June 21, 2012

i wear my sunglasses at night - deck reveal

Ding dong, the deck is done! I mentioned...what, 4 weeks ago, that we'd started some repair work to the deck. Well, as with any reno project, replacing two boards turned into 11 and a new wider staircase and stain and hell, let's just throw in some new furniture while we're at it!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's remember how this all began. (picture me with my best 'thinking back' soap opera face)

Here is the deck on the day we bought the house. Glorious to people with new house googles on. They're like beer googles, only they last longer than just one night. Our inspector had told us at the time that the stairs were rotting and should be replaced within the year. That was six years ago. (Don't you wish you had bought a flesh colored house?)

Every spring and every fall we would put the deck on our to-do list. And every summer and every winter would go by with the same wobbly stairs and rotting boards.
We used the space less and less until it just became a place for the girls to use their sidewalk chalk. Finally after sitting outside with the girls, drawing yet another hopscotch, I noticed our dog (a 22 pound beagle) going down the stairs. You would have thought there was an earthquake on those suckers.

If the stairs couldn't support 22 pounds...well you get where I'm going with that. So the project moved up to the top of the list. 

While getting supplies at Home Depot the fatal words were uttered, "If we're going to replace the stairs let's just replace those two boards on the floor as well." Now I'm not going to point fingers or name names, but this suggestion was made by someone who's name rhymes with suke (Luke, that's you.)

When the two boards came up they gave a lovely view of 9 more boards that needed to be replaced as well. I swear I hear the deck laugh at us. Nieve suckers. Good times. So back to Home Depot, which brings us back to the here and now.

After only mild cussing and grunting the handy hubs got to work and replaced all the offending boards in pretty quick order.

Which ment we could finally get to the part of the project that we were supposed to be doing in the first place - the stairs. Mid stair progress though I realized I liked how nice and wide(r) the deck felt with some of the railing removed.
Deck work makes the whole yard messy

"My dear, I know you already made the frame for the stairs, but...could we make the stairs wider?"
"Sure, no problem."
I love a man who gives me the right answer.
Proof that he was almost done laying the stairs when I asked him to make it bigger

With the deck and stairs repaired and in great shape, it was time to stain and protect all of our his hard work. We had done a lot of research on various stains and decided to go with a new product at Home Depot, Restore Deck Liquid Armor.
Restore Deck Liquid Armor

Our deck is surrounded by 100+ year old oak trees and the poor thing gets pummeled all year around by whatever those trees feel like dropping on it. So we were intrigued by this stain as it adds a bit of coverage from the elements in addition to just sealing the wood. All of the reviews we read online were positive and at such a great price point, we figured it was worth a try.

And I'm happy to tell you that this stuff rocks! There are several colors to pick from and we found the color to be a true match to the chips.

It's important to note though that this stuff is like peanut butter so a standard wood paint stirrer thing isn't going to cut it.

You've got to pull out the big guns and get yourself a mixer attachment for your drill. Happy Father's Day!

Once mixed you just roll it on like a regular stain.

There is a great deal of splash that happens so make sure to wear long pants as this stuff takes a bit of elbow grease to get off your skin.

One coat on and it was time to turn our attention to those horrible railings. Although that wood was in good shape, the ugly color was bringing down my pretty new gray. So we settled into a very long day of painting. every. freakin. spindle. three. times.

But, it was worth it. We now have a brighter, tougher deck who is ready to party.

Zoey surveying her land from the new, wider, staircase. Did you know that sawdust kills weeds? And grass? Great for the patio, not so much for the grass around it.

The thing that started it all, the stairs. We are liking how open it is without the railings but obviously will need to add those...someday.

A little before and after action for you. Before...

And after. We went ahead and painted the french doors to match our front door (black) and added some lanterns from Home Goods to act as sconces. I'd love to have some real sconces out there someday. I tell ya, I could keep an electrician busy for weeks around this joint. (We painted the house a few years back)

The flower boxes help to create a bit of privacy/blockage. Particularly from the dinning room, the flower boxes add a lot to 'the view'.

