A Fresh, New Look For An Old Fashion Screened In Porch


These days the outdoor living area has morphed into a covered area with flagstone floors, a fireplace and a kitchen.   And, they are wonderful, functional and tons of fun.  But, there’s something oddly cozy and charming about the good old fashioned screened in porch.  


We had a screened in porch built years ago – long before the current outdoor living area became so popular. And, it’s probably the favorite room in the house. We lounge out there, have dinner out there……coffee and newspaper in the morning, wine in the evening. Whenever the Texas weather allows it’s the most used room we have.


  But, recently my rattan furniture has looked a bit “tired” and in desperate need of a facelift.


I didn’t want to spend the money on new furniture, but wanted something fresh and fun.  I haggled back and forth between paint colors……did I want sage green or did I want black?


After giving it some thought I settled on black.  So I hauled all my wicker furniture out into the back yard, wiped it all down with a moist rag…..


Then started painting…..


And, painting…..


And, painting!


Everything thing got a couple of coats of glossy black spray paint.


Including this $50.00 rattan bench I purchased on clearance from Big Lots to add more seating to my dining table……


And, this tall storage chest.  (This was originally a natural fence post color for my boy’s play room from twenty years ago that I later painted this creamy white for my daughter.  She had this color in her room for a few years and then I moved it to my porch. It worked for a time in this creamy color, but now it’s time for a new look again in black to match the rest of the outdoor space.)


When I finished painting it looked like this.  Fresh, fun and new.  I got this fun rug at Walmart for $59.00.  Love the bright, bold colors and pattern.


But, I felt the space still needed “something”, so I tried hanging sheers to see if it gave me the final look I wanted or if it was just too much.  When I stepped back to check it out I immediately knew it gave the porch the cozy look I was shooting for…..


So I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought enough sheers to cover each corner.  I used my $5.00 off coupons and my 20% off coupons and got each $20.00 panel for $15.00-$16.00 per panel.  By the way did you know at Bed, Bath and Beyond you can use a coupon for each item you buy?  I had ten panels and ten coupons – one for each sheer.  And, for those of you who don’t know this – they will take expired coupons up to seven years old!


Adding the sheers created the charm and coziness that I was looking for.


Then I tweaked the accessories, adding lime green flowers to my arrangement and bringing in this antique plate from my collection in the house to compliment the lime green in the new rug….


I also added this adorable dog bed from Hobby Lobby for our cute little Chihuahua, Harley.  It was already black so it fit perfectly.  (And, of course it was on clearance or I probably wouldn’t have gotten it.)


I painted some of the accessories black….


Added some lime green to my potpourri – again to pull the green from the new rug in.


I also painted all the dining chairs black and switched out my cushions to this fun red and cream from Gardenridge.  This chandelier over the table was originally cream…..


Then I painted it turquoise for the wedding photo booth….


….then recycled it again by painting it black to hang above my table on my porch.  Remember paint is our easiest, cheapest design tool…..it makes everything better!


I made good use of this palm that was left over from the wedding by placing it in the corner for a cozy touch and painted this urn black (originally gray) to match everything else.


Then I added some some new accessories like these garden balls to give it a fresh, new look.  Notice my black cabinet in the corner?  Love it in this color!  Simple, inexpensive paint has helped me re-create this piece that I’ve now had for twenty years.


I have a collection of birdhouses and bird cages sprinkled all over the porch.  I just gave them a quick clean.


I painted these tall candle holders black from the rusty brown color they were originally.  You can see them used at a shower I did on my blog post here.  The shorter candle holders were originally gray.  I got them at Hobby Lobby for $5.00 on clearance and painted them black, too.  (I was on such a roll painting everything I think my husband was afraid if he walked by I’d paint him black, too!)


The end result is a fresh, updated “old fashioned screened in porch”.  Though it’s mostly recycled items that have been painted, rearranged, or tweaked  -  it feels brand new now, and I know we’ll continue to enjoy it as a family for many more years.

Happy Decorating!

