Fall Friendly Ways to Keep your Patio Party Going through Fall {Sponsored Post}

Confession: I spend most of the summer quietly mumbling about the humidity and the mosquitos, longing for the cool breezes of autumn.  Just as the moisture leaves the air and a crisp air rolls through is exactly when I leave my air conditioning hibernation and want to spend time lounging outside.  Fall is fast approaching, so it seems like the perfect time to share some tips on how to extend your patio life for best time of year to actually enjoy it!

Since we got to design the country cottage patio from scratch (see the full before and after post here), lots of fall friendly elements were incorporated into this space so it makes the perfect example to illustrate.

Layout  When selecting and laying out outdoor furniture, think about how you really use the space.  Do you spend most of you time gathered around a table enjoying a good meal or do you focus more on lounging?  For example we knew lounging would be priority #1 so we created this patio space with a conversation area featuring cedar adirondack chairs all facing each other and the firepit. Directly behind it sits a zone for relaxing in a hammock as well as eating dinner at a picnic table in the grass.  Creating these zones make for great entertaining flow and function.

Lighting  With the long daylight hours of summer fading fast, you'll need to think about how to best light your outdoor space once the sun goes down. Whether eating meals with the whole family or just enjoying a glass of wine out back, you'll want to be able to see after sunset.  There are endless options but some of the easiest to install as well as most beautiful to look at are simple string lights. Since we wanted to be able to move them as needed, we strung these Allen + Roth White Plug in String Lights  from cedar branches set in cement bases but you could easily hang them from trees, a garage or a deck.  Their soft glow not only serves the function of lighting the patio but also makes for a great celebratory decoration when entertaining.  You can compliment the main lighting with ambient lighting accents like lanterns and candles.

Fire There are few things more primal or more entertaining than starting a raging fire. Enter the firepit - an activity that never seems to get old for our group no matter what the temperature. Not only does it keep everyone warm and toasty during a chilly night but gathering sticks and lighting it ablaze becomes a party in of itself with everyone lending a hand.  When the fire is roaring, everyone can gather around for some sweet s'mores.  We used this Flagstone Firepit Patio Block Kit to build this one and it works beautifully with the brick patio and was easy to install.

Serve This patio was built with friends and family in mind so having a spot to serve treats for young and old alike was key. Instead of a fixed piece of furniture, we used lumber, plumbing supply pipes and casters to build a moveable feasting cart.  Used here as a s'mores bar, we outfitted it with jars of chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows, lots of firewood and some apple cranberry cider wash it all down.  For different occasions, it can easily be used indoors or out as a rustic bar cart, firewood caddy or bbq food prep bar.  We also situated this wooden picnic table just off the side of the patio to serve as separate seating and serving space to use as needed.

Cozy Once all the key elements are in place, don't forget to add a few cozy touches to make our outdoor space feel just as comfortable as your indoor.  Outdoor striped pillows were used in each chair for both color and comfort. Add a few throw blankets (these can be the regular indoor kind, just be sure to bring them in after the evening is over) to snuggle under for extra warmth.

There are so many ways to make the most of your outdoor space this fall - those were just a few of them.  How many days til the start of fall?

Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with Lowe's Home Improvement.  Thanks to them and all my sponsors who help make the projects you see on Brooklyn Limestone a reality.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Source Project List
Red Charcoal Holland Concrete Patio Stone
Paver Base
Polymeric Jointing Sand
Landscape Fabric
Flagstone Firepit Project Kit
Adirondack Chairs
Picnic Table
Striped Pillows
5 gallon buckets
Allen + Roth Lights

Anna's Modern Classic Kitchen Remodel

It will come as no surprise to you that I love a good renovation before and after. I'm one of those people that get irrationally excited when my friends renovate their house. Well my friend Anna recently finished her remodel and it's so amazing I just had to share it with you.

This is what it looks like today. Pretty impressive right?

Well you are about to be a lot more impressed because here is the before.

Hard to believe this is the same space at all no less a very similar layout.  Just go to show you what great style can do to any home.  High five Anna - you crushed it.  

If you loved this as much as I did, stay tuned for more great renovation inspiration from Anna's house coming up soon.

