Our Patio Cabana

By Kate Riley June 24, 2011

Hey all, happy Friday, and welcome to anyone who caught my appearance on the Nate Berkus Show yesterday!   I”m still on vacation, but promised a peek at our new patio.  I’ve been working on the design for this space over the past few weeks, and I’m proud to announce this patio is one we now call our outdoor oasis!   How about a quick tour?

You may recall how our patio looked a month ago, pretty lousy and void of any appeal, except for the nice view of our vines.  We started this transformation by installing a new stone circular patio which leads to this concrete patio.  We then turned our attention to this 13′ x 16′ long space  to create a place to relax and entertain.   It required an open plan with two entrances, and we didn’t want to obstruct the view from the kitchen window.

The design plan was to create an outdoor “room” protected from the sun with the feeling of an enclosed space, but still one that feels open and breezy.   We shopped four retailers courtesy of the American Express Membership Rewards program:  Home Depot, West Elm, Crate + Barrel, and Pottery Barn.   I also threw in a few of my own finds so the space didn’t look completely ‘out of a catalog’.

Here is the patio last month:

And today: 


Come take a closer peek of the inside!

I ordered some new deep seat cushions online from Home Depot, and I’m digging the fact that they’re the same color as our house, an unexpected bonus when they arrived on our doorstep.  Jute trim pillow covers from Pottery Barn. 



Instead of the mosquito netting that comes with this 12′ x 12′ cabana from Home Depot,  I hung off-white curtains instead.  The “curtains” are cotton/linen flat sheets I found on clearance for $5 at a local outlet hemmed to the height of the cabana and hung with simple rings.  Both the curtains and the cover come down in autumn when it rains, then I imagine the metal structure will look fantastic all lit up with a ton of twinkle lights.

The side tables are halves of wine barrels simply turned upside down.  I found them at a local hardware store for $20, they make the perfect rustic end table and also fit the style of our yard.  Lantern from Pottery Barn, square planter from Crate + Barrel.



Originally, I had this lantern hanging as a chandelier, but my tall husband is prone to wack his head on it on his way to the BBQ, so the two lanterns happily found a home on the side tables.

I’m loving this coffee table!  I found the wood trunk at a thrift store for $15, it was covered with stickers. I loved its shape and the fact that it was solid wood, so I brought it home, peeled the stickers off, sanded it and whitewashed it.  I’ll show the before and ‘how to’ soon, meanwhile, doesn’t it fit in nicely?


Across from the loveseat are two chairs, those accent pillows were clearance placemats, but I turned them into pillows. 

Bench from West Elm.  Green lanterns (below) and outdoor rug from Crate + Barrel. 

I stayed pretty close to my design plan, but eventually added in a few of my personal finds, including the curtains, end tables, coffee table, bench and lanterns.



I also aquired some new planters and lime trees which flank one entrance.  I love citrus trees for their evergreen leaves and fruit in winter, when all of the other trees have gone dormant. 


Here’s another view of our patio before all this fun began:

and today:

A great spot for both friends and family to hang out!

That’s the super quick tour, hope you’ve enjoyed it!  We find ourselves spending an hour or two outside these days (much more than we used to) thanks to this transformed space ~  it’s our little vacation spot in our our own backyard.  Many thanks to the folks who manage the American Express Membership Rewards Program, we were able to create this space thanks to a generous gift of 150,000 points.


Cabana:  Harbor Gazebo from Home Depot

Deep Seat Cushions: Arden Twilight Tan Deep Seat

Outdoor Rug: Biscayne Sage 8′ x 10′

Green Lantern:  Martinique Hurricane by Crate + Barrel (sold out)

Bench: Wood Slat, West Elm

Wine Glasses:  Green Acrylic

Pillow Covers:  Jute Trim, Ivory, Pottery Barn

Accent Pillows:  made from clearance PB placemats, sold out

Lantern:  Park Hill, Medium, Pottery Barn

White Cachepot Planters:  Large, Square White by Crate + Barrel


Hope you enjoyed the tour, and have a great weekend.  :)



  1. WOW!!! That looks amazing. I love the half wine barrels as side tables. The previous owners of our house had two that they used as planters that I actually threw away. Now I really wish I would have down this with them.