Backyard Bliss: Great Outdoor Living Ideas


I know I’ve done a couple of posts on the Kaleidoscope of Homes already, but they had such great ideas and fun stuff to look at I have to share more.  These are some pictures of the outdoor areas:  Fabulous swimming pools and inviting living areas. Since that’s the craze of the day that everyone’s enjoying now and since it’s something that adds tremendous selling power to your home I wanted to share these backyards with you.



Do you like clean, uncluttered lines?  This design might be something that interests you for your own backyard. 


These large pots with their beautiful foliage helps soften the edges and bring in color.

PA210429How’s this for a nice outdoor set up?  Great amount of space; comfortable, attractive seating; gorgeous floral for color and an indoor homey touch.  And, of course the wonderful fireplace.



Wouldn’t this bar be amazing?  Look at all the people you could seat.  Love the stone and the granite.  This has all of the amenities of the indoor kitchen to provide ease and convenience outdoors when entertaining.  And, of course, you’ll notice the flat screen TV.  What would we all do without five TV’s in our homes?

IMG_8693I like the iron embellishments in the windows, too.  Nice detail.


Another offset sitting area provides more seating and a little shelter from the hot Texas sun.

IMG_8735 This is a wonderful dining space.  It’s covered for shelter from the elements, and includes the corner fireplace and a small kitchen.  Check out all the details:  Flagstone flooring, stone fireplace with that cool iron grate, richly stained bead board ceiling.  Notice the “indoor” touches as well:  Picture over the fireplace, candles on the table, copper bells in the corner, and the floral on the cook area.  This creates all the warmth you’d find inside the home.  Don’t be hesitant about bringing this type of decor outside.  It makes it cozy and inviting.  What a great space for family and friends. 


I’ve always loved this look.  Large concrete or stone pieces with the grass border in between the stone.

IMG_8737 Another cozy sitting area.  This one is smaller than the others, but serves the purpose beautifully.  Love the furniture they chose.  Again, notice all the detail work here:  The bead board ceiling, the flagstone floor, the stone wall, the artwork above the mantel, the iron grate, the candlesticks on the end table and the vases tucked in the corner.  All of these details create a very cozy atmosphere.

Lots and lots of great ideas for your outdoor space!  If you can’t do all this -  carefully study what it is you like about each space and duplicate it on a smaller scale.  That’s what I did!  I can’t have these huge, grand spaces, but I can still have the outdoor kitchen and outdoor living spaces.  I just trimmed them down to accommodate my yard and my budget.  It can be done!  Just get creative, innovative, plan very carefully (or call me and I’ll do it for you!) and you’ll have a beautiful space of your own!

Happy Decorating!

Outdoor Living: Create Your Own Cozy Retreat


By now everyone knows what a craze outdoor living has become.  (Why it hasn’t always been the case is beyond me.)  Being outside always brings that natural element to the ambiance that just can’t be duplicated.  Whenever the weather allows that’s exactly where my family is – either out on the screened in deck or hanging in one of the living areas we have sprinkled around our backyard. If you are looking for some great backyard ideas for your own yard take a look at some of these pictures from Southern Accents:


 Would you like to add an outdoor kitchen?  Check out this spread.  Anything you could do indoors could be done in this outdoor kitchen.  And, who wouldn’t rather be outdoors?  Take note of the details:  the stone, the slate, the teak wood, that incredible vent-a-hood…..


Or would an outdoor living area where you can just lounge around and visit with family and friends better suit your needs?  This great space is as visually appealing and comfortable as any indoor living area.   Again, notice all the details here – the screen, the lamps, the chandelier, etc….Would you have thought to incorporate all those cozy details outside?


 This outdoor living area has the added benefit of a wonderful stone fireplace.  Outdoor elements like the large stone pieces create the cocktail table and colorful plantings surround the seating.  The seating has the “indoor touch” of colorful throw pillows. 


 This interesting walkway takes you to a wonderful outdoor dining area and fireplace. 


