My Tiny Secret Garden | Small Space Solutions For An Outdoor Retreat

My Tiny Secret Garden | Small Space Solutions For An Outdoor Retreat

It’s been a while since I gave my last home update, so I thought I would share my small patio makeover with you! Anyone who lives in a a city knows the value of outdoor space and this Colorado girl is desperate to maximize every last bit of it. The biggest compromise I made when buying a house was opting for a smaller back patio in favor of having a bit more indoor space. Older Philly rowhomes are all set up pretty similarly and if they have been renovated, the contractors tend to opt in to reducing the size of the patio by about 3 feet to get extra kitchen room. Check out how I have been able to take advantage of every last inch of my tiny Outdoor Retreat.It took two try’s for me to get a setup in my back patio area that really worked for me, but it’s honestly an ever-evolving space. Last year was my first summer in my house, and I moved in with close to no furniture. What I did have was an outdoor picnic set because my last place had a gigantic roof deck. Before running out and buying a new set, I put what I had to use and gave myself time to adjust to the space and better understand what I’d like the functions of it to be.

Patio Furniture I Started With

  1. A large Fire Pit
  2. An ÄPPLARÖ Picnic Table with Two Benches and the potential to seat 12
  3. 6 Large Pots
  4. 6 Medium Pots
  5. 4 Folding Chairs

Going into my outdoor space, I knew there wasn’t enough room for the picnic table. I actually used that as my dining table for about a year and a half. What would fit was two of the ÄPPLARÖ sectionals. I also wanted to build a taller planter for additional garden space. I made a trip to Lowes for the lumber and a trip to Ikea for the chairs and I was all set. While at Ikea, I also picked up two ÄPPLARÖ Wall panels to make the cinder block wall a little more attractive.

The first summer, I used the sectional, fire pit, 2 folding chairs, plus all of the pots to house a container garden. I also found a couple of copper vertical planters to hang on the wall panels. Once I had the taller planter built, I used the scrap pieces to make a table top to put on top of the fire pit when it wasn’t in use (both pictured above.)

I learned pretty quickly that this setup was great for one summer but definitely wasn’t my long-term solution. Overall, the planters weren’t the best use of space. With such a limited outdoor area I was using too much room with the containers and the fire pit was nice but was too low for me to put my computer on when I worked outside. It was also not the greatest set up for eating out there, especially when I had guests over!

I put together a list of a few key things that would make the space a million times more usable for me:

  1. A real table where I could set my computer up when I work outside
  2. A smaller fire pit for the fall
  3. Better use of vertical space for plants so they don’t take over all the floor space

The Big Reveal

I added a third seat to the sectional and got a small table to place the folding chairs I already had around. I also grabbed a few hanging planters to add to the metal fence so that I could still have tons of plants without using all of the ground space up. I spray painted the pots copper and the hangers black. I emptied the larger pots I used last summer and flipped them to use as side tables for the sectional. The cinder block wall got a custom planter to cap it off too, I picked up some lumber at Lowe’s and used small cuts of 2×4’s to give some visual interest to thebase. Once all the plants were potted, it made for a pretty wonderful space! This small patio makeover has continued to evolve into the magical outdoor space that I always wanted 🙂

Long term goals

  • I still want to find a small fire pit or chiminea to use as the nights get cooler.
  • I am going to do an Isaiah Zagar inspired mosaic mural on the cinderblock wall. I think having some color and light bouncing around back there will be really beautiful!
  • Suuuper long term goal is to have the fence redone in wood, but this one requires a pretty significant financial investment and I’m just not there at this point 🙂
Bedroom Makeover Updates

Bedroom Makeover Updates

Today, I am really excited to share the first stage of my bedroom makeover. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had some projects underway to make my bedroom feel a bit more me. I am happy to report that they are going great! I am not quite ready to share the full room but I am really excited to show some of the progress ?

Hyllis IKEA Hack Shelving Unit

The shelves are inspired by a post about a really awesome IKEA hack that I saw on Apartment Therapy forever ago. The original post is here. The original version has two lower shelves and then utilizes the top as a third shelf. I altered the design to have four lower shelves and the top acting as a fifth shelf. This meant adding an additional shelf to the IKEA Hyllis. I used five shelves total to fill the full width of my room. The room is a little over 10′ wide and I uses two 5.5″ boards side-by-side for the shelf connectors.

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Step 1: Cut shelf extensions to desired height


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Step 2: Sand the ends of the pieces and drill holes to attach.



Step 3: Assemble the Hyllis and add the additional levels.


Step 4: Spray-paint the metal, is used the Rustoleum hammered metal finish in black. Cut your boards to size and stain.


