At Home: Screen Porch Makeover

After a busy weekend, I'm pausing to appreciate, and share, one of my very recent decorating triumphs, our screen porch.

Over the three years we've lived here, our porch has become the dumping ground for all of my half finished craft projects and collected seashells, a bird feeder filling station, an outdoor dining room, and a disaster. With this makeover my goal was to revamp each space to make a porch that we would actually want to spend time on.

Seashell Sorting Center

One corner of the porch was occupied by stacks of random shell-filled plastic containers and ragged cardboard boxes all heaped on and around a weathered particle board desk. What had once been an organized craft area had become an embarrassing eyesore.

before-- I'm really embarrassed that I let it get this bad!!
After: my re-purposed old suitcase, seen earlier on the blog, has now been converted from a cat bed into a dog toy holder for all of Sam's outdoor toys.
 Seashells are sorted into glass containers and baskets and the terrible particle board desk has been painted.

This project really got its start with shell sorting. Tired of the sun bleached and brittle (not to mention ugly) plastic containers, I made the decision earlier this summer to find baskets and jars to sort my shell collection into. The goal--- attractive storage that would still allow me to find the type of shells I need for craft projects. 

While I lusted after apothecary jars and other ornate glass containers, I found them to be beyond my budget so I mixed thrifted glass jars with dollar store basket and vases and cleaned out old candle jars to create the storage I need for the various types of shells, sea glass and shark teeth that I've collected. 

About halfway through my sorting project I realized that there was no way I was going to put my beautiful jars back on that ugly black desk, and no way I could afford something new, so I dragged the particle board monstrosity off to the garage and gave it a quick coat of paint with colors I already had. I embellished the desk with some cotton sash cord and seashells; I hope to add more cord and continue with the shell design soon. 

Outdoor Dining Room

At our last house, which we rented, a table was left for us by the previous tenants, an older couple that we had the pleasure of meeting while considering the property. This table made the move with us to this house and, right now, is the only dining table we have since our actual dining room has been taken over by my business, Fair Sails


Earlier this year, a new family moved into the house behind us and immediately got to work creating outdoor living spaces in their back and side yard, making our outdoor space less private and less appealing by comparison.
 In need of a more inviting and secluded dining area, my thoughts turned to tablecloths and curtains.

After: I added sheer curtains, a spaghetti wear pitcher and my great aunt's tablecloth. 

While at my local Salvation Army, I spotted a few bundles of sheer curtains and decided that they would be the perfect addition to the porch, sure to provide the privacy we need and diffuse the strong morning and evening light the porch receives. I strung the curtains up using cotton sash cord (love that stuff!), and metal cleats, for a nautical appeal. I intend on adding more curtains for a more lush look when the curtains aren't tied back. 

After seeing all of the vintage tablecloths at our wedding last year (which my mom has kept) my great aunt sent me a tablecloth she received for her wedding. While it cannot live out here full time, for fear of mold, it looks lovely on the table for company and special occasions. 

Amazing how a few yards of fabric can change a space; now we have a pretty place to eat out of the prying eyes of surrounding neighbors. 
In the future, I'd like to add an outdoor area rug to the floor beneath the table-- perhaps I stumble on one at a thrift shop!

Bird Feeder Filling Station
turned seating area


Since installing the fence in the backyard, I've moved my galvanized trashcan filled with birdseed to the screen porch for easy access. In the future we hope to build a shed in the yard, which would be a more suitable home for this can, but for now, it's stuck on the porch. Though I will need to access the can regularly, I came to the conclusion that I don't actually need it to be visible and began to think of ways to hide it.

After: relocated vintage bench and plant stand hide the trashcan.
 A thrifted throw and a vintage boat cushion make the bench a comfortable place to sit and relax.

Wanting to relocate my bench (another refinishing project on my list) from the un-screened front porch to the back, I realized it would be perfect to hide the unsightly can. By inverting the lid on the can, I was also able to create an elevated spot for my potted gardenia to sit and a spot to store my collection of oyster shells.

While thrift shopping for curtains, I found this white throw and thought it would be a good temporary solution to hide the bench cushions that are in desperate need of reworking or replacement. I also like the fact that the throw can be washed regularly as this bench seems to already be a popular spot with the pets.

There's still plenty of work to be done, but for now I'm incredibly pleased with the results of my efforts. I'm also quite pleased with the price tag attached to this makeover; with the thrifted curtains, white throw, shell containers and by using materials I already had, I kept this project under $30. Such a small investment to make a space feel so much more inviting.  

Finally, we have an outdoor living area worth living in!

Wishing you luck on your own decorating adventures!
And, as always...

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