  2. WOW! Great job! Looks like a cozy place to entertain or even just relax. And I LOVE those lanterns! Been looking for some similar to those.

  3. I’m so jealous it looks amazing! If I had a place like that outside I would be out there all the time. Unfortunately here in MA theirs to many bugs.

  4. That is fabulous! Is there anything you need to do when it rains? I have zero knowledge of outdoor furniture etc. I’m always worried it will be ruined in our rainy season. Does the cabana protect everything pretty well? I love your beautiful design!!

  5. Congrats on your appearance!! That is SO exciting!! The half wine barrels used as tables is so creative. I love the whole look and it seems like the perfect place to dink a glass of wine and read a book..ahhhh. You did a beautiful job!

  6. Wow! It looks amazing! Knew it would! Love the idea of replacing the nets with curtains! That really makes the space!

  7. What a difference!! I can only imagine how peaceful it must be to sit outside with a glass of wine and look at your vines! HEAVEN! Congrats on the new space :) We just finished a two-tiered patio at our place in Virginia and we are looking forward to the decorating process – I’m taking tips from you!!

  8. What a difference!! I can only imagine how peaceful it must be to sit outside with a glass of wine and look at your vines! HEAVEN! Congrats on the new space :) We just finished a two-tiered patio at our place in Virginia and we are looking forward to the decorating process – I’m taking tips from you!!

  9. I love how you have the empty chairs and sofa waiting in place for you to sprinkle your magic designer fairy dust over them – it’s so beautiful and I’m so jealous that you are on vacation and STILL turn in a great blog!

  10. I can’t believe that is in your backyard! I seriously thought that must be your inspiration photo at first reveal!!!! Beautiful and magazine worthy!! PUHLEASE come quick and transform my backyard? Pretty please?

  11. Oooh, wow!! Kate, this is just stunning. :) You’re right–I can see it working for family get-togethers, having some girlfriends over for drinks, or just sitting out with a magazine and some lemonade. What a wonderful job you did. Love the wine barrels as side tables!

  12. Wowsa!! You should enter this into some sort of backyard makeover contest or something. Definitely magazine worthy!

  13. It looks perfect for summer. I love the green accents and the trunk is perfect to put your feet up on. Thanks for the tour!

  14. wow…now if i only get american express to give me 150,000 points…..i have a backyard space that could use some things too.

  15. This is gorgeous!!!!! Love the placemats turned into pillows and the thrifted trunk used as a coffee table.

  16. I was working furiously on my backyard patio last weekend. I started the curtain/sheet thing but halfway through, I saw a black widow inches away from my hand on the sheet and it spooked me so much I haven’t finished it. I woke my husband up from a nap just to kill it for me. SO pansy of me.

    Your patio looks awesome, I wish it was in my backyard so I could call it a day.

  17. WOW! That looks AMAZING! It’s so airy and fresh and INVITING! Way to go girl! Very inspirational as always!
    I laugh as I too put a patio post on my blog today! I have a long way to go to reach your look but it’s a goal to set! And I’m only on day 3 of blogging so I still have time right ;)
    Thanks for the great post!

  18. Kate! When I saw this I literally gasped. It is beautiful. I love those curtains, and the wine barrel side tables are perfect. Nice work!

  19. GORGEOUS!!!! You have inspired me to do more with my gazebo. I’m definitely going to get a rug to cozy things up and I think I might have to do the curtains instead of the netting. Thank you for sharing your beautiful project. Now I want to be outside in the sun relaxing. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

  20. So b-e-a-utiful!
    I love the glass hanging ‘lanterns’ and the mix of calm colours with the green of the plants. Must of been a lot of work but it looks like a great place to enjoy the afternoon.

  21. pretty, pretty… I need to borrow some of the decorating ideas for our outdoor patio area… I have the furniture and the curtains, but no “decorative” features yet! :) As always – gorgeous job!

  22. IT IS FANTASTIC- seriously grrrrreat job!!! I especially love how it was done in a budget conscious way- so inspiring!

  23. I love everything especially the coffee table. Could you show us how you whitewashed it? Thanks.

  24. WOW Kate, fantastic job, love it !!! And how cute is your little guy !!!! Great idea for the curtains…

    Kathy :)

  25. Holy crap! That first image of your new patio looks like something straight out of a magazine. You constantly amaze me, Kate, with your ability to put big box items, bargain finds, and thrift store pieces in a cohesive, unique design. Bravo!

