A few weeks ago, we were sitting on our front porch, and our next door neighbor told us she was thinking of putting a brick paver pathway in her yard. After talking with a local contractor, she said, did you know they have to dig down at least 10″? For a 2″ thick brick? We had to laugh,…
  • Kathy - July 28, 2016 - 8:16 AM

    The brick looks gorgeous and l love the last image in your GIF where Kim is like, “Oh thank God it’s done!” Herringbone patterns are so beautiful. How did Scott make it without kneepads?!

    Totally agree and understand Sherry’s philosophy on where the middle of every project doesn’t make sense, but that is where the magic happens. It’s “almost” my favorite part of a project (demo is first) where things are still kind of wonky, but the creative juices are flowing!

    Great job you two!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 10:10 AM

      That’s what I thought (about Scott!). We have a second pair of knee pads, but it was really only necessary when we were going around or under the stairs. The demo is one of our favorite parts, too!ReplyCancel

  • CC - July 28, 2016 - 8:51 AM

    I’m so excited to see this transformation! Our backyard is still incomplete because we just can’t seem to get that final image in our heads of what we want. You guys always do such fun projects that are so inspiring. Maybe it will give us the push we need to get going already!

    We also wrestle with DIY vs. Hiring Out. Husband and I both have bad backs and I’m pretty sure this would kill us. I pulled mine earlier this year and, I swear, it hasn’t been the same. It hurts to get old!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 10:11 AM

      Not gonna lie. Our backs hurt for days afterwards, and we had claw hands from picking up those heavy bricks for so many hours! Strangely, it was also kind of fun. Like an intense workout with a really pretty goal at the end. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - July 28, 2016 - 9:05 AM

    It looks SO great!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 9:13 AM

    LOVE the brick pavers. My husband and I have been talking about doing something similar but wonder about the cost. Our backyard is about the same size but has a much larger slant that would make grading a pain in the butt. Are you comfortable sharing how much you spent on contracting that out?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 10:14 AM

      Hi, Kim! Definitely be sure to grab a few quotes. We loved Antonio from our concrete project, so we knew what to expect. The cost of the labor came to 1600, which included ALL the gravel and most of the sand. (We contributed 15 bags of sand for about $50, but it wasn’t nearly enough. He just ended up using his own!) The amount of time and back breaking labor it saved us is invaluable.ReplyCancel

  • Kari - July 28, 2016 - 9:35 AM

    It looks gorgeous. Your DIY skills are out of this world, would have never known you did it alone. And is it crazy that I was really excited to see this was sponsored by Lowe’s? We’re at a standstill renovation wise due to budget and are at awe with the rapid succession of (big) projects coming out of the blog world. It’s great to know companies get behind you and help to make things happen quicker. It makes me feel less crazy for having to take things “slow.”ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 10:16 AM

      Thanks, Kari! Try to not give yourself a hard time for going slow – even though I certainly understand. Going slow allows you to make more mindful choices after living in a space for a while, too! Totally worth it. We have been itching to makeover this yard for 3 years now, and we still have entire rooms untouched in our home! Just think, we only started painting our master bedroom after 2.5 years of living in this house, and our kitchen took almost an entire year to renovate. You got this!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - July 28, 2016 - 9:53 AM

    You guys! The patio looks SO GREAT! You have to be so pumped to have it installed!ReplyCancel

  • Kris - July 28, 2016 - 10:25 AM

    I did a huge paver patio and paver front walkway by myself after we built and I can relate to the back ache. I ended up adding onto the patio with a circular pattern around a fire pit. After that I told my husband I was D O N E Done! We have quite a few pavers left over and really need to do something with them.ReplyCancel

  • misie - July 28, 2016 - 10:45 AM

    Wow – you guys are such troopers – looks fantastic! I love how the dogs immediately make themselves at home in every new inch of space.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 28, 2016 - 10:51 AM

