Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer project: Porch makeover

One downside of going through cancer treatment in summer is that chemo drugs make the skin much more sensitive to sunlight. And while I'm in no hurry (or shape) to sit on the beach all day, I still want to get some fresh air, hear birds singing, see leafy stuff. The idea of being stuck indoors every day is a little oppressive.

We have a screened-in porch at the back of the house, but it's always been a little sad. When we moved in, the whole thing was painted battleship gray, so we added some color and threw in some plastic picnic chairs, but that was about it.

Here's the "before" color scheme; note the still-gray ceiling.

We'd sit out there sometimes, but the chairs weren't really comfy and it always seemed shoddy and unfinished.

This year, though, I had both the motivation — and the time — to think about what I really wanted to do with the porch. As it's so tiny (just six feet wide and 12 feet long), I wanted to keep a simple color scheme and a minimal amount of clutter. No extraneous decorative bits and pieces; everything had to be pretty and serve a purpose.

First, it needed some of the sort of TLC I didn't feel energetic enough to provide: paint and new wood. As it turned out, my work cube-buddy Nova's fiancé does that clever sort of thing for a living, so he came over and for a reasonable price had the whole space done in three days.

Huge difference already, huh?

Next, furniture. Most new chairs I looked at were huge, built for the patios of McMansions (or at least for spaces wider than my six-foot porch) and much more expensive than I was willing to fork over.

So I started stalking Craigslist, and soon found the perfect thing.

Do ya love it? Of course you do! The seller also had a matching table; I picked them both up.

I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the porch to look, so the next week was spent going Extreme Makeover on the chair and table; searching for accessories online; and going fabric shopping with my friend Peter (who also loaned me his sewing machine, which moved things along quickly and made me realize I should probably get one).

Ready to see the results? Close your eyes ...

Okay, open them!

Here's the chair and table up close:

A few details: The table and chair cost $125. Primer and paint were $30. Three yards of remnant fabric (enough for two cushions and a tablecloth) from Sewfisticated in Somerville were $13.

The indoor-outdoor reversible rug is from b.b. begonia ($48), and the orange table was a $12 Marshalls' find. The sheer drapes and paper lanterns were from Amazon and cost around $35 total. We'd bought the blinds a while back, but usually kept them rolled up. Letting them hang loose gave a lot more privacy and shade from the sun.

I had another table that had been a sidewalk find many years back; it was previously bright pink. As there was leftover blue paint from the walls, I used it on this table so it would be a little less obtrusive (given how quickly the porch was filling up with Stuff).

It's so rare that I get a chance to do a makeover on a space like this; the other rooms in our apartment are decorated organically, and evolve into some state of design (or not) that we're happy with. It was so much fun to change up the porch, in large part because it gave me something to focus on during the worst of the chemo side effects.

And now I have somewhere to sit outside and enjoy the rest of the summer!

(In case you wondered: Yes, I do happen to like this shade of blue ...)


Blogger Meredith said...

Looking gorgeous, lady! And the porch is too. Miss you and hope you're hanging tough...

2:48 PM  
Blogger Maria Garcia Nasr said...

Great job! I think you should look into having a program in HGTV. Hugs.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey CG. You look GREAT! LOVE how the porch turned out. Also love how your nail polish matched the decor. SO CHIC!!! Hey, you did such a great job I know a porch that is in desprate need of some love. What do you say??? LOL

Miss u Much!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Chez Terez said...

Porch looks great, you look even better! Beautiful work, CG!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Donna Walthall said...

You did a fab job! Looks like we've been watching the same TV shows.

Miss you!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

What a gorgeous change to your porch! Wow - talent is apparent here, and the chair recovered is just so striking. Enjoy your little retreat from the summer heat!

8:36 AM  
Blogger Jenny's Heart said...

WOW! What a transformation! I love the colors and the remake on the chairs...just wow!

2:20 AM  
Blogger Cameron VSJ said...


I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?




3:15 PM  

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