Duo Ventures

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Baby #2 Gender Reveal!

Looks like we will be adding another little BOY to the mix!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DIY Outdoor Wood Sofas

After we finished our DIY deck back in March, it became even more apparent that we needed more outdoor seating.  The only seating we had at the time was a round patio table with 4 chairs.

Initially, we looked around for sectionals, but everything we liked was at least $2,500.  Then we came across some plans to build your own outdoor sofa from Ana White...for around $50 in lumber!  The cushions are the most expensive part of this project, but even so, we were able to build 3 sofas for under $800 total.

Here is the original Ana White sofa design that we modeled our sofas after:

Ana White Outdoor Sofa Plans

It's a great basic design, but I wanted to modify it slightly by adding a couple more 2x4's for extra back support, as well as some 2x2's under the arm rests for more detail.

We also built our sofas to the size of our cushions, so we used one less 2x4 on the seat bottom.  Our sofa seats ended up being about 23.5" deep.  Here's a comparison of the original vs. our sofa:

I assumed the most difficult part of this project would actually be finding cushions that we liked in our budget, so we decided to pick out our cushions first & then build the sofas to those specific dimensions.  Ideally, I wanted something in the grey family, but the few grey cushions I came across were either too brown, too thin, or too expensive.  We ended up going with the IKEA KUNSO cushions in black instead:

Here are the dimensions of our cushions:
Back cushion dimensions:
Width: 24 3/8 "
Depth: 17 3/8 "
Thickness: 7 1/8 "

Bottom cushion dimensions:
Width: 24 "
Depth: 24 "
Thickness: 4 "

The entire sofa was built out of pine 2x4's, with the exception of the "X" detail under the arms - which were pine 2x2's.  We did not use treated lumber for this project since I planned on staining & sealing the sofas - so we saved a little money by going with regular pine AND the lumber was also not as heavy since it wasn't treated.  If you can afford to build with cedar, that is the way to go for outdoor furniture (since we were on a budget we went with pine).  My dad helped us build the first sofa, but then we were on our own for the remaining two.

Before we added the "X" detail:

Another change we made was to the top 2x4 on the back rest - we decided to attach the 2x4 vertically to give the back a little more height and notched out the ends to fit on top of the arm rests:

Here are the sofas after we added the 2x2 X detail under the arms:

For extra support, we also screwed in two vertical 20" 2x4 supports on the back of each sofa:

*UPDATE* Here are some more detailed photos of the back of the sofas from April 2020:

Once all three sofas were assembled, I filled the holes with exterior wood filler & gave them a light sanding all over.  I focused on the edges - particularly around the arm rests.

Next, I gave them all one coat of semi-transparent stain & sealer in the color Pewter by Rustoleum:

The stain is subtle in person (and even more difficult to tell the difference in photos), but the stain sort of reminds me of that gray driftwood Restoration Hardware look.  I could have done a second coat of stain, but I was honestly exhausted & just wanted to be done.  You can see the stain the best in this photo:

Ana's original lumber list only calls for (11) 2x4x10' boards, but because of our modifications we ended up needing to buy the following for each sofa:
(12) 2x4x10'
(1) 2x4x8'
(2) 2x2x8'

Here is the final approximate cost breakdown:

$65 lumber + $180 cushions = $245

$195 lumber + $540 cushions = $735

We also spent $37 in stain, so our total cost was about $772 ($735 + $37).  Please keep in mind there can be other costs involved depending on what materials, tools, or stains you already have on hand.  We already had the screws we needed (mostly 2 1/2" & some 4" galvanized screws), sandpaper, wood glue, and tools - so all we needed to purchase was the lumber & stain.

Overall, we love the sofas - they are comfortable & very sturdy!  Since I didn't give step by step instructions, please let me know if you have any questions on our building process.

We also ended up building an X-base dining table for our new deck as well.  I will write a post on how we built that in the near future...

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 7, 2017

DIY Floating Ground-Level Deck

Over the last year or so we have started making some major improvements in our backyard space.  For years, we had always thought about adding a fence, but with no pets or kids to wrangle we would ultimately decide to bypass the added expense.  However, when Sami was about 1 1/2 years old, it became very clear that we absolutely needed a fence to keep him contained.

The fence was definitely worth the splurge, but we quickly realized that we also needed to address our patio situation.  The small 10x10 concrete patio didn't offer a lot of livable usable space, so we made the decision to build a floating deck (not attached to the house).

We had some factors to consider when planning the size of the deck.  Namely, we had a long low spot that ran across our backyard which would become water logged & muddy anytime it rained.  That was our deciding factor in determining the depth of the deck, as we wanted to make sure to cover this low area.  It's hard to see it from this photo, but here is where the problem area was:
A large deck would not only give us more seating space, but also allow us to cover the low spot and solve our backyard flooding & drainage issue (well technically, we still have a soggy strip of grass when it rains, but at least we don't notice it anymore since we are on the deck & not in the muddy grass!).

