We have house guests. Candylounge the poodle and her owners Sabina and Joe are visiting from San Francisco. They used to be from here, but after Katrina, their NOLA home ain't dere no more.
Candy is getting up there. She's a toy poodle, sixteen years old. We've known her since she was eight. She is making herself right at home, because really, this is now her New Orleans home anytime she wants it to be.
Cholo wants to know if he really has to share his settee and his toys. Candy has no use for a young fool.
I wanted to spiff up the house a bit for Sabina, Joe, and Candy. This is the perfect time of year in New Orleans, the weather is so fine. We finally can sit outside. But our yard and back patio is kind of a mess, and too much of a project.
One sleepless night while reading blogs, I came across Simply Seleta, authored by the lovely Seleta Hayes who describes herself as: ... a beach-livin' + design lovin' mom of four children who's on a mission to find simple beauty in daily life. Taking a break from a TV and design career, I still love embracing the artful life. Between kid naps, sunset beach walks and sand in our flip-flops, I find inspiration in things and moments that make me smile. My title? Style Seeker.
She had a little TV spot HERE about porches that was very charming, that turned out to plant a seed about something quick I could do for Sabina and Joe. I would do up the porch so we could have coffee in the morning there, and cocktails in the evening, and long conversations anytime. Basically I had done nothing with the front porch but line up a row of pedestrian gray chairs, and a few potted plants.
So here's Cholo, inviting you up to the porch to see what we've done. You can see the tattered look is en vogue at this house! It's a custom here to paint concrete porches and steps, and I just hate it! I like things looking a bit worn in, so I never minded the unpainted porch. Sometimes I think about doing a concrete stain, doing a distressed stone wash. But I don't think it can be more distressed than it already is.
The porch is long, but not as wide as the one in Seleta's video.
So I did as the lady in the video suggested: I made different areas using groupings of furniture. I used pretty much everything I had on hand, either from the back yard, or from the storage shed. I turned two chairs into a "settee". I placed some old shutters behind them to make it feel more like a room. I dragged the old wicker rocker off a side porch.
I got three outdoor area rugs made from soda bottles from eBay HERE
They're really cute, and I mixed two patterns. And they are indestructible and washable. The people at the Zouk Shop on eBay are super nice too, and shipped them quickly.
So the three areas are: A sitting room, a place to have coffee, and another sitting area. The fan back chair is a $10. Craigslist purchase, that I painted green. I purchased the little bistro set on eBay too. The unifying element is the color green.
The little bistro table is perfect for having a cup of coffee with the morning paper.
I had all these odds and ends cushions, and just mixed them all up, depending on the forgiving nature of cottage style decor.
I use the mini chair as a place to put down a drink. The lanterns were purchased years ago, but never used. They already had a nice aged patina. I just cut the wires, and turned them into hurricanes for candles (BTW the hubs makes the candles for me!).
Even though I don't like painted concrete, after I power washed the porch, I took alot of old paint off, and it kind of looked ugly. Clean but ugly. So I found some porch floor paint in the garage, the typical battleship gray. I just sponged it on, again depending on good old cottage style to make this work. It was pretty easy, and only took about an hour to do, and maybe twenty minutes to dry.
Of course the outside sitting rooms needed a little vignette! I had a rusty table on a back patio, as well as the sun wall art. Believe it or not I bought the table at Pottery Barn about 20 years ago for a coffee table inside the house, but it never worked. So it became a plant stand outside. The fountain is a thrift store find for $5. that Sabina and Joe actually gave to me years ago. I had burned out the pump, so I got a replacement on eBay. The lamp as you see it, was in the shed. It's not an outdoor lamp like the ones they sell now, but it's nothing special, so if it gets weathered after a season, it will be no great loss. What's amazing is that all the "found" things on hand go together so nicely.
The thing I liked in the video was the way the home owner mixed faux and real plants. She said the trick is mixing the fake with the real. While I'm not a silk plant lover by any means, I had this big faux hydrangea bush in storage. I once used in our French Quarter fireplace hearth.
I have a collection of birdhouses leftover from my beach house days, and this one looks just perfect. The little urn of shells had been edited out of the living room, and now has a new home on the porch as living room.
The porch ceiling is really very pretty. It's painted the traditional pale blue (to ward off evil spirits). The old Victorian brackets are in very fine shape, as are the vents in the porch ceiling. The light fixture is something I added. I wanted to do silver for the lights, house number, and mailbox to accent the soft gray paint. This "slice" of a lantern is a nice play on the traditional New Orleans lantern.
Cholo loves the porch as much as we all do.
He naps, and plays, and stands guard. What I like about the two chairs together is that the arm rests are perfect for putting down a cup or a glass. I have a terra cotta pot with a lid on it next to the rocker as a drop table.
This is the view looking out onto the street. The plants in the large urns are Blushing Bride hydrangea, and should bloom one more time before winter comes. The urns were used for Sabina and Joe's wedding at Popp Fountain in City Park (I did the flowers and decor for them), and these blushing brides remind us of that happy day.
So there's my little project. I spent under $200., and maybe about a full day's work putting it together, including the power washing and painting. I thank Seleta for the inspiration, and encourage you all to do a little project like this while the weather is so fine and dandy.
Candy loves the porch too, and Cholo wants to know when will she play with him, and when are you coming over to sit on my front porch...