before & after / our back deck

Hi guys! It's November, and I'm just now deciding to share our renovated back deck photos, because that makes sense, right? No time like the present, I suppose. Anyway, gear up for a LOT of photos...

The "before" picture is from Zillow, which is why it's so low-res.

The "before" picture is from Zillow, which is why it's so low-res.

We bought our house in October 2012 and were newly engaged, so in-depth home renovations weren't exactly a high priority. We painted and decorated, but as wedding planning goes, we didn't have much time on our hands (planning a wedding is a serious time suck, but I loved almost every minute of it). Fast-forward a year to October 2013, and we were newly MARRIED :), ready to tackle our home renovations once again.

Here is the before picture. I mean... woof. To be fair, I think I took this in December, which is why everything is dead, crunchy, and SO SAD looking. I can't help but laugh looking at this picture - it looks so desperate for an overhaul.

colorwhirl | before & after | back deck

I cannot stand the color red in most instances. Our back deck was a rusty, dirty red that was just awful. Our house is a buttery yellow (vinyl siding, so it is staying that color! - I asked) with navy shutters, so it felt like an awful homage to a dirty American flag. Goodbye, red.

colorwhirl | before & after | back deck
colorwhirl | before & after | back deck

Tim power-washed and scrubbed the deck, but we weren't able to get up all of the red paint. I really wanted the wood grain to show through and use a thin stain, but the red just wouldn't go away. There are essentially three types of exterior stain - transparent, semi-transparent, and solid. Transparent stains are best for wood that is in great condition, showing off the natural wood grain. Semi-transparent stains provide a little more saturation, but still show the wood grain. Solid stains are best for "aging or distressed" wood, which is what we were dealing with. Solid stains provide thick coverage and don't show the wood grain - it's basically an exterior paint. The deck isn't that old, but the wood had seen better days.

colorwhirl | back deck renovation

We were mindful to choose a stain that had warm undertones to blend better with the red underneath. We picked Olympic Maximum Stain + Sealant in Dark Oak.

We are big fans of high contrast, so we chose a bright white exterior paint for the latticework and siding. After talking it through with the experts at Lowes, we went home with Valspar Duramax Paint + Primer, ready to give our sad deck a shiny makeover. 7,000 hours later, we were done!

colorwhirl | back deck renovation

Just kidding, it didn't take that long, but it did feel like forever. We scrubbed, primed, and painted, and let me tell you - painting red latticework white is a nightmare. Not exaggerating... I really wound up hating that part of the deck, but it's here to stay, and it looks nice now. It took us about two months to start and finish the deck rehab (and there are still a few things that we're putting off until next spring, like the latticework under the deck), but it was so worth the effort. You can see part of our back deck from the street, so it definitely improved our curb appeal, and I don't have to cringe about the unsightly red anymore. Win, win!

Landscaping is something we'll tackle NEXT summer... so please excuse the unsightly yard.

Landscaping is something we'll tackle NEXT summer... so please excuse the unsightly yard.

colorwhirl | back deck renovation

The white siding contrasts beautifully against the dark stain and makes our back deck feel much more modern, fitting with our aesthetic. We bought an outdoor set from Target that I'm obsessed with, and pretty much took the entire outdoor Threshold line home with us. (see links at the end of the post.) Everything looks like it is straight out of a CB2 catalog at half the price, so I couldn't help myself, and we really needed to furnish the deck if we planned on reaping the benefits of our hard work. The picnic table, bar cart, umbrella and granite stand, two club seats and loveseat all came in under $1,200 after stalking sales and online deals. I found a modern powder-coated planter from CB2 to fill one of the corners of the deck, and I'll probably add big string lights and tiki torches next spring/summer.

colorwhirl | back deck renovation
colorwhirl | back deck renovation

We are in love with our "new" deck. Tim and I ate almost every meal outside throughout the summer, taking in all of our hard work. It's the perfect place to read, nap, hang out with friends, or even shoot a Splash promo video ;)

colorwhirl | back deck renovation
colorwhirl | back deck renovation

Come over in the spring and enjoy it for yourself! Until then, do you have any large home renovations you're thinking about starting, in the process of, or almost finished with? Please share!

colorwhirl | back deck renovation