Episode #31: Outdoor Spaces

This week’s episode is all about outdoor spaces—one of the things that is bringing us so much joy during this time! We’ve both been working on some outdoor space projects this season, so in this episode we’ll share our progress, opinions about outdoor furniture purchases and also there’s a very embarrassing story at the end. AUGH.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Show notes: 
-Back story … we share how I loved having two porches on our first home, which you can see a bit of here.

-We planned to build a porch on our last home, but we never did. You can see the outdoor spaces of that home here. It did have an epic sunroom, though.

-You can see photos of Emma’s outdoor space here.

-Our new porch: before + after …

BEFORE (this is how it looked when we bought the home) AFTER
We did quite a bit to this porch, of which I’ll be sharing all the details in a tour this month (just waiting on our fire table to arrive and then I’ll snap some photos!).

-Here’s a progress photo of the holiday house deck. Emma is getting closer to finishing it!

-When I showed our porch on IG I heard you *LOUD AND CLEAR* that your biggest concern is “How will this age??” and “Do you have to bring the cushions inside?” Here are ALL our opinions about making the best choice for you!

Choose colors that are fade-friendly (I avoid bright/dark colors now). We think it’s important to accept that things will get dirty and worn over time. So try to imagine items after a few seasons of use and see if you feel OK with that.

My very strong belief with all furniture, not just outdoor, is that you shouldn’t buy it if you can’t handle it aging and becoming imperfect. There needs to be a lifespan for furniture that exceeds its day-one condition. One way I make myself feel better about this is buying items I believe I can clean myself (that’s why I no longer buy synthetic rugs—they’re not easy to clean). So when I picked our outdoor seating, I made sure the cushion covers zipped off so I can wash them myself.

Another attitude shift that has helped me is being ready for, and embracing marks and imperfections. This goes for everything in my home, and especially for outdoor items. This is how I’m able to buy an expensive rug or sofa … I have made a deal with myself that when my children inevitably give it some “personality” that it won’t ruin my day. I know this may sound silly to some, but it’s helped me create a home that is 100% child friendly without buying stuff I don’t like just because I feel I’m supposed to. I am not a fan of the attitude that you should buy items your kids can’t mess up, even if you don’t love them. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.

Anyway, prepare yourself that no outdoor furniture will stay 100% perfect, and that is OK.

Here are some pieces we purchased for our spaces (or thought about along the way …)

Exciting note! Article has provided us this link where first-time customers can get $50 off a purchase of $200 or more! 

A few Article pieces we love:


Lucra Sofa Set

Tavola Dining Table

Dark Gray Bar Cart

Aloe Green Dining Chair

Plants + decor: I look for plants that are easy to maintain and that I’m happy to bring in to our home all winter. We’re also embracing a less-is-more vibe for our porches in order to reduce waste and give our children more space to play.

-Fire table … we were on the fence, but we splurged for this fire table. I’m so excited to make s’mores!

-I can’t find the link to the exact kids pool we’ve used in past summers, but this is close.

I’ll leave the embarrassing story in the podcast. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE PODCAST STAYS IN THE PODCAST. 🙂

Shout out to the The Office Ladies podcast, which I’ve been listening to on my runs.

XX! Elsie + Emma

  • Re your skating moment: We midwest girls are taught from a very young age to be polite and nice to everyone, including men who make stupid comments, while midwest boys are taught to be polite but ALSO taught how to give off the “shut the hell up and GO AWAY” vibe that’s super effective. Boys are given this tool, girls are not. I had to teach myself
    I now have no qualms about projecting a rude, bordering on mean, “shut the hell up I have no plans to be nice vibe” .I use this rarely, but I definitely project a commanding, leave me alone steely persona when I’m alone. It works and males usually want nothing to do with me. Real life, I’m kind and will hold the door for anyone and give anyone a chance to talk. But not when I’m alone and not when you are INTERRUPTING my introvert time!!! I’ve never been sexually assaulted or any of that either because I sadly had to start acting this way when I was 11 and got boobs. It’s sad but true that we have to protect ourselves. I hope you teach your daughters this. That it’s ok to NOT be polite and to want to be left alone. That guy’s comments were out of line. No reason to be embarrassed. I run alone a lot, I’m bad at it, i know it and dont need a anyone commenting on it.

  • I 100% agree that when you have kids and pets, you just have to accept that things will get worn and that is ok! I would recommend getting a power washer. It’s a game changer for keeping decks, outdoor furniture and even outdoor cushions clean season after season. Your deck is so beautiful, I love how it’s turned out so far!

  • Hi! I have been looking at that fire table ever since I saw it on Mandy’s IG. Can you confirm whether or not it needs to be connected to an external propane source via a hose? It doesn’t look like it in Mandy’s photos but the Q&A on the Wayfair website seems to suggest otherwise. I feel like the hose would be such an eyesore (and a tripping hazard?), but maybe I’m being dramatic. 🙂

  • I find that learning to skate in your very little free time is phatastic!!! You rock!

  • I would love a tutorial for a hanging daybed! After looking into purchasing one for this summer and seeing the crazy cost, we’ve decided it would be a great DIY.

    • Rollerblading in nashville is tough because of the hills! I’ve wiped out a few places but I find that Shelby bottoms (specifically the airstrip) is a great place to go! Thanks for sharing your story, even though you have nothing to be embarrassed about 🙃

  • Elsie, I loved your embarrassing story and I could so relate! People always seem to zero in on me serving the volleyball wrong or whatever. And I recently went roller skating for the first time as an adult and I was so bad at it but it has so fun! I really want to try again but the rink is closed so I was thinking about buying my own pair and doing what you did! Now I am totally inspired to do it despite the risk of a super embarrassing moment 😉

  • How are you liking that sofa from article? I’ve been browsing outdoor loveseats for weeks but it’s so hard without being able to try it in person. My experience with some outdoor furniture is that since they have no give, they can be kind of unforgiving on your thighs and rear when sitting in them for a long time, even with cushions.

    • I LOVE them. It rains a ton here and I am really impressed with how they are weathering (or not weathering) so far. We use a leaf blower a few times a week and that’s about all we do! :))

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