[Insert comment about frigid temperatures here.] In the meantime, let us take refuge in these photos commemorating the warmth of early fall.
One of the few talents I pride myself on is my ability to reuse, reinvent, and rearrange. Over the summer, my sisters, Alex, and I gave our back porch/patio a small makeover, mostly using items and supplies we already owned.
This “before” photo of our back porch is from the MLS listing.
From a different angle, you can see that the patio is a bit small and was in need of some serious love. The paint was peeling on the posts (which should actually probably be replaced) and the back door had been damaged during an attempted burglary while the house was vacant.
After a few small improvements, here is the after, or, uh, progress photo. Ideally, I would really like to put in concrete pavers to extend the entertaining area (a patio table on the grass is kind of pain when we have to mow). For now, I think this is a vastly better than where we started.
We had the back door replaced in the fall of 2012 when we replaced our windows. It took us awhile to get around to painting it (which my younger sister, Amy, tackled while she was helping me with our kitchen) but I went with the same teal color we used on the front door (already had the paint!). My older sister, Jenny, also helped clean, scrape, and repaint the posts.
Though the previous owners managed to squeeze their table on this patio, I decided to relocate our rocking chairs here instead (we had them around the side of the house initially). Truth be told, we had our table and chairs on the patio for awhile…but I scooted my chair back off the concrete and/or into the laundry room window well a few too many times to warrant keeping it there. The rocking chairs, which were admittedly very cheap (purchased when we lived in Virginia), had weathered quite a bit so I freshened/sealed them with a couple coats of white exterior semi-gloss we had leftover from the front of the house. The concrete sculptures in between have traveled with me since college — remnants of a wall design project in Architecture school. I think they transition from sculpture to table quite nicely.
Our patio table, which is fabulous for summer dining, was previously owned by the couple we housesat for in Virginia. They graciously let us keep it when we found out we were moving to Pittsburgh. On the grass, it’s a little safer to move the chairs around.
All we did to update these was wash them down and re-coat with spray paint to keep them from rusting.
The addition of our (already owned) navy blue pillows and gray umbrella make it a bit more comfortable to lounge here, all while adding some color and visual softness.
One of my favorite parts of this makeover is definitely the hanging pallet planter. The pallet, leftover from our kitchen tile delivery, adds extra storage and visual interest to the space. We fixed it up a bit by securing some loose boards and then followed this tutorial to hang it on the wall.
I did invest a little in some new colorful garden tools, hung on S-hooks, and a couple hanging pots from Target (all on sale for the end of the season!) but I think they really help tie the space together.
The last addition to the space was this sideboard. My sister, Jenny, spotted it at Goodwill and suggested I buy it and use it for storage. After almost losing it to indecision, I snagged it on my third visit to the store and painted it with some black exterior paint I had bought for another project but never used. I replaced the dated hardware with some handles I made of twine leftover from our wedding. It’s great for storing our pillows and gardening supplies. The watering can, which matches the gardening tools, was a sale purchase from Target. The galvanized tub was something I used for herbs in Virginia, and the coir mat by the door was a gift when we lived in our first married apartment.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this mini-makeover. Now, if only spring would get here so we can enjoy it again…