photo Whaling-City-Cottage-8-2015_zpsoygeotsf.jpg

screen porch progress

I swear, we’re actually trying to finish this project before winter.  Nothing like working full-time and wrangling two kids to set your pace to “glacial.”

Okay so what’s been happening…..

We covered the ceiling with beadboard panels from Lowe’s.  They come in 4′ x 8′ sheets which we had to cut and puzzle together to fit the ceiling.  Thankfully the gaps don’t show too much with the dark paint because it is impossible to get these sheets to line up seamlessly.  Perfection this is not.


While we batted around the idea of tearing down the ceiling so the room would be vaulted the full height of the roof, we’re not sure what’s up there and are kinda scared to find out.


So a 7.5 foot ceiling it is!  Which doesn’t leave much room for a light fixture, especially a lantern style like I had my heart set on.

This was my top choice but then I realized the 15.5″ height was probably too big for the space.  We don’t want people whacking their head or having something block the view.  But isn’t she pretty?


lamps plus


I ended up getting this one instead – it was slightly smaller and half the price to boot.  Still, all Charleston-y and elegant though.



And I’m sticking with my original plan to paint the porch black!  This idea has been stuck in my brain for a few years after seeing Susan Hable Smith’s porch in Southern Living.  I think she used Farrow and Ball’s Studio Green.


Then this room in Elle Decor sealed the deal.


After a very short color search – this was the only one I tested – we went with BM Black Forest Green in semi-gloss.  The little bit of sheen makes a huge difference, bouncing just enough light around the space and making the green-black really deep and rich.


Then we got suckered into scraping the door of about 12 layers of paint.  The heat gun was the only thing that worked.  Even the most Acme death goo paint stripper couldn’t put a dent in it.


This is the best we could do.  But I put oil based primer on it yesterday evening….and it’s lookin’ pretty good!

I’ve also been scouring Craigslist for freaking ages looking for vintage rattan/bamboo porch chairs.  Like digging foxholes through that mother.  Not surprising but nothing met my long list of criteria – matching pair, open weave but not too open, natural color but not too orange, thick cushions, within 50 miles away, not too spenny, etc.  Then these chairs from World Market went on bananas sale and it seemed like a good time to crawl out of my CL burrow.

chair porch

The wood will warm up the dark paint on the porch and the cushions are super thick with bleach-able covers.  All the vintage chairs I saw needed new cushions or new cushion covers ($$$).

These chairs are in need of a black and white striped pillow, for sure.  Maybe this one from Pottery Barn?


Or something with thicker stripes?



Our porch sofa is also from World Market – the Himara which we got a few years ago (they don’t sell this model anymore).  This is how we knew the cushions on the chairs would rock.  They’re the same ones.

sofa porch

Once I figure out the furniture layout, I can start thinking about side tables, coffee tables, garden stools, etc.  The porch isn’t big (12′ x 12′) and the doors/pathways chop things up.


If we cram everything to the left, it gets pretty tight.  The drawing below isn’t to scale but there’s essentially no wiggle room.


I think we need to spread things out more.  This feels more balanced.

spread out

 I’m also trying to convince my husband that we can DIY a concrete top coffee table similar to this.


But do a concrete overlay treatment on the top instead of a super heavy brick-o-concrete.  I wish I had video of the look Nick gave me about this idea #somebodyneedsanap.  And I need a fairy godmother with a arsenal of power tools.

Next up: paint ALL THOSE MULLIONS.  I would say I need wine but I’m not sure boozing and fine motor tasks are a good mix.

Thoughts?  Criticism?  The name of a good wood worker in my area?  What do you guys think?


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  1. This is going to be great! I have a 9×12 front porch that I have had trouble arranging furniture on. You’ve given me some great ideas! Your porch sofa is terrific–now I need one. If we lived closer, I would totally paint those mullions for you.

    • says:

      Sweet lord, I would take you up on that offer in a heart beat. 😉 But you should just come around for a G&T on the porch someday. And lobster rolls. Plural.

  2. Loving all your porch plans. I like the openness of putting one chair on an angle on the far wall. I have a settee similar to yours in my porch and I just love it. Now you have me thinking about repainting…….

  3. So excited for this project! And while boozing doesn’t improve fine motor skills, it does help relaxation with mind-numbing detail work that you JUST WANT TO FINISH ALREADY!!! (the capitals are directed at me- not you!)

    • says:

      No, Nicole, I definitely need those capitals! Painting detail work is my nemesis.

  4. Oh, I like the color!!!! Nice choice on everything. I agree with the one chair on the other side….more balanced. Just tape the daylights out of those windows and the painting won’t be so gruesome…..maybe. You two are a couple superstars of the remodeling/redecorating world.

  5. I am loving all of your reno plans and progress. The paint color is so pretty. I have a question though. Is there a reason that you can’t move the doorway (yard) of the porch to be more symmetrical for a better porch arrangement? I mean, if you’re doing all the work anyways…
    Also, not sure if you’ve painted the mullions or not by now, but I just slap paint on and the scrape it off. Windex helps with the tricky bits. It’s much easier than trying to do it nicely.

    • says:

      Thanks, Emy! We did think of moving the doorway to dump you out on the patio. But that needs to be re-built and we also felt it might make you feel boxed out of the grass/yard, so we left the door where it was. Mullion painting is going slow and steady. Just being really careful with a 1 inch brush.

  6. hey, discovered your blog via instagram and LOVE what you’re doing! I have a source to share for furniture, and other things. I live in Waltham and there is a place called Buy & Consign – they have offered to keep an eye open for things I want (they’re one of those estate clearing/consignment places). It would be a bit of a drive for you, but their prices have been amazing (they also slowly drop prices on stuff, the longer it’s there).

    • says:

      Thanks, Kirstey! I’d love to check that place out. I’m such a baby, Boston always seems so far. 😉 Or maybe it’s traffic.

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