the evolution of a space.

I was digging through old photos the other day looking for a picture of my front porch floor for Monday’s post, and I realized that our front porch was a great example of how a space changes incrementally over time.

When we purchased our home way back in 1988, the front porch was very utilitarian with white walls, trim and ceiling and a grey painted floor.  The previous owners had mainly seemed to use the area as a place to stash stuff.  I was so excited to have an old fashioned three season porch!  And obviously it required wicker furniture!  In addition to the purchase of a set of wicker furniture that included a chaise lounge, a chair, a coffee table, a small round stool and a console table, my friend Sue helped me add a stencil just below the ceiling.

Don’t judge, it was the 80’s.  Stenciling like this was all the rage.

Unfortunately, that’s the only picture I have of the front porch until we got around to giving it a full makeover in 2001.  That was when I painted my first checkerboard floor.

Ahhh, who else remembers Martha Stewart’s Everyday Green paint color?  It was one of my favorites.  Oh, and by the way, this was before I went digital so I only have photos in a scrapbook from this timeframe.  As for that floor, my method was simple.  Paint the entire thing in one color, then measure and mark out the squares with a yardstick and a pencil (this is the trickiest part), then hand-paint in the darker squares.

After painting that floor I realized that the walls looked dingy, so I painted them in Paris Pink.  It was left over from the living room … yep, we had a pink living room back in the day.  What can I say, I was (and really still am) a big fan of the shabby chic movement.  And as you can sort of see in the photo below, I kept the stenciling ‘as is’.

My bff sewed the floral slip covers for the cushions.

This was clearly before I developed my aversion to matchy-matchy furniture sets, although I think I was beginning to realize it wasn’t a good look because I swapped out the wicker console for a china cabinet that I painted white.

These were the early days of my furniture painting, I’m sure I used a latex paint on that cupboard.

Flash forward a decade now to 2011.  I was totally done with the pink.  I’d already repainted the living room, and it was time to get around to the front porch again.  So after repainting the walls and ceiling in a pale aqua blue, and adding a fresh coat of white to the trim, we sanded the floor and gave it a base coat of white followed by black squares.

I remember specifically wanting to make the squares bigger this time around, for some reason I thought those initial green squares were too small.

I was also continuing to whittle away at that matched set of wicker.

The coffee table, small round stool and console table are gone, and I’ve added in a little washstand that I painted myself.

I’d also cut way back on the shaggy, trailing houseplants in favor of a simple orchid and a small fern.

The cushions on the wicker were recovered in a slightly less floral vintage bark cloth.

I also painted over that stenciling in favor of one of my first uses of a transfer when I added this phrase to the crown molding.

Jumping forward to 2014, Mr. Q decided he wanted one of the green Adirondack chairs from our deck on the front porch instead of the wicker chair.

I can’t say that I blame him, it’s certainly far more comfortable.  Our handyman/neighbor Ken went through an Adirondack chair making phase.  He made two of these for us for our deck.  He also made a bunch of them for our neighbor across the street, nnK, one for my sister, a couple for my friend Terri, some for Sue, and we sold a few at our occasional sale too.  I wonder if he kept track of how many he made?  But I digress.

I tried to make the lime green work by adding a throw pillow covered with vintage bark cloth that pulled together the lime green and the aqua, but in reality the color was always a bit jarring.

I’d also changed out the washstand at this point.  It’s not a very obvious change, but if you look at the drawer pulls above you’ll notice that this is different one than the one that was in this space in 2011.  I’ve also swapped out the piece in between the chairs for a chippy old trunk, and recovered the chaise lounge cushion in something more neutral.

Ultimately I just couldn’t live with the lime green though, so the next year I asked Ken to make another Adirondack for us.  I moved the green one back out to the deck and painted the new one white.

That throw pillow is from H & M Home.  They used to have the best stuff in this sort of style, but now they’re leaning heavily towards a mid-mod sort of aesthetic.  Just go look at the throw pillows on their site to see what I mean.  So disappointing.

At this point I also moved my black cupboard into the spot where the washstand was.

In 2019 I added a transfer to the inside back of the cupboard.

I had been contemplating selling this cupboard, but I liked it so much with the transfer that I decided to keep it.

At that time I had swapped out the china cabinet with the fretwork for a small farmhouse table with the base painted in a custom milk paint blend.

I’ve considered placing this desk (that refuses to sell) in that spot …

It would be a perfect fit.

However, this is the spot where I take most of my close up photos in the winter.  It gets great light for that purpose, so I need a neutral surface that I can move around and a small table with casters works perfectly for that.

However, the table top on that original table was less than ideal for that purpose, so I swapped it out for this one.

And that brings us up to the current day.

