite bloggers ever:

A NIGHT IN | Rejuvenation

A Big Boy Bed for Zano

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

With a baby on the way and no plans to buy a second crib, we had to start thinking of a big boy bed situation for Zano. At first I considered getting him a toddler bed, but ultimately decided to pursue a twin bed mainly for the fact I didn’t want to have to go through this process again in a couple years when he’d outgrow said toddler bed. I felt if we invested in a bed now he’d essentially be set until he’s a lot older… maybe even until he goes to college! Not only did I have longevity of the bed in mind, I also had to consider having this new bed fit cohesively into this soon-to-be shared space.

My favorite, although sometimes discouraging, part of the design process is ‘the hunt’. Typically before I begin a search, the first thing I do is talk budget with my husband. This kinda helps prevent me from becoming emotionally attached to an item that is WAY outta my price range (we’ve all been there).

Antonio and I agreed a budget of around $300 for a twin bed was a good price point. With that budget in mind, (but also kind of setting that information aside), I started my hunt for the perfect twin bed.  These four topped my list for style cohesion and looks, but as you can see not all of them were within budget.

Modern & Timeless Big Boy Beds

sources, from top L to bottom R: Mid Century Acorn bed (this one goes on sale frequently, but currently it’s full price) // black steel platform bed // gray tufted bed with tapered legs // Nesttun bed from Ikea in white powder coat

It may seem backwards, but I don’t always start out searching for an item only within a said price range. I like to narrow down on the style and look of the item I want, then do a “second hunt” for finding items that are less expensive but very similar in style and form. My friend Reichel is a master at doing this.

Now, I already knew two of my top beds were within budget, but I wanted to see if I could find the other two for less, somewhere else. First, I found a very similar gray tufted bed with tapered legs.

Modern big boy bed // gray tufted with tapered legs

The Mid Century Modern Tufted bed from Overstock

Then, I also found a nearly identical bed to the West Elm Mid Century bed, for much much less!

mid century platform bed

The Alton bed from Living Spaces

Now, the computer screen shows very different colors, but the I’m pretty much convinced the Alton line at Living Spaces is the exact same line as West Elm’s Mid-Century line. Don’t be fooled by the color “cherry” on their website. As you can see in the photo below, it’s closer to a light walnut! I also noticed Living Spaces even sells those coveted dressers & nightstands you’ve seen from West Elm. I’m considering this as a replacement dresser/changing table (our current campaign dresser is too big for the room #sadface).

My favorite bed from the original plan happened to be the Mid-Century bed from West Elm, so it was a quick decision for us to move forward with the Alton bed from Living Spaces. *Please note, this post is not sponsored AT ALL.

Here’s a peek of the bed in action! Although we’re still playing musical chairs with the furniture to get the best placement…

Living Spaces Alton mid century bed // brittanyMakes

At a $300 price point it was worth taking the risk to order online without seeing it in person, although Living Spaces is popping up with showrooms so I’ve heard (there’s one an hour from me).

Do you think I nailed it or what?!

XO, Brittany

Investing in the Future

The Vintage Rug Shop

My husband and I are always, and I’m not exaggerating, always, talking about what we want our future to look like and how we are going to get there. Positioning ourselves this way is sorta in our DNA, and I know that they say opposites attract, but like-minded folk attract harder I’m sure of it.

A little tmi background about us: my husband and I both went to private college, both graduated with finance degrees, and both came out with obscene student loan balances, and both pursued careers in the business industry. We’ve each spent the last ten years of our careers climbing out of this student loan hole. We budget, we plan, we strategize, we tweak, we dream, we plan some more. It might take time, but we make shit happen.

I started blogging at a time where I felt my life was lacking in the creative department. The mundane routine of an accountant (every month is the same cycle!) was getting to me. I used to be so creative! I was a self taught hair stylist during college, cutting & styling friends, teachers, strangers (!) hair between classes. Ask my best friend – I used to blow her hair out every morning! In high school I spent my free time making fashion jewelry by hand and selling my designs at boutiques in Sonoma and Petaluma. As a kid I used to host craft nights at church with the woman’s group. I was a few years into my career and it hit me – I used to have so much more time to spend being creative, yet I had chosen a career that was the complete opposite.

