June 18, 2015

Porch Life

Welcome to the Summer Cottage Garden Party hosted by Brenda at Cozy Little House. When she emailed me about participating I thought it would be the perfect time to finally do a before and after of our porch project. Trips to Missouri and North Carolina and an inordinate amount of rain almost made it impossible to join in but then yesterday the clouds parted and it all came together.

For as long as I can remember, way before I ever had a place to call home, I dreamed of owning a house with a front porch and white picket fence. Growing up I lived in apartments, a mobile home, rented houses, several times with relatives and for one particularly traumatic period, a motel. There was never a sense of security or a real place to call home. It's pretty easy to see why my home, why making a home for my family, is so important to me now.

This house had the white (peeling paint) picket fence when we bought it and while it had a porch, it was enclosed and I didn't give a lot of thought to opening it up right away. I actually was a bit conflicted on the subject. Now, I'm not quite sure why that was. Not only did we open it up, but we moved the entrance from the driveway side to the front which made the space much more usable. Before you had to walk through the sitting area which made it impossible to arrange furniture. Honestly we rarely used it other than to play the occasional game of trouble on the porch daybed. The cats LOVED it though and have not quite recovered from the loss.

Before and during:

Those brick steps that used to lead to the door were crumbling due to age and severe winters. In true Kershner fashion, we thought instead of replacing the steps, why don't we just rip out the porch and open it up?! I'm not sure what's wrong with us but thank goodness we don't have any sense. A year later and I still cannot quite figure out how my Sweet Man performed this porch magic and I'm so impressed with his hard work and attention to detail. This was a back breaking job. Demo-ing, tile scraping, jack hammering, more jack hammering, hauling, lifting, measuring, cutting, dragging, digging, nailing, metal roof installing. My guy did almost all of it on his own with only occasional help and tools from friends, neighbors and a brother. I was more the help where I can, clean up, paint and design girl. And let me be honest. Not all of this project went smoothly. There were some disagreements on design and when I feel strongly about a design element, I CANNOT back down. Luckily those things I fought for, he eventually agreed to and now admits that they are important parts of the overall look.

 When you spend your whole life dreaming of a front porch, you have a pretty strong idea of what you want!

The gardens are slowly coming along. We relocated all of the boxwood to this bed under the window. That's my studio there and I love looking out here now. There used to be a big tree in this bed but one day I sweet talked my guy into chopping it down so I could have more natural light in the studio. No regrets!

This bed is filled with Green Velvet boxwood (my favorite), phlox, agastache, lambs ear, astilbe and obedient plant.

The bed in front of the porch actually wraps around the entire driveway side of the house. The porch part is filled with Agastache, sedum, phlox and coneflowers as well as several plants that didn't survive the winter. I don't know about you but I get very upset when I lose a perennial. I'm a learn as I go girl with all things and I still have much to learn about gardening. There is still a lot of planting that needs to be done but since we have a lot of flower beds and I have ripped out almost everything we started with, it's a slow, expensive process. Luckily I'm very patient.

For some reason the outside of the house on the front porch is finished with hardie plank siding, whereas the rest of the house has vinyl siding in a light greyish green. We tried and failed to get the porch paint color matched to the siding and ended up just painting the house the same color white that we used for all of the trim. I could not find a single picture of a house finished this way but my instincts insisted this was the route to go. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out and it gives us a little glimpse into what the house will look like one day (fingers crossed) when we side the entire thing in white hardie plank!

Of course I was crazy excited to decorate the front porch. I started the planning before he even took down a wall. I couldn't be happier with the way it came together. You can see it's not a very big space but it makes up for it in cozy charm. We have already enjoyed countless meals here. Even when our girl is gone and we have a prime opportunity for a date night, we find ourselves having drinks and dinner on the porch. Why leave? I feel like I'm on vacation every day. Well, you know, except for that pesky cooking and cleaning thing.

 A little bit of detail for you.

Time passes differently on the porch and I learned really quickly that I need a clock out there. I'd happily sit and swing, read and relax right through dinner time.

