Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Design Challenge #2 Fran's Screened Porch

Hi everyone, meet Fran from Eleven-0-One.
Well, technically this isn't Fran, it's her great side porch.

So, this is Fran; isn't she a doll?
(Be sure to go visit Fran, she's super talented.
She paints wonderful French Script Signs,
and a chalk paint dresser re-do that will have you drooling!!)

She has this fabulous screened porch at her lovely home in Florida.
It's right off of her Living Room with two beautiful French doors,
one on either side of the fireplace.

Here are a few of Fran's thoughts on this makeover:

  1. I've challenged myself to redecorate on a dime!
  2. Painting furniture is definitely within my abilities so that is an option.
  3. I want it to flow well from my living room and the accent colors there are red, gold and green.
  4. I love the pots at Heaven's Walk and would like something similar in English and I'd like some low maintenance plants that won't cover up the pots. (Could use some advice on what plants take low light.)
  5. I also make signs and although I paint lots of French signs to sell, I want to paint something with an old American style advertisement or a fun saying. I just haven't found the perfect one or a saying that I think reflects our personalities.
  6. Need some lighting for evening ambiance. We need to replace the outdoor light (probably with a ceiling fan but it has to be small).

Fran has used text on her photos, I love this!
It really helps to head us in the direction that's desired.

A punch of color for the porch swing?

This is the back of the fireplace,
so her husband has nixed painting it.
She needs ideas of how to make this
"less of a yellow-orange huge expanse of brick"

And a concrete floor that takes a lot of abuse from the elements.
What about a rug?

She has great wicker pieces,
but questions about repainting and fabric for the cushions.

This is a fun project,
let's share some good advice to make this space
a comfortable inviting "room" to relax.

Comments are open to all!
Thanks so much, Fran, for sharing your
Design Challenge with us!

And if YOU would like to share a Design Challenge with us,
be sure and email me.
Please just make sure you label it as "Design Challenge" on the email.

I'm trying to keep everything separated so I don't lose anyone.
The response has been great,
but I'm always open to projects.



  1. Since Fran wants this to feel like part of her home, let's set to decorating it like a ROOM.

    Curtains! Adding cheap panels on each side of the porch posts will go a LONG way toward giving this porch a homey feel.

    Chimney brick. Don't ignore it, embrace it and make it a part of the design. Can you paint the inside of the porch (which looks like a tan now) the same color (perhaps a bit lighter) as the brick? Pick up the gold in your accent fabrics, too. How about a big thrift shop mirror to hang on the chimney to reflect the light and outdoors onto your porch?

    Furniture. The brown wicker is perfect, I think. It needs different cushions, tho. Something lighter on the dark wicker would look great. Add floral pillows ... but not as many as you have now.

    I would scrape and repaint the floor. An outdoor area rug would be great, but perhaps a bit pricy ... since this is a budget reno. If an indoor rug can be found at a thrift shop or CL, what's the harm of putting it outside?

    I can't wait to hear what everyone else suggests!

  2. Hi Fran, I'll share again here some of my ideas, I really love a great porch. My thoughts are to paint your wicker and swing black, as it keeps it cohesive, maybe add in a glass top iron vintage garden table and coffeetable. Then find a great "larger" fabric print in golds, greens, creams, maybe with a little red mixed in; a floral or new geometric print with coordinating fabric for more pillows. I have a large indoor/outdoor seagrass rug that really helps cover and draw the eye toward a seating area. Your new plant stand could be that pop of red you're wanting.
    Old doors or shutters with a landscape print in front of the brick fireplace would really make it feel like an outdoor room. Then add your ferns and ivys to bring in the life.
    Can't wait to see other ideas!

  3. The simplest thing I can think of for the brick wall is floor to ceiling curtains for the entire spance. Think drop cloths or Ikea to keep it budget friendly and washable. They could always be dyed...and speaking of dye. If you happen onto an old Rit Dye display, the colors of the tin itself are almost always in your palette...Americana to the max.
    I like the brown for the wicker, but I would paint the swing for stand out appeal...your favorite flavor of course.
    As to plants...I seem to be able to raise plastic ones quite well!
    P.S. Just for the whimsey of it, I've you considered painting your own rug either on the concrete itself or on a jute one?

