DIY Al Fresco Dining

July 29, 2016

How Erica Domesek, craft queen of P.S. – I Made This, transformed her side yard into a sweet spot for entertaining.

Photo by P.S. I Made This

Erica Domesek knows a thing or two about designing on a dime. As founder of the DIY brand P.S. – I Made This and host of TLC’s digital series “Erica in the House”, she transforms everyday spaces and household staples with practical, pretty results. To learn her secrets, we challenged her to update a barren strip of land along the side of her new house in Los Angeles. Here’s what she came up with (we’ll be right over for a cocktail, Erica!), plus how to copy her style for your own crib.

“My good friend once told me, the reason you choose your home in California will be because of the outside space, not just the inside. She was so right. I moved to Los Angeles at the end of last year after being bi-coastal for several years. This new chapter of coastal living with outdoor dinner parties, sunset cocktails, and palm tree awnings has truly been a dream come true. I was lucky enough to find a special Spanish bungalow not too far from the beach, and its elevated modern, yet cozy vibe screamed my name. I focused on furnishing the interior when I moved in right away, and then realized just as summer rolled around how essential it would be to have an outdoor dining space. So in the spirit of DIY, I turned the side of our home (which was really just dirt and weeds) into a picture-perfect dining space for all of our al fresco needs.


1. Gravel: Before I could even bring in furniture, I had to lay down gravel, which was a first for me. Who knew it would actually be kind of fun shopping for gravel!

Photo by P.S. I Made This

2. Dining tables: Knowing that I wanted to create a southern California-meets-Provence vibe, I went with two Matera dining tables that would set the tone and anchor the space. I was really drawn to its silvery grey wood tone. And having two tables instead of just one creates that extended look, which makes entertaining all the more fun and effective. We can sit anywhere from 6-10 people comfortably.

3. Chairs: Adding my favorite woven Malawi chair to the heads of both ends of the tables created the ultimate beachy look that’s one part tropical and another part boho.

Photo by P.S. I Made This

4. Drink station: If you’re in need of extra space (like yours truly), I highly recommend creating a beverage station. While most people think consoles are generally for indoor use, this modern piece was exactly what I needed. It’s nice because it breaks up the dining area and allows for guests to serve themselves, which is always how I want people to feel…right at home.

Photo by P.S. I Made This

5. Table setting: Having bold, but still neutral pieces allow me to have fun with my tablescapes. I’m a big fan of mixing together unexpected textiles and with fresh accents and textures. Designing the ultimate tablescape comes down to layering color, texture, and height. To achieve a fabulous setting, don’t be afraid to decorate with bowls of citrus and season fruits, as well as flowers. If family style is your vibe, then play that up. There’s nothing better than having your dishes directly on the table so your guests can interact with each other throughout the meal.

Photo by P.S. I Made This

6. Lighting: This is the last and maybe most important final touch. Our space came together great, but as soon as those string lights turn on, it was transformed into the most magical place. Little lights are a must—no ifs, ands or buts about it. They will illuminate your entire area and anchor the space with love.

Speaking of love, nothing makes me happier than entertaining. And now that I finally have an out-of-this-world outdoor space to do this in, our house feel like a true California home!”

Photo by P.S. I Made This


GET THE LOOK