01 August 2011

Chain Reaction

My friend Travis moved to the Austin area (from Colorado) earlier this year. He's been renting a temporary apartment for a few months, and he has finally found a house to move into. Which, of course, meant that I had to finally put the screened porch together.

What could Travis moving into a house possibly have to do with our screened porch? Travis's old lease ended yesterday, but his new lease didn't start until today. He was going to stay in a hotel overnight (with his things in a U-Haul), but we insisted that he stay with us. Since we've been using the guest room to hold the cushions and things that we've been buying for the porch, we needed to clear them out to turn the staging area back into a guest room. Instead of just moving everything to another part of the house, and since I finished painting the porch Saturday morning, we decided to finally pull it together.

So, without further ado....

We've had the bench and chairs assembled out there for a couple of weeks, but we still needed to put the table together and organize the space. Steve preferred the table this direction (instead of turned 90 degrees) so we can look out at the whole yard while we eat. And the bench, which matches the chairs, will likely move either to the dining area (to seat six instead of four) or out to the garden once we get some real sitting area furniture. (And the striped rug in front of the bench will likely go in front of the porch doors when we get a bigger rug for the sitting area.)

But enough about the future. Remember all those cushions I've been buying?

I love love love the green paisley ones (from Marshall's) but wanted to keep the dining chairs neutral, so I was pretty happy that they worked -- and fit perfectly -- on the bench (which is extra-long, so all of the bench cushions I've looked at have been too short).

The light tan ones (from Target) were a perfect neutral backdrop for the dining chairs. (I returned the darker tan ones to Costco.)

I paired them with these tan/grey and yellow striped cushions from World Market (or, as Steve calls it, CostPlusWorldMarket):

CostPlusWorldMarket is also where we picked up this teak shelf a while back:

I don't know whether the shelf will stay there permanently, or whether the pots will stay on the shelves. I do know that I plan to fill the pots with succulents (so I don't have to water every day. Or, put differently, so non-succulents don't die because I forgot to water them every day).

So that's the 200 square feet of living space we just gained. And we took it for a spin over breakfast yesterday morning. Steve was inside slaving away over the cereal when I took this picture:

Oh, there he is, enjoying the aforementioned cereal and our favorite Sunday morning ritual, reading the newspaper (on paper, like in the olden days).

Part of me wishes the porch could have been oriented so that we could use it on summer evenings (it gets direct sun until sunset, so it's way too hot to be comfortable), but brunch is more our speed anyway (check out our first brunch get-together here), so we're satisfied with the way it worked out. And the porch will be really nice for dinner in the spring and fall (and even some winter nights).

There's still more to do (isn't there always?), but it's come a loooong way from this mess just a few weeks ago:

And now:

Lessons learned?

1. Paint. A neutral backdrop can actually make it easier to create a brightly colored space. I would have saved a ton of time if we had had the porch painted this color in the first place, but since we didn't, I'm 100% certain that repainting it was the right thing to do.

2. Buying a bunch of options (like the chair cushions), then deciding which ones are right and returning the rest is the best way to be sure you make the right choice -- and that the right ones don't get away.

3. To quote Nike, just do it. We've had the furniture since before we moved in (and the paint since September), and we could have been using this nice space months ago if we hadn't dragged our feet getting it set up. (Yes, we've been really busy with other things, but just an hour or two a day can really get things accomplished.)


  1. I'm totally drooling over your awesome screened-in porch. Looks great!

  2. It's just shy of 10'x23'. The original plans had an 8'x23' open porch, but our designer told us that her most common remodel job was enclosing porches, which convinced us to screen it in. Then she suggested that we expand it to 10' across, so we did, and it was definitely the right thing to do. (That alone made our designer worth her fee.)