      They must be on top of EVERYTHING we do. They watched from the kitchen door all day long, and the second we felt it was safe to let them out, they just lounged on top of the bricks, the mallets, US, everything.ReplyCancel

  • Steph M - July 28, 2016 - 12:13 PM

    Looks great!! Totally inspiring us for our own little patio next year!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Chinaglia - July 28, 2016 - 12:23 PM

    WOW! it looks incredible!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - July 28, 2016 - 9:01 PM

    Beautiful and such hard work! My husband and I know we have a lot of work to do in our backyard next year once the interior renovation is mostly complete (aka livable). We talk about having brick pavers in a portion of our tiny yard. After reading your post, I think we could actually pull of doing it our selves. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 29, 2016 - 8:43 AM

      Of course! And we totally get it. It took us almost a year to make our home ‘livable’ (aka, we could finally walk in our house without shoes on to protect ourselves from dust and debris). You can do it!ReplyCancel

  • James - July 29, 2016 - 4:56 AM

    Looks excellent! Great work :)ReplyCancel

  • Kayla - July 29, 2016 - 7:23 AM

    I absolutely love this post! I’ve been obsessed with your blog and would love if you would check out mine! The web address is http://www.theuglydresser.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Kayla - July 29, 2016 - 7:24 AM

    I love this post! I’ve been obsessed with your blog and would love if you would check out mine! The web address is http://www.theuglydresser.blogspot.comReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 29, 2016 - 9:22 AM

      So sweet, Kayla! Thank you for sharing your blog with me. You’re doing so much already – impressive!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle | Birds of Berwick - July 29, 2016 - 11:58 AM

    I have been loving this backyard transformation! Mainly because, well, other than having a bit more land than you, it’s almost exactly like ours! Seriously, the stairs, paver, and even pattern are what we put in place from our house years ago!

    Older post, but there’s a pic that shows what I mean.

    Nice job laying the patio yourselves – it looks great!

    I will say, that I wanted real bricks and not concrete pavers and I let the guy we hired talk me into the pavers. Big Regrets (cap R) that I hope don’t happen for you. They’ve faded, the polymeric sand is poop and it just looks dirty all the time. Fortunately, my boss acquired a building site in Boston and when we remove all the old antique Boston Bricks from the sidewalk he’s going to let me have my fill to replace the concrete pavers on the patio. Maybe next spring I’ll get the real brick patio we’re looking for and it’ll match the brick wall we built better. At least the prep work will be basically done and it’s just a swap!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 29, 2016 - 1:36 PM

      Oh, man, that is AMAZING! Consider us jealous. What a dream. The bricks – not the re-doing. Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 30, 2016 - 6:03 AM

    So beautiful!!!! The staircase when painted or stained is going to look wonderful. I have to ask, did you keep grass on the side of the house? If not, do you take the dogs on a walk several times a day to do their business :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 1, 2016 - 12:14 PM

      Thank you! We have a ‘pee pit’ for them under the stairs in the backyard, and there’s also a strip of a pee pit in the front yard, too. We supplement all of this with walks, too!ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - July 31, 2016 - 6:50 PM

    What a lot of work Scott and Kim! So well done. We did one of those years ago but it was a quarter of the size, yours is truly impressive. Still it set the scene for the back yard and kept some mud out of the house.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 1, 2016 - 9:00 AM

      Gotta love that! Our yard used to be a mud pit even after the lightest rain, and we’d avoid waking on or through it. It’s SO much more enjoyable now!ReplyCancel

  • Nick H - August 4, 2016 - 2:11 PM

    fantastic work. You guys make it look easy. My wife and I did our backyard patio with some friends last summer and it was truly an epic amount of work. totally worth it though.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 4, 2016 - 3:04 PM

      It really is a lot of work, but I think we gave the hardest part to the contractor! But yes, totally worth it.ReplyCancel

  • Krafty Fix - August 5, 2016 - 7:53 AM

    Looks like a very thorough job, great result though. Was it hard work? I did a small strip of paving slabs for a walkway recently and that was bad enough!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 5, 2016 - 9:52 AM