  4. I would frame over the brick and turn that wall into a faux fireplace with a mantle. Then you can have flowerpots or candles or whatever. You could even use old bifold closet doors instead of plywood and have a panelled look (much less expensive if you get them from a thrift shop or yard sale).

    Love your porch!

  5. I'm testing to see if a different comment page will make it easier to leave comments!

  6. If it were me, I would start by replacing the furniture cushions with a beautiful, colorful, cheerful print in the colors you love. I have no affilation with this company I am providing a link for below, but I have been stalking their site trying to decide on wicker furniture and cushions for my porch. They have fairly reasonably priced wicker replacement cushions in lots of pretty fabrics.


    Replacing the cushions will probably be the most expensive part of the porch makeover but your cushion fabric choice will set the tone and color scheme for the whole porch. Once the cushion decision is made, I think it will be so much easier to decide what color to paint the swing and wicker, what accessories to use, whether you want to add a rug, or not, etc.

    Of course, the ceilings of many "proper" southern porches are traditionally painted "haint" blue (any shade of pale blue)so you might want to consider that.

    Unfortunately, I have no good suggestion for the brick since painting it isn't an option.

    This is a GREAT porch and it has wonderful potential!

  7. Hmmm...just as I feared, that full link for the wicker cushions didn't print. Darn Blogger.


  8. Oh this is just too much fun!! I actually get to comment on this one since she isn't related to me! LOL! Ok...I'm trying to get over my serious porch envy first...but my initial thoughts are to repaint the wicker set in a crisp white to brighten the space and then bring in cheerful fabrics for the cushions in her colors (reds, yellows, greens) so that they will pop against the white. And maybe paint the swing black just to mix it up. What about adding a giant mirror to the brick wall which would reflect the light and make the space appear even larger? And then some curtain panels on the "windows" but gathered together in each corner...could be let down for privacy. Another option would be woven shades instead of curtain panels. I cannot wait to see what she ends up doing and I think this whole series is so fun Debra! :-)

  9. The porch doesn't look real big, so one has to be careful what they put in there. I would paint the walls and ceiling the same color, or as close as you can, to the color of the brick, so the brick would kinda go way. I would get rid of the wicker sofa nd use the porch swing. I think you could paint it Red and use a quilt is the gold and red colors of it and pillows. I would add a small table and 2 chairs. maybe glass top so it would not appear so big. Paint it black and add red chair cushions. A smmall chandelier or lantern hanging over it would be fun. A small bakers rack ot plant stand with a few pots of red flowers and sea shells and maybe some iron stone would really make it fee homey. As for the floor. Sand it well, and use a paint that is for concrete. There is a paint system that had little color pellets you can throw into the paint while it is wet and it looks like a vintage floor. very durable, and reasonable and easy to do. maybe do that in black with yellow and red pellets. A jute rug could finish it off.I think some tied back curtain panels would give it an outdoor room look as well. The main thing is to remembet the size and do not over fill or do. Thanks, Richard from My Old Historic house.

  10. What a great space to have!! I think I would add a faux fireplace to the brick wall and I like the idea of a large vintage mirror that was already mentioned. I would want light, bright cushions, pillows, and rug. I personally love the chippy concrete floor!

  11. What a cute space to fix up. I would paint the swing red for that bold pop of color and add colorful pillows and a quilt thrown across with some reds, yellows and greens or blues. Get an indoor outdoor rug that won't fade and can take the elements. I would get some tall shutters old and chippy or new ones painted and place them against the brick wall behind the settee. Paint the wicker white. Maybe paint the shutters a green and distress them heavily. Ferns are good for low light and really just need to be watered occasionally. Add them in old baskets or buckets made of copper or zinc. Anything can work for that. Maybe an old farm style bench in front of the settee. Maybe you can hang two swing arm lamps from the shutters over the settee for reading light. Can't wait to see what you do.

  12. PS. I just had a new thought. Maybe you could add a wood mantle to the brick to hold candles, mirror and other fun stuff. Would be easy to make a few boards. Especially if your hubby is handy.

  13. There are so many great ideas! I am in awe at your creativity and your thoughtfulness to take the time to throw some advice my way. I am reading and re-reading and can't wait to hear more. Thanks so much!

  14. I was going to say cover the brick with framing and beadboard, but I really like the idea mentioned about w/ the faux mantle addition to it, to. I would add a little bit red somewhere. If something is not working just right, I always add just a touch of red and instantly it pulls everything together.

