Tag Archives: Patio

Fall Front Door

12 Nov

Too long ago, a friend asked me if I would blog about rental-friendly outdoor entry décor. If you remember, my front door has not been the most welcoming sight. Between broken keys stuck in locks, replaced handles, no wreaths, unfortunate wreaths, and a partially unpainted door our entryway had quite a saga of sadness.

After finding the right avenue to make the request, our front door was finally re-painted. That only took a year and a half! Living in a townhome community, we are not responsible for exterior maintenance and our front door has to match the paint on the rest of our building. Since we pay dues to get this taken care of, I may have stubbornly refused to have the paint matched myself…

Finally, it is at least presentable enough that I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject. Here is what it looks like presently:


My suggestions for rental friendly entry décor?

  • A door mat is a must. Mine is starting to tatter, and I’m hoping to upgrade to one as wide as our door.
  • Wreaths work wonders. I have a couple that I swap out with the seasons. The oval fall beauty pictured was a thrift store score.
  • Oversized planters gussy your entryway up. I picked up large urn pictured at Lowes on clearance at the end of the summer and planted an asparagus fern. I love the weird bushy look, and so far it has proven hardy enough for my complete lack of gardening abilities. While my front entry wouldn’t accommodate the style, I love the symmetrical look of two planters flanking the door. Look here for one of my favorite examples.
  • A doorman, of course. Suggestion courtesy of my humorous husband.

If you can make more permanent changes to your front porch, here is what I propose:

  • Door knockers add personality. Mine (covered by this particular wreath, seen here), came from a home salvage shop in Fort Worth, but I love this monogram one from Anthropologie.
  • Add a kickplate if you haven’t.
  • Simply paint the door. Oh how I wish I could choose the color of mine!
  • Swap out the light fixtures. This is somewhere, very far down, on my list of future upgrades to make. If you’re really fancy, go for some N’awlins inspired gas lanterns.
  • House numbers. Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie have some stylish varieties.

Feel free to submit questions or post requests of your own via e-mail.

As always, thanks for reading!

♥ Dominique

A Summer-Ready Patio

22 Jul

Last time you saw the patio, it had just undergone restoration including sanding, staining, and brushing on protective polyurethane. It has come a short way since then.

Outdoor Patio

We picked up the grey jute rug on clearance at West Elm and added pillows from various stores.

Target Navy Patterned Outdoor Lumbar PIllow

The lumbar pillows on the chairs are from Target. I love the pattern so much. The solid pillows on the bench are from Pottery Barn, and the patterned one is from Lowes.

Navy Outdoor PIllow

A few accessories are still needed. Here’s what I have in mind:

Outdoor Patio Accessory Mood Board

Of course a few plants are in order too, but I don’t want to plant anything in the south-facing backyard in the middle of a Texas summer. The sun is scorching in this area and the last plant I purchased got crispy.

Some inexpensive curtains would add privacy while giving it a vacation vibe, don’t you think?

Thanks for Reading,

♥ Dominique

Patio Furniture Restoration

20 Aug

Before I came into the picture, my husband bought some patio furniture that is the perfect scale for our small backyard patio.  Here’s what it looked like when he bought it from World Market.


Fast forward three years and the finish was extremely weathered.
Patio Furniture Restoration *www.gustoandgraceblog.com*
While I was busy working at the Austin Ice Cream Festival on Saturday, my husband and stepdad sanded down the furniture. The difference was so dramatic, we briefly considered sealing it without staining it. It looked so fresh. Patio Furniture Restoration *www.gustoandgraceblog.com*
Here are my husbands basic sanding tips:
  • If you can take apart of the furniture fairly easily, do it. We probably should have.
  • A power sander is a must.
  • Various sanding grit levels is helpful. We used 0220 for the most part, but used a much rougher one for the hard to reach areas where we couldn’t apply much pressure. If you use a rougher paper then you have to go back and use a lower grit afterward to smooth it out.
  • Use tack cloth to remove any remaining sawdust before staining.
Patio Furniture Restoration *www.gustoandgraceblog.com*
I wanted a dark stain, so I picked up a can of Rustoleum’s Black Cherry Wood Stain from Lowes. On Sunday, my husband and stepdad stained one of the chairs. I predict it will be about 3 weeks before Anthony and I will find time to stain the bench, table, and remaining chair, but look how well it turned out:
Refinished Patio Furniture *www.gustoandgraceblog.com*
A few tips for staining:
  • Be sure to wear rubber gloves.
  • Test out the stain by applying it to a small area on the back or underside of the wood first. Leave it on 1 minute and gently wipe it off with a cloth, then in another small area, leave it on 2 minutes and wipe, then 3 minutes to see which shade of stain you prefer. A cut up old t-shirt works perfectly works perfectly as a wiping cloth.
  • Make sure to watch for areas where the stain drips or runs down to another area. Wipe that off as soon as possible.
  • If you want a glossy finish, spray the stained furniture with polyurethane. Otherwise, seal it with a water sealer. If you choose to use a water sealer, you can brush on a thin coat each year to prevent weathering.
Now that our patio furniture is refreshed, I’m keeping my eyes open for cute outdoor pillows, a potted plant or two, and an inexpensive rug. Maybe black and white stripes?
After getting out there myself to finish staining the patio furniture, I’ve got a few tips of my own:
  • Check the weather!
After spending several hours finishing the furniture on a hot, sunny, Austin day, the evening brought heavy rainfall and wind. The storm was so strong that our power went out. How did I not see that one coming, at all? Thankfully, it seems the stain was set enough and no damage was done.
  • I also found that a natural bristle paint brush (like the goat hair ones I bought at a craft store rather than the home improvement store) prevents drips better than other brushes. So much so that I skipped the wiping step altogether.
The final product?
DIY Patio Furniture Restoration
I’m still in want of some accessories, but boy, do I love the transformation! I think the dark stain against the white stone looks great.
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