We weren't going to buy outdoor chairs at the hight of the season (good gracious outdoor furniture is big bucks!) but needed someway to enjoy the new table my parents gave as an early birthday present. So down to the basement where we had a few old directors chairs of all different colors. A few cans of RustOleum spray paint and new chair covers and they look ready for summer.

With all of the work done to the deck, and a weed-free patio (thanks to the sawdust) I figured the adirondack chairs needed a spruce as well.

We got them several years back at ACE Hardware for $19 each (in the dead of winter) and although we had to assemble them ourselves, they have been great little chairs. We picked up the two foot stool things off the side of the road. The wrong color but in perfectly good shape.

More cans of RustOleum than I care to think about and they look brand new. My finger still hurts thinking about all that spray painting. Luckily my nails are no longer blue. When will I learn to wear gloves?

And with that, I'm done outside. There is still a million and one things to do out there, but they will have to wait for fall because the only thing I plan to do is enjoy my deck and patio. Who's ready for a drink?

Have you tackled any outdoor projects lately? Do you wish for a pool after a hot day of work like I do? Know of any massage techniques for my spray paint finger?

DIY Show Off


  1. That looks great! I love how projects snowball when you start them. I'm in the middle of that now... I'm working on my front door. Thought it would be an easy paint job, found out it's gorgeous wood underneath, so now I'm restaining it which means stripping it all to the wood and getting every last bit of paint off it. Then the stripper gets on the sides, which means it dripped to the other side, so now I have to repaint the other side (interior side). But now I have a soon to be lovely door that's against an ugly door jam that's against a porch floor in desperate need of paint. So it looks like that'll be my next job - painting the porch floor, which will probably mean the porch railing will get painted too. But I hope it'll just mean a great, pretty place to relax... just like your patio/deck!!!

  2. The before and after is such a difference. It is gorgeous. Love it. Enjoy it!

  3. The before and after is such a difference. It is gorgeous. Love it. Enjoy it!

  4. The before and after is such a difference. It is gorgeous. Love it. Enjoy it!

  5. Such a huge difference! We used Restore on our deck several weeks ago and were so proud of it. THen we went on vacation and came home to a couple of areas of paint scratched off by who knows what. They only sell it in 2 gallon sets and I don't want to buy that much for 2 tiny spots so I guess they are staying for now. ha. It wasn't exactally the easiest thing to apply but if it last like it is suppose to we will be happy. I also have those same chairs from Ace. Deck twins.

  6. I found you from pinterest a few weeks ago, and I seriously could spend hours reading your blog! You are hilarious, and have impeccable taste! Come decorate my home, will you?? Your deck is awesome.. great GREAT job!!

    1. Thanks Laci! I'd love to come work on your house! I could use a change of scene. :)

  7. It looks sooo good! I love the table! Gotta convince hubby now!

  8. This just confirms what I already knew. You are one very talented lady, Elizabeth. Good call painting the rails white and I adore those lanterns. They a perfect for the space.

    If I lived closer, I'd invite myself over for a margarita!

  9. Shoot, one more thing: You need to get yourself one of those spray painting trigger thingies. Like this:


    You deserve it!

  10. Your deck looks fabulous, Elizabeth! A Pandora's box for sure, but a worthwhile one. All of your finishing touches like the adirondacks and lanterns pull the whole space together. Enjoy your hard-earned retreat this summer!

    Oh and I love the little house with the yellow flower pots in front of it off in the corner of the patio shot!

  11. Looking great! Can I come by for a drink later???? Outvside projects always seem to have a domino effect, don't they. But your hard work certainly paid off. Definitely an improvement to fleshy siding and rickety stairs!

  12. You are definitely fast about things! I know you think 3 weeks is slow but my parent's deck fell off the house 20 years ago and it's still not done {it looks fine from the outside but they decided to enclose it and the electrical is still "in progress"}.

