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A Groovy Kind of Porch

We reused what we already had for our front porch, and it looks pretty good out there right now. We’ve been sitting out there a lot though since I set it up, and it’s clear that what’s missing is a comfortable chair with arms and a back high enough to rest one’s head on. Everyone appreciates a comfy seat, yes? Like, maybe a hanging swing type of seat?

Hanging Rattan Chairs

I like the idea of something that hangs from two ropes or chains, as I imagine less crashing into the house possibilities with the kids around. Serena & Lily has a hanging rattan chair that I’ve admired for a while, and now they have a wider double version too. Then while I was out walking in the neighborhood, I spotted a version in the window at Pier 1. Turns out, they have several “Swingasans” to choose from right now. Anthropologie has one too, but it’s a little too mod for me. Because yeah, turns out I’m kinda into seventies’ and eighties’ style wicker and rattan for the outside of the Victorian.

Peacock chairs are so trendy right now, but they really would work well here. There’s a house nearby with a set outside that has a his-and-hers vibe with different bases. There are plenty of new and vintage options online and locally to choose from.

Peacock Chairs

Peacock Chairs
12345 (kid-sized!)

I know, that second one above (the Handwoven Boline Chair) isn’t really a peacock chair, but it is pretty amazing. Or ZOMG, something like this, below, would be adorable! Actually, it wouldn’t really work out front — I just wanted to share this pretty picture, ha! Anyway, I saw a vintage set of these years ago, cheap, in Palm Springs. I doubt they pop up that often here in Chicago.

Pink Vintage Patio Dining Set

More realistically, I still like these chairs that I blogged about several years ago. Here are a few similar styles. Only some have a high-back, but even just having a chair with arms would be an improvement over what we have now.

Rattan Seating

What do you like? A hanging rattan swing, peacock chair, or the more simplified style of the last set of chairs and benches? I’m about to leave for a trip and won’t be back for a couple of weeks, so I’m going to take a little time to think it over.

The Clubhouse

The back of our house has a two-story porch. Beneath the bottom one is a short space that was filled with gardening stuff left for us by the previous owners: plant stakes, watering cans, bags of potting soil, and the like. We were straightening up out back and then it started to rain, so pardon the lack of a zoomed-out photo here, but I wanted to at least snap quick photo so you could get an idea of the space.

Back Porch

Brandon took the kids to IKEA yesterday to pick up a play table and chairs, to turn the storage space into a clubhouse. He chose the MAMMUT series even though he wasn’t nuts about the look of it because it was plastic (to hopefully stand up to the elements) and it looked like it would be fairly stable on uneven ground. I would have researched this to death, so sometimes it’s nice to have someone who just goes and gets something done. He came home, cleared out the space, and set things up.

Kids' Seating in the Clubhouse

It looks a little rough, but it’s safe. No nails sticking out, exposed wires or insulation or anything, and the kids can stand up with a little headroom to spare.

My inclination is to really do it up in there (paint! curtains! string lights!), but of course Eleanor and August love it as it is. Their first rule? “Leave it messy. No cleaning up allowed.” They also made it clear that both food and books can be brought in. Oh, and then there’s the matter of the sign out front.

No Boys Allowed

Eleanor and her friend are both big sisters to sometimes-annoying little brothers, so that’s where that came from. Eleanor later conceded that August can still come in though. And her daddy. And her friend’s little brother. So that leaves out… who, exactly?

The Clubhouse

Have you made a little club/tree/playhouse for your kids? How involved in setting it up did you get? Tell me I’m not the only one that gets the urge to sew little gingham curtains for the inside that would likely not be appreciated.

The Front Porch of the Victorian

I’m hosting a garden party on Saturday at the Home Depot, and I hope you’ll be able to come! You can sign up for their Garden Club to be kept in the loop about events like these. But before I get to the details of Saturday, as promised last week, I have the updated front porch to share with you today. There are still a few little things to do (like centering the hook for that hanging planter), but nothing that will impact the overall look by much.

Victorian Queen Anne Front Porch

I thought about keeping the Adirondack chairs that were left by the previous owners and I tried to make them work, but they are in need of repair and were limiting the furniture placement. We’ll try to fix them and use them in the back instead. I played around with the layout of the porch, using what we had from our old house, and I think the bench components and wicker chair make a nicer arrangement. They aren’t perfect for the house style-wise, but they aren’t bad either.

The Front Porch

The Front Porch of the Victorian House

It will be a little nicer once all of the leaves are on the trees and bushes. It’s already mid-May, so hopefully soon? At least the flowers and ferns I picked up from The Home Depot are helping add some much needed life to the porch.

The Front Porch, Looking Out

Our Front Porch

Here’s a close-up of the front door, for those of you who wanted to know what the little sign said. And yes, we do get packages at the back door every so often.

Deliver All Goods in Rear

Maybe I should add a little plaque that says “Just Kidding!”

The Front Porch

Besides using the furniture we already had, we also had some planters and pillows to use. I also grabbed some of the blue planters that were in the backyard, and added a matching square garden stool as a table between the two seats along one side. We found the pedestal in the garage, and I’m a little iffy on it. Should it stay or go? A little height is nice, but it also seems fussy.

Planters and Outdoor Pillows

The black and white pillows were on our front porch at the old house, and normally I would have passed right by that blue paisley number. I like paisley well enough, but the colors aren’t exactly my thing — except that they work perfectly with our house. All right pillow, you have a home with us now.

Paisley Outdoor Pillow

The stairs had a runner of dark gray/blue outdoor carpet on them when we bought the house, but I think the move out from the previous owners and the moving in of our stuff took a toll on that already not-so-great carpet. You can kind of see it here, but the worst of it was behind where Brandon is standing, and I neglected to take a proper photo before we ripped it out. It was pretty shot and I was glad to see it go. Brandon removed it, prying up a million little nails in the process, and the stairs were in decent shape beneath. They could use a fresh coat of paint because there is some discoloration, but for now we just cleaned them up. Brandon was worried that without the runner, people would slip when the stairs where wet or snowy, so he put down some tread tape (and he beveled the edges — nice touch).

Planters on the Steps

The runner also spanned the doorway, so I picked up a simple coir doormat as a replacement.

Victorian Front Porch

This is the first change from the outside signaling that a new family lives here (aside from the toys and chalk drawings that are often out front). I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak and make changes, but it’s nice to have the front porch reflect our family.

Come say hello!

This Saturday, I’ll be at the Chicago Home Depot store on Lincoln & McCormick from 1-4, hosting a #SpringMadeSimple garden event. Local chef and blogger Meghan Swint of The Tasty Fork will be there to talk about garden-to-table ideas, we’ll learn about container gardening, and Gardeniere Gina Iliopoulus will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. There will also be some fun projects to work on, so come prepared to get your hands dirty.

The Home Depot #SpringMadeSimple Garden Party

You can find out more and RSVP here. I hope I’ll be seeing some of you there!

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