Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Decorating Dilemmas Party...Round 7!

Welcome to the 7th "edition" of my Decorating Dilemmas Party! 

This party is a spot for bloggers to link up a post sharing a design problem area OR a Solution and to exchange ideas with other participants. This isn't a "link and leave" party...I hope you're here because you'd like to participate in discussion.

Wednesday is my birthday. I will be twenty-faux. Again. As a birthday gift to me, PLEASE read my rules before you link to my party. It will save both of us time!

1. When you enter your link, please enter the permalink to your specific party postnot your blog's homepage.
(You can do this by opening your blog, clicking on the title of the post that you want to link to, and then highlighting it to copy and paste here with the inlinkz system. If readers can't find the correct post on your blog, then you won't receive any feedback.)

2. *Please leave me a comment with a link to your post.*
This way, if the inlinkz system hates me, dumps me, and ignores me, we can still all visit each other through the comments! 
Also, I like nice comments, and I could use some help too!

3. Please include a link in your post to this party (again, not my blog's homepage!) when you join.
Just add it in somewhere within your blog's party post before you link up. That way your readers can join in the fun later if they want to. If I don't see a link to THIS post, I'll have to delete your link.

4. It won't be a party if we don't mingle!
This is where I jump on my blog party soapbox for a moment:
Please try to visit at least one other link on the list.

This party isn't about promoting your blog by sticking your link up and then waiting for comments and visits to come rolling in. It's about offering genuine, thoughtful feedback to others, and receiving the same in turn. Read my Manifesto on Blog Parties if you want to know what I'm talking about.

If you can't get around to visiting right away, that's okay (really!), but please make an effort to stop by a blog or two by the end of the week. I'm not asking you to write an essay-comment for the blogs you visit, but please leave a helpful thought or two. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to see someone else's Dilemma and come up with all sorts of ideas.

If you notice you haven't received any comments, take a few minutes to comment on the other partygoers' posts, and be sure to tell them you are visiting from my party so they know to return the favor. That makes a successful blog party. Otherwise, I'm just hosting a big list of people's links, and that's no fun for anyone.

Okay...got that out of the way....

Bloggers who link up with a (valid!) link to this party will be entered to win a copy of this fabulous mag 

AND will receive an extra entry in Thursday's Sponsor Giveaway from Mississippi Mud

Have fun, everyone! Link Up Here, and please be sure to scroll down to help me with my Dilemma! (Occasionally, the inlinkz system goes screwy, and you might need to try pasting your link in a couple of times if it won't "take." Email me if you're having problems and I can help you out)

My Dilemma this month is simple. 

We built our deck last summer and it's still pretty bare, save the grill, fire pit, and the dining set we borrowed from T's parents. 

I know there is a lot we can do to fluff the space up, but give me some wiggle room because the pollen is bad right now, and it's still a little chilly. For now I'd like to focus on just one area. I bet you can't guess what it is. 
Any ideas for ways to camouflage this awful part of the back wall? 

It needs to be something removable so that the power/water/cable people can access that area when they need to. I'm thinking something prettier than "move the grill in front of it." And preferably something not too costly, like "buy a new house." Here are a few more views:

Virginia is still a bit breezy, so we won't be entertaining anyone in the next few weeks, save these guys:

This gives me some time to work (or have T work) and get something completed in time for the next Show Me the Progress party.

Thanks for stopping by. Please be sure to visit the other people who have linked up, and come back tomorrow to enter Mississippi Mud's very generous Giveaway! 

*This party will be open for new links until 10 pm (ET) on Wednesday, April 21st!

post signature


  1. Hi friend! I think my link is active, but just in case, here's the link to my party entry:


    I didn't have a dilemma to share, so I wrote about a few little solutions I've found lately. I hope that's okay!

    As to your patio, you do have a dilemma! I was at our Habitat Hand-Me-Up store the other day and they had shutter panels (maybe from an old closet door, it looked like) for sale. I'll bet you could take three or four of those, hinge them together, spray paint them a fun color, and use them as a screen in front of your utility meters.

    I hope your party is marvelous. I pledge to be a mingler!

  2. It's a little early, but happy birthday, Miss 20-faux! ;)

  3. I linked up! I'm hoping to get some great ideas! Here is my link just in case: http://the-wilson-world.blogspot.com/2010/04/wordless-wednesday-work-in-progress.html

    I think a big canvas would be great for that area. You could paint it or even use Outdoor Mod Podge and put some cool scrapbook paper on it. I have also seen people put mirrors on their patios to make them seem more like rooms, which I think is a really great idea!

  4. I didn't post a dilemma this time, but I'm looking forward to mingling. ;)

    My suggestion is to put a narrow potting bench there. I've seen them at places like Ace and junk places or you could easily make one (see http://tipnut.com/potting-bench-plans/).

