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Filed in DESIGN & STYLING, PROJECTS & DIY — March 28, 2022

I always feel nervous and even a little silly on reveal days – that aren’t from a major refresh or design makeover standpoint. I do know for so many of us though and in my experience, the little changes can make such a difference. So, while this reveal is nothing compared to the work we put in last season on our huge outdoor overhaul – it’s still worth sharing and celebrating!


To start, we gave our deck a fresh coat of our favorite stain, we use Sherwin Williams Super Deck Solid in color Realist Beige. It’s a solid coat stain that mimics the look of paint but it’s stain. It held up really well from our harsh winter minus a few scuffs (mostly the walkway from our dog).

Last year we used Rustoleum high heat spray paint to paint our fire pit and I love it! Add black lava rock and you’ve got that dreamy Seaside or Cali look for so much less!

Next, I knew there were a few areas of concern with the patio I wanted to refresh from last season. I love a good white and black contrast, but our patio felt very dark with all the dark accents and our sage green siding. One thing I love about our front exterior is it’s all white brick so the black really pops. However, doing that on the back of our home doesn’t offer the same punch with the siding.


After living with our columns stained in Behr Cordovan Brown (same as our front & outdoor furniture) I realized I’d prefer it match the deck, so we stained over those to tie in better. I also loved the idea of string lights in white, less black accents. Same with our French doors. Painted them from Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (like our front) to Sherwin Williams Pure White. So glad we did!


One final project I really hoped to add was creating a privacy screen on both sides of our patio from the retaining wall up. The price of lumber is high, very very high. The size we’d need would have been $800 total. Instead, we used metal coping and eye hooks from Home Depot spray painted them white and installed them as our curtain rod. Then, added inexpensive but pretty faux linen curtain sheers. I love the romantic feel of this and how airy it feels. It lets in so much light but also shades the patio, also gives me such a resort vibe that I love!

This patio isn’t my design at all – the pavers, retaining wall, we’d do it completely different. We’ve considered it but we also thought we were moving last year, and again this year, and well now with a baby coming in a couple weeks we’re here for a bit but pricing has gone up so much. We have big plans, but life needs to settle down first. This is such a good reminder that we can and should love our home now. Not when we can afford to do the full renovation. Simple, affordable, impactful changes can make all the difference in the in-between!


Overall, I love the vibe of Saint Tropez, the bright white exteriors in Florida, and the desert or California casual. Think Lulu & Georgia with hints of Serena & Lily. If I had to place it. But on a budget. I’m here to show you – you CAN create the home you want and love for less, in the in-between, in the now! So, what do you think?? Keep a look out for a porch blog post next. Hope you enjoyed this look!

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Founder and Principal Designer.
I created Grace Oaks Designs based on a need for attainable design. I kept coming back to my signature style time after time and realized, this is it! We bridge the gap creating attainable design for the modern family. Home tells our stories. It's the cornerstone of where we're going and where we've been. Where beautiful style meets comfort and functionality. For an elevated everyday. It's our safe haven. Which is why I'm so passionate about creating refined casual interiors. Elevated yet livable. Because I want you to love coming home. 

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I'm Hillary

Grace Oaks Designs is an interiors and lifestyle brand located in Central IL. We offer inspiration and design services to help you elevate your everyday.