When you live in Vancouver, space comes at a premium and you learn to enjoy each square foot of your city condo to its fullest. The boy and I have done a pretty good job making the interior of our home cozy, but when it comes to our balcony we’ve been ambivalent at best. All that changed a couple weeks ago when I suddenly became obsessed with turning the patio into a little urban oasis. Visions of myself leisurely drinking my morning coffee, flipping through magazines, colouring, or finishing up wedding tasks outside danced in my head. But, where to start?

Truthfully, our patio has a lot going for it. We have a view, for one. It’s east-facing so we get a lot of direct sun in the mornings, followed by shady and breezy afternoons and evenings. The shape is a bit awkward—long and skinny—but as far as condo patios go it’s spacious enough to be comfortable.

However, it wasn’t the homiest, most welcoming place. Everything was dirty and dingy from neglect, including the bench (never re-stained) and side tables given to us by the boy’s brother and sister-in-law, and the cushions I bought on clearance at West Elm a few years ago. The painted concrete was scratchy and dirt was embedded in the little dents and divots. Oh, and that random flip-flop in the bottom right corner? The boy forgot them on the patio for two years and they’d started to petrify in the sun…

This is an excerpt from the article Our Patio Makeover which originally appeared on http://sololisa.com.