    Then, I would paint it a show-stopping color (red at my house, maybe a green or turquoise at yours?). Fill it with bright colored, different sized pots of colorful annuals. It shouldn't cost too much if you use what you have on hand.

    Here's my inspiration: http://tinyurl.com/y44w64c

    I think this would hide the peripheral stuff. Plus, you can totally use it as a drink station/buffet for outdoor entertaining. Pretty and handy.

    Good luck!

  5. Happy Birthday!! I hope that Wednesday is a day full of celebration for you. And I also hope that you get some good presents. :)

    Thanks for hosting the party!

    Here's my link: http://virginiasweetpea.blogspot.com/2010/04/this-lamp-needs-shadecan-you-help.html

    Kim is offering a similar solution to what I think would work. My first thought would be to find a baker's rack at a yard sale or thrift store and use that to hide your uglies on the wall. The rack could easily be moved when needed. You could display potted plants, watering cans, and other garden related do dads on the rack.

    It won't be long before it will be outdoor entertaining time in VA!

  6. First, my link: http://suburbangnomes.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-brain-is-too-busy-to-decorate.html

    And Happy Faux!!!

    And, we have the same dilemma (although that isn't the one I posted). I like Richella's idea to use a folding screen, but I also really like Kim's idea of a potting bench/buffet/drink cart. If you do go the screen route, I would totally add a cute, rustic bench in front with a ton of outdoor pillows in different patterns. And then I would sit there and drink something fabulous while the children played peacefully in the yard.... ;)

  7. ~Happy Birthday Amanda!~

    Thank you for your sweet visit to my blog. I hope you come back again soon. You're always welcome!

    What a great party you host! I will have to think of something and join you. *Smiles*

  8. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Amanda, Happy Birthday to you.

    As far as your dilemma goes, how are you with plants? Maybe a palm tree or ficus? I love the folding shutter screen idea. That would be cool!! Or something made out of those cool metal "ceiling tiles". Maybe something that looked like it was flat, but was actually raised and hinged for easy access when needed. Am I making any sense? Kind of like a shadowbox frame that opens with those tin tiles (antique or new) on front.

    Oh, here's my link: http://froufroubritches.blogspot.com/2010/04/decorating-dilemma-party-amandas-blog.html

    Thanks for hosting again. Hope you had a great birthday!!!

  9. Hi Amanda!

    Fun party! I have a post, I am not sure if it matches up to the party. Check it out and see if it's ok, if not you can totally take it off. It's no problem. I have tons of areas that need solutions, I was thinking that it was showing solutions. So see what you think. It's totally ok if you want to take it off.


  10. Thanks for hosting! This is my first time participating in asking for ideas - I never quite had a dilemma ready for the other parties! But I always have a lot of fun reading through all the entries and comments.

    Here's my link:

    As far as your dilemma, I think the folding screen is a great idea! I'm also thinking, if you use shutters or old windows or something similar, you could also incorporate the flowers/potting bench idea by hanging planters. I love these at Newly Woodwards:

    And this is a similar idea from Centsational Girl:

    But, here's another idea. Young House Love painted their utility box to blend in with the brick - could you do something similar?

  11. I have a cedar potting bench thing that would be perfect for that space. It's tall, and would cover all of that, I got it at Target a few years ago. You could set a tray on it with drinks when entertaining. You could store your smaller garden tools on it with S hooks. You could use it for it's intended purpose too of course.

    Or, you could shop garage sales and get a tall armoire for super cheap and painted and put it out there. I know that's mean to the furniture, but if you get it for $5 or something, who cares if it gets wet?

    Those are my thoughts. I'd love for you to check out my first attempt at a quilt, which will hang on the wall of a friend's new nursery. Should I be proud or embarrassed?


  12. Happy Birthday Amanda! Here is my link:
    I tried to link it three times, and no dice. Thank you for hosting the party. What a great idea. I look forward to "mingling" tomorrow!
    -Mama E

  13. Hey there! I've tried to add my link about 5 times. No luck... can you help?? It is:

    I plan on reading the other dilemmas more in depth later in the week....it's getting late and there is no telling what kind of suggestions I might offer!!

  14. Happy Birthday!!


    My suggestion to you is to get a large metal screen to hide that portion of the wall.

    Thanks for the party!


  15. I've tried adding my link to the party, but it's not working. I seem to be having blogger troubles this evening!!



    I have a couple of ideas - find some kind of trellis that you can just lean up against it. Like one of those garden trellises that you grow plants up.
    Maybe an old door? You could even paint a dart board on it for your outdoor entertaining! Oh, can I come play darts?!