I didn’t want my future to only consist of financial statements and debits and credits, I had to do something about it, and I chose to take a blind step towards something I could do along side my day job: blogging.  Blogging opened this door to a creative frontier, I’ve discovered things about myself that weren’t prevalent before, such as an insatiable love of design and interiors, the thrill of thrifting, and the value in connecting with folks who care less about balance sheets and more about paint swatches and space layouts. Ever since I chose blogging, I haven’t looked back. 

It was a tough reality to face, but blogging alone wasn’t going to change MY career path. At the end of the day, my husband and I shared priorities that meant I wasn’t going to be that blogger who quit her job to become a blogger full time. Major kudos to all who have done it successfully! I envy you! It just wasn’t going to happen for me. If I ever want to change my career path I need to do something bigger, something riskier. It was this moment, about a year and a half ago, that I decided to harness this entrepreneurial ability that I carry and make something of it. I am a creative AND a business person, surely there’s something I love doing that can be turned into a business! It was at that moment when I started planning the launch of The Vintage Rug Shop.

The Vintage Rug Shop opened on 10/1/15, my 30th birthday. My original intention was to run the shop and the blog as separate brands, separate sites, separate everything.  It soon became a lot more work than I anticipated, and about 6 months into launching the shop I realized just how tough it was to run TWO businesses: blog & shop. Ever since then I’ve been figuring out how to bring them both together under one virtual roof.

There are some changes happening soon that I wanted to share today! The short version: I hired a designer and web developer to re-brand and re-design my two sites with the intention of wrapping both the blog and shop into one pretty site. We’ve been working together since April, and soon, SO SOON, we will have a new site for you to experience! I seriously can’t wait. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the success of the shop and the support I’ve received from all my readers and customers. Thank you!!! This is the biggest investment I’ve ever made into this blog/shop venture, and I can’t shake the feeling this is the investment of my future. 

There you go folks! A seriously long winded story. Thank you so much for reading and for all your continued support! I can’t wait to unveil the new site!

xo, Britt

A Much Needed Vacation (part 2)

Santa Monica Beach

It was a little over a week ago, yet already seems like forever, our little family of 3 (soon to be 4!) spent two days in Venice Beach recuperating from 4 exhausting days at Disneyland. Every trip to Disneyland we usually follow with a few days in San Diego. I lived in San Diego for so long it’s usually my excuse to pretend I live there again for a couple days. This year we decided to mix things up, head somewhere new but still local, plus I had never been to Santa Monica or Venice Beach so it was the perfect time to make an adventure out of it.

Sidecar Donuts

Being connected with like-minded creative folks through Instagram, I’ve accumulated a hefty list of places I’d like to eat, shop, visit, sleep, etc. Sidecar doughnuts was on top of the list! My best friend lives just blocks from the Costa Mesa location. It was great playing catch up while stuffing my face with the butter & salt doughnut.

Indigo macrame ceiling at The Butcher's Daughter

The Butcher’s Daughter was another one of these ‘must visit’ places. I love how they dub themselves a “vegetarian slaughterhouse”, my husband was surprised that literally everything, even the sausage pizza, was vegetarian. He ordered the breakfast burrito and it was SO GOOD. Zano ate the avocado toast. OK, I’m hungry now.

venice beach CA

We spent the second day exploring Santa Monica and the rest of Venice. I had never been to the Santa Monica pier, it’s exactly what you think it is 🙂 We walked the promenade, shopped a little, came back and walked Abbott Kinney. We shopped at Urbanic, then my husband ordered 3 pairs of glasses at Warby Parker (honestly it’s so much easier to try them all on in the store vs. mail order). After, we walked the Venice canals, which were so fun to explore. We played the game “which house would you move into?” We walked a total of 10 miles that day! Needless to say, we definitely made room for a big dinner.