  15. For starters I don't know that I'd paint the porch unless u just hate the color. I think the rustic chipped paint is very "in" right now. I would paint the porch swing and maybe even age it in one of your complimentary colors. I would hang curtains outside the french doors in colors that went with material that you could use on new cushions. I wouldn't, however, use the same material all over. You need variety. I would paint the wicker but let some of the brown show through. Perhaps a vintage cream color? Plants would liven it up, as would more accessories. Think vintage and repurpose things from what they were originally intended. Plenty to hide brick with if you don't like it! A screen, layered horizontal planters, shutters, window frames, signs...all these things can be suspended from the ceiling if the idea of drilling into the brick is unappealing. Also a planter with a trellis can be set in front of it. A ceiling fan is always nice for a breeze and to repel bugs, but vintage chandeliers always look lovely on a porch! An area rug will tie the whole look together and give it a "room" feel. Keep it a basic color that won't show dirt, and keep it in the natural fiber family.

  16. I thought I would throw my two cents in. I see from your previous posts that you like to use black and white in your decorating. I would paint the wicker and swing black and paint the floor with a black and white harlequin pattern. I love the idea of adding a mantel to the back of the fireplace for a focal point. Add pillows in the colors used in your family room and a couple of vintage metal garden tables. Add plants in harlequin painted pots and the white pots similar to the inspiration ones. The black and white color scheme will allow you to change out the look easily by just changing accessories. Best of luck!

  17. Hi Fran-

    This is what I would do.

    I would do a Southern tradition, because the lines of the porch seem to want that.

    Here is an example of what I would do.

    I would paint the wicker white and I would not worry about plants.

    Let your beautiful outdoor greenery be the focus and let them come inside visually as the focus,
    rather than trying to duplicate it inside.

    I would build a faux fireplace mantel against the brick wall to soften the space, and above it I would hang a mirror or a mirror frame that you fill with board to paint one of your wonderful signs.

    The haint blue on the ceiling in the link I included would look amazing.

    I would paint the walls a soft white.

    I would also have part of the space for outdoor/indoor dining by having a dining table.

    What a beautiful place that table would be to have your coffee and blog.

    I would paint that table white.

    A large cotton rug in dark pinks and turquoise would look pretty under the table-

    turquoise canning jars could line the mantel.

    I don't believe this space needs to be in the same colors as your living room.

    Let the room be the plants/flowers.
    When you step out in it it should be like a breath of fresh air.

    The blue ceiling will do that.

    The swing , painted white could be casually covered with quilts in soft colors.

    Then it will look like a sleeping porch.

    When it is fall/winter, you can change the colors of your decor.

    How much fun Miss Fran!

    White Spray Paint

  18. Hi Fran, What a nice porch area. I love color so I would paint the swing and wicker seating a candy apple red. I would add pillows and cushions in prints with yellows, whites and greens. I think you should sand the porch and use a good outdoor or marine paint on it. I would find some old plantation shutters or other decorative beat-up wood decor for the brick and lean or hang on the wall. I actually like the brick color especially if you use the idea of red for the furniture.Good luck, can't wait to see the finished project!

  19. Debra,
    Fran has a lovely porch! I am in total agreement with Kim @ Savvy Southern Style...the pop of color needs to be RED...what better place than the swing! A soft comforter and a pillow or two in accent colors adds to a warm inviting place to rest. Plant some sweet potato vine for great color and texture!Painting a "Welcome to the Porch" sign hung on the brick wall would be amazing! There are so many indoor/outdoor rug choices out there...but perhaps paining the floor to appear to be tile or cobblestone, instead. Please post the finished project!

  20. Great area to work with Fran! At first I thought chippy old shutters for the brick area but on second look, it is a great feature with a great shape why not use that? A fireplace screen, a shelf for a mantle with candles and a huge white wrought iron grate or gate above that, or a large outdoor picture, would make that brick area a pretty focal point, just like your indoor fireplace. I got a great outdoor rug on sale for 49.00 at Bed Bath and Beyond, you might get lucky. Or of course painting the concrete in a brick pattern would work nicely. (See the awesome concreted painted floor link at end of this comment) I'd paint the swing white but keep the wicker as is with some luscious cushions in pops of your favorite color and a few white accents. Ferns are a great plant for porches because they like diffused light. They just need water alot in Florida. Any succulent will do well there, with little care. Especially a big chunky aloe. I leave mine for months and they thrive.
    Floor ideas=http://www.google.com/search?q=concrete+painted+floors&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=H-dBTtLEL4Xx0gGA-oz2CQ&ved=0CHEQsAQ&biw=1259&bih=629

  21. Back again to give you this link for some faux painted flooring. I love this one it has a flagstone look for under 100 and 2 days of work.