  26. I really thought you were going to say “And this is the picture from the Pottery Barn catalog that I want my patio to look like.” But no. That’s your actual patio. Ah-Mazing!! Great job- as always- Kate!!

  27. Oh.My. Goodness. I can’t believe the transformation. Stunning, quite simply stunning. You must be very proud of yourselves!!!! Here’s to long summer days spent there xxx

  28. Wow, what a transformation!! Can’t wait to hear more about this — I’m totally digging the wine barrel side tables and the crate-coffee table.

  29. What an amazing transformation! Very beautiful and cleverly resourceful, as always. :)

    If you ever need a dose of Texas cookin’ or decoratin’, my blog is bellsandkilts.blogspot.com. For turquoise jewelry and beautiful bling (also from Texas), there is texastake.etsy.com.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  30. I got this “gazebo” from Home Depot as a gift this week! Now I can’t wait to get it out of the box and into our yard. Your styling makes the space really look like an outdoor room. Very Lovely.

  31. I would love to know how and with which products you used for the white washing of the chest. I have a pine farm table that i want to white wash but not like 80s white wash where its pinky.

    thanks for any help you can give me.

  32. love this Kate!!!
    We have the same gazebo and Im thinking I need to get rid of the mosquito nets on the sides now, and replace them with curtains-lol!
    Can you tell us where you went to get the wine barrels?!
    Thanks Kate- enjoy your vacay!

  33. Looks great! I love every detail. I have a 20×20 patio and have no idea where to start. Definitely going to look at this for inspiration.

  34. Absolutely beautiful!!!!! Great job!!!! I could certainly spend all day curled up on that sofa! Looking forward to reading about how you whitewashed that trunk. LUV that look! :) Oh, and congrats on being on Nate’s show, too! Woo hooo!!!!!

    xoox laurie

  35. Love your outdoor furniture..HECK..I love the whole thing..Beautiful..

  36. It looks so beautiful, Kate. It’s a wonderful place to sit and visit with friends and family and relax with a good book. Your son is a cutie…great smile! Enjoy your vacation.

  37. Gorgeous!!! Can’t add anymore to that. Hope you and your family have a wonderful vacation and your son is adorable.

  38. OH KATE IT IS STUNNING! I am so happy to you what a beautiful spot for you and your family! I love it !!!!!

  39. This looks ahhhhmazing! Wish I could do something similar, but here in the midwest, it rains and snows and gets windy… none of which are conducive to your lovely setup. I will just have to settle for living vicariously…

  40. Oh my goodness, I am so in love with this space! I want to curl up there all afternoon! I love how you added your personal touches and all the green accents, whether in fruit or in foliage. Thank you for the inspiration.

  41. I happened to catch you on Nate Berkus the other day. I said to myself, “she looks awfully familiary.” LOL, and I knew before Nate said your name. How exciting that must of been.
    Your newly transformed cabana area looks dreamy. Love those barrels as side tables. I also like the trunk as well.
    Man, wish we had some cool places to shop second hand here in Louisiana. Maybe we do, I just haven’t found them.

  42. Oh my, it’s beautiful! I’d spend all my time out there, even be tempted to take my blanket out and sleep there : ) Sooo pretty, beautiful job.

  43. Everything is gorgeous! You really did a fabulous job creating a space that looks comfortable and beautiful.

    P.S. Don’t forget to untie and remove the stake from the lime tree. It will be happier without it!

  44. Beautiful job. Beautiful. Your wine barrels look fantastic! As does the newer stuff. Sometimes for old rustic stuff to look *really* good, you have to pair with with some crisp, new stuff. Like your lanterns! And furniture! And cabana. And the cute kid. He looks relatively new in the grand scheme of things. :) ~ karen

  45. Wow, this came together amazingly!! The way yous mixed new pieces with thrifted and clearance items is beautiful. I absolutely love it :)

  46. You stayed very true to your original vision. It’s gorgeous! It definitely makes me want to get off my duff and do something beautiful around my home. Thanks for the sneak peek and inspiration.

