If Only I Had a Patio

Stephanie Hill featuring If Only I Had a Patio on The Style Bungalow

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill featuring If Only I Had a Patio on The Style Bungalow

It all started many moons ago (call it 10 years), in my first apartment, where I dreamt of having a patio. However, the building was too small and did not have room for it. My unit was located on the second floor and because we did not have a doorman, anyone could waltz up the stairs. 

In some instances, this was a blessing and (somewhat) a curse. Meaning the seamless entryway was favorable, but it also meant friends showing up unannounced, gathering on the staircase — each one plopped up on their own step while comfortably stretching their legs out, “Steph, do you have any wine?” Of course, I tossed the schoolwork and other priorities out the window to join in. Hours would pass by from talking, gossiping and laughing after a couple glasses of wine — there was such an ease and sense of comfort from being able to socialize outside the apartment.

In the mornings, I would take my fresh brewed coffee outside, sip it while sitting on the steps (in my pajamas, of course) and calling out, “Bye! Have a good morning…” to neighbors as they left for work. My roommate Melissa (who only lived with me for less than two years, but has become one of my best friends to this day) would join me and we would finish our coffees, hardly speaking to each other (because we’re both not morning people). There’s something about taking in the fresh air and warm sun that’s become one of my favorite ways to start (and end) the day. Though I look back at it now and think of so many special memories on those steps, I still wished for a private patio space extending from my bedroom; a space where I could quietly retreat to and read a book.

My next apartment was one notch better, but ten thousand notches smaller. I went from a dingy two-bedroom apartment to a fully furnished studio that was roughly the same size (bathroom and closet included) as my previous living room. When the realtor showed me the unit, I saw a miniature iron patio peeking from the window, “Finally, I have a patio!” She interrupted, “No, unfortunately not with this unit. This patio isn’t up to code so you’re not allowed to use it or you could run the risk of getting seriously injured.” I spent the next three years gazing out at the tops of palm trees wishing I could sip my coffee outside under the sun…even if it meant from a petite (semi-risky) patio. Sigh. 

Lifestyle Blogger Stephanie Hill featuring If Only I Had a Patio on The Style Bungalow

Before I came into the picture, my fiancé had already moved into his apartment with a balcony. Since he’s the type of guy who’d rather invest elsewhere, his building isn’t the most aesthetically charming in Miami but it’s practical. It does, however, have an incredible view of Miami Beach and on a clear day, the ocean. About a year into dating, we started to have conversations about “the future” which eventually turned into getting engaged and talks of buying a house. We told each other, “two more years in this apartment…max” and we’ll move. As I started spending more time there, we purchased an generic bistro set as a temporary solution for the balcony, which felt like one step closer to my dream of having a patio someday. As of late, it’s been where we have spent most of our time enjoying breakfast, dinner and playing cards. It’s also where we’ve heard our neighbors chat about their relationship issues and party quite excessively. While the view is lovely, I can’t say it’s the ideal escape for us… 

 And when our wedding planning (and postponing) rolled around, we both realized how nice it was to save so aggressively while managing to still rent our individual apartments (read more here). I redecorated mine (click here for more) while he kept his intact, cheap bistro set and all. 

It’s been well over a decade now and I still get excited thinking about a patio of my own. I imagine a small, serene outdoor space, set against tropical foliage with my favorite blooms and bordered by a private fence in the back of our first home (aka a Spanish bungalow). Naturally, filling the air with my favorite music and my fiancé’s delicious cooking; complemented by textural furnishings and a relaxed seating area (like a classic wrought iron set from decades before) for lounging, entertaining and alfresco dining — ready for family and friends (socially distanced, of course). Did I mention, illuminating the space with warm bistro lights and candles (or even an outdoor pendant) come nightfall? I love the glow and ambiance it creates. Though, this will most likely mean trading in our apartment’s ocean view for a lush peaceful sanctuary, I’m very much open to it. The absolute dream. Plus, I would not have to worry much about unannounced guests or visitors, safety or noise from closeby neighbors; especially having to approve things through a landlord when it comes to how I decorate the overall space. 

Confession: Through the entire lockdown, this idea has resurfaced and become the main topic of conversation. We’ve been realizing the importance of time and how we spend it, space and the way it can inspire us and set the mood. From our afternoon walks (sometimes caught in the rain) to bike rides on empty streets, we cannot deny the importance of fresh air and sunshine needed to clear our minds. Though it sounds so simple, spending quality time outdoors together has become an enriching activity we look forward to everyday. So we can’t help but long for a small bungalow one day with an outdoor patio of our own to create and entertain in. 

Until then, we’ll cherish those evening strolls a little extra and deepen the wine pours on the balcony despite the noise all the while dreaming and planning our ideal private escape, which I believe will make having a patio that much more special… 

Xo, Stephanie 

Blouse: old, but I love this one and this one 

Pants: old, similar here and here

Earrings: (℅) Selina King Jewelry

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