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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

I’m a suburban girl- as in, I don’t have an urban bone in my body.  Our crew on “Knock It Off” are pretty much all city peeps, so they have a good time pointing out my lack of “urban coolness,” but they’re also pretty good at showing me all the cool things Philly has to offer. Win-Win!  For our final makeover of Season 2, we tackled two outdoor spaces (a roof deck and patio) in Philadelphia.  This Urban Patio Makeover was my favorite space from the entire season!  Today I’ll give you guys the before and after tour and then start with the project tutorials tomorrow!


To fully appreciate the dramatic change this space went through, you’ve gotta see the before pictures mixed throughout.


Patio Makeover DIY East Coast Creative


DIY Urban Patio Makeover

Yes, that is actually the same house!!  It’s amazing what paint and trim can do!  Before, you couldn’t even tell that the homeowners had a very cool, modern style door- now it’s a major focal point!

The windows didn’t have any trim around them, and they were oddly inset, so we did something a bit unique and created our own take on modern window trim.

Modern Window Trim- Urban Patio Makeover


photo 1-1

The cinderblock walls kind of resembled a prison when we first got there.  The very first thing we did was get a first coat of paint on them, but we sorta, kinda forgot to take good before pictures when it was still all white.  When we’re doing a DIY makeover for TV, photos come second sometimes.  Here’s what the prison walls looked like though.

photo 2


Urban Patio Makeover

The army green wall color warmed the space up so much, but when combined with the stained wood privacy screens it was urban perfection!  Tutorial for the screens coming later this week!

DIY Privacy Screen

We used IKEA outdoor furniture and instead of one large table for the family, we used two smaller ones, so that they could move them around and set it up in different ways depending on how they were using the space.

Ikea Outdoor Furniture Patio Makeover


Patio Makeover BEFORE

Since this is an urban space, we needed to think of logistical things like hiding the trash cans, recycling, and the AC unit.  We wanted it to look seamless within our design and also still be really practical and fully functional.  Sticking with the idea of the privacy screen walls, we simply cased it out and made some large doors for easy access.  No more eyesores!


Utility Screens for Patio Makeover


Urban Patio Makeover Before 3


Urban Patio Makeover 6

Actually, that area went from completely ugly to my favorite angle in the space.  I took a few pics with my phone as the sun was setting and the mood and ambiance is awesome as dusk hit!

Early Evening…

DIY Modern Patio Makeover


Urban Patio Makeover

The yellow chair was from IKEA and we got it in the Last Chance section- man, I love that section!  It was a steal!!


Urban Patio Makeover East Coast Creative

I’ll be honest, I’m super jealous that this space isn’t mine!  I politely asked/told the homeowners that I planned to stay at their house every time they go away on vacation!  Although, with the new outdoor spaces we gave them, I doubt they’re gonna feel the need to leave all that often!

Let’s talk for a minute about the coolest modern pergola ever, shall we…  I an idea for a modern style pergola.  I had seen this picture of a more classic pergola and decided I had to come up with my own take on it… Wood and mason jars, while awesome, just weren’t the right style for this makeover.  We also had an insanely tight budget to deal with (the story of my life!- lol) so I started toying with the idea of PVC.


Using PVC, zip ties, and metallic spray paint, we created a clean-lined, contemporary version of a pergola.

Modern Pergola DIY

This project was beyond simple, saved us a ton of cash, and all around made my day!!  I’ll be sharing the how-to this week as well!

modern pergola DIY 2

Urban Patio East Coast Creative

Here’s a view from the roof looking down on the patio.  I’m so glad we decided to go with a fun geometric pattern on the concrete floor.  We hadn’t thought about looking down from the roof deck, so it was an added bonus when we looked over and saw it lookin’ all cool!

Urban Patio Makeover 2

Picture of a pictures is always a good thing- right?

Painted Concrete Patio Floor

Can you see now, why this space made my top ten?!?  If you haven’t watched this episode, you can check it out here.

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The comments +

  1. erin says:

    the pergola! i can’t wait to see the DIY instructions on that!

  2. Hani Shabbir says:

    WOW.. Love it! The I look forward to seeing the tutorials. My favorite are your privacy screen and window frame.

  3. Mercedes says:

    Totally blown away!

  4. Jess Lundgren says:

    Amazing! I love this! Makes me want to have a messed up little patio to overhaul. Lol!

    • Diana Trotter says:

      Hi Jess,

      This space was one of Monica and Jess’s favorite makeovers on Knock It Off, glad you loved it too! 🙂

  5. Erin says:

    Unbelievable space. Love love love! Where did the wall scone come from next to the door?

  6. Lacy says:

    Amazing transformation! Can you share the pvc pergola instructions? I do not see them on your blog.

  7. […] 1. I an in LOVE with this urban patio makeover (I want that yellow chair), on East Coast Creative Blog. […]

  8. […] 10. I am in LOVE with this urban patio makeover (I want that yellow chair), on East Coast Creative Blog. […]

  9. Constance Waid says:

    Missing your show so much since the demise of LiveWell Network. Hoping you find another “free, over-the-air” outlet for it. We don’t have cable or satelite TV (by choice).

  10. […] Recycle Mason Jars into Lamps Image via: lifeinvelvet , eastcoastcreativeblog , […]

  11. […] Recycle Mason Jars into Lamps Image via: lifeinvelvet , eastcoastcreativeblog , […]

  12. Sunny says:

    Hi: Ladies. Once again, great job. I am thrilled with the Urban Patio Makeover. I specially like the privacy screen walls, and how you added doors to the privacy screen walls to conceal the A/C, trash can, recycling bin, etc. Any idea of when we can get the tutorial for this Urban Patio Makeover please? Thank you very, very much.


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