    It looks really great and now that you are done you can start planning what drinks you should make! :)

  13. This looks fantastic. Well worth the effort...hubs. Yes, I wish I had a pool...every year, I say...maybe next year. I can see your huge hosta's!

  14. Oh my golly Elizabeth, that NEW deck and Patio are STUNNING!!!! For spray paint finger, I highly recommend a $3 attachment that you get right there in the spray painting section, that fastened onto the can and you pull the trigger with all four fingers. ...and I only use Krylon because it's spray tip is gentle to the touch. Now, I tell you, huh? Well, next time. :D

  15. Oh and ... the two tones of turquoise on the Adirondacks was genius! LOVED IT!

  16. Ahhh it all looks so good! Love the grey & white and the wider stairs are perfection. Good work! :) It would've been a backyard reno summer for us if we hadn't uprooted our lives to the opposite side of the country... but I guess what we are doing is actually more fun anyway haha ;)

  17. Get. Out. This is all adorable and charming and crazy cute. If it were not currently 1:45 am, I would be driving to Home Depot at this very moment, hell bent on buying blue spray paint for my tired chairs. And you would be responsible for that. Just thought you should know.

  18. Wow wow wow! So impressed! You guys did a fantastic job! We have a similar deck project on our backburner but you are inspiring me to go ahead and (think about) tackling it. Unfortunately, I don't have quite an handy of a husband as you do : ) Love the colors. Great job, and just in time to enjoy it this summer!


  19. Everything is absolutely gorgeous!! You've made me one very jealous girl!

  20. What a difference! And I love the white rails and sconces! Great job Elizabeth(and hubby of course!)

  21. Thanks for the comment on our blog and for reading the magazine. Seriously impressed with your images above. Have a wonderful weekend.

  22. Awesome- just in time to enjoy it this summer!

  23. Wow that's a lot of work - and it all turned out great! Having an outdoor space to relax is definitely one of my top priorities for next year, so I'll have to live vicariously through you for this year ;)

  24. Holy moly! What a difference!!! Awesome!!! xoxo Celine

  25. You have been BUSY!! This looks so fantastic. Your husband rocks for doing all of this. And so quickly. I'm sending a link to my husband in hopes of shaming him into turning into a whirlwind of activity this weekend. Beautiful job!

  26. Amazing transformation ... as in amazing with a capital A! The gray (and the new house color) and the painted French doors black ...

    ... oh, and the railings? And the my pointer finger will never fully straighten again spray painted Adirondacks!?!

    Oh yeah, I'm ready for that drink ...



  27. Holy hammer and nails...don't tell me you did all that in one day????? What a great makeover...can you say "curb appeal?"

  28. First visit to your Blog! You are fantastic! The deck and furniture remake is awesome. I'm showing my husband!
    Toured "Your Home".....what a great section!

  29. Enjoyed the deck makeover! We just built a deck, but still need to stain it and you gave me some great ideas. I like the color combo you used.


  30. This looks amazing! Love your blog - I'm a new reader!!

  31. Love it, love it, love it! Your patio is beautiful....I am going to show this to hubby so he can do this to our deck patio. Oh and did I mention I love it ;)

  32. Oh my....your patio looks AMAZING!! You guys did a fantastic job!!!


    Dominique @ http://comfycozycouture.blogspot.com

  33. Your deck looks great! A random question: did you use Doug Fir boards for the replaced section?

  34. Very nice work!
    Your director chairs are what caught my eye on the photos of your project over on AT. I just got done restoring some old director chairs - actually today.. that I picked up at a rummage sale for 50¢ each this month.. so I was curious about yours when I saw them. Enjoyed your whole project, though!

    1. :) Did you even know your project is featured over on Apartment Therapy?
      I hear sometimes that comes as a surprise to people. Congrats on that honor!

  35. Your deck looks great. It's so beautiful and inviting. Love all the decorative touches especially the two hanging candles! I have painted spindles before and it's not fun at all and you have to paint them three times? Your hard work did paid off because your deck area is looking gorgeous now!


