Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Here comes the sun...

Just a little music to set the mood for my over due porch update. It's finished, okay it's not finished (we still have to make radiator covers and I have some touch up to take care of and I left painter's tape around the ceiling lamp). But it looks amazing. This porch was really a tough room to visualize for us. But since someone had done the hard work for us (closing it in as a part of the house complete with insulation and heating) we couldn't just let the space go to waste. I'll admit, it's difficult to work on a "summery space" when there's snow on the ground, but at least it'll be ready for Spring! We set our housewarming party as a deadline to get everything finished and we completed everything down to the wire (procrastination is a great motivator).

But first things first. When we finally decided that I had put enough coats on the walls, trim and windows I started my favorite part of any painting project... taking off the painters tape (fully fledged nerd over here). Since I taped off every window pane very carefully, I knew this was going to be a bit of a painstaking process, but I read up on some tips for painting windows and found a consensus opinion that scoring the edges with a blade would yield the cleanest results. It was time-consuming, but completely worth it.

Being ambidextrous certainly helps for things like this.
After scoring the edges I carefully removed all of the tape. I was pretty happy with this method and really only had to use a blade on a few spots where paint had seeped underneath. Success! Here's how things looked after the tape was removed.

I was really pleased with the results, but whoever painted the outside of the windows did so freehand, leaving a crooked line of paint all around the glass. Ah well, it's hardly noticeable unless you're looking for it.

The radiators look even worse against the cool grey and white trim.

So bright and cheerful. Oh yea, the tape around that light is still there -- whoops.
The next stage involved putting up our pendant light over the daybed and putting the recently assembled furniture in place. Even though I drew a to-scale floor plan of the porch once I got the furniture in place I wasn't pleased with the footprint.

While this piece fit the space, I didn't like how boxy it felt in that space and I felt like my idea of putting a chair in that corner would cover anything fun that I wanted to display on the shelves.

One thing I often forget in our 110 year old house is how crooked everything is. It makes hanging curtains and positioning furniture challenging. As you can see in this photo, our floor is not level (that's indoor/outdoor carpet on top of asbestos tile) -- we later cut shims and glued them to the bottom of the bookcase to make it level. We also filled it with the heaviest stuff on the bottom, but we'll eventually brace it to the wall so no little ones get hurt.

This shows a better view of how boxy everything looked. Imagine a chair in the corner and you can see how cluttered it would feel. But, not to worry, we found a great place for that Expedit unit!
Pendant light installed! Woo hoo! We still have to figure out a good way to turn this on and off, currently you have to plug it into the outlet tucked behind the daybed, so it's not ideal. This $14.99 lamp is perfect for this space and has been a big hit!
Next on the agenda was painting the daybed and getting it inside the house. We were warned that you should measure your doorway before you assemble everything (which we did). The clearance recommended was 30" and the day bed juuuust fit through the door. We left the front apron support off so we'd have more maneuverability. As far as the painting process goes, it required a LOT of spray paint (lots and lots of thin and even coats). With all the angles on the bed frame hand painting would have taken a million years and just wanted to get it in the house! We probably should have taken the time to sand everything down before painting, but we figure since we know it fits through the door, we can always pull it outside and do that over the summer when we're feeling energetic. It's pretty smooth in most places, but where it wasn't the paint didn't create a very kind finish. Luckily there are a ton of pillows on there so you're never really leaning against the frame. I was REALLY nervous about the fit because God knows I've measured incorrectly more times than I'd like to admit, but I knew we had a few inches of clearance. We also never really measured the mattress or the bed frame for accuracy (we just assumed the plans wouldn't steer us wrong), so I was on pins and needles for the last part of assembly! Of course we decided to move it inside at night.
Frame in place, we put in some support beams (recommended but not mandatory)

Happy print wall. Also, I love the reflection of the pendant in the glass!

View of the main brick wall, looking around the corner.

First dressing. It was clear we were going to need a LOT more pillows.
Next, I filled the bookcase with some of our favorite things, vacuumed everything and moved some things around. For your pleasure, more than a few gratuitous AFTER photos. Tell me you don't want to curl up here with a good book, or take a nap in the sun?

Ahhhhh! Notice the bookcase is looking nice and square.

Slightly different view. The prints are all from independent artists. The camera one came from my future sister-in-law via Etsy. The one on the top says, "Enjoy the Sunshine", found at a craft fair. And the bottom right says, " Home is whenever I'm with you" found at the Art Star Craft Bazaar.

View taken as you come in the front door and look right. See how that Expedit unit would have been crazy in the corner? Also, the curtains are gracefully covering the horrible radiator, for now.

Seeing both sides at once.

More of both views. I can't get enough!
View from inside the hall (near the living room) looking out to the porch. We really wanted to find a little something for next to the door to tuck away a pair of shoes and some dog leashes/towels, we're very pleased with this little unit.

And, as if this wasn't enough, I wanted to get some photos on a sunny day (hard to come by in the Northeast during March) to really show off what is so magical about this porch.
Our house is on the north side of the street and this is a south facing room so it is sun-drenched almost all day long.

I love how the yellows tie in together and everything isn't too matchy. We tried pull in some other colors like navy and green to tone down all the grey and white.

What an inviting space. I'm so happy to say this room is complete-ish (that radiator covers will be changed eventually) and 100% usable! Success!!!
One of the things we really love about how the porch came together is that it has a completely different feel than the rest of our house. To us, it feels very Cape Cod, while the rest of our house is quite traditional and colonial even with all of our modern touches. We managed to pull off this look without it feeling disjointed from the rest of the house.

Just for reference a few before and after shots. I'm so thankful for Zach for sticking with me through this project. He's such an inspiration and is becoming quite adept in his workshop.
Sadly, I don't have a shot from the same angle for this one, but you get the idea.

House projects will be put on hold for a little while since were just 2.5 months away from our wedding, but I do have some small updates to post in between of little changes around the house, including what we did with that pesky Expedit unit. PS. everyone loved the house!


  1. I can't even get over how great this looks! Great work!

    1. Thanks! That means a lot. It's been a challenge to make this room into a usable space but we can't wait to hang out in there!

  2. I love the grey of the walls. I love all of it! Totally inspiring!

    1. Thanks Carly! We're so happy with it.


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  4. I NEED that pendant light!!! Where did you find it???

    1. It's from Ikea! I think it was maybe $15

  5. Boo not anymore it's not :( Thank you!