There have been a number of things that bothered me about my parents’ house since they moved in, but none irked me more than the awful corrugated metal-roof deck that sat off the family room previous to the kitchen renovation (see before pics below and read more about it here). When they moved in, they really didn’t plan on changing much. So I’d kind of come to terms with the fact that the hideous deck was probably going to be burning my eyes forever. Enter the angels from Humboldt Redwood Company, who approached me about a collaboration and ended up sponsoring this whole thing. I was obviously grateful to get to hook up my parents with a free new deck because they’re the best orMOMdo and orlandDAD any orBLOGdo could ask for.
Due to the expansion of the kitchen into the area previously occupied by part of the old deck, it had to be torn down and completely rebuilt. So it was the perfect time to scrap the old one and start fresh. The tiny one issue was that I’d never designed a deck before and I had two parents with conflicting styles (I swear, orMOMdo and orlanDAD would have been the perfect contestants on “Secrets From a Stylist”). My dad likes the more traditional craftsman style while my mom is more into contemporary. And their Frankenstein of a house (which I’m basically trying to turn into a contemporary meets traditional fantasyland) provided few clues as to what style of shade structure belonged.
As I said in my planning post, the main inspiration for this deck/shade structure came from a love of slatted rooftops and a gorgeous image of Kelly Ripa’s New York terrace. My goal with this design was to be as simple and open as possible. To let in as much light and views of the redwood trees as possible while also providing a cozy place to hang out. And, I wanted the design to be as simple as possible. My design motto, which I scream at clients constantly, is the following: The simplest solution is usually the best solution. I definitely put that into practice here.
I’m pretty in love with how the finished product turned out:
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin at the beginning. Check my previous Hommemaker post and my previous post on here to get all the dirty details of what this place looked like until very recently. The deck was a creaky old platform jutting out into the backyard on stilts. It was dark (and for some strange reason painted brown). But my parents loved it. Mostly because they’re not huge jerks like I am.
The Casa Soria backyard is pretty small, partially because the lot size isn’t huge but also because of the giant redwoods that surround the house. While these trees take up quite a bit of real estate, my parents love them because they provide awesome shade and privacy in the backyard. My parents aren’t that into yard work so this small space suits them. However, because the deck structure was going to be so small, I wanted both the upper and lower areas to be efficiently designed so they could get the most out of them. The upper portion is a lounge area/off-kitchen grill and the lower portion is an outdoor dining area used mostly when my parents have company.
You may remember the exterior of the house was beige before. Because we had to paint the whole back of the house during the kitchen renovation, my parents ended up opting to paint the whole house. We also swapped out a very drafty exterior door and all the exterior lighting (with sconces and pendants from Rejuvenation’s adorable Columbia line).
Before this shoot, I hit up Orchard Supply Hardware and bought basically every succulent they had. This backyard doesn’t really have a lot of plantable ground because most of the soil is root bound so we did mostly potted plants. Eventually, we’re thinking of adding a raised plant bed back there but for the time being, all these potted drought-tolerant plants back there seem pretty happy.
The space below the upper deck provided the best shade spot for a table (we snagged this eight-seater from Article). Eventually, I want to get a huge mirror to bounce some light (and reflect all the redwoods) to hang on that wall behind the table.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram might recognize some of those cacti from my whole Cactus Saga (in which I had to slice up a cactus I’d had for 20 years because it got too big for me to move and was dying). orMOMdo reports that the succulents and cacti actually love living in that shady spot, but we have another, sunnier spot to put them if they start to get sad with so little light.
The backyard is filled with relics from our family’s time in Yosemite, including this cute little “No Fires No Camping” sign that orlanDAD got after it was disposed of for breaking in half.
One of the best parts of the makeovers at my parents’ house has been going up to check in on them from time to time. I’ve spent a lot of time up there this year. But the last few months have been so busy with work travel and projects (most excitingly MY TV PILOT!) that I haven’t had time to head up there. But I can tell my family is really enjoying this new outdoor space. My mom has already planned a few fun family parties out there and I know she uses the upper lounge space almost daily. So this project is going to provide a great return in relation to the time and money put into making it happen.
I had a total paranoid freak out about this fire pit after I lit this fire and woke up in the middle of the night to make sure it hadn’t started a huge wildfire in the backyard (even though I’d dumped multiple buckets of water on it to make sure it was out). Casa Soria almost burnt down last year in the Sonoma County fires, so obviously that’s made everyone super cautious about any type of fire outside. The fire pit isn’t used frequently but is a nice accent to have out there and believe me we’re all super cautious about using it.
orMOMdo and I have some fun ideas about more updates we’d like to do around the yard (mostly adding in some raised plant beds so we can get more greenery and height near the fence) but overall the layout and construction of the outdoor space are done. The beautiful redwood is going to age into a gray color, which I think will be really elegant. And I can see us using this yard for years to come, because it truly is a lovely place to hang.
Here’s everything in a Get the Look I used to put my parents’ outdoor deck area together (some of the pieces you see in the images have sold out, so we sourced some similar items where noted).