      It was back breaking, not gonna lie! But now that it’s done, we haven’t given the pain a second thought. We love it!ReplyCancel

  • kara breems - October 12, 2016 - 8:49 AM

    how would you feel about sharing the contact info of your contractor? we’re looking to get a few bids for our Chicago porch re-do.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 12, 2016 - 9:19 AM

      Sure thing! I’ll shoot you an email.ReplyCancel

      • kara - October 12, 2016 - 9:22 AM

        thank you Kim!!ReplyCancel


I think I first fell in love with the ostrich wallpaper in our laundry room  the moment I laid eyes on this pretty bathroom makeover. To be honest, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it caught my eye, because the moment I saw it, I immediately Googled like crazy to find as many photos of the paper in…
  • Crystal Beck - July 26, 2016 - 10:08 AM

    Now I need to find somewhere to put that Dino paper, because I love it.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {AFirePoleintheDiningRoom} - July 26, 2016 - 10:11 AM

    I’m not surprised the dinos were the closest contender. Those penguins are SO cute too! I love that some of them are holding fins… wings… hands?

    I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED with the Watercolor Wallpaper from Black Crow Studios. We don’t have any plans for it right now, but I would LOVE to incorporate this into the firehouse someday.!/HOMEReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2016 - 10:18 AM

      That is amazzzzing. I can see it in your firehouse! Maybe your master bath?ReplyCancel

      • Heather - July 26, 2016 - 1:21 PM

        Yeah, that could be really, really cool. Originally I wanted it for a wall in the dining room, but we have so much planned for that space that I don’t think it would have the same impact.ReplyCancel

  • ten - July 26, 2016 - 11:04 AM

    Funny that you picked out that Sisters of the Sun paper by Juju Papers! I DIY’d my own version of that! I painted my wall a dark blue, and then ordered some gold vinyl polka dots. I just cut each individual one, so they weren’t perfectly round, and then spaced them as I pleased. I l love how it turned out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2016 - 11:11 AM

      Cute! My favorite part about that paper is that the dots aren’t perfectly round. I bet yours looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - July 26, 2016 - 11:16 AM

    Ohh, I love them all but especially the penguins! The rose powder puff would be so fun in a powder room.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - July 26, 2016 - 5:04 PM

    I am currently choosing paper for my laundry and I just received a sample of the flamingo paper that you were considering! Love it but still not sure if it is the one. I just papered my closet in Oh, Joy!’s Peddle Pusher in Gold and it is glorious!! Keep up the great work, I am always so impressed with your work!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2016 - 5:15 PM

      The flamingo paper would be so pretty in a laundry room! The problem is that there are just too many pretty papers and too little walls.ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - July 26, 2016 - 8:47 PM

    Those penguins are SO CUTE! I’m bookmarking that for a future 1/2 bath remodel. I’m totally planning on doing a diy similar to the Sisters of the Sun in our entry way!

    Also, this laundry bedroom combo may be one of my favorite that you’ve done! It is seriously great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 27, 2016 - 9:03 AM

      Aw, thanks! We’ve had so much fun with the combo. Now if only the trim would finish itself…ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Go Haus Go - July 26, 2016 - 9:35 PM

    It took me a minute to figure out why my analytics were blowing up—it was YOU! Was catching up on my blog reading tonight and spotted it! Thanks so much for the mention. Glad we can be sisters and brothers of ostrich-ness together!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 27, 2016 - 9:02 AM

      That bathroom in your last house is still one of my all time favorites!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - July 27, 2016 - 4:33 PM

    I was thinking about your wallpaper while my husband and I toured Elvis’s Graceland last week. The bottom bedroom that used to be his parents and then his grandmother’s has a bathroom attached and it features wallpaper with poodles! You should google it, I snapped a pic but no way to upload. Love the laundry room and watching the house transform. Thanks for sharing the journey!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis Payne - July 28, 2016 - 12:40 AM