 I love that I can see these fresh flowers through the family room window but they are safe from nosy kitties.

I get a lot of comments about these plates. Not all of them positive! ;) I absolutely LOVE them and think they add just the right amount of whimsy. Or weirdness. Your pick. Either way, I'm decorating for me!

The other thing that gets the most comments is probably our aqua door. I think everybody in the Village knows the house with the aqua door. I remember when I first painted it, I wasn't quite sure about it and I clearly remember that Emma did not approve of it one.little.bit. Now we all love it and can't imagine it any other way. And our fun little crank doorbell where before there was just a hole, completes the look. We still need to paint the floor grey, put a second coat of paint on the rails and get a new door knob. Actually that doorknob situation wasn't bothering me at all until I saw these pictures! I'll eventually get around to the rest of it but it sure is hard to get motivated when all you want to do is lay on the glider, read and drink lemonade.

I showed you what it looked like before and during opening up the porch, but now let's get in the way back machine and see what it looked like when we first moved in.

Shudder. Who thought any of that was a good idea? Also, how many shades of green do we need on one house?

Thank goodness for vision and talented husbands. He really didn't love this house when we first moved in. Well, honestly I didn't either but I knew I could make it what we wanted. Four+ years later we all love it so much and can't imagine living anywhere else. I'm so grateful for my Sweet Man's unending patience, skill and confidence in my crazy ideas. That guy. He's a keeper. A man of many talents!

A little peek so that you can see that the ceiling is haint blue because no southern girl (even a transplanted one) worth her salt, would have it any other way!

And one last look because I still get a thrill every single time I see it. Whenever I come home or walk out the door it gives me joy. We love all the positive feedback we've gotten from friends, neighbors and strangers. Not only have we improved our curb appeal, we've improved our quality of life! I love the idea that years from now our grandchildren and great grandchildren will look at this porch and know that their grandfather built it.

Now feel free to visit the other ladies on the tour! I'm excited to get inspired from them.

Brenda at Cozy Little House
Kris at Junk Chic Cottage
Carolyn at Aiken House and Gardens
Carol at Art and sand
Rue at An Old-Fashioned World
Su at Butterfly & Bungalow
Cathy at My 1929 Charmer
Courtney at Golden Boys and Me
Jane at Blondie's Journals


  1. It's lovely. So nice to have an outdoor space to enjoy ! Love the aqua door and the glider. I could definitely stay out there all day and night. Who needs dinner anyway. :) best wishes, Tammy

  2. Gorgeous. I can see why you spend so much time out there. I love the blue ceiling and the quilt-covered metal "sofa." It looks like a wonderful place to curl up with a book!

  3. Just beautiful. TRULY beautiful. It's always been my dream to have a house with a porch or verrandah. Oh and cladding too! You just don't see that here much in the UK. Really only a bit in old coastal towns on the cladding front, but big porches just don't seem to be here at all! I always think how nice it would be to do a self build one day. I'll keep dreaming on that front....until then, I'll just gaze dreamily at your gorgeous house! Your efforts have rewarded you so well, you and your hubby should be so proud!


    p.s the plates are awesome....love a bit of whimsical......and the front door......utterly gorgeous! x

  4. It's lovely. What a wonderful job you and your husband did. Everything's so pretty there and I love the old-fashioned glider ! :) My grandparents had such a glider...brings back memories of sitting on theirs on a hot summer day, whiling the time away...

  5. It's lovely. What a wonderful job you and your husband did. Everything's so pretty there and I love the old-fashioned glider ! :) My grandparents had such a glider...brings back memories of sitting on theirs on a hot summer day, whiling the time away...

  6. Great job! It would be a great place to sit and read or enjoy your meals. I love the colors you have chosen and your door is beautiful.
    Enjoy your summer on the porch!

  7. Oh, I just love it!! I too always wanted a house with a front porch, and have had it, but never that big and spacious. This is so beautiful. I'm really happy for you and that you lasted through the 'construction period' :)! Now you can just enjoy. I also love your plates and aqua door. We too, when we renovated a little white house painted our door a country blue.