Seeing as building codes most likely differ from state to state (and even city to city), this won't be a detailed tutorial.  Instead, I'll just give you an idea of the general process if you are interested in building your own deck.

To start, we had to submit our building plans & permit to our local city inspector.  After a day or two, we got our permit and met with the inspector who explained any changes or additions we would need to make.  Throughout the process, the inspector stopped by to check on our progress & make sure everything was to code.

We started with the framing - going right across our existing concrete patio:

For support, we had to dig holes and pour concrete to create footings:

You can see we also used concrete pads to add more stability:

Once we passed inspection in regards to the framing & footings, we began laying the deck boards using treated 2x6's.  We were initially going to use "deck boards" (also called 5/4 boards), but we found that the 2x6's were cheaper at the time AND actually stronger than the deck boards.  Our inspector also recommended going with 2x6s instead:

When laying the 2x6's, we made sure to stagger the deck boards as we laid them, so we wouldn't have long seams across the deck:

Look at this guy - what a cute helper!

Once the deck was complete, we added 2x8's along the sides to give it a more polished & finished look:

Here is the final product!

Our deck ended up being roughly 650 square feet (34' wide x 19' deep) & costing about $2,000.  This cost includes the permit fee and all materials (lumber, decking screws, brackets, quickcrete, & concrete pads).

Of course, we probably saved at least $2k-3k in labor costs by doing it ourselves.  It took myself, Nader, & my dad about a week to finish - but we did have to take a few days off due to weather.  My younger brother also helped out a few days & of course, my mom helped watch Sami since EVERYTHING is more difficult & takes twice as long with a toddler!

Here's a little Before & After:

Once the deck was finished, it became very apparent that we needed more patio furniture.  Since we were on a budget, we decided to build 3 outdoor sofas & a dining table.  More on that in a future post!

Thanks for reading & please let me know if you have any questions!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sami's 'Big Boy' Room Plans

Now that we are expecting baby #2, it's time to get started on transitioning Sami from the nursery into his 'big boy' room.  We considered leaving Sami in his nursery & just converting his crib into a toddler bed, but in the end it made more sense to move Sami to what was originally our guest bedroom.

Over the last couple of years it has morphed into more of a playroom & storage room for toys & old baby stuff, but it still has our old guest mattress & box spring. This is what the room currently looks like:

Since Sami already plays in this room when we are upstairs, it makes the most sense to simply convert it into his bedroom/playroom.  Not to mention, it is the only room his teepee will fit in and there is already a bed he can use.

While most people transition their toddlers to a toddler, twin, or full size bed, we happen to have a queen bed.  So rather than trying to sell it & find something smaller, we are just going to make it Sami's new bed & add some side rails for safety (cuz this kid is a mover when he sleeps!!!).

I'm not sure exactly how this room will come together, but I have a pretty good idea of the look I'm going for.  I was really inspired by the vibe of these two rooms:


We are not doing bunk beds obviously, but I love the color palettes of these rooms.  I would also like to install a white faux shiplap/paneled wall using lauan playwood.  As far as a bed goes, I really love the simplicity of this Pottery Barn Kids bed:
Unfortunately, we can't afford to spend $900 on his bed alone (not to mention, they only make it in a twin & full anyways).  Instead of spending a small fortune, we are going to build the bed frame ourselves.  I'm going to use the Pottery Barn Kids bed as inspiration & we'll just tweak it as needed.  We're estimating it will cost us around $200 to build the bed.

We will also need to get Sami a dresser.  More than likely, we will get another IKEA HEMNES dresser - but probably in the gray stained color instead of white this time around.  They are just so affordable & we actually really love the functionality of the dresser itself.  I might change out the knobs like I did with Sami's nursery dresser.

The only other pieces of furniture we'll need are some nightstands & toy storage - which will most likely be some sort of cube storage organizer with bins & baskets.  Not super original, but they are inexpensive & practical.
Luckily, the closet is already updated with a closet organizer which we installed a few years ago (see more on that here).  All I'll need to do is reorganize everything to accommodate Sami's clothes & toys.

Lastly, we will paint the room, change out the ceiling fan, & sew some black out window panels. Of course I'll also need to get him some bedding and maybe a play road rug since he is obsessed with playing with matchbox cars!

So those are the plans for Sami's new room.  I will probably post another update once we get the bed finished.  In the meantime, if you have any tips on transitioning a toddler to a regular bed, please let me know!  Thanks for reading!