Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

This weekend we took a quick road trip to Portland (specifically, my home town of Lake Oswego) to be at my nephew’s high school graduation party and my niece’s voice recital. While my husband doesn’t seem to miss Portland very much, every time I go back I feel homesick. It was where I spent so much of my life growing up and where we lived when all of our kids were little, so it still feels like my true home (even though we now live in Seattle!).

I can hardly believe our son Luke was in second grade when we moved from Portland to Washington! He’s spent half his life in Portland and half in Washington. He’ll graduate from high school next year (cue the tears!).

We’ve lived here in Washington for nine and a half years (as a point of reference, I started my blog eleven years ago so I had been blogging only a year and a half when we moved).

My how time flies!

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

When we moved to Washington, my daughter Courtney was in her last year of high school in Lake Oswego (she graduated from college with her interior design degree five years ago now!). Kylee had just gotten married a few months prior to us moving here (she and her husband Lance have been married for a decade this August!).

We lived on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington for the first six years we were here in Washington, but then moved to Seattle three years ago to bring our whole family closer together while Luke was in high school. Kylee and Lance and Courtney all moved to Seattle during college and have lived here in the city ever since.

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

What a whirlwind this whole adventure to Washington has been! While it is always hard to leave home and take the risk on a new life, we are happy to took that chance. So much has been accomplished and so much good came out of our move here for all of us!

Even though we are happily feeling settled in our home here, it’s still fun to take a drive by through a few of my old neighborhoods just to reminisce and check up on some of my favorite homes. And of course, it’s always fun to share a few photos so you can enjoy the drive with me!

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

This photo above is actually the last house I lived in with my family when I was in high school. It was a gorgeous English style home. This is the only home located on a small peninsula on Lake Oswego, so we had water on three sides of our home. I loved living here! It’s changed quite a bit over the years, but it still brings back so many memories to drive by.

Of course, this angle and photo doesn’t begin to capture what it looks like from the water sides. If I can get some other photos, maybe I can do another post about it sometime ( and maybe some of the other homes I’ve lived in!).

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

This house through the iron gates (above) is another one of the homes I grew up in, the one right before we moved to the lake house. It’s a lovely white colonial, but sadly I can never get a good recent picture of the front of the house because it’s so private (unless I went running down that driveway or jumped through the bushes with my camera hahah. Which I’ll admit, I was very tempted to do just to give you a better look! Maybe next time!).

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

This house behind that hedge is owned by someone I’ve always called “the Martha Stewart” of the neighborhood, since she always had a perfectly manicured landscape. I love driving by it, I’ve shared that secret gate on the blog many times!

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

Going Home to Portland + a Drive By

I hope you enjoyed this little drive by through my old stompin’ ground (what exactly is a *stomping ground* anyway?)!

Are you still living in the city you’d consider your ‘home town?’ Or, like me, have you headed off on new adventures? How do you feel about where you live now? Do you ever feel homesick? I’d love to hear your stories.

PS. I’ve heard that a sense of homesickness is a growing issue for people in our culture since we tend to move around a lot. I’m such a homebody, I guess it only makes sense that I would long for that sense of being back home sometimes.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

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This deck project is in partnership with Trex and Lowe’s 

For the past couple of years I’ve been dreaming up the details of how our entire side and backyard would eventually come together. I like to design a backyard in separate “zones” with a vision in mind for how the entire space will come together. That way it’s possible to tackle one space at a time as budget or time allows, but you still have a good overview of where you’re going.

For our side and backyard areas I had envisioned creating a succession of outdoor spaces that could be accessed from the side patio (which is right outside of our newly remodeled kitchen, pictured below).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

When you exit out the new Dutch door on this side of the house, you’ll end up on the side patio (see below when it was still in progress). From there you are able to walk down the set of stairs on your left and then pass through the double gate (which we had installed a couple of years ago and just recently painted, you’ll get to see it in upcoming posts!).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
In progress

The future plan was to connect this space (above) to a main gathering area on a low deck in the backyard, where there would be a dining table and seating. The new deck would become a focal point of the backyard, gracefully connecting to every additional outdoor space, including pathways that would eventually lead to new gardening spaces and a fire pit area.