The Tasting Kitchen Venice

We ate at The Tasting Kitchen for dinner with one of our good friends and man, this place! It has to be one of the nicest dinners we’ve had in a long time! What was so amazing about this dinner is, after a long weekend of making decisions after decisions, this spot specializes in making them for you! We chose the 3-course meal (which was a lot of food!) and the chef decided what he wanted to serve us family style. We literally just sat there, talked, enjoyed each-others company, and received delicious surprise after surprise.

We had a really great time together, exploring a new place without having to travel too far. Our hotel was central to everything, which made it super easy to enjoy the neighborhoods without having to fight to find parking.

It’s been a week and I already need another vacation!

XO, Britt

A Much Needed Vacation (part 1)

Disneyland Starbucks wall garden

My husband, Antonio, is 5 months away from completing his MBA program. His last class is actually 2 weeks after our baby is due – talk about good timing! We (I should say he) basically hasn’t had a weekend off in 13 months. That’s 13 months of homework, weekend classes, night classes, no vacations, no video games, no lounging around on the weekends, basically, no fun at all. After 13 months his program finally offered a “summer break”, which I say in quotations because it was essentially only two weeks without class. Not completely a break but, after realizing we hadn’t really gone away for the weekend or taken a vacation in over a year, we decided to make something happen. Antonio really wanted to take Zano to Disneyland, while my idea of a vacation was to relax at the beach. We compromised and planned a full week away with the first half at Disneyland and the second half recuperating at the beach.

California Adventures Park

My husband and his family are, in my  book, die-hard Disneyland goers. I know there are fanatics out there which are on a whole different level, but his family “vacations” to Disneyland which isn’t exactly my idea of a vacation. Disneyland just sounds like a whole lotta work to me. I’ve grown to appreciate it more every time we go, we really do create some fun memories. And nothing beats bringing your 2 year old to the park for his first time. My goodness, Zano was in shock! He got to meet his favorite characters: Mater & Lightening McQueen.

Zano meets Lightening McQueen

Zano meets Mater

Zano rode so many rides, more than I would have thought a 2 year old could! It was blistering hot and sooo crowded, so we spent a lot of time popping in and out of air conditioned shops and restaurants to keep us sane.

Its a Small World Ride at Disneyland

An all time family fave is It’s a Small World, there’s just something so joyful about this ride. Zano loved it too, I think we took him 3 times!

Cactus at Disneyland

My favorite part of exploring the parks is checking out all the design details, from the plants they chose for each area to the wall treatments on the buildings. Even Starbucks had a hidden garden wall (first photo in the post) that, unless you were paying attention, you could easily miss. Good design is everywhere, even at Disneyland.

Diamond wall shingles at Disneyland

We’ve gone to Disneyland so often we’ve come to know the best places to eat around the entire park, and actually plan our day around it! Here are our favorites:

  1. the Cobb Salad at the pink restaurant, just at the end of Main Street before turning right to Tomorrow Land (the Fried Chicken is pretty killer too). Perfect first lunch, we always hit this place up first for a meal!
  2. the Sun-dried Tomato Pasta from the Italian kitchen behind the Mickey ferris wheel at California Adventures, perfect for dinner
  3. the Mediterranean food (any of it!) right next to the Italian kitchen, I love the greek salad for lunch
  4. Chicken Skewers from the hut across from Indiana Jones, the different sauces are out of this world, a great protein snack when you’re not quite ready for a full meal
  5. Pineapple Whip from the dole stand in front of the Tiki Room. The line is always obscenely long, go into the Tiki Room waiting area and order from there, there’s usually little to no wait
  6. Breakfast Burritos at the cafe in Tomorrow Land. We grab one of these on the day we use our Magic Morning pass
  7. Beer at Flo’s Cafe (this is my husband’s favorite spot for beer)
  8. the Banana Hefeweizen at the beer stand directly across (left) from the chowder cafe in California Adventures (my husband’s second favorite spot for beer)
  9. Outside of the park: we love the Ya Ya Gumbo and the Beignets from the New Orleans restaurant in Downtown Disney, as well as the Italian pizza from Italian restaurant

Now that I’ve made myself hungry.. consider these spots next time you visit Disneyland!

