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.