Source List
Cabinets | Euro Custom Cabinets -Long Island City
Cabinet Pulls | Top Knobs
Countertops | MSI Quartz in Arctic White
Backsplash | Neolith in Calacatta Polished
Faucet | Newport Brass East Linear
Filtered Water Faucet | Newport Brass 
Pendants | Visual Comfort Hicks
Stools | CB2
Range | Wolf- 36" AG
Refrigerator | Sub Zero 36" 
Hood | Prestige Pro
Oven | Bosch Benchmark
Coffee System | Miele
Floor Tile | Roca

Firepit Patio - Country Cottage DIY Circular Outdoor Entertaining Space

This DIY firepit patio creates the perfect entertaining spot for evening guests. It's circular pattern gives it fun and whimsey.

Completed firepit patio with Adirondack chairs lights and plants

Disclosure: This project was done in partnership with Lowes but all opinions expressed are my own. 

Woo-hoo!  The country cottage's circular firepit patio is finally complete!  It was a bit of a battle as we had some obstacles in the form of bedrock at the patio site and an extra cold spring and rainy weekends but it got completed in July and I'm so happy to share it. Let's start at the beginning.

This is the before we installed the Firepit Patio:

  Before photo of firepit patio space

After the spot was excavated, there was a fair bit of jackhammering and rock moving required to get that round hole dug deep enough to start laying the base for the firepit patio. Once the prep was done, the rest went a bit easier and you could really see the outdoor area take shape. (I can take no credit for any of that backbreaking work as I was very much pregnant and fully okay with using that an excuse to just shout design suggestions from the sidelines.)  We used a layer of landscaping fabric to prevent weeds followed by pea gravel, sand, the stones and then polymetric jointing sand to hold the whole thing together.

Man jackhammering ground for firepit patioStacked bricks on sand for firepit patio pattern Spreading sand in cracks on firepit patio bricks
Thanks to some super wet weather, we had to let that dry for several days before it felt stable enough to proceed but it did harden eventually.  Finally it was time for the firepit - the center of the action at any outdoor gathering with us!  My brother and sister in law smartly used some of the rock broken up from the excavation to lay a windy stone path from the house to the patio. Waste not, want not!

Circular DIY Brick Patio www.brooklynlimestone.comPhoto May 30

Once the hard work was behind us, the fun part of outfitting the firepit patio with just the right pieces to make the most of this backyard space was ready to start.   In went Adirondack chairs - painted black to give it a more updated look.

Backyard_BrooklynLimestone (5 of 27)160723
After deciding we wanted to be able to move the lighting for different types of events, these allen + roth string lights were strung from cedar poles anchored into cement bases.

  Circular DIY Brick Patio www.brooklynlimestone.com

Lumber and pipes were used to make this s'mores fixings cart which I'm kind of obsessed with.  Once again, on wheels to make the most of it's function as BBQ cart, firewood caddy or outdoor bar cart as needed.

Close up of s'mores cart on firepit patioS'mores cart with wood slice sign, drink container, glasses, and s'mores supplies

Finally off to the side we created another zone with a picnic table and a hammock for extra mingling and relaxing spots.

Closeup of firepit patio Picnic table next to firepit patioBlack Adirondack chair on firepit patio

I just love this space so much! Maybe it's city life but the raging fire is the ultimate entertainment for all ages. I wish it were in my own backyard but I'll just have to plan to stop over a little more often.

Firepit Patio Resources

Red Charcoal Holland Concrete Patio Stone
Paver Base Sand
Polymeric Jointing Sand
Landscape Fabric 
Flagstone Firepit Project Kit
Adirondack Chairs
Picnic Table
Striped Pillows
5 gallon buckets
Bulb String Lights

Love DIY? Check out all of my DIY projects!

Traveling Edinburgh with Kids

Last month we visited Edinburgh with kids without much expectation or planning and it was wonderful. This was our last big trip before baby Oscar's grand arrival.  Our first and targeted stop was Copenhagen but we had a few extra days in the trip to burn so we figured we could stop off at another city on the way home.  Edinburgh, in Scotland, turned out to be the most convenient with flight availability so off we went. Edinburgh with kids where they can ride the carousel at Edinburgh Castle

Traveling Edinburgh With Kids - a Wonderful Suprise

Edinburgh is a small city packed with interesting sites as well as great transportation and yummy food.  What else could I ask for? The one downside is that Edinburgh is made of fairly steep hills so climbing staircases and walking incline is mandatory.  Not usually a problem but while 8 months pregnant, it was a bit of a challenge but so worth it.
Edinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.com EdinburghJuly2016 (15 of 34)160709 We spent a little time almost every day in the Princes Street Garden park - specifically the adorable castle themed playground that sits in the shadow of the real Edinburgh castle.

