Backyard Surprise - One Room Challenge Week 4 + A VIDEO!

It's week four of the One Room Challenge! This past week, I spent my ORC hours outside because I have a bit of a surprise.

If you found me through ORC, welcome! I'm Ashley and for the past three years, I've been restoring a craftsman bungalow in San Diego, CA. Learn a touch more about me here, preview the before-and-after room transformations here, and see my previous ORC rooms here and here.

The Gold Hive Backyard and Stori Modern

Guess what! I've decided to do a One and a Half Room Challenge with outdoor seating! The new back door (coming next week!) from the master bedroom to the backyard is going to transform the way we use our home. Giving access to the outdoors is such a great way to expand the size of our master with an additional living space. The problem is, our backyard isn't so great. More on that below, but first! a video recap of the week.

This Week's Video:

P.S. I'm really loving putting these weekly videos together. I hope you'll watch this quick 4-min one, then give me some feedback on what you want to see from me in video format. P.P.S. You can follow me on YouTube here!

Our backyard has been the overgrown yet under landscaped ugly duckling of the house.

The Gold Hive backyard before

The outdoor space is a remnant of the previous owner's love for hot tubbin'. As legend has it, he wanted a pool, so he got that gigantic jacuzzi - one that seats 8 adult humans! While I love a scalding hot bath, Ross and I decided the huge jacuzzi was too energy inefficient to maintain. So, it sits there empty.

We hope to completely gut the whole backyard and remove the jacuzzi, the weeds, the sloped soil, the oddly-shaped composite deck, the failing fence, the shed, and then add all new pretties. But, that project is many months out, so I wanted to upgrade a small area to create an extension of the master bedroom for the One Room Challenge.

This week, I removed a tall weed that I had been pretending was a tree and got out my trusty weed whacker. Ross was home for a total of three days (the only days he'll be home for this entire ORC) so he got to play with the power washer. He rinsed off the back of the house and cleaned up the raised veggie bed planter and the outdoor dining set. I could watch power washer magic all day (there's some in my video, if you're into it, too). Rinsing the house cleaned it up real nice, but the windows got really dirty (we, of course, didn't spray the glass) so I used my squeegee and scrubber. I don't clean my windows with anything else - ever.

The Gold Hive backyard Stori Modern.jpg

The star of the new seating area is the Stori Modern furniture. I had been eyeing their Graphic collection for ages, so I'm tickled that they fit perfectly in the area off the master. We got two of the love seats, one coffee table, and one side table. Of course, I got them in black, and the sleek tone makes even nearby weeds look cool! Maybe I'll get the orange finish for furniture at my future-yet-likely-never-to-happen-mid-century-modern-dream-house.

When I watched all of the furniture arrive on pallets I was worried about how I would set up pre-assembled furniture without another pair of hands, but then I remembered they are lightweight aluminum! So, I set them up myself and still had time to lounge around on them after breaking down the cardboard for recycling. Check out the unboxing in my video.

I have a few more accessories from Bellacor on their way (like this rug!), so I'll add additional accessories soon, but these simple pillows from target are the perfect black and white additions. I'm so thrilled to have this outdoor seating because we haven't had outdoor lounge furniture ever! The closest we came were a couple of sling chairs and hammock chairs - both of which I fell out of so I've since been traumatized. But I will not be falling out of these super solid, super comfy love seats!

Once I set up the pretty black and white seating, the rest of the yard felt extra drab. The jacuzzi is not only gigantic, but it's painted red and has a pale blue line atop it. So the eye drifts towards the eyesore instead of the crisp Stori Modern seating. Thus, there was only one solution - paint the jacuzzi black!

natalie scooching.jpg

My friend Natalie wanted to help with the One Room Challenge but felt guilty that she couldn't do much manual labor because she recently broke her foot. Lucky for her, I had a project that's perfect for her limited mobility. That girl scooched around the jacuzzi on her bum with a paint brush like it was her job. The end result is such a big improvement. I can't believe I didn't think to paint it black sooner!

Do you remember in week 2 when I removed all of the conduit on the back of the house? Well, that conduit powered our only exterior lighting. Oops. I knew I was taking away a luxury, but it was a necessary step in improving the house. I'm happy to say that we have a solution for our exterior illumination woes! Kichler is coming to the rescue and sending lighting specific for our yard and needs.

kichler lighting plan 1.png
Kichler lighting plan 2.png

The plan is to add ambient lighting along the fence and the garage ivy that I adore, then illuminate the trees. This, paired with a couple of path lights will make for a nice moody yard that will be perfect for entertaining, or just evening hour lounging. I'm also excited about this portable lantern that even has a speaker! You know I love my tunes. We're doing all low-voltage LED lighting to reduce energy consumption, which is a hobby of mine - looking at our electricity usage each week is a joy. I worked directly with the lovely team at Kichler to design my lighting plan, but their products are available at a bunch of retailers so you can check everything out in person and chat with helpful folks about installation.

Stay tuned for more progress like the addition of the Pella door, the finishing touches on the board and batten, and the full reveal! Be sure to follow along on Instagram Stories where I share live updates and ask for your advice when I can't make choices. ORC products are starting to arrive, so I'm also giving away sneak peaks in my Stories! Even if you watch the videos on the blog, please subscribe to my YouTube channel to support future videos. If you aren't already subscribed to the blog, you can do that here.

Psst! To jump into the future and see how this room turned out, click here!

Then, check out progress from my fellow featured designers below, and don't miss out on the guest participants!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive
Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design
Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators
Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style
Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

I'd like to give a big thanks to this week's featured sponsors, Stori Modern, Kichler, Pella, and Bellacor. I'm so grateful to be a featured designer on this round of the One Room Challenge which connects me with these brands I've admired for years! While many of the products in this makeover were generously provided by brands, all opinions and product selections are my own.

This Week's Sources