Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Welcoming Home

Hello Friends,
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of owning a home.
I used to move my furniture around in my small bedroom, making little living areas using an old toy box which looked like a wood bench. I remember taking old knit blankets made by my grandmother to make the bench cozy and then setting my small black and white tv in front of it on a stool.
I don't recall spending much time sitting there but I remember the joy that came from walking into my room after school and loving the difference my new arrangement made.

I was newly married and 9 months pregnant when my husband and I settled on the house we still live in now. It probably wasn't the best time to be making such a big decision but having a newborn in a one bedroom apartment wasn't something we were looking forward to. 
At the time, it was a sellers market and everything was really expensive. We looked at tons of houses and like most first time home buyers, the more houses we looked at, the smaller our priority list became.
The fourth bedroom was going to have to go. 
Finished basement, gone. 
Two car garage...that was out too.
The house we finally settled on wasn't our dream home, but it fit us
 at the time and we figured on staying for five years or so.

Here we are eleven years later. 
My house still doesn't look like the sweet english cottage of my dreams. It actually looks alot like the Brady Bunch house, but I have done things to make it my own.

To me one of the most fun places to decorate is the front porch. 
I LOOOOOOOOOOOVe front porches!
Our home is small so we have a small porch but I am oh so grateful to have what I have.
There is enough room for a bench, where the boys and I sit and watch thunder storms in the summer.
I always try to make it welcoming.
Always on a budget!

For good ideas, I Google "front porch decorating" and then click on the images. 
A lot of them come from one of my favorite publications, Country Living.

The bench is just a typical wood/cast iron park bench that I painted black with an oil base gloss.
It holds up extremely well and always looks new.
Buy a nice comfy cushion! It makes all the difference in the world.
This one is from Ballard Designs and I bought it when all of their cushions were on sale.

I picked up this old cupboard door at a flea market one day for $5.00.
  A little bit of sanding and a few coats of chalkboard paint
and you have this fun message board waiting to greet your guests!
I added a few hooks to the bottom and I change out the
buntings and decorations seasonally.

These funky little pots are just galvanized steele buckets from a big box store.
 $5.00 each, again painted black.
I stenciled on the numbers and added inexpensive boxwoods.
It's an easy, cheap project that adds character to your home.  
Instead of random numbers you could do an initial or even your house number.

For me a wreath is a must!
My door is red so sometimes it's a challenge for me to find a wreath that pops.
Don't be afraid to buy a wreath from the store and then jazz it up yourself.
I had a grapevine wreath with red berries that sort of
blended in but when I added a few picks of white
berries from the craft store, the wreath came to life.   

Find an unusual light fixture.
I found this one at Restoration Hardware.
Totally not a store that I can afford to shop at all the time but
splurging on one peice that you really love sometimes is worth it. 

Use unusual items.
This is an old bird cage that I bought at a flea market.
I know it looks weird now but a week ago it was
strung with orange lights and lighted pumpkins
and at night it looked amazing!
Next I will add branches of greenery and add twinkle lights.
In the spring and summer it gets filled with potted flowers, minus the branches.

Think of smells.
I love the smell of something good at my door.
My walkway is lined with lavender...
lavender that has gone absoultely out of control I admit,
but I love it!
When you brush by it, even in winter you get a flowery, piney scent.
Some of my friends reach down and rub the leaves between their hands as they leave.
Better than perfume.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of my home.
Next week I will share how I created a welcoming entryway...
even with two boys and backpacks.

Enjoy your week!


Sandy Mastroni said...

what a nice post .... Your photos look lovely , and I like that you watch thunder storms with your kids on the porch
My house isn't that English cottage [ in my dreams ] either .... but it's cozy and I'm happy here
I think I need some lavender .... !!!!

The Vintage Sister said...

Watch out Sandy! The lavender in the picture is only three years old and each plant started out in a tea cup sized pot. They grow big and fast!

Jeannette said...

We are working on an old 2 story Victorian.Were in our dream house but sadly not our dream area.Once it's finished were off to find our dream area and dream house.

As long as your house makes you happy it is where your heart lives.We have some Formosa trees near our front porch.In the evening when it's warm outside you can smell them.

I love them because they remind me of my Grandmother and spending time with her at her house.

I have a new blog now and am posting regularly please stop and say hi if you can.

Marie Patterson Studio said...

I always feel welcome when I visit your home and I love how you've added your own personal style.
The lavender is beautiful and I can't pass it without touching ;-} This summer we planted a couple little bushes and I'm hoping for success this time.

Irene said...

I would love to sit on your bench and chat as the world goes by. The little personal touches makes your porch so welcoming.