    Those flamingos are really speaking to me! Also the dinosaurs and that queen anne, is there such thing as too much wallpaper?
    I still think you picked the best :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - July 28, 2016 - 12:38 PM

    Ha, before I even got to the end I was thinking “I need to come up with somewhere to put that dino paper in my house.” SO awesome! I love the black with gold polka dots too… I’m a huge fan of dots!!ReplyCancel


Wanting to see how the laundry room would take shape over the course of its renovation, we waited until the cabinets and machines were in place before deciding on a laundry sorting system. For as long as I can remember doing laundry (both growing up and in my adult life), all of our clothes went…
  • Pam Freeman - July 20, 2016 - 10:45 AM

    I just love this idea! Takes up no space and laundry is always sorted. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - July 20, 2016 - 11:27 AM

    This looks great! I am definitely stealing this idea! (I love the wallpaper too)ReplyCancel

  • Stacy @Blake Hill House - July 20, 2016 - 12:21 PM

    Looks great! With six people in our house, the laundry system looks a little different around here. :D However, at our last house, I made wall pockets hung the same way, for use on the wall by the top bunk of their bunk beds. They used the pockets to hold library books. This DIY could be modified for many different applications.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 12:35 PM

    Love that, and you’re so right. It can be further modified by size and shape of the bags, too!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - July 20, 2016 - 1:20 PM

    Cute! You can probably not worry so much about sorting darks from lights, advances in materials and soap means I have been washing all my clothes together for years wit out issue. The only exception is something like a red sheet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 2:41 PM

      Right! Libby’s favorite blanket is red, so we like to keep things pretty separate. And new jeans can be no bueno!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - July 20, 2016 - 1:45 PM

    Too cute! I am confused on how you use this, though. Do you put laundry in there as you use it/dirty it up? Or do you still use one hamper and just sort into these three bags on laundry day?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 2:40 PM

      We just throw our dirty laundry in the right bag! Instant sorting. When each bag gets full, we do a load.ReplyCancel

      • Kelli - July 24, 2016 - 1:30 PM

        I was wondering the same thing but still didn’t quite get it. Do you bring your clothes to the laundry room every time you change? Is your laundry room really close to your bedroom?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 24, 2016 - 3:35 PM

          Hi Kelli, our laundry room is literally 5 steps from our bedroom closet. :)ReplyCancel

  • qlkowa - July 20, 2016 - 3:48 PM

    I love this wallpaper!
    Beautiful laundry room.ReplyCancel

  • susan - July 21, 2016 - 8:11 AM

    I really like this idea. It looks good and makes sense.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 28, 2016 - 9:27 AM

    This is so great! We’re planning our master closet renovation and I’ve been trying to figure out a laundry sorter solution that doesn’t take up so much room. I love this. It would also be a nice solution for toys in the girls nursery.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - July 28, 2016 - 12:42 PM

    I love this!!! So cute and clever. Our hamper lives in a walk-in closet attached to our bathroom, so it would be a great candidate for a similar system when I finally get that closet under control… I’m going to have to remember this :)ReplyCancel

  • joy - November 4, 2016 - 1:51 PM

    I bet I could hang this in my sons rm and put toys in them.ReplyCancel


At the time that the wallpaper was hung in the laundry room, we were starting with an empty box. There was a washer and dryer, but we hadn’t yet decided on cabinets, and we definitely didn’t have baseboards. (Btw, baseboards! When will this to-do ever be off our list?) But now that the cabinets have been installed, it…
  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - July 15, 2016 - 8:29 AM

    You did a great job! You’re so right about the details. They can seem so small and insignificant (or a lot of work for such a small project) but they make ALL the difference in helping a room feel complete.ReplyCancel

  • Avery - July 15, 2016 - 9:15 AM

    That rug–swoon! <3ReplyCancel

  • michelle - July 15, 2016 - 11:30 AM

    Yeah that would drive me bonkers…looks good!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Ballard - July 15, 2016 - 12:15 PM