  8. What a fabulous porch all of you created! I would be out there every night also until the daylight disappeared. The aqua door is the absolute best! I'm so in love with mine. Here's to a super Summer out there!

  9. Jen, I love what you said about time being spent differently on a porch. The door is perfect. (I've been pinning away!) The cozy eating spot may be small, but bigger isn't cozy! You've taken a house and made it a home. I can't believe it's been that long since you moved there! Thanks so much for being a part of this.

  10. I would have even loved your Before porch and the enclosed porch would have been a selling point to me--and those boxwoods! But your After pictures sure convinced me that it was well worth the backbreaking labor of your talented husband and your design and decorating skills! Now you can sit on that darling aqua glider and dine with all the pretty aqua and pink touches and still feel a part of your garden. Well done!

    From another Southern gal,

  11. I am so envious I would absolutely LOVE a porch like yours it's absolutely gorgeous and I love love love your plates. I love looking at pictures of your lovely house.
    Kay :-)

  12. i love your porch. such a happy spot! and thanks for the reminder that i need to pull out the cushions for my glider and give them a scrub. or just cover them in a quilt ... i may totally steal that idea. ;) can't wait to come hang out again and have a cold drink while relaxing with you!

  13. Its all just gorgeous! Your porch is my all time favorite because it's peaceful, beautiful and not fussy. Wish I could come by for a cold drink and a long talk!

  14. Its all just gorgeous! Your porch is my all time favorite because it's peaceful, beautiful and not fussy. Wish I could come by for a cold drink and a long talk!

  15. Jen,
    It all is so pretty. I love your front door the color and the old vintage door is too sweet. Your space out there is so serene. I would sit out there all day and watch the world go by.

  16. Good morning Jen :)

    I remember when you bought that house and I'm so amazed at all the work you and your hubby have done. I would have taken down the enclosed porch too. It looks amazing and so cozy! I'd forget what time it is out there myself. Well, until my internal alarm clock told me it was cocktail hour ;)

    I need to be like you and have more patience with my garden. I tend to rush things and it doesn't always turn out very well lol I love the plants you've chosen and your birdbath. It is wonderful to have a view of the birds bathing out the window isn't it? I could watch them all day.

    Anyway, everything looks gorgeous and you both should be proud as peaches.


  17. Hi, Jen. It's all beautiful. I went to 12 or 13 schools growing up, and lived a lot of places, some more than others, before ending up back where I am. I think that's why I love home so much. I love the aqua door, because I love touches of whimsy like that on an old home if it works; we just painted ours green.The seating area on the front porch is so inviting. My husband did most of the work on our place too except for electricity and plumbing. xoox Su

  18. Jen, I remember when you opened up your porch. What a wonderful difference it makes! I love your plates on the wall and your aqua door.

  19. What a lovely porch setting you have. Love how you added the plates, I am such a plate girl and never thought of putting the outside. But, I hope you don't mind, but I'll be placing some outside on my back porch. Your created such a charming and warm setting to sit and enjoy the summer!

  20. Dreams do come true and your front porch is wonderful! Your husband did a great job. It takes a team and through all of the ideas, work, etc. you two did it.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

  21. It's all very lovely. I am not as patient as you are with the garden- I have been filling our space very quickly. One way to save money is to buy very discounted perennials late Summer/ early Fall when nurseries and Big Box stores are trying to get rid of their plants before Winter. Also, let any gardening friends know that you would be interested in their plants they don't have room for when they split their perennials. Gardeners love to share.
    I had never heard of "haint blue"- maybe because I am a Pacific Northwesterner?

  22. I am completely swooning over your porch. I would just love to spend time out there. Love the color on the glider and the whole vintage vibe. So lovely!

  23. I love your porch! Y'all did an AWESOME job!!!

    And the plates are adorable!

