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Sweet Summertime Front Porch

it's time to start thinking about SUMMER!
To me, summer brings to mind front porches...

I love front porches, and dreamed all my life of having a home with one.
The swing was my favorite spot to sit on the front porch
of my island home in Washington state...

smelling the field grass and the sea air, all at once.
Watching the birds and eagles and deer and horses.
Enjoying the sunshine - and the rain - from this safe little perch.
Looking out across the fields where my antique show was held...
 I was lucky enough to have this one for just a while.
It really, truly was my Retreat ;0)
[My friend Elise of Elise Marie Photography took these two photos and I am SO GLAD she did]
I don't live in this beautiful farmhouse on five acres 
on Camano Island, Washington anymore...
but I still love the memory of it. 
 No, I didn't prop and style the heck outta' my porch for these photos - 
this is how it looked every day, all summer long. Simple.

 You may find that really funny, coming from a decorator, stylist, and writer
who is photographing her porch for a magazine story, 
but my thing is I just wanna' be REAL.
That's why I loved writing for FOLK Magazine back then...
It was all about Real. American. Living. Not photo sets.
[ then I found out more about what was going on, 

and quickly stopped writing for that publication ]

You can create a simple front porch setting, too:

* Gather up a bench or a few chairs
[check craigslist, thrift shops, and of course curbs on trash day!]

* Add a table to hold a drink 
[what about an upside-down crate, or plant pot?]
* Finish with a few pillows and colorful decor accents.

Whether it's sprawled across the whole front of your house or is a small covered entry,

your porch can become an oasis of relaxation this summer.

I had another small covered porch on the back of this house, just off the dining room.
I tucked a vintage metal folding bed out there, positioned like a lounge chair
(with the back up at an angle) piled it with pillows,

and hung curtains on the porch posts to enclose the space a bit.
It was a lovely, private place to greet the morning sunrise...

I love this photo!
If I do a decor book, this will be the cover.
The quilt on the swing was a family heirloom. 
The flags popped into a Coke bottle were a last-minute thought -
see more easy summer decor ideas like this in this post!

To change the look of the porch,
it was easy to replace these simple colorful accents with something else.
 Since we are working with a Red, White and Blue theme here today,
I thought I'd share a 'Fast, Cheap & Easy' party tip:

A refreshing and very patriotic version of flavored water
Just put layers of frozen blueberries, ice cubes, and fresh strawberries 
in an old glass jar, then fill the jar with water.
They flavor the water ever so subtly - SO refreshing on a hot day!

Below is a shot of my 'Sweet Retreats' column
that appeared in Issue V of FOLK Magazine in 2012,
using some of the images I am sharing here...
 My post is also featured in a hometalk e-newsletter!

What about you? Where is YOUR favorite place to relax and while away the summer?


In Spring, 2015, three and a half years after I moved out of my dream house
and even after I stopped posting new content here on my blog,
I came across a piece of art that I quite simply HAD to buy: 
This piece is called 'Shore House', by artist Zhen Huan Lu.

Do you see why I had to get it?
 It's very nearly the exact same setting as my own front porch,
right down to the 'stop sign'-shaped window beside the front door.

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