XO, Britt

A Modern Navy Boy Nursery

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Alright folks, officially crown me as the worst interior blogger because here I am revealing a room 2 years late. 2 YEARS! My son Zano (pronounced “Z-on-o”, more about his name here in case you’re like ‘what kind of name is that’, lol) just turned 2 in May. Embarrassing delay, I tell you! in my defense, this was my first go with a nursery, and I barely had time to paint the walls before his arrival.  That being said, the evolution of this room happened slow and purposeful.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Now that we’re expecting kid no. 2, we need to make some changes to this space to accommodate both kids. Our home is only 2 bedrooms, but luckily the bedrooms are both a good size, fitting 2 kiddos in one room won’t be an issue.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

The chairs were the score of a lifetime, sourced by my blog bud Shavonda. I went through three rugs before finding “the one”, which was a lucky score from Flea Market Fab’s bi-weekly insta sale. I swear, the essence of the entire room is captured in this rug! The wildebeest head was one of the first things I ever purchased as a blogger, back when the paper mâché heads were the trend.  He looks good there for now. The toy cubby was a Land of Nod hack I posted about last year. The crib is by Babyletto and sadly is no longer available, but this one is similar. And my favorite element – the 5 orb chandy! I worked with Sarah of LucentLightshop to design this chandelier when we were also designing the square orb chandelier for our kitchen (now also seen in Elsie Larson’s breakfast nook).

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Sadly this room doesn’t get a lot of natural light. One of the changes I dream of making to this room is adding a second window to the crib’s wall, which faces the backyard. The window currently in this room is north facing and positioned in the small area between our house and our neighbor’s house. The north facing element greatly impacted what color we chose to paint the walls. We chose a dark color to embrace the drama that northern light usually places on a space. We tried white and grey, both looked too dingy. The navy on our walls is Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. I’ll be carrying the navy theme over as we welcome a baby girl into this room. I think I have some great ideas for this soon to be co-ed space!

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

The globes are vintage except for the chalkboard globe, the little boy painting was a $5 flea market find, I loved these narwhals too much when I saw them and had to have them. Sadly I don’t see them online any longer. The leather baseball was a gift from my Aunt during her travels to Havana, Cuba. The wool rhino is perhaps the most adorable piggy bank in the entire world. The woven cord basket was a Target find 2 years ago. We have a matching one on the dresser which we use to hold diapers and wipes.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

My goal is to continue to be purposeful as I consider the changes we need to make in this room to accommodate another kid. The dresser (another CraigsList score) is huge, and has been too much for one kid but will be perfect to fit clothing for two – it will most likely stay. We will be adding a big kid bed for Zano, switching up a few of the art pieces, and replacing the curtains with wood shutters. The rug will also stay.

So anyway, that’s Zano’s room as we knew it about two weeks ago! His big boy bed has arrived, and we’ve already started to shift things around as we gear up for our December baby.

If you have any tips on co-ed room sharing, please share!

xo, Brittany

It’s a…

It's a girl balloon announcement // brittanyMakes

Baby no. 2 is a girl! Antonio and I are thrilled! I think Zano’s secretly excited too, although we’ve been telling him he’s having a baby sister and so far his response has been “no, mommy”.

We went to a 3D ultrasound place to find out the gender around 15 weeks. I couldn’t wait the full 18 weeks – I’m not the most patient person. When we found out Zano’s gender, our friends threw us a gender reveal party which was so fun but also a lot of pressure. It was nice to hear the news just the two of us this time around. We celebrated with lunch date at our local Pho place and with a big order of pink balloons to spread the news.

Now I’m off to brainstorm a co-ed kids room/nursery. Wish me luck!

XO, Britt

The End of the Bedding Struggle

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

I’ve always been very indecisive about our bedding. Should I go neutral? Or maybe a bold pattern? All white? Switch things up seasonally? How many throw pillows is really needed, because honestly we only use the pillows we sleep on and my husband doesn’t exactly help in keeping our bed made, so the throw pillows just end up on the floor. All the anxiety around keeping a presentable bed has left me sorta brain dead.. that is, until recently. Maybe it took the 12 different bedding combos over the last few years to finally land on something I love. Whatever it is, I think I am finally very content with our bedding situation.

