Monday, December 29, 2008

War Zone

Sorry it's been a few days ... this winter wonder-mess has had me in the gray-blue dumps. So, in an effort to pull myself out of it, I thought I should blog about my happy Summer Project!

We all have a space in and/or around our house that we're not happy with, a cluttered home office, an out of date kitchen, a shag carpeted living room, an inherited 1960's era basement clad in faux wood paneling; yes - we all have those places we'd rather not go, we certainly don't photograph, and rarely ever let our family, let alone our friends step into.

Then there are those places we can't help but to let the world see, because they're in plain sight. The entire neighborhood can see these certain disasters, and without the luck of a winning lottery ticket and a team of burly contractors, there is really nothing we can do. I have one of those spaces. A public tragedy that I've tried not to photograph. A few months ago however, I took pictures of our warzone for a friend as paint color inspiration. The photos were sent with the subject: WarZone!

In the grand scheme of back and front burners, the garage has fallen off of the stove, and landed smack in the middle of that pile of who knows what the broom never can seem to reach. Earlier this year, the garage door (brown) broke, and so I installed the door on the side of the garage where a window once lived. I'm no contractor, but I definitely do not recommend putting in a door by yourself. I happened to be in quite the mood that day, and though I was invincible. I did get the door installed, it's level, and it shuts and locks - but my poor back, and twisted ankle were only the two largest of the ailments from that day.

The brick you see in the photo is from a building my developer boss tore down and our construction manager said I could have. It's from around 1930, stamped Buffalo Concrete and just beautiful. Next year (hopefully) we'll use them in a patio where the grill floats.

The garage had always been unsightly, from the moment we moved in. An awful shade of dead horse brown covered the entire structure, and two overgrown yew bushes completely took over the area to the immediate left of it. Above, you can see the garage in all of it's brownness, the yew bushes under attack, and the window that is now a door.

We spent the early summer scraping, sanding, filling and priming the garage for the SW Bungle House Grey, (body) and Roycroft Vellum, (trim) paint. I left it to sit while I gathered brick (as seen in the upper photo near the trash cans) and decided on pergola options.

We looked at free standing ready built structures in both wood and pvc, but found that the height would compete with the existing eve of the garage structure. There were so many options after the free standing ready built structures fell through, that I literally forgot all about the area that will become the brick patio, currently referred to as "the war zone."

Until I came across this picture. A pergola attached to the eaves of the home. PERFECT! Simply constructed with only a few decorative cuts and presto chango - a new summer hangout!

The beautiful, and what looks like easily assembled, pergola from another angle. A gorgeous and welcoming area for rest and relaxation, no? Imagine that in the beautiful cream (Vellum) color of the Garage trim, the beautiful orange brick patio under foot. A billowy canvas covering attached by tension rod to each of the pergola's joists blocking out just enough sun. A beautiful chaise for a restful slumber in the cool evening air, or a table for six with a lovely dinner of orange chicken on a nest of noodles, mmm.

Shopping for my lovely Pergola idea has been the most fun! I found this beautiful table and chairs on eBay just around the corner from me! A steal at $350!

Who says you have to use this inside? This beautiful set, originally at Pier 1 for over $2000, is the perfect and simply elegant outdoor dining set for our pergola paradise! Can't you just see beautiful hammered silver chargers, our white stoneware, and crystal wine glasses? Oooo, I'm getting myself out of the slumps already!

Now - I have some great designers and friends who read my blog, and I thought it'd be fun to decorate this space, together! Shoot me your ideas, anything from chandeliers to flower pots! We'll combine a few options, and the one that wins - will be this May's BIG Summer Project!


  1. ~Beautiful~Beautiful!
    LOVE the red brick.
    What about a curved pathway leading up to it in brick pavers as well?
    Can't wait to see the finished project! :)

  2. Hi Artie, I added a deck with a pergola onto the back of my house and hung a chandelier from it. Trying to figure out the best way to send you a pic so you can see how it looks. I'll check your profile for an email address. Susan

  3. I LOVE that table. And you are right, a great buy is like a jolt of sunlight.

  4. Artie, going to be great, I can see it! The garage already looks so much better. That is going to be one of our Summer projects. Repairing our wooden deck and putting a more permenant cover over it. We use it like an outdoor room. ( I will show photos sometime.) Always something to do with an old or new house huh?!
    Hey you are sweet, thanks for featuring my blog on your blog.

  5. P.S. Love the table and chairs you found, great! Can't wait to see what parties you throw on that set.

  6. $350 - what a steal indeed! That's going to look great! ~ Robyn

  7. Oh I have a couple war zones! Coudos to you for showing yours (I am not that brave....

    I will watch for your progress (because I know my war zonE will have NONE)

  8. Hi Artie...With that beautiful dining set you are well on your way to a summer paradise! The brick is going to be fabulous too and less mowing when it gets laid...Yay! Happy New Year, ;-) Bo

  9. You are taking the first steps to transforming your "war zone" and it will look fantastic when all is done....just in time for warmer weather and cocktails with friends!!!

