Building Our Dream Home – Outdoor Living and Dining

The warmer weather of Spring and Summer is almost here in Florida so I wanted to share the details of my Dream Home back patio – the outdoor living and dining areas! 

I’ve designed the back patio of our home to be a central hub for us when the weather is at its best. We love to entertain so having a large wrap-around style decking area was a must!

I’m going to break down everything in this post, so read on for all the links!

In the photo above you can see how the outdoor area spans the full width of the house! And there are three key areas – the dining area, seating, and living area by an outdoor fireplace and TV. Let’s break these areas down in detail.

Outdoor Dining Area

The outdoor dining area is very much an extension of the spaces inside the house – lots of blue and white accessories, and timeless furniture pieces. We spent some summer evenings eating dinner towards the end of the season last year, and can’t wait to be able to use this dining area again this year!

Outdoor Living Area

On the opposite side of the deck is the outdoor living area! I have designed this in a similar way to designing any indoor living room; with an area rug to clearly define the space, and furniture arranged on the perimeters.

I wanted a light and airy feel so we can enjoy the long summer evenings out here!

Outdoor Relaxation Area

Lastly, is the space directly outside the kitchen area that’s also in between the outdoor dining and living spaces. It’s a simple yet effective set up with two armchairs, a rug, and side table. I’m looking forward to enjoying a morning coffee here!

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Create Expensive Looking Drapes for Less

Since publishing my Dream Home Master Bedroom Reveal post, I’ve had lots of messages about how I created the expensive looking drapes! Window treatments can be tricky to get your head around, but once you’ve got the principles down, have the tools you need, and an idea of the look you want – you’re almost there!

So how did I create the expensive looking drapes in my new bedroom?

Read on to find out!

Select the right drapes

The most important element of a window treatment is the drapes themselves.

Generally I always choose French pleat or pinch pleat drapery panels because they always look good, and rich every time. You can’t go wrong!

In terms of size for the drapes, when ordering them, double the width for a full look or with pleated ones, it’s 1.5 times to double. For example, if the window is 6’ wide, get a rod that 8-10’ wide if possible. Order drapes 8-10’ wide too.

You can keep the drapes plain if you want to, but I personally like to add some interest by adding a trim. This is a patterned piece added to the leading edge of the panel, and is great for adding extra color and visual interest to the window area. It’s a fun little extra that elevates the look!

Drapes – A heavyweight cotton and linen blend fabric, available in loads of different colors and sizes! Link here for the drapery panels.

Adding a trim

To create an expensive look to your window treatments, try adding a trim on the leading edge of the drapes with iron-on tape!

Ballard Designs have a fantastic tutorial – that I followed! – and know you’ll love too.

It literally only takes a minute to apply. Use hot glue to attach the tape and run an iron over the trim to make it adhere to the curtain panel. Et voila!

Here are some trims that I shortlisted:

A simple yet effective light blue trim with off-white detailing. Link here.

Or keep it even simpler with a plain colored trim! I absolutely love this light blue natural trim. Check it out here!

Curtain rods

The rod you choose to hold drapes can add an extra decorative layer to your room, or you can keep it simple!

I like to keep the rod simple and clean – and DO NOT use telescoping! Make sure the rod is a uniform width all of the way across. It’s hard to find this but very important to achieve a practical yet stylish look. This exact rod I used has this!

As a general rule, I take the drapery rod out as far past the window as possible. This is so when they stack up they don’t cover the window much, but effortlessly dress either side of the window. It also means you maximize the amount of natural lighting coming through into the space!

Then, there’s the brackets and rings to add. Don’t cheap out on the brackets – they are part of the design and add functionality to the window treatment.

The secret to full coverage looking drapes? Is the c ring I have linked later. It allows the drape to slide past the center bracket effortlessly.

My exact configuration

The secret to my exact window treatment configuration?

Here is the rod configuration I use – it looks perfect every time! No telescoping rods which I hate. This is smooth all of the way across.

Here it is!

Curtain Rod – Make it wider than the window so the drapes can stack on other side as much as possible. I typically use black and you decide on the width. Click here for the exact curtain rod I use!