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

It all started with these striped sheets (which are percale, by the way, kind of a stiff material but keep our warm bodies very cool at night and we love them!) and the striped blanket (all links at the bottom of this post). I bought both on a casual trip to Target – my husband loves it when I come home with more than just toothpaste #opposite Then, as I was starting to get anxious over the throw pillow situation, I realized all our bed really needed was a pair of perfect striped pillows. I like that the small stripes of the sheets act as the small pattern, while the larger stripes in the throw pillows act as the bolder pattern, but still keeping the whole situation calm and stress free.

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

Right after I bought the blanket and sheets, Emily released this exceptional video on how to style the perfect bed.   It’s a great video, and totally taught me how to tuck things in haha.

Emily’s use of the navy blue shams sold me, and I went on the hunt for a pair and of course, found some at Target (link at the bottom of this post). The color scheme of her styled bed and mine are basically the same – black, white, and blue – but the individual pieces are all different. I’ve had our black bed for a couple years now (which I’m still on the fence over) but otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied about this whole setup.  Here’s a ‘get-the-look’ for ya!

Calm Californian black & navy bedroom // brittanyMakes

striped sheets // navy linen shams (check in-store, I’ve seen them!)// white flannel duvet // perfect stripe pillows // white mudcloth lumbar pillow (more coming soon!) // striped over-sized blanket // table lamp // bedside tables (no longer available, similar here and here) // mirror // bed from Home Decorators (discontinued, similar here) // lucky brass elephant

XO, Britt

Baby Bump Update #1

16 Week Bump // brittanyMakes

I announced a couple weeks ago, we’re preggo with baby #2! I hit the 16 week mark this weekend, and thought I’d share what I’m currently experiencing so far with this pregnancy.

While I was pregnant with Zano, I never felt one ounce of morning sickness. This time around, I experienced more nausea in the beginning mainly in the morning if I don’t eat something fast enough. The nausea has waned, but I still feel it now and again.

I had an extremely tough time, emotionally and mentally, with the weight gain in my first pregnancy. After having lost it all (it took about a year to fit comfortably back into pre-pregnancy clothes), I’m more confident in my abilities to do it again after this pregnancy. I’m less fixated on the weight gain, and more fixated on doing things that make me feel great – like continuing to go on runs, and wearing dresses instead of pants! I swear my butt grows the same rate as my belly, and jeans just make me feel bad about myself, but wearing a dress not only makes me feel cute and put together, I’m overall less stressed about my appearance and celebrating more that I’m carrying a little bitty baby.

I hated nearly every minute of being pregnant the first time, mainly because of the weight thing I just mentioned, and didn’t really stop to enjoy or appreciate the special moments. This time, I really want to appreciate every moment. We don’t know if we’ll have more kids after two, so if this is the last time I’m pregnant, I want to appreciate it as much as I can.

I’ve been experiencing more food related things this pregnancy. I’m adverse to ANYTHING I ever ate before being pregnant. I would much rather make a mango smoothie or eat a bowl of kimchi. My poor husband, there have been a few times he’s had to fend for himself because all I wanted to eat was a big bowl of spicy pho.

Anyone else experience vastly different pregnancies? I’d love to hear your stories!

XO, Britt

How our Backyard was Made

Modern California Backyard Patio Reveal | brittanyMakes

You long time readers out there know, this back yard didn’t start off this way. It was a deserted, lifeless plot of dirt. Legend has it the tenants renting the home from the original owners before we bought it used to frequently light bon fires and burn garbage. Super classy stuff it sounds. Here she looks on the day we bought the house:

Backyard before 1

We lived for a year with our backyard like this. Imagine having a yard twice the size of your house, and just pretending it didn’t exist. Last spring we just decided to go for it, called a recommended landscaper and got to work almost immediately.

