Interior Design App tile drawing


ORC Week 2: My Go to Resources and DIY Dilemmas

Floorplan of the Outdoor living room

This will be set up as both a Dining room and outdoor living room.


Oh boy,  this space is a biggie so I will be tapping into some of my favorite budget go to resources.  This covered porch is large enough for two living spaces. There are a few existing items staying.   I have some DIY Dilemmas that seem to be surfacing.  **Also note that I have one highly coveted corner fireplaces. (ehem)  Which causes furniture layout problems. We will also get to discuss the real issues that happen when you are working on an outdoor space.


I live in Austin Texas and when working outside I have to consider how the materials will respond to the weather.

Pink chairs and poolside at a boutique hotel

Personally I would love to be here..  This would be the pool I would put in if they were free.

Outdoor is very important from a design perspective. 

I’ve had a chandelier spin until it broke from the ceiling destroying everything in its path. Many fun rendezvous, highlighting the rusting characteristics of iron and how it shows up in flooring and stone. If it’s wind or it’s rain.   Weather can cause some real problems.   But… the reality is, that here, it is a summer inferno and we don’t get much rain or reprieve.

I select furniture based on the climate. The Austin, Texas climate.

  1.  Austin has a fun ‘Yellow-Green Season’.
  2.  Heat is important to mitigate.
  3.  Bugs and Snakes also live here.  Air movement keeps away bugs and makes the outdoor season longer. Snakes curl up on cool areas of stone.
  4.  Wind shows up and it will really do a number on what is outside.
  5.  Even without the salt exposure here, if it can rust,– it will rust.

Based on those factors above each item was selected based on these questions:

  1. How hot does it get?  Does it get hot to the touch? How hot? Does it give off heat?
  2. Can we move it easily? too easily? could it fly away?
  3. Can I clean the crazy dumping (wanted to say dusting but it isn’t accurate) of Yellow-Green pollen off of it?  How will this look with a yellow green tint?
  4. Will it rust?
  5. How can I reduce and detract bugs and their nature friends snakes?

How to beat the heat:

I chose to keep all of the surfaces light in color. I am a contrast junkie. I prefer dark rugs to ground a space and boy would I love to stain the concrete floors.  But the reality of making the heat gain increase and radiate is a no go.  Even planters need to be bought in a lighter color to keep the plants happier.

Fans are really important. We have an outdoor grill and the goal is to push the air away and out of the house.

Shade, avoid direct sunlight as much as possible.

Yellow Green Season:

It’s Texas’s snow season but with tree pollen.  I kept the textile a darker tone and  chose a light neutral tone for the tables and rugs.  I also went for wood tones with a naturally flawed look.  It hides a bit more of the pollen than dark colors or straight white or glass.


Furniture raised up on legs with a clear line of site is my go to.   I can see the critters and they can’t hide under anything. I also went with lighter rugs and kept corners clear of clutter.

Textures and colors of The new Outdoor space

Could this be vacation?


Have I mentioned that I am not a good designer?

So not.  I love everything and lots of it, aaaannnndd I am not a true maximalist. This one can’t pull off the total use of multiple colors and lots of pattern.  I am a simple foundation.  Let your eyes rest and explore, type of person and I can’t do all white.  I tore it out in the 90’s so I am still over melamine cabinets and pure white countertops. What I do love is a lot of neutral foundation, wood-tones and a naturally occurring palette.  Could I find this in Nature?  Yes.  So I know that I will love it.

To design is to refine:

Not ever letting myself go too far down the >>” Oh and I love that too” << rabbit hole. I decided to pick something that reminds me of the ocean and its many colors.  The dark nebulous blues of the pacific and the vibrant turquoise waters of the Caribbean.  In our landscaping we pick up these purple-red plants to add some contrast so I am bringing those in as well.

Where to go for a designer on a budget:


Bam… You are taking a chance of getting something you may not love or that smells like coffee and cigarettes. But it is totally worth the risk. I look for Turkish rugs, pillows and towels online here.  I have had mixed experiences with vendors but most of them get you the rug in 5 days.  You can pick up a killer kitchen runner or something a dog can throw up on for a few hundred dollars. They are so much more interesting than a typical store bought rug.  The clean up easily from pet messes.   Plus they are made of natural fibers. And the ***bonus is that you can work with a color palette that is not buyable in the United States.  Why?  We like a more muted color palette and tend to not go out of it.

I can tap into a higher end color palette by going out of the US.

Round top:

I didn’t get to go this year but I buy buy buy at round top.  Like my whole world is in adult Disneyland and I have no reason to go home when I am there.


It’s again the idea of frequency of being seen. Buying cheap and mainstream is easier to date and and looks like everyone else’s stuff.  It’s just how it goes and CB2 goes to the unique designer high-end look but on a  designer budget.


I do have to admit on this project. I found the best outdoor rugs were at Target.  They will need to endure rounds  of Yellow-Green season.  If they need to be replaced there is no love lost. I am in a pandemic and I gotta get it done and they are delivering!

Design DIY’s and Do I don’ts?

This is the real question.  These transformations take elbow grease and effort to create drama.  I am going to show you my DIY “do” ideas. Annnd if I don’t that might be ok too.

Cabinet that needs to be replainted

Welcome to Rojo Diablo, the Red devil.

It takes 4 people to move it and I am just not doing red. It’s been red a loong time and It needs a change.  Currently, looking at vinyl car wraps and tile solutions to make this part of our home. As I work through ideas.  This piece has become a wild card for me…   It’s staying.  Having storage is a dream. We can put gardening items in it, bird food and cushions.  If we were to remove it, I am sure it would take a chain saw.  We also find the wrens love the wine rack for nesting. They are fun to watch.


Stone looks like legos

Lego My house-o.  This was our least favorite feature about the house.

We called this the house of legos when we considered buying it.  I like the limestone and the grey leuders.  The sandstone or gold leuders that is in there is too much. Freckles are our friends.  My cutie has them across his nose but house freckles.  We have a problem.  One side of our house has a batch of them that are rusting down the side of the white house.  I want to experiment with lime washing the specific dark ones and see if it turns out. This is a wild experiment and I may get the big F on it. Who knows let’s try it.


Make sure you check out other rooms during the one room challenge.

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It’s gonna be good stay tuned.


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  1. Suzi Rugg says:

    “You are taking a chance of getting something you may not love or that smells like coffee and cigarettes”- this made me LOL! I like your DIY ideas – can’t wait to see if you accomplish something for the “house freckles!”

  2. House freckles LOL! I gotta say we have a lot of the same issues here in New England – rust, pollen season, mosquitoes and gnats, and then we have the joy of snow on top of everything else! We’re fairly scarce on snakes thank GOD., I’ve only seen one sunning in my yard in the last 30 years….nothing creeps me out more than snakes, and the thought of them appearing in my outdoor sanctuary would send me over the edge! This is going to be a lovely space – your colors are fantastic and I love the mood board!

  3. Leslie Carothers says:

    *House freckles* is my new favorite phrase! I love it. And the idea of snakes curling up on the cool stone there in Austin never even occurred to me!

    I love how you filtered all of your choices through he specific climatic and wildlife conditions there.

    I am looking forward to following the process, Maria

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