Sightseeing in Edinburgh with Kids

In terms of sightseeing, we stopped at Edinburgh Castle, the Georgian House and the Hop On/Hop Off Tour as well as make a stop at Stockbridge, Edinburgh's Sunday food market and Greyfriars Kirkyard the Cemetery surrounding The Kirk. Edinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.comEdinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.com

Where to Stay when Visiting Edinburgh with Kids

We stayed in a great apartment hotel called Old Town Chambers which is located in the heart of the old city and had a kitchen and separate bedroom which made for a much more enjoyable few days (I just love going to the supermarket everywhere I go so having a kitchen makes shopping a lot more fun!) Edinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.comEdinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.com But mostly we wandered around admiring the beautiful architecture, browsing the shops and noshing on whatever we came across.  The weather threatened rain the entire time but we barely felt a drop come down so we got very lucky (or maybe that is just the way it always is there?). Edinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.comEdinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.com Edinburgh with a toddler www.brooklynlimestone.comVisiting Greyfriars Kirk when traveling Edinburgh with kids In short we really enjoyed touring Edinburgh with kids and hope to make it back soon.  In terms of child friendliness, we felt very at ease with a 3 year old and a lightweight stroller.  We didn't get a chance to take a tour of the countryside which I would have absolutely loved to do but now we have a great reason to return.

Welcome to the World!

Surprise! We welcomed baby Oscar last Saturday night and have been in the loving stupor that comes with a newborn ever since. So far, this little guy has been sweet and easy, making the adjustment as smooth as I could have ever hoped.

For anyone paying attention you might have noticed he arrived a little earlier than planned. Due to a a medical scare, he got his eviction notice at 37 weeks.  Despite this pregnancy being much more difficult than the one I had with Aggie, I was so not ready when my doctors broke the news to me that it was time!  Ok, break the news is probably the wrong term - it was more like drag me to the hospital kicking and screaming.  I really wanted those last 3 weeks to finish my to do list and mentally prepare for labor and recovery and having a baby in the house again - but you know what they say about god laughing at a plan?  Well yea, that. Thankfully, it all worked out okay (my to-do list not withstanding) and we are feeling very lucky to a healthy, baby boy to complete our little family.

While I plan to take it easy for a bit as I focus on the littles, I have some great projects to share over the next few weeks including the nursery reveal (see the design plan here), the country cottage patio (check out the living room and dining room)  and a friend's beautiful gut renovation before and afters. And of course Halloween is coming (check out prior year's spooky celebrations) so I'll be putting my nose to the grindstone on those projects soon.

As usual, I'll be sharing the occasional baby post here but if you want more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram for more of a real time look at what happens around here.

Take It Outside with Linda Facci | Beautiful Blogger Backyard Series

Have you been inspired by all the outdoor goodness in beautiful backyard series?  I hope so!  I thought it would be perfect to wrap up with a space that just calls for the weekend!  This stone cottage from Facci Designs makes me want to drive up to the Catskills and take a long weekend right here.

Aside from that adorable stone path and water feature you can see in this photo, her backyard features a gazebo and a hammock.  This is summer!  Hop over to Facci Designs to see the full before and after.

Phew!  That's the lot of them.  I hope you've loved the series.  Thank you so much to everyone who shared their outdoor spaces.  In case you missed any, click over for a peek.

Eclectically Vintage crushed it with great upcycled projects to decorate
DIY Playbook knocked not one but two patios out of the park with style
That’s My Letter takes DIY to a whole new level in her gorgeous home
Life on Virginia Street has built a resort like backyard that demands a staycation
I shared my own backyard which is very much a work in progress

Primitive + Proper has a chicken coop. Need I say more?
Migonis Home brings simple classic style back in her inviting seating areas
House 214 Design has a green thumb to spare with her lush patio
Rambling Renovators relaxes on her stylish porch 

Take it Outside with Rambling Renovators | Beautiful Blogger Backyard Series

With just 2 more days to go in the #beautifulbloggerbackyard series, we are switching it up and moving to the front of the house with Rambling Renovators.  She is sharing 2 beautiful porches to inspire a little love for the front of our houses as well.  (Insert my porch envy here!)

Just look at this sneak peek - cane back chairs and a buffalo plaid rug?  This would be beautiful indoors or out.  Hop over to Rambling Renovators to see much more.

See you back tomorrow for the final post in this series!