I do occasionally think I should get rid of that one last remaining wicker piece and find something more comfortable for myself.  Maybe we’d actually sit out here more often if I had a cozier piece of furniture in that spot.  I also should refresh the paint on the floor, I still love the black and white checkerboard but it’s getting pretty dinged up.  No amount of scrubbing with my new Norwex mop is doing the trick.

(that pic is for you Mary, LOL!)

That might be a job for next spring at this point though.

Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with how this space looks for now.

I hope you enjoyed this journey through the evolution of a space over 34 years.  If nothing else, I think this post proves that it takes time to decorate a room with vintage décor.  In addition, I always say that you’re never really ‘done’ decorating your home, it just keeps evolving.  I hope to do some decorating projects over the winter this year, but I haven’t quite decided which space will get priority.  Maybe the bathroom … or the dining room … or possibly we’ll turn the guest room into something more functional.  You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

27 thoughts on “the evolution of a space.

  1. Love seeing the whole evolution and I loved all of them. A house is never really done! It’s a good illustration that painted furniture and floors are never going out of style and that you can create a totally different look by just changing a few elements.

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  2. Love seeing all the changes over the years! SUIER interesting!! I often wonder what was I thinking when I look back at pictures of my own decorating-but I remember that I always thought it was just great at the time!!😂 super fun post!

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  3. I loved this post. It was fun to see the changes in the room over the years. I laughed out loud at your comment about stenciling being all the rage during the 80’s. I did the same thing during that time!

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  4. It was fun to see the changes you’ve made over the years! I have the same china cabinet with the fretwork and it’s one of my favorites! 🙂

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  5. No stencil judgement here. Looks like a Gail Grisi stencil. I stenciled nearly every wall in our home when we built it in 1987 and have since painted over every one. Love your blog, Linda.

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  6. I had that same stencil back in the early 80’s in my kitchen! lol! Same colors too! Also had the black and white checked floor on the beach house porch along with some yellow wicker! Now we have bar height white Adirondack chairs so we can see over the railings. Loved chubby chic!

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  7. I love your porch! I would love to have an enclosed one. Also I want you to know I really listen to your advice, comments, & ect! I spent a long time Sunday going thru your old blogs & enjoying the photos of your past projects. I’m in the process of redoing a small suitcase….actually an attaché case. Anyway I attempted to stencil the top, without a good stencil brush, & it didn’t turn out too well. I sanded it slightly & said it will be fine, it’s just for me, but you talking about having to “rescue that turquoise case from the awful stenciling job” kept running through my head! I repainted & added a transfer. lol

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    1. As soon as you said ‘stenciling without a good brush’ I thought of that round case I rescued (here it is if anyone else wants to take a look). I hope you like how your case turned out with the new paint job and transfer 🙂

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  8. So fun to see all the changes and watch the evolution of your style! Our 16 year old kitty died (I saw one on your wicker chair in one photo, right?) so now we basically get to redo the majority of the house due to his accidents/sickness. It’s overwhelming! Had to laugh too because our bedroom is still pink (kind of a dirty pink, not Pepto pink) and I do still kind of like it. I like it all though which is hard to accomodate in my house – primitive, shabby, industrial, vintage 30’s-40’s. Wish I was a one style girl, but clearly I am not! Love your blog and this was a great post!

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    1. Gosh…this post took me back. And I had just commented on how your home style evolved along with your scrapbooking style. I can tell that was early scrapbooking because as you went along, your minimalist style got stronger. Your home has been a lot of colors, that’s for sure. The most daring were the red walls (loved) and the chartreuse walls (loved even more). I never ever would have attempted those colors, but you did it and made them work beautifully. That’s what my Mom used to call “having the knack”. You either have it or you don’t. You have it in spades.

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      1. Thanks so much Terri! Oh yes, the red. and that green! I loved them at the time too. Maybe I need to share an evolution of the living room post next!

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    2. Awww, so sorry about your kitty. Yes, our cat Lucy is in that chair. And she is still with us, but is definitely a senior citizen. We’ve got her on a special kidney support diet and so far she continues to hang in there with us. And I know what you mean about not being a one style girl, I have that same problem!

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  9. That was a great post! Time capsule. I need to go to minimalist for a while but I love all my stuff! I so enjoy your blog and how you can switch up looks! Checkered floors (any color) are still my favorites. Love seeing yours.
    Smiles, alice

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    1. It is hard to get rid of stuff you love, I know. Every time I make over a space I try to eliminate everything that I don’t absolutely, totally love. If it’s just a filler piece, I get rid of it. That helps me keep things slightly less crowded 🙂

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  10. Well, what a lot of work you do to make things so cute. Now I know why things are so attractive in your photos. I am sooo simple in my decorating I see. And I cracked up at “my” mop picture. That was so funny to see in the middle of that.

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