  36. This is fabulous!! What a major job but it really turned out gorgeous!! Gret job!


  37. Oh my... we have to do this too. We have the "few boards to replace" syndrome and the stairs are getting wiggly. I'm glad you tried that stain/paint/stuff. I have been eye-balling that for our deck too. Your place looks amazing as usual! :)

  38. Fantastic job! I'm visiting from DIY Showoff - love your new deck & thanks for the tip on the stain. I have to redo my deck soon and could use something that will last longer...

    Enjoy your beautiful space!

  39. Ohhhhh I'm so jealous of your big beautiful deck! It looks friggin amazing! We were looking at extending our deck this summer but we've had a total washout of a season so far - it's honestly been SO RUBBISH with cold weather and way too much rain. Ho hum. Remind me again why I live in England?!

    Alas, I shall live vicariously via your fabulous makeover (even the director chairs look ace, I would have never known they weren't brand new). Do have a glass of bubbly for me, will you, whilst you celebrate like a rock star in your amazing new space! xxx

  40. You and that Suke are amazing. I'm so ready for my G&T! I love the wider stair and white and grey contrast. So talented!

  41. Just found you via a comment @ An Urban Cottage
    ( I think? I've been blog hopping while I procrastinate some garden work)

    LOVE your deck transformation!

    We have worked on a 60 year old house for two years now-and up for sale it goes next week. We too used Deck Restore, but ours was for the back steps-someone before us had blanketed them with that fake green outdoor carpet-glued down, of course...took me days to chisel that crud off!

    Painting tip: they make a trigger sprayer that you can buy in HD or Lowe's /etc that will fit any spray paint can. If you have a HEAP of painting to do, it's worth it.

    Oh and vinegar and dawn (mixed together) will do a good job of getting paint off the trigger finger if you don't wear gloves( I have SO learned my lesson there).

  42. What a makeover! I love that you painted the fence white to offset the stain of the floor. And those chairs are just LOVELY! I hope you continue to enjoy your deck. I bet this is one of the reasons that make you excited to go home every day. :)

  43. Your new deck is calling me out. Haha! I swear, it looks inviting and ready for a party. It’s great that you did not just think of making it charming, but you also researched on ways to make it last using paint and more convenient by improving the stairs. This deserves a shower of stars!

  44. Adding that coat of deck protector is great thinking on your part. It does not just represent practicality, but it also gives your deck a wonderful effect with that color. Aside from those lovely decors, what else do you intend to add to them? An umbrella or some cloths attached to that tree, perhaps?

    Barrett Elmore

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  46. I have been considering using Deck Restore for some time now, but have been hesitant because the texture on the sample at the store seems almost like a door mat or brillo pad. Are you happy with the product after a year of living with it?

    1. Hi Heather. There is a bit of a texture to Restore, but I walk barefoot on the deck all the time and it doesn't bother me at all. My little ones walk on it too. We are very happy with the product. It still looks like new.

  47. Nice job on your deck! What color is that restore? We were thinking the Cape Cod Gray, but this looks nice and is a little darker. Do get a lot of sun? We heard it could become too hot for bare feet. Thanks!

  48. Beautiful job! We are in the process of building stairs and painting right now. In fact we just got back from Home Depot with the Rustoleum restore color booklet and cannot decide on which gray we want. Could you please let me know which one you used?

  49. I'm also curious about the color you chose. We are considering using Deck Restore, have very light gray (almost white) siding with darker gray shutters so the color you chose looks like a great option. Also, wondering about how hot it gets too. Thanks!
    - Lora @ Craftivity Designs

  50. nicely done - both the project and the article. how is the surface holding up? I am considering the same or similar product for my own deck.

  51. I know this is an older post and I found your project while doing research for gray deck stain. I LOVE how your deck turned out! What I am wondering, now that it has been a couple years, how it the white holding up on your spindles? We are thinking of doing the same to our deck and we have a BIG deck surrounding our pool so it is going to be a huge project. I would so love to hear back from you on how yours is holding up. Thank you :)

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