Project Patio: From Grey to Groovy
Concrete Patio - Post Colorwash

Being designers is like being professional fidgeters. It's really hard to sit still if it something isn't to our iiking.

So, after a few months of staring at our new patio in its slabby, gray monochrome conformity, we knew we had to do something about it. Something big. Something bold and colorful. 

We opted for concrete stain, and specifically, a far more artistic / extreme version of it than is typically used in residences. Our neighbor who has a clear view into our backyard was thinking concrete texturing as well - and sweetly handed us a pamphlet filled with lovely, elegant and restrained designs that looked like beach pebbles and sandy walkways a few weeks back. We were grateful he'd thought of us. We didn't have the heart to tell him we were already on board with a concept more Sid & Marty Kroft than Martha Stewart.

DSC_0050As of yesterday, the project wrapped up. We got an amazing deal for all the work involved, and I can honestly tell you there have been few projects with which we've been happier.

Days of sanding and prepping and cutting, two coats of concrete texture, umpteen drying days, 4 gallons of acid color, 3 full days of staining and layering and tweaking, 4 days worth of shine coating - all to achieve this look which some would say is similar to the effect of the Ringling Bros. clown posse having a paintgun hoe-down in our backyard. We love it! Once the whole vision is complete, I think the neighbors might stop weeping.

DSC_0052Meanwhile, we're beside ourselves, running to the windows every chance we get and looking at our patio with  grins on our faces. It feels so good on your feet, too. We love the way the water beads on top of it, and how the colors so incredibly change throughout the day - one minute you'll see turquoise, the next, new-leaf green. One minute it looks like patinaed copper, the next an ancient slab near a tropical waterfall. 

We're saving now for the next phase of the project - new windows and doors for the east side of the house. We're going to tackle refurbishing our arbor, removing screws, repairing the cracks and termite damage, and sanding it ourselves... that should be fun, especially in the blazing hot San Diego sun!

The strange thing? At the end of the day, when you're sweaty and covered in sawdust and achy - it's still so worth it. You get to see and live in the work you've put into a place, wallowing in the tangible rewards of your labor. When everything you usually create is two-dimensional, existing in a virtual world, going analog is a nice change.



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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >