As mentioned in a previous porch, our current project is working on the front porch. Here is the porch (and house), not long after the water left, so this is a serious before. This is recent...we're still not there yet, but we've made serious progress. The awning is almost painted (I just need to touch up the white), and the doors, floor, and ceiling have all been painted. Next the furniture comes back, then accessories, then landscaping.
Since there will be quite a bit happening on the porch: green trim and floor, yellow ceiling, furniture and pillows, I decided to paint the caps of the brick stoops and columns in a brick red to blend in. I decided the white caps offered too much contrast.
Hopefully, by weekend, I'll be able to post the finished porch (sans landscaping...that comes after my friend donna gets back from Puerto Rico). This is how I developed my design.
First: Function: While I prefer a clean, almost spare look on the porch (I would have been happier to just have a couple of pots of plants and maybe a swing), we need extra living space, especially for entertaining. We entertain quite a bit...since we moved back in Oct., I've had a birthday bruch for 15, a Christmas brunch for around 20, an Easter brunch, a Mardi Gras party, several overnight guests, not to mention impromtu gathering. Unfortunately, our rooms are very small (12x14), therefore, whenever we have a larger party, I need as much seating as possible on the porch. And since a lot of our entertaining is pretty spur of the moment and we don't have much storage, i need the seating out all the time: I don't really have the luxury of keeping lots of folding chairs and table in a basement. I also need the porch to function as a sunroom: our house is a duplex, and there is a house next door. Because it's close, we it blocks quite a bit of light, and the situation is made worse because window treatments are necessary to provide privacy. The only downstairs space that gets sun in the morning is the porch, so I needed a place to sit and enjoy my coffee and the paper (or I would do so if I ever had the time). Ideally, I would have liked a swing, a bistro set, and a settee, but I ended up with a slightly different mix. World Market had a great deal on a set that did include the settee and 2 chairs, but with a coffee table. As of now, I'm using the coffee table as a low table between the chairs, but I plan on eventually putting it in the backyard as a bench and getting a small dining height table to use with the 2 chairs.
Second: style: Now that the function is decided (seating, seating, seating), what should it look like? First, I had to decide on a look that was appropriate for the house. It's a bungalow with slight craftsman tendancies, so I decided to go for a cottage look. It also suits our casual lifestyle. That was important because the porch functions as our foyer since the front door opens directly into the living room; thus, I wanted it to give a little taste of our style. The cottage look is also forgiving, and since we're on a budget, I wanted a look that could incorporate found objects (like the old window frames hung as art) and would still look good after a little wear and tear.
Third: color: I wanted to go cottage, and to take it a little funky, because my partner Thomas loves funky, and a little retro. And I equate cottage and funky with a lot of color. I had three givens: white siding, forest green trim, and red brick. I also had to keep the awning (Thomas loves it). First, I decided to paint the ceiling and underneath the awning a pale yellow. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, with the high contrast white and forest trim, the existing white ceiling was very lost feeling. Second, while the awning does provide the necessary shade from the New Orleans sun and rain protection, it blocks a lot of light. I picked the yellow to balance all the green and to give a sunshiny glow under the awning. Since I already had gold and green, to go a little funky, I decided to add raisin doors to give the porch a mardi gras theme. Frankly, I don't love all the green trim on the columns and awning, but Thomas does and I don't care enough to fight about it. Finally, I used a brick red to tone down the contrast on the top of the brick structures. My plan is use pillow fabric to tie everything together. I have a couple of options, but I haven't made my final selection. Stay tuned.