    Ugh….I feel your pain!! We rent and they never caulked any of the baseboards or crown molding!! It drives me BANANAS!!! The walls are a honey-tan color (yuck) and the base boards and molding, while beautiful, are WOOD IN TWO DIFFERENT COLORED STAINS which is also different from the color of wood windows!! Ack!!! SO MANY DIFFERENT SHADES OF BROWN!!! :( Our landlord, as it turns out, is my mother (haha!!) so I give her grief about it (in good fun) and tell her that I plan to find away to fix it when we have the money…

    Your caulking job with the wallpaper makes such a difference! Great job!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2016 - 1:09 PM

      Oh, man! So frustrating. That’s one of those things that would drive me nuts, haha!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - July 15, 2016 - 3:33 PM

    Ha! When I read the title of this post and saw your picture, I thought it was going to be how the baseboards cut your pattern off so it’s all birds bottoms in the air:) Looks amazing, nice job and great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - July 15, 2016 - 8:23 PM

    No shoe or quarter round? I feel like it really finishes up a baseboard over hardwood…thoughts?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 16, 2016 - 9:07 AM

      We won’t be putting that in here since the flooring was freshly installed and went wall to wall nicely. In other rooms, we HAD to use it because some of the gaps were so big!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - July 19, 2016 - 9:42 PM

    I have been looking at your website for inspirations and love your style. We are currently renovating our attic and I’m so lost as to what paint color I should paint the walls. I would like a cozy feel to it.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 9:31 AM

      Hi, Jane! I suppose it would depend on how much light your attic receives. If it doesn’t receive a lot of light, you don’t want to choose a color that’s too soft, or it won’t receive the light it needs to ‘shine’! I’d recommend pinning some of your favorite cozy rooms/colors on Pinterest, and then bringing home a handful of paint chips to hang on your attic walls. Pull down the colors you immediately don’t like, and watch the other colors throughout the day until you narrow in on something. We also like to get sample jars of strong contenders that we can put on posterboard and move around the room!ReplyCancel

      • Jane - July 20, 2016 - 9:47 AM

        Thanks for your reply! One more question, we have a big slope in the attic. I should treat the room the same as you suggested?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 10:13 AM

    Do you mean a slope in the ceiling? But if so, yes, I would treat the room the same. Be sure to put your paint samples on the slope so you can see how it reflects light!ReplyCancel

    • Jane - July 20, 2016 - 4:12 PM

      Yes, I did mean the slope in the ceiling. Most cozy atric I clicked on Pinterest had white paint colors with different undertones. Would you for for a different paint color all together instead of white? I’m thinking about painting the trims and the walls the same color. Thanks again for your quick reply!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 4:18 PM

        Hi Jane! It’s so hard to tell without me knowing how many windows or how much light your attic has, which is why I strongly suggest bringing in paint chips. For example, if your inspiration photo has the same amount of windows as yours, definitely give white a try after you look at a bunch of white samples! You can always add coziness and warmth with pillows, blankets, rugs and curtains (basically, any textile!). I do love your idea of painting the trim and walls the same color. It’s such a chic look.ReplyCancel

  • Sybil Strawser - August 21, 2016 - 11:08 AM

    So much good information on your blog. Love the ostriches!! Hoping to add wallpaper someday and this info will certainly come in handy. Just LOVE your baseboards. Hope to install something similar when we put new floors in our 1968 home.ReplyCancel


For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about how I would write this post. By the way, by this post, I mean, how do I even begin writing about our backyard? Scott and I have been talking about this yard for as many years as we’ve lived here, and while a lot of our major renovations took place…
  • Magda - July 12, 2016 - 6:36 AM

    We went to look around a house that had a special dog toilet for their huskies – a concrete pad, sloping down to a gully with a gutter to a drain, they trained their dogs to use it for pees and poops then hosed it down afterwards!ReplyCancel

