Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumn Afternoon on My Porch


Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:
And, in our home, there is no better place to spend a warm October
afternoon or evening than on our back porch.
My love affair with porches began many years ago when my husband and I
would spend time at his grandmother's cottage in what we now call
"the old Destin, Florida."
Perched on a bluff, her screened-in porch overlooked the little harbor,
and for many years, had a wonderfully uninterrupted view across the dunes to the Gulf.
That of course has changed, but the ambiance of her porch with its old
swing and wicker furniture remains with me today-
and stirs the fondest of memories.
Our own porch overlooks the Harpeth River in Franklin, Tennessee,
and provides us a wonderful window from which to view the changing seasons, as well
as the occasional "river critters" that often wander by.
Although the porch is only 12 years old, it was in need of some sprucing up,
and, we wanted to add a fireplace in order to extend its use into what we consider
the best season of the year~autumn!
And, as I simply can't resist 'Before & After' pictures,
I decided to do a little picture diary of our project:
With a little "camera magic,"
I have fast forwarded our project for you. Our new fireplace was built where
the original porch doors were located. I am fascinated with the workmanship of
stone masons.  They were able to replicate the look of our other chimneys perfectly.
The floor is waiting for a fresh coat of creamy white paint,
and if you look up, you can see the old mahogany rowboat hanging from the ceiling!
The boat is truly amazing and belonged to my husband's grandfather.
While the workmen were busy with the construction,
I found a few projects of my own to keep me adequately busy until they were finished.
First up:
My old columns.
I'm a fool for architectural salvage, and I have had these on the porch for quite some
time.  I decided to strip the old paint off and to expose the natural color underneath so they would
blend with my new porch furniture.
Accomplishing this distressed look was almost my undoing, as once I started the process
there was no turning back!  I gave up counting how many layers of paint there were-
and I don't want to even think about all the lead in that old paint that I probably came
in contact with...even though I did try to be careful.
The finished product was just what I wanted. 
I added touches of some of these luscious Benjamin Moore colors ~
love, love, love them!
Next up:
Now, I do NOT sew anything on a sewing machine.
So, I headed to my favorite source: ETSY.
There I found exactly the pillows I needed, and after receiving them, I decided
to embellish them with two of my favorite fabric combinations:
Burlap & Velvet.
Pillow Perfect!
Seat covers for my chairs.
Again, I used burlap (from some old mulch bags! Who knew?!).
This time I did a transfer of my initial onto the burlap:
By this time the workmen were making strides toward actually finishing the porch.
So it was time for me to start looking for some vintage accessories to place
strategically around. I wanted ambiance... but no clutter!
These are just a few things I picked up to go on the shelves that flank the
fireplace.  The little branches give off a nice little glow in the evening.
Finally, after much ado,
the porch was ready for us!
Love my Blue Heron pillows. They inhabit our river~ and we are in awe of them.
Also love my indoor/outdoor carpet. They are making incredible outdoor furnishings
these days!  Speaking of furnishings, the sofa and matching side chairs came from
Restoration Hardware.
We our found our coffee table in Birmingham, Alabama, and the wicker rockers in the
picture below actually came from the "old Destin" cottage.
That's a football game alright!
And, a perfect October afternoon to enjoy it.
It's a perfect afternoon for this, too!