 Well, the view speaks for itself, but notice the mix of textures and inviting seating, lamp and potted plants.  All of these elements create an inviting living space.


 It doesn’t get much better than this gorgeous outdoor space.  The stone wall, the rattan seating and dining area, the stripe rug.  Mmmmm….yes, I could see myself here sipping on a glass of wine.  Couldn’t you?


 This is an interesting contemporary take on outdoor living.  Clean lines, retro table (it reminds me of The Jetson’s – remember them?)….all the comforts of an indoor space brought to the outdoors to enjoy.



More of a country setting with the bench table, rattan chairs, antique brick floor and stone fireplace filled with candles. 



This is a great setting with this poolside seating, bistro table, fireplace and pergola.


1726579-private-porch-xl How about a great, unusual fountain like this one against the brick wall, angular stone work floor and dark contemporary style rattan?  Great for conversation or reading the paper.



This enclosed patio brings the outdoors in, but not the exposure to the elements.  This bright, yellow stripe brings more outdoor color to the space creating a happy, warm atmosphere.

Consider what you’d like to see in your own backyard and what your budget will allow.  Is it a living area, a fireplace, an outdoor kitchen…..or maybe all of it?!  Now that fall is here you might be thinking fireplace, but spring as always, is just around the corner so be thinking about that, too.  It’s not too early to start planning.  Map out your area and treat it like you would the indoors. 

1) Consider what type of living area you’d most like to see and what it needs to include – comfy seating, fireplace, kitchen?       2)   Determine your budget     3) Define your style – contemporary, traditional?  4)  Decide on a color scheme    5) Plan how much seating and space you need for entertaining.              6) Depending on what you decide to do and how much you can do yourself you will probably need to contact a qualified professional to help you.  (If you’re in my area I’m happy to help!)

 It’s time to get motivated and create that cozy outdoor retreat of your own!

Happy Decorating!


Gorgeous Gardens: Natural Outdoor Living At It’s Finest


 There’s nothing more relaxing, cozy and enticing than a beautiful outdoor garden or nicely done landscaping to woo us outside and settle the soul in a way we simply can’t get from the indoors.  A beautifully done garden is peaceful, serene…..tranquil.  How many of us could use more of that? A place to sip on coffee, tea, wine….read a book, take a nap.  A place to get away and reflect. There’s just nothing quite like it.  And any of us who have a home (or even an apartment) can create their own glorious garden to enjoy.   No matter the size of your home think about making your backyard your own private oasis….that special place where you can feel the shoulders start to relax, the smile slip back into your soul…..a quiet, cozy place to unwind.  Here are some amazing gardens from Southern Accents to give you some refreshing idea’s for that cozy outdoor space of your own.

cozy garden

How do you like these two gardens?   Think you’d like to sit out here with a book and a glass of wine?  I know I would!  Just looking at these pictures relaxes me and makes me smile.  Imagine what the real thing could do!

backyard courtyard

backyard patio

The cozy courtyard above and the classic style pool below add to the quality and serenity of each space.  Different vibe, different personality – both amazing.

backyard w/pool

This cozy “cement pond” below takes my breath away.  I could sit and stare at this with it’s cool stone deck, lush greenery and colorful roses all day long and – never need to move. 

Stone and Ivy

For those who like that clean, pristine look you might find the next two yards relaxing and inviting with all the perfectly manicured landscaping.

Lots of greenery

Perfectly groomed

Obviously these are some pretty snazzy homes and gardens here.  But don’t think for a minute you can’t duplicate the look you prefer on a much smaller scale.  (Okay, maybe minus the swimming pool if that’s not in the budget – but you get what I mean.)  Your space doesn’t have to be huge and you don’t have to be rich to have your own serene little oasis.  If you have a teeny backyard or an apartment balcony go to the nursery and take a look at some of the containers and container plants they have.  Make yourself a container garden and put a cute little bench or chair in the middle of it.   And if you’re fortunate enough to have an actual yard – big or small – take the time to make it special….treat yourself – and create your own private little sanctuary.

Happy Gardening!


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