  47. I love the cabana. I went to the Home Depot site online and didn’t see anything like it. When was it purchased? Thanks! Your transformation turned out wonderful!

  48. You have such a great flair! It looks like a very inviting space. Thanks for sharing and hope you had a great vacation! BTW…thanks for the info on dying slipvcovers. I ended up leaving it white b/c it looked great with the new bedding and pillows. Wish all my decorating ventures were that easy! Thanks for your time and info. though!

  49. I absolutely love it!!! It’s also inspiring to us!!! It is very inviting… Thanks for sharing!!!!

  50. That is amazing! I love the before and after pics. It looks very cozy and warm now!

  51. You have done it again. Now for a glass of Chardonnay in the shade. Well done Kate simply Centsational!

  52. Wow! What an amazing patio. This is my next summer’s number 1 project and I am gathering ideas. You have a wonderful blog! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too!


  53. I’m a little late here but I just had to comment on how wonderful this turned out. Around here people just stick those cabanas on top of their deck stuck right up next to their house or even randomly in the grass and they just look awful, you did it right, girlfriend! Absolutely fabulous! xoxo

  54. WOW!! What a transformation!! Your patio is gorgeous!! Love all of the details that come together to make this beautiful space!

  55. GORGEOUS!! Man the minute I pop this baby out, I’m coming over to lounge on your lovely patio whilst sipping wine. I might just sleep out there too.

  56. Oh. my. gosh. That is absolutely gorgeous. Do you have a free minute to come redo our outdoor porch area? ;) You’ve totally inspired me that it CAN be beautiful! :) And I love that you can splurge but also save like with the curtains and placemats turned pillows. You’ve really created a lovely space, once again!

  57. Ohhh, Looks great!
    I’ve made your patio my inspiration for our deck patio, and I NEED lanterns like your green ones. I’ve looked online, can you recommend a place to find them or even similar ones? They are sold out at Crate and Barrel as you noted in the post and I just gotta have something like them. Any ideas??

  58. Your patio is so inviting! Love the wine barrels as end tables…..so cute! I love your blog! When you get a chance, stop by to visit my blog at chestercountycottagegirl.blogspot.com.

    Have a great day!

  59. Luv all the attention to detail, so many people just buy a patio set and are done with it. But your creativity really turns it into a relaxing retreat.

  60. Can I ask you a question? Seems like everyone says these canopies aren’t waterproof etc. How has yours held up? What do you do with all the furniture if it rains? Does it stay dry? I would really appreciate your input…I love what you did!

    • Hi Melissa, we take it down during the rainy season. It’s okay for a light drizzle, but it’s down right now during the winter, we will put it back up in May!

  61. Hey this was featured on AP today! Not sure why it was a year later….

    Looks great! Does this mix in with where you just resurfaced?

  62. I’m speachless!
    Do you mind going in details about these wine barrels? What kind of hardware store sells them?

    And cant wait to find out about whitewashing table!

    • Hi Polina, thanks so much! Half wine barrels are available by region, usually at a local nursery or by way of a winery. I know Viva Terra is offering some this season, but they’re quite pricey (over $100) – around here they come cheap, just about everyone I know has a half wine barrel planter since they’re available at our local hardware stores and nurseries for about $15 – $20. The how to on the whitewashed trunk is here:

  63. Hi Kate, I am hoping you’ll have some insight on the wine barrel end tables, how are they holding up outside? My BF and I just bought a couple from a local winery in VA and we would like to use them outside, but I was wondering if we should put some kind of sealer on them so they don’t lose the cool red wine stains. Let me know what you think, thanks so much!

  64. The look is beautiful. Im going to incorporate this look in my back yard. I love the wine barrel….What a fabulous look. Any idea where I would be able to find some, or order in Miami Florida??

  65. Hi! Love your patio. Gorgeous! Can you tell me which hardware store you purchased your wine barrel at? I’m having trouble finding them for less than $100. Thank you!

    • Hi Anne, we shopped for ours at the Ace Hardware in Santa Rosa on Highway 12 but I also saw some at Lowes in Cotati last week.

  66. Wow, absolutely stunning! I have a little patio and this is such an inspiration. I especially like the cabana like feel with the blinds that surround it. Really well done and now I have a million ideas swimming around my head on how I can do something like this.

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