Before & After: A “Tiny, Barely Functional Outdoor Space” Gets a Dreamy Redo (with Bonus Storage!)

published Jul 2, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Ola Perentia

Often, big lifestyle changes (a new job, a breakup, a baby on the way) bring big home changes. Maybe you have to create a remote work spot in your home, make room for a new housemate, or redecorate and redefine your space.

After having a baby, Ola Perentia and her husband desperately needed more space and storage, so they looked to their outdoor area to remedy that problem. Before, it felt “tiny” and “barely functional,” Ola says. “We could only fit a dining table and a grill out there with little to no storage options.”

Credit: Ola Perentia

In part, the space felt cramped because of a deck that was right up against the house. “It was old, creaky, and slanting,” Ola says. “It also blocked the view to the outdoors when looking out from the kitchen.”

But some form of raised deck had to go there because of the slightly elevated positioning of the house. Ola and her husband worked with a woodworker to create a custom deck setup with added storage and stair steps up to the house — an aesthetically pleasing, modern-looking solution to both problems. “The complexity of my design required a professional carpenter to cut individual pieces of wood, and that took a while,” Ola says.

Credit: Ola Perentia

“He cut each individual piece of wood by hand and built that stunning cladded wood wall/bench/concrete board planters structure,” she explains on Instagram.

The planning and labor was worth it, as now they have “hidden storage space literally everywhere,” Ola says. Everything, from the bench to the deck to the decorative leafy screens, opens up for storage and access to gas lines and hidden electrical details.

Credit: Ola Perentia

The leafy screens and the hidden details are two of Ola’s favorite details in the space. The screens were created by local artists. Ola’s neighbor installed outdoor lights for added ambience at night — plus extra outlets in the space — and he also installed a self-watering irrigation system for the plants. Ola’s husband automated both for easy, remote-controlled use.

Credit: Ola Perentia

Ola completed her revamped hangout spot with a thrifted marble dining table with a glass top, a thrifted wrought-iron bench, and large cement planters from CB2.

If there’s one thing she would change about the space, it would be the tile pavers. Ola really wanted to remove the existing rectangular tiles and lay more European-inspired ones, but the surface (previously a parking lot before it was a residential complex) wasn’t friendly for re-tiling. Plus, Ola says, she “did not want to risk the tiles not surviving freezing Canadian winters.”

Credit: Ola Perentia

Instead, she plans to stencil the tiles with a Portugal-inspired design this summer to complete her beautiful outdoor space. Happy DIYing and relaxing outside, Ola!