Inside Outside Deck Makeover with Lowe's [Sponsored]

Confession: Our back deck has always been a problem. It gets full sun and snow and weather exposure so no matter what product or paint I've tried, I haven't had much luck in keeping it looking good for any extended period of time. Case in point, we just painted the deck boards last year and they already looked like they hadn't been touched in a decade. The kids couldn't play out here because of the splinter issue and so I never put much effort into making it nice.

Despite it's relatively small size, I knew it could be a great addition to our home. An outdoor living room for city life complete with lounging and eating area. But the battered floor boards always stopped me in my tracks.

That was until I had the idea to cover the boards with faux grass. Until I started doing some research, I had no idea how far faux grass had come in the past few years. I was only familiar with that tacky green rug like turf that I had seen growing up. Well it's come a long way baby! It was definitely a risk but one I was willing to take.

Luckily Lowe's carried the perfect product - Sequoia Everlast Artificial Grass - it had some great reviews and came in variable widths. Despite it being somewhat unruly to carry, it was surprisingly easy to install. Unroll, cut around the edges and post and voila. It was transformed! It was soft underfoot and the kids immediately fell in love with it. Cue rolling around on the deck laughing.

Now that we had a space we could really enjoy, it needed some furniture. Back to Lowe's I went. The most important piece was the seating and I got lucky and found an L shaped Outdoor Sectional that was a perfect fit. I used an upturned barrel planter as a side table and 2 piece nesting table set as a coffee table. The bistro set I had from 10 years ago fit perfectly into the other side to create a little dining (okay, coloring and outdoor craft) area.

Heavy duty string lights fit perfectly across the pergola posts (this is one strand doubled so that the bulbs are closer together) paired with a set of stylish lanterns add some nice light. A majesty palm tree tucked to the side adds a little bit of tropical luxury to the space. All installed in a few hours!

The budget?  All this for less $1300!  Well worth it for adding an entire other lounging space for the whole family to enjoy.

Not only do we get to use this space when the weather is nice but I have also improved my view since this is what I see out of my kitchen window. We spent more time out on the deck the first weekend than we did in all 10 years prior.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Lowes Home Improvement. All opinions expressed are my own. Thanks to wonderful partners like Lowe's that make this blog possible.

5 Artists to Watch + Paintings to Admire

I have commitment issues when it comes to art.  I love to shop and buy it but I tend not to be able to commit so I have lots of little finds hidden in closets and sitting on shelves.  It's a sickness.

Art can be such a hard decision for decorators but I want to encourage everyone not to take themselves too seriously.  Especially with some of the great work you can now find easily online.  Find something you love and hang it where you can see it.

With that in mind, here are 5 reasonable attainable pieces of art from artists I've been loving. If you have some artists to recommend (or if you are an artist yourself!), please share in the comments.

Salma Nasreldin creates such fun and eye catching work, it's hard not to be enchanted. This one is called 'Sunshine and Hurricane' and it's a particular favorite.

The gorgeous abstracts by Omar Obaid are mesmerizing.  And he makes them in huge scale which is oh so helpful in pulling a room together without having to find 25 different smaller pieces of art.  One of these is enough to carry a space.

Marleen Kleiberg creates characters I want to know more about. This melancholy (or is she just napping?) piece painted on a wood panel is my personal favorite.

Wouldn't this make a great conversation starter at  your next cocktail party?  Lisa Finch of French Canvas painted this little story on canvas and I can't look away.

Last but not least Camilo Matiz out of Luxembourg is painting dream abstracts in beautiful bright colors that are easy to fall in love with.

Any great artists caught your eye?  I'd love to hear and see more about them.

Non disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored. I just really admire the work and want to support them in any way (albeit small) I can.

Ten pillows for under $10

While I'm all for investing in quality pieces, sometimes you just need a fun little splurge that won't break the bank.  I keep a running list of all of my favorites and I realized I might have a thing for pillows. Since there are only so many pillows I can reasonably fit on my couch, might as well share.

With that in mind, here are 10 pillow covers for $10 (or less!).

update your accessories on the cheap

From top left to bottom right:  

Aren't these fun? Most get great reviews and the prices can't be beat. Let me know if you grabbed one!

Disclosure: The links above are affiliate ads.  I will receive a small commission from the seller if you purchase.  Thanks for supporting Brooklyn Limestone.

Love it & Leave it with Zipcar (Sponsored Post)

One of the most wonderful things about living in a big city is the ease of public transportation. I don’t own a car and I never, ever drive. My usual modes of transportation are my feet and the subway. But occasionally, not having a car can put a damper on my wandering side. As much as I love this city, I also love to leave it.