  • Natasha | The Simply Inspired Blog - July 12, 2016 - 6:40 AM

    Love this detailed recap of your plans. It sounds like it’s going to be beautiful & functional. We’re also currently prepping and researching to do a paver stone patio in our yard. Look forward to seeing how it all turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - July 12, 2016 - 7:28 AM

    Sometimes I feel like having a smaller back yard would be SO much easier than a big one – my back yard is about 8000 square feet and while I do really love it, it can be totally overwhelming at times. Where do I put the grill? A patio area? A vegetable garden? A fire pit? What do you even do with a side yard?? And the mowing! I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I see smaller yards like yours sometimes and just think, if only…

    All that to say, I think your little city back yard is fantastic, and I am really excited to see what you do with it :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 7:49 AM

      Your feeling of our yard is how we felt when we moved from our 657 sq ft condo to this house! SO MUCH SPACE, ha! But I hear you. A large space can be just as overwhelming as a smaller one, and the feeling that you need to maximize every square inch. It can really be tricky! It’s taken us 3 years to get to this point, so there’s no harm in simmering on your yard until ideas start flowing.ReplyCancel

  • Kaylin - July 12, 2016 - 8:47 AM

    What are you going to put in your above-ground planters? Are you worried about the shade from the garage interfering with them?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 9:12 AM

      We are 100% open to suggestions! We might need to do some part shade plants by the garage, but along the fence is so sunny for the majority of the day. We’re also putting a planter to the left of the stairs, and that gets bright sunlight all day, too!ReplyCancel

  • CC - July 12, 2016 - 9:19 AM

    I like the brick pavers but I get sad whenever city dwellers with a grass yard get rid of it. It’s so rare to have a yard in the city and even more rare to have grass. I’d be careful taking away your grass for brick if for no other reason than the potential for backyard flooding. Brick is more permeable than say concrete, but not as much as grass.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:45 AM

      Thanks, CC! We’ve discussed any flooding issues with the crew that will be grading our yard for us. It’s definitely something we wanted to be mindful of!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - July 12, 2016 - 9:26 AM

    Clover is more drought-tolerant & dog-pee tolerant than grass. You could do a clover pit if you want to keep some soft greenery back there for the pups to pee or lay on.

    I would worry about my dogs’ feet getting sore from the hot concrete/stone if there was nothing else for them to walk on.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:44 AM

      Thanks, Kelly! The pee pit will be shaded almost entirely by the stairs, and they use the pit in the front yard with no issues at all.ReplyCancel

    • Laura - July 12, 2016 - 2:43 PM

      Clover attracts bees!!!ReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - July 12, 2016 - 10:11 AM

    Jubilee Furniture has an amazing relationship with many of the outdoor furniture showroom managers at the Merchandise Mart and have lots of “never been used” pieces from them. That said, sometimes it’s a single piece of a collection. We also just picked up (yesterday) a couple hundred outdoor cushions/pillows that we sell for $8 each! Again, it’s sorta hit or miss re: sizes and fabrics – but that might be a thought for your stairs (which are gorgeous!). Love your plans (as always!).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:16 AM

      So good to know! We love Jubilee. :DReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 12, 2016 - 11:03 AM

    I love the plans! It’s going to be such a chic place to hangout! We’ve had really, really good success with herbs (especially basil of all types) in our planters. They love direct sun and are really easy to grow.ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Ballard - July 12, 2016 - 11:58 AM

    Ok…so this is an honest question, and not meant to be critical at all but, what does that window lead to that is right below your stairs just to the left of your dog in that picture?? I thought I recall you have a rental unit below your house (am I mistaken??) and am wondering if that is their kitchen or bedroom window that is now going to look out onto the dog toilet? I am just curious! I promise!
    PS the pee-pit idea is genius and i am thinking of how we can incorporate them into our front and backyards for our future dog(s). Our pug is 14 y.o. and at this point, we are just thankful she makes it outside to go ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 12:07 PM