  17. Joining for the 1st time! My dilemma is my Living Room. I purchased 2 new yard sale tables to refinish, but also makeover the entire room! I have a few ideas, but am lacking on others. Here is my link: http://designtoshine.blogspot.com/2010/04/imagine-gorgeous-living-room.html

    On yours, the first thought was what many have said. OLD shutters, tall ones that you could use like a folding panel in front of the 'uggies'. A Garden Trellis would be pretty too, but not sure if it would cover all of it.
    I also LOVE Funky Junks 'wood gate' she made for her living room windows. I could so see this on your porch!
    Thanks for the party! Hoping to get some great ideas! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Enjoy those roaring 20's ;-)!

  18. A very Happy Birthday to you Amanda! Hope you have a fabulous celebration!
    Your dilemma is a challenge. I do like the folding screen idea. Or you could go one step further and build a closer with those tall shutters as the doors that can open and shut. Put a cool wicker chair in front and a small table and of course, lots of pillows!

  19. I just featured your party on the creative section of my blog!


  20. Happy, happy birthday!! I haven't linked up yet, hopefully I'll have time with the kids being home on vacation!! I can use all the decorating help I can get!!

    Love the idea of a folding screen-that was my idea too-easy to move if needed! Love the idea of some kind of bench with flowers too-I love flowers on a deck.

  21. Thanks for hosting the party again... and happy birthday!

    For that area, I would add a few tallish plants on rollers that could be moved around easily. Maybe a lime tree?

    Here's my link in case it gets erased: http://www.thriftylittleblog.com/2010/04/table-and-chairs-after.html

  22. Happy Birthday Amanda! I didn't have a dilemma or solution to share as I've been under the weather w/ the hubs suffering from allergies but I'll be going around to check out everyone elses dilemmas. I hope you have a blessed birthday!

  23. just added my link and decorating dilemma-one of many :)


  24. Hi!! My link http://www.thecountrychiccottage.net/2010/04/what-would-you-do-with-it-wednesday_20.html

    And can you do a screen over that area on your porch??

  25. You could easily hide that space behind a movable planter {put it on wheels if it gets to heavy!}. You could fill it with tall twigs, A topiary, or a thin & lightweight trellis with something pretty & flowering growing up it!

  26. Happy Birthday!

    I'm so excited to be participating in my first Decorating Dilemma Party! I hope I can offer some good advice to others =)

    Here's my link: http://www.theowlandthephoenix.com/2010/04/21/decorating-dilemma-party-fireplace/


  27. Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Amandaaaaaaa... Happy Birrrthdayyyyy toooooo youuuuuuu!!!! Yes, I just sang it. ;)

    Thanks for hosting another great party! Here's my link: http://messieconfessions.blogspot.com/2010/04/fireplace-painted-now-what.html

  28. Happy Birthday Amanda! I hope you have a fabulous day!

    For your dilemma, I really love all the ideas shared so far. The only other thing I thought of is, what if you had a cabinet there with the back taken out (I'm thinking like a buffet with doors maybe?) Then, you could access the utilities through the open doors. You could use it as a potting bench. You would still have room for storage underneath and you could use the top as a workspace! They have spray paint specifically for outdoors. I've used it on wood pieces and it totally weatherproofs it. I think it's made by Rustoleum and comes in several colors. I do like the other idea of putting a screen there too. My only concern would be it blowing down every time the wind blows too hard. Big potted plants and trees are another easy fix.

    Good luck!!

    When is the next Progress party?!

  29. Darn it! My link isn't showing up on your party! I'll keep trying to add it. It's on my blog for today if you want to check it out!!

  30. Amanda,
    I was looking at your dilemma...The first thing that comes to mind is a large potted plant. I don't know if that would completely cover the eye sore, so maybe you could break out the paint? So my advice is: paint everything to match the brick, then place a large potted plant in front of that problem area.
    -Mama E

  31. Happy birthday! I posted your party on my blog, but am dilemma-free right now...so I'm just leaving suggestions.

    I didn't read the past posts, so this may have already been suggested. How about making a 3 sided "box" out of lattice and wood and painting it to match your house color? It wouldn't have to stick out far at all and could be moved out of the way easily. May be sturdier than a screen.

    Good luck and post "after" pictures. ~ April, designforlivingblog.com

  32. Hello you fabulous birthday girl! I hope you're having a wonderful day!

    I wish I were more help with your dilemma, but I'm just more of an inside girl. I was first going to suggest a trellis with some climbing plants, but you probably need access to that stuff. I love Richella's screen idea. That would give you a chance for a big punch of color. I also like the idea of a piece of thrift furniture, something slightly taller and wider than the stuff you're trying to hide, pushed in front of this area (maybe even remove the back so it can fit a little closer to the wall). You could used it as a little serving area/bar.