    We need to re-do our deck, I want to pull out the hot tub that we never use. Oh...and our basement needs serious work, we moved in to this house in August and have not pulled down the scary wallpaper border from the last owners. It's glow-in-the-dark sneakers! Now that is a "WAR ZONE"....hahahahaha

  10. My War Zone is the basement. It will be my goal to clean it up before the arrival of spring. I hope, but not likely.

    The table and chairs are gorgeous and a fantastic bargain at $350. A simple water feature would be a nice addition to your patio plans.

    Happy New Year.

  11. Perfect table for under the pergola, Artie. I've always wanted a pergola!

    My daughter has some of the same furniture, from that line. Side tables, a bed and I think she also bought a bench. I love the style.

    My head isn't working real well,today, but I'll give some thought to your pergola project and see if I can come up with something. I know you are going to get some fabulous inspirational ideas from all around blogland.

  12. Ooh, I love the Pier 1 dining table set. Great deal! You're on your way to a really pretty and elegant outdoor space. I like the idea of a crystal chandelier with candles. And lots of plants and flowers.

  13. I understand War Zone!!! Trust me!

    Well, you know I love all of this! LOL being the friend you sent the color inspiration to, if my persuasive ways don't turn my royal residents to the way of yellow, we'll have twin colored garages. Bwhahaha!

    The table, chairs and buffet were a steal, and will look fabulous under your new pergola and gracing your new brick patio floor! I think some potted cedars with creeping thyme or rosemary dripping over the sides of the whitewashed huge terracotta pots at the corners of your pergola would be dreamy.
    Love, love, love how your mind works!
    xo Isa

  14. Well, when you come out of the blue dumpland you come all out don't you? You have some wonderful ideas and I will check back to see which blogger idea wins the May project!! Thanks for visiting me again.

  15. It will be perfect. I can't wait to see your next party...vickydarnell

  16. Lol!! Artie where you see "war zone" I only see BRICKS!!!! A whole fabulous HUGE stack of vintage bricks!! They'll make a wonderful floor for your new pergola! And that table and chairs are a steal!! They will also be perfect for your new outdoor space. How about one of those sisal looking carpets that are made from rubber...great for outdoor use but very textural....and of course there must be a beautiful wroght iron candle chandy! Hmmmmm maybe those chairs and table would need to be painted black..... Also need some growing vines of some sort...Well Artie I know that whatever you do will be perfect! It always is!That "war zones" days are numbered! *winks* Vanna

  17. Artie, you are so funny! I can just see you putting that door in. The bricks will be perfect as a patio ... Happy New Year, cutie.

  18. Artie, you are already on your way and others have provided excellent ideas.
    Being an engineer, my first comment would be to please check with your local planning department regarding new structures against property lines, just to be sure. You wouldn't want a neighbor to complain and have to remove it.
    How about lattice work painted the garage grey between the white columns in the back and on the left side with vines growing up to provide privacy from neighbors and also growing across the top slats to block sun. You could also cut arches into the lattice like the Victorians did in their garden structures. Hanging plants in the middle of the arches were popular at the time. This would allow thiner type sheers to be hung if desired. I agree with the above about some type of a water feature and the brick walk from the driveway leading over to it.
    I'll stop here but remember sand, sand and more sand for your base and to sweep in between the bricks so you don't spend time weeding between them. Instead you are kicked back reading, listening to music and the water feature and drinking a double martini while pointing out to Scott that he missed mowing a place in the lawn.

    G in CT

  19. I was starting to think that you left us..... that you ran off with some other bloggers. :<( Happy to read it's only another project keeping you away.

    Wishing You and Scott a fantastic NEW YEAR, with lots of friends to spend time with under your new pergola.


  20. Hi Artie, The table and chairs are great and what a buy! You did good!!I hope you have fun at your party on New Year's eve. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!! Kristen

  21. what a great idea!!!! can't wait to see you finally finish this project.

  22. Ooh, this is going to be an exciting project! Do you think you and Scott can do it all by yourselves? I can't wait to see it develop!

    Justine :o )

  23. Artie! You stole that table & chairs! What a deal!
    I love the pergola too. It will turn your war zone into a nice area!

  24. Oh my, I need that table set. What a deal!! Perfect for summer dinning.
    My hubby installed our pergola at the end of summer, so we didn't have time to furnish it. I'll take pics in spring. I think you'd like the brick tile design he laid.

    Sweet Wishes,

  25. greetings Artie~
    goodness, at last back home...with holiday travel over...time to rest and dive right into the joys of of which is your blog!
    and i see many things have been happening here!

    your project will be gorgeous and I cannot wait to see the outcome! lol and your stash of brick/stone...makes me envious :) lol...

    so, of course does that wonderful bargain on your table and chairs...but in a most delightful way!