'F' for Freebies Outside

Social Space Makeover Contest Winners

Thank you all for voting for your favorite finalist in the Social Space Makeover Contest! After a lot of drama in the end, and a lot of data crunching this weekend, I can officially announce Heather as the first place winner. Today, I’ll be sharing the custom design board that she has won. And after resolving some issues with the voting data, the second place actually goes to two winners: Lisa and Mary Sue. They were only six votes apart out of thousands, and in my book that’s close enough to call it a tie. They will each receive a $100 gift card to The Home Depot, courtesy of the American Express Membership Rewards program. Congratulations to all three winners!

Heather’s Winning Entry:

Help! We’ve been remodeling the inside of our home for the past 2 1/2 years but have totally neglected the outside of our home – including our front patio that has a lot of potential but is just barren and boring! When we had our daughter Zoey 10 months ago we really stopped all work on our home and now that she is getting close to walking we want to spend more time outside with her and entertaining friends and family but have no place suitable to do so (our backyard is even worse than this, with a death trap back porch!) […]

Heather’s blog post
Heather’s original entry

Here’s how I’d use Heather’s 150,000 Membership Rewards points to redo her front patio.

Heather and her husband, Mike, are handy and they’d like to build a custom bench for their space. They may also replace their existing firepit with something custom, but I included a ready-to-go option in case they want to go that route. They’d like to change the exterior of their house to be yellow and gray, but Heather tells me that they’re saving up for a big siding replacement job. When they’re ready, I think they should go for it and paint their door a cheery yellow, like my friend Erin Loechner did. I’d set aside $400 to use at The Home Depot for materials and paint.

I would add a sleek table out there with six colorful chairs (in a green/yellow color that isn’t a perfect match for a yellow door, but that goes well). Tubtrugs are inexpensive and perfect for corralling toys, holding drinks for a party, or even as big planters. The solar lights are the only thing in the design plan not available through points, but they’re so good for the patio that I had to include them, and then cute accessories from west elm finish off the space. And plants! I can’t advise as to what’s good for the area, but I’d be sure to use some of that Home Depot money to add some greenery out there too.

Heather is free to use her points as she wishes, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with her space. Congratulations again to Heather, and also to Mary Sue and Lisa! Thank you, everyone, for following along with the contest. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Heather
    June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Mike and I are so excited to have won the social space makeover contest! And we are also so ready to get to work on our patio space! The design plan is amazing and so very “us” and we hope to utilize most if not all of the suggestions. As for plants, I agree – we need some greenery! We’re in hot Austin, so succulents are great here and they need little water which is great considering we are in a drought right now. And I have the most opposite of a green thumb so they are the one kind of plant that I can keep alive (mostly!) We will keep everyone posted on our progress and feel free to check out our blog for updates – we plan to update it a little more regularly now!

    Thanks again, we’re so honored and thrilled.

  • Jules
    June 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Congratulations, Heather!

  • Kate
    June 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Yay for Heather!

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    Thanks for hosting the contest Nicole!

  • NicoleD
    June 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Congrats Heather, Lisa and Mary Sue :) I can’t believe it was so close! I love the design plan, Nicole. Thank you for your generosity in hosting this contest.

  • Katie @ explanationrequired
    June 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Congrats Heather! Nicole designed a beautiful space for you. Just an FYI that I saw a tub almost identical to that yellow one on the moodboard at Walmart for just $5. Can’t beat that!

  • scmtngirl
    June 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Can you tell me where the custom bench image is sourced from? I’d like to pin it. Lovely makeover.

  • Heidi S.
    June 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Congrats Heather! I just looked at your blog and you have been very busy inside! Love the mood board Nicole!

    Okay, so my architect self can’t help but throw in some suggestions for your outside area. I love the 1970s feel of the house, but the arched openings don’t seem right. I think it would be nice if you took that wall out (and left the stone sections on either side). Then you could replace that with a horizontal wood screen for privacy. I would also consider removing the part of the concrete between the tree and the column to the left (being very careful not to hurt the tree roots). Then you could put the built in bench along the side of the house (where the low stud wall is currently) and wrap it in front of the window and tree (and make a planting area behind the bench) with grasses and succulents. Then I would probably fill in where the fire pit is currently located to give you a more rectangular area to work with. Then you could put a cute indoor/outdoor rug to hide any inconsistencies with the concrete and to help soften the area for your little one.

    • Heather
      June 24, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Hi Heidi,

      Funny you mention that because we are actually planning to tear down that wall! We’ve been talking about it since we bought the house three years ago…the interior used to have a lot of spanish style arches as well which just don’t go with the modern look we like. Great ideas about the bench too, thanks for your feedback! We are actually demoing the wall this weekend!

  • Amanda
    June 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Congrats Heather! Can’t wait to check your blog out and watch it all unfold.

    Nicole, I’m curious, you meant $400 for materials and paint for the whole house for the new siding and stuff yes? Not just the door? :)

    • Making it Lovely
      June 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      For the custom wooden bench, paint for the door, and plants. Heather is waiting on the siding for now.

  • Tracey
    June 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Congratulations Heather !!! Can’t wait for the “after shots” Nicole, I just stumbled upon your blog and love it.

  • erin loechner
    June 23, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Oh I am thrilled to be part of your dreamy inspiration board. Well done, sweet friend!

  • Amanda
    June 23, 2011 at 2:17 am

    LOVE that yellow front door! The perfect shade. Great plan!

  • Heather
    June 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Congrats to Heather! I am so excited to see that she won! I love the 70’s style of her home as it is very much like a home in our neighborhood that I adore. They have also used a very subtle gray and yellow scheme on the exterior and it is amazing!! I can already imagine the same colors covering the current green and orange :)

  • Chloe's Mom
    June 23, 2011 at 9:58 am


    It was so sweet of you to have this contest. Sharing your blessings with others is so sweet. Much love to you doll!

  • kiku
    June 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    that custom bench is indeed awesome, and I’m glad I saw it – I think we’ll adapt it (so it’s also a storage bench) for our deck. hopefully it will be done before snowfall ; )

  • capitol jams
    June 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Congrats to all the winners! I love the design board you created, Nicole! Thanks for running this contest – so fun!

  • patio remodel | and it begins… « heather and mike’s goings on
    June 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    […] on the blog yet that we are so thrilled to have won the Social Space Makeover Contest sponsored by Making it Lovely and American Express! We won 150,000 American Express rewards points to remodel/decorate our front […]

  • Sasha
    June 27, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Congratulations ladies! Can’t wait to see what you all do to spruce up your space!

  • we’re melting!! «
    July 21, 2011 at 5:04 am

    […] Ok, not really. But sorta. It was around 100 degrees all weekend, as we worked outside on the privacy wall. Why oh why did we decide to start this project in July of all months? Oh yeah, because we won the awesome contest from Making it Lovely and American Express! […]

  • what a weekend! «
    August 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    […] on the house. We’ve only done minimal projects over the past year. Then – winning the Social Space Makeover Contest really kicked our butts into gear.  And now we feel like we have pretty much made up for the lack […]

  • the big reveal! «
    November 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    […] (which for those of you who are wondering equates to about $1500 in gift cards). So, armed with a great design board from Nicole we set out to redo our patio space. We didn’t make it very far, however, until we […]