Take It Outside with House 214 Design | Beautiful Blogger Backyard Series

Today's beautiful backyard comes from House 214 Design - I first discovered her beautiful home on instagram and then turned to her blog to see more.  She has amazing style so I wanted to know what her outdoor space looked like too!

As you can see, she has a green thumb (something this black thumb envies hard!) and has a great point on making the outdoors work with your indoors.
I love the time of year when the cooler days slowly turn into ones filled with open windows and dinners outside on the patio. The outside becomes another place to live and another place to feel home. We have a busy household with three children. The last thing I want to create in our home is unnecessary chaos. I choose design elements that are consistent both inside and outside our home to create a calming and predictable setting.  When I stay consistent with these elements, my home doesn’t feel disjointed when moving from room to room or inside to outside. It actually creates the opposite outcome and everything flows and connects.

Well isn't that smart?  I honestly never even think about my indoor style matching my outdoor style but it makes so much sense from a serenity point of view.  Thanks for the tip Melinda!  Want to see and hear much more? Head over to House 214 Design for the full tour.

Stop by tomorrow for some porch inspiration!


Take It Outside with Migonis Home | Beautiful Blogger Backyard Series

Today's beautiful backyard belongs to the lovely Jen of Migonis Home. Her outdoor space is a great illustration of how you can have an elegant but simple outdoor space with just a few elements.

Comfy seating? Check! Full landscaping? Check! Bar cart? Check! Who wouldn't want to sip lemonade out here with Jen? Here is what she had to say about it:
We moved into this home almost exactly a year ago today and it has been amazing to have such a gorgeous spot for a backyard. In our previous home we were surrounded on every side so we never felt like we had privacy and this space gives us exactly that. I love feeling like we can host our weekly summer dinner parties in a beautiful space that we have created to be an extension of our living area inside. It's comfortable and done in my favorite neutrals with a little bit of color with the hydrangeas we are slowly adding to the yard!

Want to see more?  Head over to Migonis Home for the full tour!

I'll see you back here tomorrow for more inspiring outdoor spaces.

Take it Outside with Primitive + Proper | Beautiful Blogger Backyard Series

Another week, another 5 inspiring outdoor spaces coming up.  Today we are swinging by Primitive + Proper country backyard complete with veggie gardens and chicken coop.  She has chickens, people!  Chickens!  Something this city girl is super enamored and frightened of at the same time.  I love it!

Here is what Cassie had to say about it:
When Stefanie invited me to participate in her Beautiful Backyard series, I was thrilled, but also a little nervous.  After all, our backyard is not like the rest of our outdoor spaces which display a bit more of our style.  In the front yard we have curb appeal and a flower garden and fire pit.  We have a wraparound porch that serves as our family hangout and place to relax and read, or sip coffee or wine.  But our backyard?  Well to be quite honest, it's not what I would call beautiful, unless your idea of beauty is in functionality.  Our backyard is all about serving our family needs, and making use of our land.  We were thrilled to move out to the country 5 years ago and gain much more land in that move.  We have almost 2 acres, and we are doing our best to make use while teaching our children important life skills.  Way back behind our garage and up on a hill was a grassy open area.  We've turned that into our vegetable garden and plan to extend it next year, and add rows of cutting flowers to attract more bees and fill our vases.  Directly behind our house we've fenced in a large area, initially for our old beagle who is no longer with us.  Our current 3 dogs would much rather be anywhere we are than out roaming, so while the fence isn't needed for them as much, it has recently come in handy as we've added a chicken coop; our hens are able to free range in our fenced in back yard.  With my father's help, my husband and I built the coop ourselves over several weekends.  We were so excited to finally put it to use and more recently gather our first eggs!  A friend suggested a shelter in the middle of the yard to protect the hens even more (we have several trees for protection) from hawks.  My kids had also been asking for a trampoline, so I thought I'd kill two birds (this pun seems oh so wrong here!) with one stone; our new trampoline has the kids jumping for joy, and the hens safely under shelter.  Our backyard is by no means a well designed or manicured space, but it is a reflection of our happy and beautiful life.

Anyone else craving a fresh egg omelette right about now?  Never mind that, head over to Primitive + Proper to see more of this free range loveliness.

And in case you missed it, here is a round up of the outdoor spaces shared last week.
Eclectically Vintage crushed it with great upcycled projects to decorate
DIY Playbook knocked not one but two patios out of the park with style
That’s My Letter takes DIY to a whole new level in her gorgeous home
Life on Virginia Street has built a resort like backyard that demands a staycation
I shared my own backyard which is very much a work in progress

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