      It’s a valid question! It is a window to their unit, but when the pee pit is done, it’s literally going to look like gravel. SO much nicer than what they have now and have had for the last 3 years. The pee drains, and we pick up #2 when they go.ReplyCancel

      • Jacqueline - July 12, 2016 - 2:11 PM

        I was wondering the same thing, Jaime! And wondering about the smell, if you plan on using the stairs as seating for the backyard? I’m a cat person, but my kids desperately want a dog. 😀ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 2:18 PM

          As long as everything is picked up after a potty break, there’s no issue with smell! The great thing about the pee pit is that it can be hosed down every now and then, too. It was really important for us to make an area where the dogs could go for a quick nighttime potty break, and the front yard pee pit has been a champion! This one will just be larger.ReplyCancel

      • Melbournite - July 12, 2016 - 8:46 PM

        But, they still look out to a view of the dogs toileting multiple times a day, right? Unless that window’s view is obscured in a way we readers can’t see, it looks like you don’t value the comfort and amenity of your tenants (you can’t half tell I’m a tenant).ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:38 AM

          We absolutely do. Everything has been thought out to ensure the comfort of our pets, our tenants, and lastly, us. We’ve even discussed our plans with them. (Besides, our dogs do much more than potty in the back yard!)ReplyCancel

  • Shelle - July 12, 2016 - 1:34 PM

    Please slow down the transitions on your photo montages. They flip too fast. They did on the last post as well. Or leave readers the option of still photos so we can see the transformation at our own speed. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - July 12, 2016 - 2:52 PM

    The flow between inside and outside is so so great. I love all your plans! I have brick in my yard and it works so well with lots of rain and lots of doggie activity. Your chair selections are beautiful. Try before you buy or be able to return or exchange is my only recommendation. As it goes with inside furniture- one won’t use a space if it isn’t comfortable.
    I love your idea of making the fire pit gas. Wood fires seem like such a great idea until the winds shift and you can’t breath and your neighbors have to close their windows on a hot night for all the smoke.
    I’m excited to see the project completed!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 4:16 PM

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Happy to hear that brick works well with your yard + dogs. Such a good boost of info!ReplyCancel

  • Ben - July 12, 2016 - 3:14 PM

    Just came from Belize. Belizean chairs. Look them up. Mahogany gold slat chairs. It’ll play well with your MCM fireplace, which by the way I have one and it’s been in the garage. Never thought to just bring it outside like a chiminea.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 4:18 PM

      Those chairs are so pretty! We actually saw a vintage one at a street fest a few weekends ago, and Scott loved it. I sat in it, and the combo of the deep seat and angle didn’t allow for my short legs to sit comfortably. Womp.ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - July 12, 2016 - 4:26 PM

    Where/how did you get that fireplace? I NEED ONE. I have been searching craigslist to no avail :(ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 6:08 PM

      Craigslist! We did a really wide search, which is how we ended up in Madison (we’re in Chicago).ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - July 12, 2016 - 9:46 PM

    Love the idea of the aged brick in herringbone pattern — will look stunning. Can you tell us the dimensions of the top “step” of your outdoor staircase (i.e., the landing) and how you arrived at the width (is it wide enough for a chair and/or table, for example, or for planters)? Looking forward to seeing images when the yard is finished!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:36 AM

      The landing is 12′ wide x 4′ deep. The stairs are 8′ wide. We came to this to give us the most amount of yard possible, but a landing that was deep enough to accommodate a bench on one side and a grill on the other. We couldn’t go wider than 12′, due to the stairs that lead down to our tenant’s apartment, below!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Homrok - July 13, 2016 - 6:31 AM

    Just purchased a similar fireplace yesterday! I know you are early in your design plans, but, how do you think it will hold up in our Chicago winter? Will you store it inside? I plan on placing it in front of our wooden fence too, do you think the heat will damage the fence? Which type of paint will you use to refinish it? Thanks so much! I have enjoyed watching you rehab your home.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:35 AM