Backyard before 3

The landscaper, who is actually more of a hardscape kinda guy, came over and we got to brainstorming, drawing in the dirt helped get the scale of the spaces we would need. We tried our best to turn our dream backyard into something that we could afford, I whipped up this super classy professional CAD drawing (haha yeah right, graph paper and colored pencil it was!) and transferred our ideas to paper.

Backyard sketch

You might think the bocce court was a splurge, but actually it’s drainage in disguise! Our backyard sloped downward and to an angle pretty significantly. We needed to level it all out to accommodate our own drainage, otherwise we would drain right into our neighbors yards. Digging a rock filled trench was the answer, which we topped with compacted decomposed granite and framed out with 2″x12″s, therefore creating the perfect bocce court! Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from day one.

Backyard-Construction-8

Day one, the team arrived and started framing out the patio benches and the 2’x2′ pathway.  They then poured rough concrete over rebar and into the frames. While the concrete set, half the team spent the following couple days jackhammering out the old concrete, while the other half started leveling out the yard, framing the patios & pathway, and digging out the bocce.

Backyard-Construction-7

Backyard-Construction-5

Backyard-Construction-1

A couple days later after the patios & pathway were completely framed, the cement truck arrived (which I missed and didn’t get a photo of) and the finish concrete was poured in place and over the top of the rough framed out bench walls.

Backyard-Construction-10

Backyard-Construction-2

I originally wanted the bocce court to be framed out in concrete as well, but pouring concrete is EXPENSIVE and wasn’t in our budget. The bocce was framed out with treated lumber.

Backyard-Construction-9

A few guys started on the floating benches. There were only a few things that didn’t go according to plan, the floating benches were one of them. I was super meticulous about in the design, and having the benches 100% “floating” was a must. What you see below was not the final design. I came home to find those 4″x4″ chunks of lumber sitting under the bench seats – not pretty!

Backyard-Construction-12

To some, it may not look bad, but this wasn’t in the original plan. We discussed metal brackets, and felt the landscaper was skimping because we were behind schedule. We called our contractor who worked on our floors & bathroom, and asked if he could help find a solution before the situation got worse. Luckily, he had a buddy who specializes in welding and metal work.

Backyard-Construction-13

Gah, it still pains me to see that bench!

Backyard-Construction-16

While our contractor’s metalsmith friend was making the floating brackets and supports for the benches, the landscaper’s team moved forward with the rest of the yard. Base rock was laid in preparation of turf, then a layer of decomposed granite, then the turf was laid and nailed in place with these giant railroad looking nails (sorry, no picture!). One piece of advice – if you’re thinking to lay turf, make sure the grain of the turf is all facing the same direction! Our landscapers overlooked this when cutting the turf, and now we can see the seams in some sections of the yard because the turf grain isn’t facing the same direction. It’s a small nuance, but you’ll notice it even if your friends and guests don’t.

laying turf

Things moved really quickly after that, I didn’t get very many photos taken. Let me explain how we fixed the floating benches. Our contractor’s metalsmith friend fabricated these brackets to lift the backless floating bench, and support all 5 pieces of lumber. The supports are so thin you can hardly notice them – this is exactly what you want for a true “floating” bench.

Floating-benches-backyard

The benches against the concrete walls got a slightly different treatment. Our contractor chiseled out small holes in the concrete walls and slid an L shaped bracket through the backside and out through the front and drilled into the lumber from beneath. (Don’t mind the mess, I took this photo this morning!).

Floating-benches-backyard2

The finish concrete on the walls had to be touched up after installing these brackets. But let me tell you, it looks a thousand times better without that lumber!

Modern Backyard with Floating Benches

You might be curious about the fire pit too. We ran a gas line to the fire pit, and filled it with lava rock. It was an added cost to run the line, but the convenience of turning on the pit with essentially the flip of a switch, over burning wood, was totally worth it.

This was a huge project completed in a very short amount of time (roughly 3 weeks) and we definitely learned a lot along the way. PS I’m hoping to dedicate a post specifically to our turf research and selection (we looked at over 15 samples!), but if there’s anything else I missed, leave your question in the comments below and I’ll answer them!

xo, Britt

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