Brackets – I use 3 of the same, one at each end, and one in the center. This has a nicer backplate than most. Simple but sharp. Link here for the brackets.

Finials – You need 2 of these, one for each end. Click here for the finials I have!


Rings – Black.

If you want to be able to close completely get a set of the C-ring also so it will bypass the center bracket and close up completely. Click here for the C-Rings.

Drapes – A heavyweight cotton and linen blend fabric, available in loads of different colors and sizes! Link here for the drapery panels.

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Design for a Medical Office in Gainesville, FL

Designing a Medical Office in Gainesville, Florida

Over the past year, I’ve worked on a complete redesign of a medical office in Gainesville, Florida. Slightly stuck in the 90’s, this office was ready for a complete redo! This very busy practice sees hundreds per day and it was time to give these patients a more modern place to visit. Let’s take a look at how it came together.

The Before

The 2 Concepts Presented

I created two distinctively different concepts for them to select from. Since this portion of the practice sees mostly women, I created a soft “color” version and a refined “neutral” version.

Colorful pink and green option

Refined neutral option

Which would they choose?


The Selection

A neutral palette was selected with lots of texture and rich details. Greige, white, beige and gray were the settled on color scheme. Split face travertine at the entry and a gorgeous custom made reception desk were the focal points.

Design via Carson’s Cabinetry

The After

We couldn’t be happier with the results! A beautiful office now greets the hundreds of patients seen each day.

Debra Main, the company’s Marketing Director, sums it up like this. “Recently we’ve undergone a major renovation because we want to improve our patients’ overall experience.  We believe that patients  chose their health care providers based on who can respond to their needs and the sum total of their interactions while they are in your office.  If we can make you comfortable in this environment, it becomes a better experience for you.”

Let’s take a look!


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Holiday Gift Guide: Family Game Night

Every family loves to get together and have some fun with a Games Night! Here are my top Holiday Gift Ideas for giving to those that love games!

Playing Cards – A staple for any family home!

Dominoes – Simple, yet super fun for all the family to enjoy

Scrabble – Ideal for gifting to someone who loves literature and words

Memory Game – A great game to test everyone’s memory! Who will come out on top?

Checkerboard – Another classic board game that every family should have!

Clue – Do you know someone that loves murder mysteries? A fun game for them!

Abstract Puzzle – Everyone loves a good puzzle

Bean Bag Toss – Perfect for families with young kids!

Monopoly – A boujee Monopoly board anyone? Yes please! 

Backgammon – A classic game, but always enjoyable to have in the house

Petals Puzzle – Ideal for those that love to enjoy quiet time at home

Playing Cards – Another great set of playing cards!



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Thanksgiving Table With Nothing Over $10

Thanksgiving tables don’t need to be expensive to look amazing!

This year, while we’re building our “Dream Home”, we are in a rental that won’t hold our 14+ crowd for Thanksgiving. I’ve decided to take it outside and create a casual, but chic table right on the property. I love how it turned out and I spent NO MORE THAN $10 ON ANYTHING! Let’s take a look…every single item is linked below.


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Click on the numbers above… or let’s walk through it together.

Flatware in champagne gold. Each piece came in at $5

Water goblets on sale for $7 each

Tablecloths from Tablecloth Factory at under $6 each

Burlap runner $7.99

Wood-look charger plates $1.99 each

Lamb’s ear garland $9.99 each

White plates $2.99 (on sale)

Gray fabric napkins $2 each (on sale)

Gold pumpkins on each plate $9.99 each

Glass bubble vase $3.99 each

Gold mercury candleholder $5.99

White candles $3 each

Twine $5.99

Acorn filler $2.99

Farm chairs rented for $8 each from PRE Events

Soup tureen used for centerpiece $9.99 (from TJMaxx)

Candleholders were on Facebook Marketplace for $8 each! You can find the originals on WSHome.

Here’s a handy dandy chart for your Pinterest board.

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So, what do you think? I’d love to hear!


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Hello there! I’m Lori Evans, Interior Designer and co-owner of Evans Construction & Design. Welcome to my world! I created this blog to share all the projects, tips, ideas and inspiration that I have. My goal is to help you make your rooms look even better than your Pinterest boards!

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