Friday, April 9, 2010

Schwang Manor: The Extra Room

Since the winters are so terrible in Chicago, being outside in the nice weather is a huge deal. Once the weather hits 70, nearly every restaurant opens an outdoor seating area where Chicagoans are content drinking and dining even next to the busiest of streets.
We are lucky enough to have a nice-sized balcony which becomes our all-purpose lounging and dining area during the warmer weather; it's like adding a whole extra room.
We bought an "outdoor sectional" from Ikea's Arhoma line. We spend a lot of time out here reading, grading, and it's even E's new place to take naps with the pooches. We kept it covered with a tarp during the winter, and we were just able to set it up again. Notice the "before" photo with the little face in the corner anxious to help out:
We also picked up an outdoor dining table from Ikea and we started having our nightly dinners, and our weekend brunches, outdoors. People spend a lot of money to eat at outdoor restaurants, so we thought it was a good investment to start eating outside too.
And to make it more like a real room, we even picked up an all-weather mat to function as a rug. Plus, it's more comfortable for the pooches. We bought an inexpensive one from World Market, but I also saw some fun options here. We bring out another mat for the pooches. Of course, if Mr. B is already lying on it, Miss M. has to get on too:
Once the weather gets warmer, we're planning on adding more flowers and growing some herbs. Right now we just have the little pointy plant in the corner that we like because it reminds us of our view from the balcony in Tulum. We have some LED lights on it, and it looks really nice at night.
Though I know the pooches would probably love to have a real yard to run around, they still enjoy hanging out on the deck and laying in the sun. The best part for them is they are so high up they can see other pooches on balconies or walking by. How does everyone else utilize the outdoors once the weather gets warmer?


laura said...

Last weekend we were some of those outdoor diners here in our Big City and it was heaven! You have the best of both worlds with your outdoor space; you can have a patio garden yet you don't have to maintain a yard. And Sunday brunches on your balcony would be much more fun (and cheaper) than a restaraunt especially with the addition of Miss M and Mr B!!
Unfortunately our 'deck' is just big enough to hold our grill, me, and Hans. That's it!

Kate said...

I love that sectional! We have a deck in our backyard, but the table we got only seats 4. It's a great set, but in retrospect I would love a set up more in line what what you guys have. I love hanging outside with the dogs when the weather gets warm.

Breakfast With the Bennetts said...

What a cool balcony you have! I wish you could come and play in our backyard. We would teach you how to swim and play keep away from Boxen. If you want to see how we do things here in dallas come and see our latest Blog post. We are getting 3500 sq ft of sod put in this weekend! We will have grass to lay on!

Boxer kisses
Boxen and Bella

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

What a cozy spot you have there- it really does look very restaurant-esque!

Two French Bulldogs said...

What a cool area you guys have to hang out in. We think you should try out the new chairs. Have a relaxing day
Benny & Lily

Anonymous said...

You have a Most Wonderful space to relax and enjoys the outdoors! Do Miss M and Mr. B barks at other doggies passing by? Me and Brudder Ranger do so we might drives your neighbors crazy if we lived at your house.

My mom is gonna check out one of those outdoor rug thingies but doesn't know if it would work cuz our patio isn't covered up likes yours.

Wiggles & Wags,

PeeS. My mom also wanted me to tell you that if you were to ever get one of the condos like mine, those ten-shun rods are kinda tense at first but they loosen ups over time.

Anonymous said...

Love your balcony! So jealous that you hve something like that! Flash and Ollie would be very jealous of your two. They don't get to hang out side at our house very often since we don't have anywhere for them to be. Now you can see why we want to move!!

brooke said...

That's a great balcony! Ours (along with the condo) is tiny in comparison!
Enjoy the warm weather!

Mack and Mia said...

That is a very very nice patio area you've got goin on! So Trendy! When are you having a patio party? Can Mia and I come over...

Wags and Woofs,
Mack and Mia

the booker man said...

totally cool balcony. i give an A+!
i have a deck at my house, but right now it's empty except for the big grill thingie. mama says they don't have the green papers for outdoorsy furnitures yet. i know me and asa would totally love it if mama and daddy got us a loungey couch like yours!
the booker man

Mack said...

That is a totally pawsome patio you got there! Mom says we have to take advantage of the good weather while we can, cause here in Texas the summer temps are SO DANG HOT!

So we have been spending a lot of time outdoors lately and there's even talk of the 'rents taking us to the park tomorrow!

kissa-bull said...

we love your outdoor space its furry cozy
we like to play in our yard and for the warm weather mommish bought ush a kiddie pool but we are shtill not to sure about it all we do ish stick our snootter in to grab the weenies that mommish dropped in there to try to entice ush to get it
oh and guero peed in it so mommish was not too happish wiff it
pibble sugars
the pittie pack

1000 Goldens said...

You guys have such good decorating skills - I love your home!

SusanA said...

Good for you guys for taking advantage of your balcony. I live in a small suburban neighborhood and am constantly amazed at the number of decks and patios that remain empty all year long. I too, love that sectional. Enjoy.

Kari in Alaska said...

We love our balcony though in LA we get to use it all the time :)


Hi Guys,

Well, as an Interior Decorator also, I must tell you that you guys are doing a smashing job!

We luv your balcony! We could live there, if you'de let us?

Can't wait to see it when you get your flowers planted!

Star and Riley too!

Dexter said...

The outside room looks fantastic. I am sure doggies and humans alike are totally loving it.


Sue said...

It looks like a great place to hang out for two and four footed family members. Dogs are nosey, so I'll bet they enjoy watching the neighbors.

Mary said...

I'd kill for that balcony! We have no outside space, but there is a common area in the parking lot, which I'm sure you can imagine is not ideal. Luckily, my mom has a big yard and a pool so we head over there a lot in the summer. I can't wait until Levi has a yard of his own where he can lay in the sun all afternoon!

Daisy Dog said...

I love my backyard patio and use it alot. The furniture is a great idea! Wow, never thought of that! I have table and chairs but no couch :)

Rescued Pittie Family said...

LOVE IT! I love living in the suburbs but ya'll make city living look so fun!

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