  22. Dear Fran and Debra!
    I don't want to leave a small novel here so I will number my suggestions to make them short and easy to read!
    1. The colors of the room must flow from the living room to keep it all cohesive.
    2. I would paint the floor dark brown and then add an inexpensive large sisal rug.
    2. Paint the swing and either two wicker chairs or the settee white. That way they will not contrast against the white railing and will look nicer from the street.
    3. Bring your color in with your fabrics and your accessories instead.
    4. Can you find a tropical vintage barkcloth print mixing your reds, golds, and greens that are in the living room? If you can find soething like this, add solids and small prints with it for a mix of fabrics on your cushions and pillows.
    5. If you have two smaller wicker chairs, set them across from the wall with thea little table and lamp between it.(Instead of the loveseat/settee.)
    6. Brick wall: Love Kim at SSS's idea of covering it with tall green chippy shutters, or make one of your custom signs in a large scale design to cover the wall, OR...
    I would probably try to find a white chippy old mantle surround to attach to the wall.
    Then I would hang a smaller one of your custom signs above it, adding lanterns and accessories on the mantle shelf, and a large potted fern in the fireplace opening.

    Just a thought or two (or 6?) from me!
    Have so much fun decorating. I know it will turn out GREAT!!!

  23. Ferns are a great plant for porches because they like diffused light. I like your arrangement with awesome and perfect work. Your collection is very new and best for modern homes. It seems vintage looks.
    respirator filter cartridges

  24. So many great ideas. I love the drop cloth curtains, sisal rug though those can be pricey. I love old doors or shutters for the brick area and I agree that you need to utilize the same colors on the porch as in the adjoining room. I think I would go white on the wicker and swing and lots of red prints and fabrics. You definitely need a chandalier with candles somewhere in addition to other electric lights. You do need to fill in some with plants or whatever outdoor decor you like....gardening cans, driftwood, seashells, old toys or wheelbarrow filled with flowers to give it some personality. I definitely think lots of red would be great here.


  25. I say use the brick to your advantage and add some of that gold in your pillows. I would paint the floor-maybe white, maybe taupe. Paint the wicker white to lighten it up and the swing black to ground the room. Add a mantel on the brick and a large picture over the mantel. (Campy would be fun!) Use greens, golds, and with pops of reds for your colors. Put some black accent pieces in the room to relate to the swing and some curtains (sheers from Ikea would work) to frame the sides of the porch like a big window! I would eventually add in a rug when the money allows or you find something appropriate second hand.
    Make it fun! Make sure it has your personality in it! Enjoy! karen...

  26. Look at 0.co for great priced rugs. Also see cute sisal painted rug from IKEA at House of Smiths blog. So cute for a great price. Cant's wait to see the after this porch has great bones!

  27. I am thinking curtains too... the rug would be great but if gets a lot of moisture- maybe some new porch/floor paint would do the trick. I love the swing- I would probably paint it white. I don't hate the 'yellow brick fireplace' ( a little Wizard of Oz! ) I say work with it and agree with - add some shutters or a pair of old antique doors leaning against it and if you changed some of the darker pieces and added more light, more white, the drapes, paint, etc... I think the yellow would work better. Can't wait to see what you do with everything! :)

  28. My initial instincts: paint the concrete floor with a 2-part epoxy. I used it on a concrete driveway with good results. Use curtains to soften the edges of the porch as others have suggested. As far as the fireplace brick, it could be wrapped or covered somehow, maybe with a "box" that you build or softening it with vintage shutters, a screen, or a fabric treatment. I think your wicker furniture should stay dark because of the rich color scheme you have in your living room.

  29. I am so impressed with the many good ideas that have been presented. Not being a designer, all I can suggest is that the wicker and swing be painted a creamy white. And I love the idea of using a quilt to top the swing to use during cold evenings.


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