One of my dreams has always been to raise my family in the country, as well as to raise them in the outdoors! Being outside whenever possible is vital to my family, so when we were building we just knew we needed all of our outdoor spaces to be something special. A huge thanks to North Carolina’s amazing weather and the incredible companies we worked with on each aspect of this outdoor living DREEEEAM to make it a reality!!
One of the best parts about our new home is that it is actually designed to make us WANT to be outside more than in–which seems counterintuitive, since the point of having a house is being inside…but we’re alllll about being outside as much as we can. We have a large “porte couche” (which is basically a drive-through carport) so we have easy access to the front door and somewhere for guests to park out of the elements. The entire exterior of our home is painted “Alabaster” from Sherwin Williams and it took me forever to choose, but I’m so happy with it. There are about 23092 shades of white and I wanted to find one that isn’t creamy/yellow but also isn’t so stark white that it burns your eyeballs when the sun shines on it. Alabaster is PERFECT and I also painted 95% of the interior of our home with the same color. The Lantern lights that flank our front door are the Darlana Large Tall Bracketed Wall Lantern in bronze with clear glass from Circa Lighting and I chose matching lanterns at all of the exterior doors of the house for continuity (and because I LOVE them!).
We used Pella Windows for the entire house because we wanted the best quality windows and great customer service, and we got just what we asked for. We wanted black window frames which is something that I was so nervous about, but we pulled the trigger and it was the perfect choice for us. Throughout the house, we used a combination of casement and double-hung windows, all with a clad exterior (a maintenance-free product, which I LOVE) and wood frames on the interior. We painted nearly all the interior window frames “Tricorn Black” from Sherwin Williams and the exterior frames were already black metal upon arrival.
Caribou Creek Log Homes are the masterminds behind these handcrafted Douglas Fir gables and wood beams on the outside of our home, and I really can’t say enough how much I feel like this ties it all together for the exterior. The crisp white, black window contrast, and log beam dreaminess?? How is this even real life? The quality of materials used means that Leni’s grandchildren will still be enjoying the view a looooong time from now. We also added some cedar shake accents on the dormers to pull the wood beam details together and even though they’re different species of wood, they ended up blending really nicely.
I really wanted barn lights somewhere around the house so I found these beauties above our garage from Barn Light Electric and they worked out great! They’re the perfect dark contrast to the outside of our home, and look chunky-yet-modern. On top of that, their products are AMERICAN MADE (scooooore!!) and are such a great design piece that is reasonably priced. The specs on our Barnlight garage lights are: Bomber Porcelain LED Gooseneck Lights in 17″ shade, 150-black, G64 Gooseneck arm with 110-black finish.
Now we’re moving around to the back of the house where we spend ALL OUR TIME. I know this is #firstworldproblems but I was having a hard time designing our backyard pool area because I had a certain idea of what I wanted it to look like (country, rustic, natural) but it was easy once I found Belgard!! For the pool deck, we chose their Lafitt Grana pavers in “Hatteras,” because they look and feel so natural and they don’t get hot when you walk on them. We really wanted a pool in the backyard because NC summers are HOT, but I wanted it to blend with our country-style home and not look too fancy or flashy… these pavers are beautiful while paying homage to the beauty that surrounds it in our country backyard. The pool itself is 18x32ft concrete with a dark bottom (again, to blend with the natural ‘country look’ so it wasn’t the typical bright blue pool color) and an automatic pool cover (it opens and closes with the turn of a key!). We chose pavers because they are much stronger than traditional poured concrete, and Belgard is so confident in the product strength, it offers a Lifetime Transferable Limited Warranty. It’s also insanely hassle-free in terms of maintenance, and it helps maintain the look of our pool and will for a loooong time to come. Summer, where you at?!
You can’t exactly live in an outdoor oasis with no grass, so we got a TONNNNN of it from Super-Sod—they’re pros at what they do and make the absolute best sod and soil products out there. It was honestly like magic. One morning I left the house when our entire yard was dirt and mud and I came back from a day of meetings and POOF–GRASS!! They bring the rolled-up sod on trucks and literally roll it out in rows and as it grows, it all blends together into one, big, beautiful YARD! The photos still show some of the ‘seams’ between the rolls since it just got installed, but it will be INCREDIBLE once it all blends together. I can’t recommend their gorgeous sod enough, orrrrr their fertilizer and organic compost soil from Soil3. More on that later as Leni and I try to REALLY live farm-to-table and grow our own veggies in our backyard garden later this year!!
When I’m outside looking at our dreamy new pool/pavers/country living situation, I get to kick back on our furniture from Summer Classics! It’s the exact look of clean, neutral, and rustic that I was going for in our outdoor space, and the fact that it’s legitimately comfortable makes my heart so happy. We got two of the Astoria Swivel chairs in “Oyster,” the Haley Sofa in “Oyster Teak,” and the cushions are the color “Verona Aloe.” We also got throw pillows that come with the Haley Sofa in “Linen Dove!” I love the back of the sofa because you can see it from our kitchen and it adds to our “farmhouse” theme with the X design on the back of it.
This is where I sneak out to sit for morning devotion and coffee time, but where I’ll also be spending a tonnnnn of time by the poolside come spring and summer!! Aside from the furniture looking beautiful, it’s super functional and all the upholstery is performance fabric, so it can be bleached and washed and scrubbed and won’t fade in the sun. I love light furniture but I also have babies so this is the best of both worlds.
On our patio, we also have four glass sliding Panoramic Doors that stack on top of each other so we can have a 16ft opening between the kitchen and patio, and we love that it makes us feel like we’re in the beautiful outdoors while we’re sitting at our kitchen island. To make it even sweeter, we have retractable screens from Phantom Screens, so we can open those all the way up so the patio is wide open, or lower them down for some extra bug protection. The patio is a DREAM and I basically live out there.
I love being in the outdoors, and I REALLY loved designing and building our home around the outdoors as well. We actually have another porch that hasn’t been decorated yet, so you can expect another blog about that space down the line! Comment below, and let me know what you want to see from the home tour next!
Super-Sod-Sod & Fertilizer/Soil
Summer Classics-Outdoor furniture
Barnlight–Exterior garage lighting
Sherwin Williams-Exterior and Interior Paint
Caribou Creek Log Homes-Gables and Outdoor Wood Beams
Phantom Screens–Retractable Screens for patio
Circa Lighting-Lanterns beside exterior doors
Panoramic Doors-Doors from the kitchen to patio
Simply Amish-Farm table
Photo credit to Jennifer Wilson Photography!!