That was the a long term goal, so originally I thought we’d stop our outdoor projects at the double gates and save the deck and the other projects for a future season. Yet as we were preparing to complete the railing on our side patio steps last spring, Lowe’s and Trex reached out to me about the possibility of partnering on an outdoor deck and railing project!

Not only was I very excited to install the new deck sooner than I expected I would, but the timing was perfect as we were able to coordinate the railings on our existing steps with the same black Trex railings we selected for the new deck. It was finally all going to come together!

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
Back of the house, before the deck
(catch up with the exterior projects and see the house before it was painted white here)

So how and where does one begin planning for and designing a new deck?

Unlike the hassles we’ve had with finding contractors and completing other projects, this Trex deck project was smooth sailing! It was so easy to be able to just head right into our local Lowe’s to find all of the help and materials we would need to design our new deck. You can also line up a contractor through Lowe’s to install the deck, if you want help (like we did!). It’s such a time and money saver to go this route for building a deck.

Wood decks and railings literally take a beating from the rain here in the Northwest. They rot and require so much upkeep! That’s the reason I had planned to use Trex for any decking or railings, it is a composite material that will be nearly maintenance free for years! Composite decking has come a long ways in the past 25 years, the new high-performance material is amazing.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

While I came into the project with a general vision for what I wanted in terms of the size, shape and materials, any indecision or choices were easily solidified through the resources you can find in a Lowe’s store and online.

You can read up on the products and how the whole process works through the options on Lowe’s website.  I found lots of helpful tips and inspiration that prepared me with what to expect and helped shape my vision for the space.

As you’re just getting started, it’s fun to browse ideas (I LOVED being able to look at the deck and railing duos here), order samples, plan your project, download a planning booklet, estimate costs, as well as get DIY tips if you want to build the deck yourself.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Selecting the materials for your deck

After we did some research on the Lowe’s and Trex website, we went into our local Lowe’s store to look at the displays of materials that were in stock as well as options for special order.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

For our outdoor spaces I wanted to create an indoor /outdoor connection through my design choices, so we continued our color palette and style from inside the house through to the exterior.

You can get a little tour of the interior of our home here.

I also think it’s helpful to take into consideration ways to complement your home’s natural surroundings and any other exterior features that are visible from your project (or that you’d like to tie in to your overall design).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

For our space, we also created a design board (shown at the top of this post) that offered us a cohesive vision for how it would all come together. Each element plays a supporting role in look of the overall space, so it’s helpful to think about how the furniture and other elements surrounding the space will also impact the overall feel of your project.

You can mix and match colors, deck materials and furnishings to create a unique look that will suit your home, style and taste. It’s fun to get creative, so you can browse your local Lowe’s store and website and even use Pinterest to pin ideas you find online to visualize the mood for your space.

I’ll share more about our design decisions in upcoming posts, as well as a closer look at our before images and in-process photos.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Consult with a PSE at Lowe’s – Project Specialist Exterior

One of the free services I found really helpful was to schedule a project specialist from Lowe’s to come to our home. You can set that appointment right from the store, online or even text, so it is really convenient!

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

When our specialist came out to see the space, he confirmed that we could leave our original concrete patio in place and just install the deck frame over it. I had hoped that would be the case (so much easier!), but I felt more confident having an expert option.

Having the project specialist measure the space and confirm that what we had planned was going to work gave me peace of mind. He also offered ideas we might not have thought of, such as the option to add lighting to the post caps and around the edge of the deck, as well as design ideas for how the deck boards could be installed to create more visual interest.

I can’t wait to show you how well this project and our outdoor spaces came together!

Stay tuned for more of our project details, the installation of the deck and of course, the big reveal! 

Decking and railing in this project was provided by Trex
Installation and furnishings provided by Lowe’s
Learn more about designing and installing your own Trex deck project at Lowe’s.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
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