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Finally - sunshine. Patio upgrade time.

Almost every client I have ever had, has asked for one thing in common, outdoor space.

Here in Chicago, we get a couple months of sunshine, beauty, long days and short nights. There's an energy that changes when the days get longer and the sun shines warmer. We all come out of hibernation and suddenly must do everything outside. If an activity is meant for indoors, we find a way to do it outside or it gets pushed on the calendar till October. We all refer to this phenomenon as "summertime Chi". The city (AND suburbs, by the way!) become invigorated with energy. Energy I can only compare to a high school graduate. The city acts like for the first time it ever, it is free of responsibilities, assignments, deadlines and any actual productivity. Work days get cut short, every evening turns into a happy hour on a patio and weekends are spent grilling, tanning, boating and enjoying every molecule of warm air.

We spent 60-70% of the year indoors. We look for the perfect homes to hug us and comfort us when the outside air is 20 degrees colder than what I respectfully describe as - frigid. But for that 30-40% of the year, we want patios, and rooftops, and balconies. We want to be free of our cozy bear dens. And so, each and every client comes to me and says the following, "I know its silly because I'll only get to use it for a few months but outdoor space is non-negotiable."

Here's the sad part about all of this.


Only 10% of my clients actually know what to do with their outdoor spaces once they get them. Huge plans are talked about when signing leases and purchase contracts. Furniture, grills, built-ins, outdoor tvs, planters - the list goes on and on as if the space will be used every day for the rest of our lives. But after costs of moving, indoor furniture shopping and just settling in, these poor outdoor spaces get forgotten. A few folding chairs, a flippy cup table and the bags set ("cornhole" for my non-chicagoans) from college are actually the elements that make up so many outdoor spaces.

I'm here to help! Here are some examples with links. Let's do better. I believe in all of us.

( Furry friend in the middle picture doesn't have a shopping link - he's priceless <3 )

Couch: I searched and searched for the perfect couch. Wayfair and Hayneedle have some good choices (and good sales) but I chose this one from World Market...also on sale!

Pillows: Does Crate and Barrel ever do wrong?

Outdoor rug: No sense in spending a ton on this. It's going to take the brunt on the outdoor wear and tear. Go cute and cheap. Easy to switch out every year or two. Thank you Target!

Tables: This was also a hard find for me. Maybe the hardest piece of this entire patio. I got my perfect size at Home Goods. They always have the best one offs - but you gotta search for 'em.

Planters: Don't re-invent the wheel, Home Depot always has the cheapest and best.

Flowers: I love local garden centers. Great way to support your own community.

My favorite - Adams & Son Gardens (1057 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622)

Lights: Amazon. Amazon. Amazon. I've done the price matches for you.

Accessories: Let's talk patio size/friendly firepits. We call these magical creations - fire columns. Thank you Target!

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