      We’ll be using a high heat spray paint, and we’ve seen this fireplace in SO many settings nestled close to a wall or fence. It’s intended to be used indoors, and an image search shows that they used to sit almost right up to drywall in a lot of homes! Ours will still sit several inches away from the fence, but we’ll definitely share the transformation once we get to that point.ReplyCancel

  • Haley Hepburn - July 13, 2016 - 7:24 AM

    DO you plan to get rid of all the grass? Or leave some? I noticed that your inspiration pictures had both brick and grass? I think the extra green is so nice. But it’s your yard of course and I’m sure it will look great no matter what! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:43 AM

      We went back and forth on that for a WHILE. I wanted to keep a strip of grass, but for what? Our inspiration yards are also much, much larger! We decided to nix the grass completely, which is why the entire perimeter – with the exception of the fireplace – will be above ground planters. We’ll still get a lot of greenery in there!ReplyCancel

  • Shay - July 13, 2016 - 5:01 PM

    I love those CB2 chairs you linked! I also want one of those MCM fireplaces in the future but it wouldn’t fit here. We are currently going through a huge backyard make over – in some ways similar to yours. we started two years ago by splitting off part of the yard to make a dog run that’s full of rocks for the pup to do his business. We’ve also been working to remove the grass; we turned most of the space into veggie bins, we refuse to water it, and the dog is allergic anyway. We had a tiny broken patio that just got replaced with a 17′ square and we filled it up with furniture and added a sun sail. It’s smaller then you’re looking for but we got the Beer Garden set from World Market and really like it.

    The last two big projects minus landscaping and some paths is to finish a chicken coop and we’re having our tiny deck screened in. The deck goes to the kitchen and will give us a nice bug free zone on the cool side of the house in the summer and will be a nice place for our indoor kitty to get to watch more of the world.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 10:40 AM

      That sounds so nice! Wow. All that hard work is totally going to pay off. Love that you have chickens, too. :)ReplyCancel

  • av - July 14, 2016 - 10:16 AM

    looks like you guys will really be able to get the most out of the space back there–i’m excited to see it come together! and the deck already looks great! gotta say, though, i’m a bit sad for the pups…you said you liked having the yard for the dogs to run/get some energy out, and it appears all of that space will be completely taken away by the table, dining chairs, club chairs, plants, etc…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 10:33 AM

      Don’t let them fool you… We live within walking distance of parks, a large urban walking trail and an ice cream place where they frequently get doggie cones.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - July 14, 2016 - 11:53 AM

    awesome to hear that you are listening to your instincts on the red brick pavers. they will provide a nice color balance with the grey and wood that you currently have at the house — plus the earthiness will help to make the greenery really stand out as well. have you thought about adding wheels to the bottom of the dining table (similar to the island) in case you decided to host the block party in the back yard?

    ugh! chrome hates me — originally posted on a totally different post from the 8th!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 11:57 AM

      Hmm, wheels are an interesting idea! We have plans we’re looking at for the table we want to build, but I’m not sure wheels will work for them. It’s something to consider though!ReplyCancel

  • Grondwerken - July 15, 2016 - 12:46 AM

    Amazing! Only question in my mind is your yard’s ground is neither full of grass nor has bricks? Exactly what are you planning for the same? A complete concreted ground or garden kind of yard?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2016 - 10:36 AM

      It’s almost all grass, but it will be brick pavers, and the perimeter will be lined with above ground planters soon enough!ReplyCancel

  • Casey - July 17, 2016 - 9:01 AM

    Those stairs look amazing! We’ve been slowly working on our backyard space this summer as well. It’s so satisfying to see it change into a place you want to invite friends over to :)ReplyCancel

  • Pat - July 19, 2016 - 12:04 AM

    We used pea gravel in our dog’s potty area. It worked out ok, our dogs still preferred the grass.

    And an fyi, my cousin’s dog broke a leg when it slipped through the open stair as he was running full bore up the stairs. Ever since then I always advise people to put a riser on their stairs.ReplyCancel