Enter Zipcar - the perfect solution for when I need to wander farther afield. Or run an errand. Or get away from the mass of humanity that is life in the city. It’s all the upsides of having a car at my disposal without the hassle. No alternate side of the street parking! No shoveling out from snowstorms! No dealing with the DMV!

If I imagine a perfect day, it absolutely includes browsing architectural salvage and used furniture warehouses. Before I had kids, I had plenty of opportunity to do just that and would sometimes take several day trips with the Mr. to explore new and old favorites. Sadly my littles don’t have the patience for sorting through racks of the remnants of other people’s lives so it’s fallen by the wayside. This winter has been long and I haven’t had any time to myself so I did something very naughty - I took a vacation day, got in a Zipcar and hit the road.

Zipcar made it incredibly easy. After signing up online, I received my Zipcar membership card in the mail a few days later. Once I activated that, making a reservation was as easy as picking the time and location. The cost of the reservation includes the gas and the insurance! Zipcar has a range of car types and sizes so I was able to reserve a SUV in case I found any larger pieces that wouldn’t fit easily in a smaller vehicle. The car was waiting for me a few blocks away from my house and away I went. It even had a full tank of gas ready for my adventure!

Still too early for the big outdoor markets, I headed to my very favorite spot within an hour’s drive - Englishtown Used Furniture. I literally never know what I will find when I come here - the warehouse is huge and disorganized and feels like a treasure hunt each and every time I visit. Over the years I’ve found all kinds of things from furniture to serving ware and everything in between. While it’s hard to know what will be waiting for me there, I never leave empty handed.

I was hoping to find some fun storage pieces for my office makeover but struck out on that front. Of course I did find a few special pieces I just had to bring home. An ornate gilded mirror that is almost as large as me will make a great decorative piece once it gets a makeover. I also found a vintage class photo from a Brooklyn school dating back to 1946 that will look perfect in a gallery wall in my office. These little decorative pieces make me smile thinking about my lovely little day.

Once I had scoured four corners of the store, it was time to pack it in and head back home. Dropping off was just as easy as pickup. In my case the car was located in a nearby parking garage so it was easy as handing the keys off and I was done. I wanted the car for the better part of the day so I made my reservation that way but now I know I can use Zipcar just as easily for quick jaunts to Ikea or Target when I need a car to carry my haul.

Ready for your own junking adventure? Sign up at Zipcar and receive a $25 credit torward your first trip!

These are five of my favorite spots for affordable pieces waiting reuse or rescue all within a reasonable drive from NYC. Although I will warn you: you will spend much more than an hour lost inside!

Big Reuse Brooklyn | Nonprofit store for salvaged building materials & furniture | 69 9th St, Brooklyn, NY
Every Thing Goes Furniture | Used furniture store |17 Brook St, Staten Island, NY
Recycling the Past | Architectural salvage | 381 N Main St, Barnegat, NJ
Englishtown Antiques | Used furniture and d├ęcor | 42 Main St, Englishtown, NJ
United House Wrecking, Inc. | Vintage furniture, fixtures, & garden | 535 Hope St, Stamford, CT

Disclosure: Thanks to Zipcar for making such a great getaway and for sponsoring this post. Sponsored posts like this one make this blog possible.

Ode to the Striped Umbrella

The calendar tells me the first day of Spring is this week. The weatherman tells me otherwise. Nevermind another snowstorm, I'm forging ahead with plans of spring. There is something I've wanted to treat myself to for ages - a graphic striped garden umbrella for the backyard - but it feels so wasteful. I have a perfectly functional garden umbrella that despite my best efforts of leaving it out for the past few winters is still looking just dandy. This is the very definition of a first world problem. Anyone with me?

This example from Decor Aid is summer perfection.

And of course now that I'm trying to not be such a consumerist schlub, I see them everywhere I go. Dare I say I'm smitten with striped umbrellas? Ok yes, I'm smitten.

Of course some of my favorite bloggers have a black striped umbrella already in their backyards so I probably was not so subtly influenced by their styles.  Case in point, Chris Loves Julia's deck is just amazing like everything else they do (that outdoor fireplace is giving me serious backyard envy).  And the graphic punch looks just as lovely in more humble settings like this little corner shady spot from Blissful Bee (check out the entire backyard and you'll see the rest of it is not so humble!) and this great dining space by Rambling Renovators.

Or maybe we need some international influence?  From Australia, Porchlight Interiors knocked it out of the park on the left with Ballard Designs recreating an english garden on the right.

Need I say more?

I don't know if I can go another summer without one!  I have my eye on this one which is reasonably priced but lacks any reviews.  Anyone have this model and want to vouch for it's sturdyness?

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