    I don't know if the size of this would work, but it would look cute spray painted in a fun color:

  33. I didn't manage to come up with a dilemma but I wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :)

    As for your dilemma, I think Richella's idea is fab. If it was me, I'd totally go with a screen type thing. My initial thought was a potter's shelf or something along those lines. Good luck.

  34. I think this party is SUCH a great idea. I was honestly thinking about hosting something like this myself, because I had never seen one before, but you beat me to it. I used to be a very active member of the HGTV message boards, and people were always asking for advice, and I kind of missed that in blogland. So I love this!

    Now, how about three big shutters as a room divider? A cabinet with the back taken out so that it can "wrap around" the uglies?

  35. First of all - Happy Birthday!

    Second - this is my first time joining the party! I'm so excited! I need some opinions! Here's the link to my blog post

    Third - as to your dilemma - I think you've gotten great advice so far - the screen is a good idea an so is a piece of furniture. I was also thinking maybe a large plant of some sort. Maybe even a climbing vine in large container - I'm thinking a container big enough to hold the plant and a small piece of lattice with a beautiful Bougainvillea climbing up. You could move it when you needed to and it would give you a show stopping pop of color. :)

  36. Didn't read all the comments, so I bet shutters & folding screens have already been mentioned, but that would be a good solution since it has to be moveable. Maybe get something that you can latch somehow to the wall, so it does blow over.

    Happy summer!

  37. Didn't read all the comments, so I bet shutters & folding screens have already been mentioned, but that would be a good solution since it has to be moveable. Maybe get something that you can latch somehow to the wall, so it does blow over.

    Happy summer!

  38. Happy Birthday!
    I don't have a dilemma today, but I guess that's kind of a good thing, right?
    I love the shutters idea for your deck. Maybe you could even attach them to the brick on hinges so they could swing open when access is needed.
    I also thought of lattice...4x8 sheets are cheap (under $20, I think). Maybe you (T) could build a flower box on locking wheels backed with a sheet of lattice. Morning glory grows really quickly, so you could plant that in the box to grow up the lattice. You could roll it to the side when you needed access and lock it in place otherwise.
    If you can't picture what I'm saying and want to, email me and I'll try to send a drawing or something.

  39. Happy Birthday Amanda! Hope your day has been great so far. I have to agree that a folding lattice screen would be nice. I am so sorry that you have that right on your patio. Bummer!

  40. I just discovered you, and what a great idea!!

    My first thought when looking at your deck (beautiful photo of the bird's nest, btw!) is a large potted plant, on coasters so it can be easily moved. In the winter you could bring it inside.

    A trellis might also work, and you could hang "art work" on it....

  41. Happy Birthday!

    This is my first time linking up---so I'm excited to participate! Thanks


    I love patios and porches! We live in AZ so the inside of our house often spills outside. My suggestion is to think of your patio like it's another room. I'd add an outdoor sofa and 2 funky chairs with a coffee table on the left side of the patio. Do some decorating--add some decor to the walls. Paint your hand-me-down table a coordinating color with some seat cushins (I like the table where it is.) Add some potted plants and hanging gardens and some outdoor lanterns. even candles go great outdoors. how about an area rug underneath the coffe table? landscape and plant something pretty around your patio. It's becoming and oasis! And treat your grill as if it were your kitchen---add some wall shelves near it fill it with spices and grill accessories...is this too much?? I'd love to come help. lol!

    i'd even drop that fireplace down off your patio and put it in another corner of your yard or garden with it's own permanent set of seating.

  42. What about one of those trellis type things that you could go vines on and lean against that area to conceal it?

  43. The only thing I came up with is some large potted plants/potted fruit trees. :-)
    Happy Birthday!!!

  44. Thanks so much for hosting this, and I've got plenty of other rooms with dilemmas for future events! As for your deck, I would look into those lattice-trellis type things-- I once saw a project in BHG for an enclosure type of thing that had a hinged side that opened like a gate. Plus you could paint it something wonderful for outside, like lime green or turquoise!Ann at http://housefinally.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-shout-out-for-help.html
    Happy (Blated) Birthday!

  45. Hi Amanda! I haven't read what others have written, so please excuse if this has been said. What about a pretty pot with a big, green tree?

  46. I say potting bench if you can find a cute one, then use it to display plants plus it will be extra counter space for outdoor dining. OR I'd construct some sort of lattice screen, hook it to the wall so it doesn't blow over, and hang some planters all over it. Either way, you'll surely disguise your problem spot !


I love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to leave comments...just don't send me spam asking me to buy stuff off your website! I've got three kids and no money to purchase your magic weight-loss pill or bust enhancement, or whatever else you might be selling. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you! :)

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