Kyle and I finally finished our front porch. I can’t tell you how relieved we both are to have that checked off of our enormous home to-do list, but also how freaking excited I am with how it turned out. A lot of the things we used on it were things that his parents left for us to use when they moved out, and several of them belonged to older family members, so we wanted to honor that as much as possible, but with a few updates. I also wanted somewhere for my plants to live happily in the warmer months, and a place we would like to actually spend time with friends and cold drinks this summer. I feel like it turned out to be this beachy-Texas-hipster vibe, which pretty much nails us down. Now, it is truly my dream porch.
For a long time, our porch has just been a catch-all for old tennis shoes we only wear for yard work, and stacks of junk that we didn’t know what to do with. The clutter was really weighing us down and getting on our nerves, so it was time to tackle this renovation. For reference, this took us about three weeks to complete, because we work all day and have other responsibilities, so it’s just difficult to dedicate enough time to it to finish it in a weekend. I naively thought we could bust it out in two days, but I was so, so wrong. These kinds of projects always take twice as long and usually cost twice as much as you thought they would. But in the end, I don’t care, because I freaking love this porch.
The first thing we knew we wanted to do was paint the ceiling a light blue. This is a very traditionally Southern trend, and we wanted to follow suit. A long time ago, Southerners would paint their ceilings a specific shade of “Haint Blue,” which was thought to ward off evil spirits, or “haints.” The belief is that these ghosts cannot cross water, and therefore, the blue ceiling confuses them and sends them on their way. We chose Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue, which ended up being a little greener than I thought, but it still looks beautiful. My dear friend Katie helped us with the ceiling while she was in town a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, Katie is always up for some projects when she’s here.
Katie also drove to Home Depot for more white spray paint when I ran out and had a mini-meltdown because I was hot and tired. That’s a good friend right there, people. I used white spray paint on the old wicker furniture that we had from Kyle’s parents. These pieces used to belong to his grandmother, Manda Lou, before she passed away, so they are very special to us. The great thing about wicker furniture is that it’s easy to update with a little spray paint. Or in my case, seven cans because the first four were shitty and wouldn’t cover anything. Anyway, onward.
I also wanted to replace the cushions on the wicker chairs to match our new porch, and this was actually one of our more annoying and difficult tasks. We needed cushions made specifically for wicker furniture that have a curved back to fit the seat, and not every place carries those. I got one from Target that ended up being too big, so Kyle returned those and found one that worked from Lowe’s. Not the cheapest option, but I just didn’t really want to deal with finding fabric to cover the existing cushion, so I just needed a quick fix to check it off my list. We also found the cute little side table between the wicker chairs at Marshall’s, which is perfect to hold your drink.
Painting the floor was a huge undertaking, but it was something I really wanted to do to brighten up the porch. Of course, painting a floor white was going to create a problem with visible dirt, but I felt adamant about this change. We chose the perfect shade of cream, Benjamin Moore, Antique White, and got to work. We applied two coats of primer to the floor first, and then two coats of the paint. The thing about painting a floor is that you have to either paint yourself inside or outside the house. We were able to use the back door while we were home, but there was no way to get back inside the back door if we left to go somewhere else. So we worked outside some until it got too hot, and then when the floor was dry enough, we just gently tip-toed back into the house.
To combat the dirt that is inevitable on a front porch, we chose this really awesome rug from Target. At first, we just had one rug to go under the swing and got a runner for the doorway, but the runner was too long, so we just ended up with two rugs. I think this helped it feel more like a living or sitting space anyway, so I love how it turned out.
As for the curtains, they served more than one purpose for this project, aside from adding an airy feel to the room. Our living room is just on the other side of the porch, and it always seems dark in there. In order to brighten it up in the living room, I wanted to remove the blinds and thick curtains on that window, but then you could see directly in and out of the house, which feels creepy. So, we got a bunch of cheap sheers to cover each of the porch windows, and that allowed us to open up the blinds in the living room for some more light without it feeling like people were looking in on us when we were watching Twin Peaks or Grey’s Anatomy or whatever other show we torture ourselves with these days. We found the sheers at Big Lots for $5 each, as well as the $3 tension rods for each window. (I also found the arrow plant stand at Big Lots, too, but I can’t find it online, so I’m not sure of it’s availability. It was only $15, though, and once again, Kyle found it and knew I’d love it.) We also added a strand of lights behind the porch to bring some light to that end of the porch at nighttime, and I love the festive vibe that creates.
We discussed painting the brick, because it’s not in great shape and has several paint splatters and streaks on it from previous paint jobs. That really bothered me before, but once we finished everything, I’m so glad we didn’t paint the brick and the imperfections aren’t as noticeable anymore.
The swing was another fairly big project. Surprisingly, this was the most difficult thing we painted because of all the slats you had to work between. The original swing had a sort of primitive top with heart cut outs on the wood. While this would work for some people, it just didn’t really fit our style. Kyle had the idea to remove the top slat and replace it with a plain board. My dad came through on this one during our workday one Saturday, and attached it to the top of the swing while it sat in my kitchen. (You all don’t even know how big of a mess our house has been through this process.)
Once the top board was attached, we primed the swing and had to decide what color to paint it. We went back and forth on this for weeks. Seriously. Weeks. Navy? Dark green? But bringing in a dark color to our already brightened-up porch felt a little wrong. Kyle and I sat on the couch looking at Apartment Therapy, trying to get ideas, when we saw this paint combination using a very light pink and different shades of blue. Once again, Kyle is a genius and said “What if we paint it pink with like a color block of gold?” Yes. Sold. Not every husband will agree, much less think, to help you paint your porch swing pink and gold, people. #KEEPER.
