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Need inspiration for a space that needs some sprucing? We’re here for you!

We are currently accepting spaces to provide general renovation and design inspiration – free of charge! Call us suckers for a project. All we ask in exchange is permission to use your before photo and our inspiration board for use on our social media outlets.

Whether it be a bathroom makeover, kitchen remodel or decorating for a new little one- we’re here to throw some ideas together for you.

{Please allow 1-2 weeks for us to do some magic.}


Luke’s “Dos Gringos” Backyard Cantina

Luke wrote to us about turning his backyard into a “Dos Gringos” themed cantina – and we love the idea! Dos Gringos is a local haunt for Phoenicians and has just the right amount of rustic flair (and the tequila doesn’t hurt!).

Dos Gringos

Here is what Luke’s backyard currently looks like. So much potential!

Luke's Backyard 2 Luke's backyard 1

A good place to start is the actual structure that should be built to create your grilling/hangout area. A large pergola to define the space and provide some shade in our hot summers is the way to go.  We would first suggest measuring your space to see how much room you have, keeping in mind that most city building departments require structures over 3 feet tall to be 5-10 feet away from your property line and 10 feet away from a pool.

We also love the idea of creating a sunken/stepped down patio. The purpose of this is two fold. First it helps further define the space, especially if you want the area larger than the pergola structure itself (which should be at least 12×12). Secondly, it allows you to keep a high ceiling in the area. Due to the fact that most HOAs have 10′ height restrictions on separate  structures on your property, many backyard patio structures end up looking either too small or feel cramped underneath. By both bringing the floor down and building the roof as a pergola instead of a pitched tile roof (which would take away a lot of your available height limit) you should be able to have a structure that “feels” much higher.

Sunken patio
Along with this sunken area under the pergola and possibly an extended area for additional seating or a firepit, we always like to see the use of staggering heights built with pavers or stuccoed block throughout landscaping.

Staggered pavers

To tie in the real Dos Gringos cantina feel we would also suggest the purchase and install of a couple large trees close to the structure and possibly somewhere else in the yard that you could add Christmas lights to.

Another neat idea we had to tie in the cantina theme and possibly the area into the house would be to add an additional small gable above your back patio door out of galvanized steel siding. This would really give your back yard some of that cantina feel but not too much as the large pergola would still be wood. We recommend at lease 4x8s for that. This will help tie into the new structure with the use of more Christmas or string lights. A nice lit area between your back door and the new area would really help direct the flow of people to go check it out.

Other things to note, be sure to check with your city’s building codes to see setback requirements and make sure drainage in the sunken areas are planned for. Also, PLEASE don’t make the area too far away from the house. Too many times you see people build nice covered areas, fireplaces or other structures for recreation in there backyard that are just too far away from the house and not inviting. They never get clean or used and you are left staring out your window just wishing you had spent the money on something else. Build whatever you do well, make it inviting and make it close so people actually use it.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your project!

Brandon & Summer

 Jess’s Family Room Makeover

Our good friend Jess wrote us looking for a bit of inspiration for her new home. She lives with her husband and adorable 1 year old son and hasn’t had the chance to do all the things they want to the home yet – I think we can all relate! They have some great ideas on upgrading the kitchen and dining area, so I decided to focus on ideas for the family room. Here is the room now.


For most families, this room is the heart of the home (assuming the kitchen is the soul!). We spend so much time in the family room lounging around, entertaining guests, spending holidays and crawling around on the floor with little ones. It needs to be comfortable and practical, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw style out the window!

For Jess’s family room makeover, I combined earth tones with a variety of textiles and personal touches to make the room one her family will enjoy for years to come.

Any good room starts with paint color, and for those that know us best know that we love gray. Our last home had 5 different shades of it. I love Collonade Gray, Modern Gray, City Loft and Agreeable Gray from Sherwin Williams. Of course Home Depot or Lowes can also color match any of these colors. They may look dark on the swatches, but they aren’t quite that stark once they are up. I would suggest getting at least 4 options and painting a splash of them on the walls before deciding which you like best.

Sherwin Willaims Gray Another important foundational piece of the room will be the flooring. Jess mentioned replacing the flooring in the kitchen, dining and family areas with a wide plank wood floor. We love that idea and think it would be perfect for the rooms. BuildDirect has a great selection of wide plank flooring with very competitive prices. I’m loving the gray wash floors right now and this Oak Seashell Gray Engineered floor is actually on clearance right now!

Wide Plank Flooring

Now you have painted walls and wood floors – on to the fun stuff!

Jess collage_numbers

1. The first piece to focus on after floors and paint will be the fireplace mantel. Keeping the existing black elements of the fireplace, you can frame in the fireplace and add a mantel to add more interest and substance – making it a true focal point of the room. You’ll need to be pretty handy to make this a DIY project, but it’s doable! You can also find a carpenter in your area to quote you for the project. Make sure to see samples of their work before hiring them! You can see our mantel makeover here.

2. With the wood floors, you’ll want a nice rug for the kiddos to crawl around on. This will also add warmth to the room in the cool winter months. Wayfair has some great selections and good prices.

3. The family room is the perfect place for an art collage wall. This can include wedding pictures, kid drawings, favorite prints and photographs of your adventures. Maybe even a framed marathon bib! For more art wall ideas, check out our past post.

4. I love the trestle table trend right now, and think these pieces are classic and only look better as they get worn in. This one is from Home Decorators. Their prices are affordable, which is perfect for a piece that will be used and abused by the whole family.

5. I’m slightly obsessed with poufs and cubes and right now. These are from West Elm and come in a variety of colors and sizes. They are perfect for extra seating on the fly as well as little impromptu tables. Stack a couple in an open corner of the room to fill a void and add a pop of color.

6. These baskets from Land of Nod are perfect for the existing shelving in Jess’s family room. They are great for storing toys, magazines and remotes. My mother in law picked up some super cute ones at a fraction of the price at Tuesday Morning as well!

7. Finally, the pillow. The classic couch staple. Add a few in coordinating colors and sizes to finish off the new comfy family room.

West Elm pillos

I hope we were able to give you a bit of inspiration for your family room makeover. You’ll have to add the most important part of course, and that’s your beautiful family! Keep us posted on your projects!




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