Step 5: Put everything together! The boards connect the three separate shelves to make them appear to be full-width.


House to Home: Bedroom “Before”

House to Home: Bedroom “Before”

I am really excited to be working on some projects to make my bedroom feel more homey this month! Today I am sharing the bedroom makeover before pictures, partially to help keep the fire lit under my butt and also because I think it’s fun to watch the progress.

I bought my house a year and two months ago. It’s a two story row-home with two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms and a basement. I absolutely love it, but it is still not quite “home.”

A big part of why I chose this house was the fact it had been completely renovated – new floors, new appliances, equally sized bedrooms, a half bathroom on the first floor, a finished basement… These are all things that are REALLY hard to come by in Philly when your budget is not so big. They are all great things as a first time home-owner too, I don’t have to worry a ton about upkeep for now which means I can slowly adjust to the other responsibilities that come with owning a home. More on some of the steps I have taken to customize my room so far and where I’m heading after this kitty pic 🙂

Felix the Cat

Here’s a baby Felix to start things off because OMG look at those ears and little bebe toes <3


When Small Bedroom Updates = Big Results

When Small Bedroom Updates = Big Results

photo courtesy of Parachute

Inspiration courtesy of Parachute


Do you ever find yourself completely amazed at what a difference a small change can make to your whole life? Tiny things like switching from coffee to tea, or switching to natural deodorant, or maybe putting a plant on your desk can end up making a big impact in totally unexpected ways. I have found this SO true when it comes to decorating my house. I am a slow decorator, I like to find things organically rather than rush out and try to fill a room so it’s “finished.” I’ll shift books from one spot to another and all of the sudden the whole room feels like a different space! I have been avoiding making any moves on my bedroom because I have been so focused on making the common areas in my house super comfortable for visitors.

In an attempt to make my room feel a bit more luxurious over the weekend, I soaked my not-so-white sheets in oxy clean for a day hoping to get them back to a nice bright white. No such luck. My bedroom is underwhelming and in need of a little love.

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Cut to yesterday when I drove past Marshall’s and decided to stop in. It’s by far one of my favorite places to browse when I have something I know I am looking for in a general sense, but not a specific product in mind. Plus it’s fun to find the things you didn’t know you needed for like $1… Maybe you want a portable mini-golf course, or maybe you didn’t realize how badly you need a color coded filing system for your magazine collection…I don’t know, but they always seem to have it! I ended up in the bedding section, where I picked up new sheets, a mattress pad and a light quilt to take the place of my heavy duvet for the upcoming hot summer months. $80. For $80 I totally revamped my bed.

Now I’m not saying that $80 has completely changed my bedroom. It is still not very personal yet, but it’s getting there. What was so awesome about this purchase was the effect it had on the way today started. I woke up feeling completely rejuvenated. Super-fresh sheets and the extra padding of the mattress topper completely changed my sleep. My sleep tracker app told me that my sleep efficiency rating was an 88% (I normally am somewhere in the mid 70’s.) I woke up excited, was able to knock out a bunch of chores before the work day started, and am in a fantastic mood. What could be better? Crazy to see what a difference a relatively small change can make to your outlook and overall well-being. I’ve totally got my bedroom in the back of mind now for when I am passing through little shops!



It’s that time of year again, Friendsgiving has arrived!

I have lived in Philly for 5 years now. The first three, I was finishing out college at Philadelphia University, living on the outskirts of the city and completely, 100% convinced I hated Philadelphia. After college I stuck around in hopes that it would be easier for me to get a job in the same city I had graduated from school in. I got a job as a server to hold me over until I found that job, and it totally changed my outlook on this city.

I was instantly surrounded by amazing people and finally learned about all the cool things Philly has to offer. That year we initiated our friendsgiving tradition. We do a potluck style meal at a different house each year, lots of friends and food all in one room. Sooooo, now that I’m in my new place, I’m hosting 🙂

I want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and special and eats so much their pants pop. I also don’t want to cover my house in fake turkeys and give everyone headdresses and pilgrim hats to wear. Cheers to anyone who goes that route! It’s lovely, it’s just not me. I want things to feel clean, smell good and probably sparkle a little bit. I’ve pulled together some images that feel similar to what I am going for.


I love all the different greens mixed with the gold and black. Fall is full of so many beautiful colors but there is something super fresh about having the green be the focus with gold as an accent.

Plus I think it’ll be nice to use a material that I don’t mind keeping around after the meal too! This is also my housewarming party, so I want it to feel like my home.


Check out my friendsgiving pinterest board to see more ideas and links to the images shown here.