We used Sherwin-Williams, Charming Pink for the bottom of the swing and Devine Color by Valspar, Karat for the top. We wanted it to look gold-dipped, and I think it turned out perfectly. I will say this about the gold paint — it took a million coats and doesn’t dry quickly. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to use this paint. This color combination also reminds me of our wedding, which makes me so happy. By pairing the green leaf pillows with the swing, I think it looks more sophisticated and fun, rather than too much like a little girl’s playroom.
Speaking of pillows, we found all of these at Target. I definitely spent way too much money on pillows for this porch, but they really add so much character and personality to the room. We found the green leaf printed ones sometime last year on clearance, so Target doesn’t have those exact ones anymore, but they have these, which are pretty similar. Target didn’t actually have any outdoor pillows that I loved when we were looking for a couple more for the wicker chairs, so we looked in the regular indoor pillows. Kyle found the cactus pillow and he knew I would love it. (He gets me, guys.) I also fell in love with the textured stripe one, and my sister helped us pair them together. I like that the colors pull from each other but aren’t too matchy.
The table holding some of my plants was another piece that Kyle’s parents left behind, and it was originally covered with a yellow tablecloth. I never knew what was under the tablecloth, but when I finally started clearing things off of the porch, I realized there was this awesome table underneath. Apparently, it was a water jug table that literally held a water jug for Kyle’s mom and her brothers to use. And before that, it was used at the old Wayne County Library! I love the history of this piece, and we did nothing to it other than wipe it clean. I could never get rid of or change something with so much history.
The bookshelf was already on our porch, as well, and held a bunch of old books. My brother helped me use some of the leftover ceiling paint to freshen it up, and we nearly burned up because it was so hot outside. He came over to visit and I ended up putting him to work. Ha! We had a lot of fun painting and dying from the heat together. I found a new knob for the door at Target, which helped update it a little more. I need to refill the shelves inside with more books and things, but I’ll get to that once we finish cleaning out the rest of the house and I see what I need to move around. (You probably can’t tell by all the crap we have, but I clean out things A LOT around our house.)
The little gold owl was just a random figurine I have that I spray-painted gold. I want to say Kyle’s mom gave it to me from cleaning out something, but I can’t remember for sure. He looked a little creepy before, and I think the gold paint only made him a little less creepy, but I like him nonetheless.
We found our welcome mat at, you guessed it, Target. We have another mat that we love that says “Press Onward,” but this one seemed fitting for summer, and of course, goes with all of my plants.
This all probably seems like it was fairly easy-going, but I have saved the door fiasco for last.
At first, we thought we wanted to paint our doors a dark green. In my head, that would help tie together the plants and balance out the brightness of everything else. We chose Derbyshire by Sherwin-Williams and thought it would look perfect. From the first swipe of paint, we knew it wasn’t the right fit for this porch. It was not the dark green I’d imagined, but rather a brighter, almost kelly green, and it just didn’t fit our vibe.
Meanwhile, while Kyle was painting the green paint on one door, I was priming the wooden door which leads into the house and that we had also planned to paint green. Then I had this thought, which sent me into a hormonal spiral of emotion: “A Christmas wreath won’t look good on a green door.” That’s it. That’s what did it. I lost all chill, but it was too late. I couldn’t remove the primer I had already swiped onto the door without undertaking a completely time-consuming task when we were so close to finishing this damn porch. Kyle is painting one door a green that I hate, and I am feeling like I’ve just ruined a perfectly good door, all at the same time. So, through tears, I continued to swipe on primer. Kyle wanted to help me, but he knew I was on the fast-track to Crazytown, so there was really nothing he could do.
After priming the door, I sulked upstairs to shower, then proceeded to pout for the rest of the evening. Like with most things, it didn’t seem so bad after a good night’s sleep. In the morning, we took our walk down the block that we always take in the morning, and we discussed what to do. Kyle didn’t love the green either, so we decided to prime over that again, and use the leftover Antique White paint we used on the floor with more color-blocks of the gold paint we used on the swing. We did a swatch of gold on the top of the inside door, and on the bottom of the outside door. I think this was a fun way to tie in the gold from the swing, and the fact that each swatch is on the opposite end of the door adds balance to it all. We also have a storm door in the front of the house, so you can’t really see the main front door, but you can see a strip of the gold peeking through on the bottom. Not everyone loves gold, but to me, it’s a neutral. It goes with everything!
Once the doors were finally finished, we were able to arrange our furniture back where it belonged and bring the plants into their new home. We sat outside on the swing for a long time just enjoying the newness of the room and joking about just sleeping on our new rug because it looks so nice. I still have some things to do, like print these beauties from Magnolia Market and hang them on the brick walls, and I need to add some air plants to the little white hanging planters (pictured next to the gold owl) that Kyle’s mom brought me from Savannah. Oh! And I just remembered I have these cute cactus vases from a shop downtown that never really found a home, so they are definitely going out to the porch. I feel like a room is never totally finished, because it shifts and adapts to what you want for your home and your life. But right now, this little porch is finished enough to enjoy with Kyle and our friends and family at the end of a long summer day, which is everything I wanted. I think it’s important to remember that it’s not the things in the room, but the people and the memories within them. I hope our bright little porch will house a lot of memories and fun times to come this summer.
So if you need me, I’ll be swingin’ on the porch with a glass of wine.