  24. Nice job. Love the metal glider.

  25. Lovely porch:-)
    It's like a trip back in time:-)

  26. Wow -- it is so pretty! Love a front porch! You have a great eye for decorating and all your special details!!

  27. I love that I went through the choice of house, the move in and the changes with you. Everything looks perfect.

    I wanted to pin one of the pictures of the porch, but wasn't sure which board it fit on so I chose the "making a house a home" board which is definitely what you have done.

    And, that last photo was pinned onto "curb appeal" which your house has to the nth degree!

  28. It's beautiful Jennifer! Worth every second of the hard work.

  29. Jen, your porch is lovely and I could sit there all day (and probably night too) and just be......by the way....I love your plates. Perfection!

  30. What an amazing transformation with your porch ... I too can imagine date nights in... why leave? You and your hubby have made this a very special place, and the clock in your porch was so cute... I would lose all track of time there too! Very much enjoyed your fun tour of your amazing porch and garden area :)

  31. Your front porch is too stinkin' cute! I love everything about it. If I had it, I'd spend all my time out there with iced tea and a book and never get anything done! I'm Southern by birth and an Alabamian due to God's sense of humor, so I get the haint blue.....no porch is "right" without it!

    AH-dorable post! I'm linking from Su's Butterfly Bungalow blog.

    I'm enjoying the parties! This has been fun.

    Ricki Jill

  32. Just beautiful!!! Certainly can see why date nights sometimes end up on that porch!!! :) ... Just love the colors and the "Plates" lolol!!!!!

  33. I love your front porch! I made a front porch where there was nothing on my house and just seemed to be calling out for one. One of these days I will finish painting the fence!

  34. Jen~

    Your home looks like something right out of my childhood fantasy. A nice big porch surrounding a white house with garden beds overflowing with blowsy stems of blooms. I love everything! Before and after pictures are so fun, yours show that you and your husband put in a LOT of work to get things the way they are. I would be sitting on that front porch all day...your street looks so quaint!

    Some of my flowers didn't make it through this wet winter. But watch Home Depot and your local nursery...they practically give plants away in August. That's when I really get my bum in gear!

    Love your blog, your girls remind me of my two. Your daughter's apartment is very different from what you see with most young girls--bits of this and that. Maddie seems very sure of what she likes and I think you must have been a big influence.

    You've gained a new follower! If you haven't stopped by my Garden Party post, I hope you do! :)

    Jane x

  35. Oh Jen what a beautiful porch you have ended up with. All the hard work and financial hardship that come with this kinda project really paid off!
    After travelling for 20 years with my hubby around Europe as part of the British Forces I so get your longing for a home that is really home and what you have now is so much more then just a house or home it's a beautiful cosy nest. Prove that you should never give up on your dreams as they can one day come true! Have a beautiful weekend on you porch letting time pass differently without a care in the world. Anna xx

  36. I love your front porch transformation! What a beautiful spot to relax and also enjoy meals. I'd be out there all the time too! I love the aqua glider and front door. You and your hubby did a wonderful job! Have a wonderful summer. I'm visiting on the garden tour.

  37. Beautiful. I love your creativity!
    Thank you for sharing your amazing porch :-)

  38. Beautiful. I love your front porch. In fact I am envious! Yip! I admit I envy anyone with a big front porch. You have worked very hard to have this beautiful part of your home. You have done an amazing job. It looks very nice and inviting. Thanks for sharing. Karie

  39. Oh, Jen. I loved reading about the transformation of this porch. It's been so fun to have watched from afar as your family made this little cottage in the village your home. :) Thanks for sharing along the way--it is so inspiring!

  40. Your summer porch is so inviting! Love the antique furniture and beautiful table. The collection of plates are so charming too! Thanks for sharing.

  41. Hi, I hopped over from My 1929 Charmer. Your porch is gorgeous and I love the plates! Perfect for making fun conversation. I also love your aqua glider. I too could spend hours out there doing absolutely nothing! Happy to be a new follower.

  42. Your porch is beautiful! And I love the door color. It's all very inspiring and I'm determined to make my back porch cute and comfy. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  43. I love your house,and your porch looks so charming!


  44. What a precious home you've made. So inviting and easy to see it is filled with love.


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