Never thought I'd use the word "unicorn" in a design blog post... but here we are. What is truly a unicorn when it comes to NYC apartment living?
O U T D O O R S P A C E !
My clients and friends, Caity and Eric, went through the legendary saga of trying to find an apartment in Manhattan that fit their budget, needs and style. And BOY did they find a gem! A truly unique 1 bedroom apartment in the Manhattan financial district that had a PATIO. As if that wasn't enough, this patio was BIGGER than the apartment!! They knew they had to take the apartment, and once they'd styled up the apartment, they wondered, "how do we make this patio space as epic as it is unique?"
I was thrilled to come in and work with Caity to build out a design plan that featured a DIY daybed to lounge on, refreshing an existing table and lounge chairs they got for *free* from a neighbor, and kicking things off with an epic "housewarming" patio party.
We started off with a great space, incredible view... and shabby but FREE furniture.
This view though:
I started out putting an inspiration board together to capture the vibe Caity wanted, taking some Pinterest inspiration to settle on an inviting, Boho Chic aesthetic. To accomplish this, we decided to focus on a large daybed to provide some luxurious seating and allow us to bring in textiles to add color and texture, add a large rug to break up the patio space into defined areas, and paint their table a bright happy blue!
I found inspiration on Pinterest for a DIY patio daybed, but unfortunately the link to the actual instructions and measurements had expired. So I decided to just do the measurements custom to the outdoor cushions we ended up ordering (on sale from World Market). I decided not to make the cushions because water proofing them was going to cost a ton of time and money. Then I also had to think through adding back support for cushions and pillows because this wouldn't be up against a wall like the example daybed.
I drew everything out with the measurements I wanted, and just got all the wood custom cut at Home Depot (gotta love that they cut it for you!). Then headed over to Caity's with a suitcase full of tools! Lol - totally normal, right?.
Also hilarious - only in NY would we have to unload the wood from my Prius by illegally parking in front of the Trump Tower on Wall Street and use a bell cart from Caity's doorman... :-)
Building this out was such a fun day! Caity became a true DIY Woman in just one afternoon and I was so proud of her! You can see through the pictures below, it's pretty simple. Just built 3 frames and then connected them to two side frames for the base.
**TIP: Even though it took longer, we pre-drilled all the holes before drilling in the screws so the wood wouldn't split. I had learned that the hard way on a previous bed frame build!
Then we put plywood on top and mounted plywood backs to create a corner support for cushions and pillows. We stained any of the wood that would be exterior facing and that really took the look to the next level.
As we went, we added 2-3 coats of clear polyurethane to protect all the wood from the elements since it will be exposed to rain and snow and hopefully last at least a couple of years! All in all, it took about two full days to build since we had to wait periodically for stain and poly to dry.
So comfortable and relaxing already lol:
TA DA! We got us a daybed folks!
Next, we took a trip to Home Goods and World Market to pick out pillows and nick knacks.
I'm a big fan of doing an in-person trip for these items to finish off a space if you're able to, although picking things out online according to a design plan is always a great option too & what I love doing for e-design clients!
Caity found some things she loved that day though and we went home and set things up to get ready for a kick-ass housewarming party!
The finishing touch was inviting friends over to enjoy this fabulous terrace! We made a balloon backdrop for Instagram photos, and Caity is super extra and even got a musician to come play acoustic guitar that night so we added a little corner for him with an extra rug I had and a chair.
This cute bar was an old Ikea desk that we just added some stained wood to the top and bottom of:
FRIENDS and... Caity, the hostess with the most-est:
Note on a couple other little touches that really brought the space to life:
String lights hung along the fence with antique brass hooks Caity found at a Harlem flea market, and luckily Caity has a green thumb and by the time we had the party, her plants were out of control:
As mentioned, we sanded down and painted the old table this bright blue + added a cute lantern from Caity's dad, some plants, and gold accents:
And because Caity is also a certified DIY badass now, one weekend after we built the daybed she sanded down and stained the old patio lounge chairs and got fresh new cushions and pillows for them that looked amazing:
And Finally, I'm thrilled to report that the daybed has been a huge hit with Caity's two cats, and they've basically taken it over as their cat bed :-) I'd call that a success.
Even in the fall, I know Caity & Eric and their friends will continue to enjoy this amazing patio for game nights, movie nights, and cozying up under a blanket with the kitties. It was an honor and so much fun to help them transform this unicorn NY space into a functional and stylish extension of their home where they love to hangout.
Shout me out if you give this cool daybed DIY project a try! It really was pretty doable. And if you'd like to try doing a design for an outdoor space with my help, just hit me up on the REQUEST SERVICES or CONTACT page! I really love doing these spaces so clients can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible!
The Blue Room