Well we made it to the end of the One Room Challenge! If you've been following along for the past 8 weeks you will know I decided to participate at the last minute. I had already designed and planned this project as something positive to work on during a pandemic and quarantine, so when I saw ORC was starting late and had extended the time frame I thought why not be part of it! (And having the pressure of a deadline definitely helps keeps you motivated!)
Boy, has our Front Porch and Garden come a long way! And during the strangest pandemic times and then a Civil Rights movement. At first design projects and work were on hold and then business got busy again. All while having two teens and a husband at home, homeschooling and doing what I can to take care of the health and well-being of myself and my family.
Now when I look out the front window from the sofa with my morning coffee, drive up to the house, and sit on my newly redone Porch it brings me so much joy! All the hard work and challenges of this project have been worth it, and now we get to enjoy the finished (well nearly finished) results long past this reveal.
So let's get on with it...Here it is!
Here is the 'Before' overgrown front yard that we started with not too long ago...
The first task was removing several large overgrown shrubs that according to the neighbour date back to just after the house was built in 1968. Then my husband painstakingly took a pick ax to the invasive elephant grass that was planted 10 years ago and was taking over and killing several plants. I also removed the ivy from the front of the house as it was taking away from the new cleaner modern look, and needed more of the brick exposed to balance out the new black shutters and privacy screens.
We did lots of planting removal, reduction and rearranging to give a more open minimal modern garden. Thanks to my MIL for her advice and help in the garden! The mulch is now a detail with so much of it now showing, and with all of the black architectural features we switched to a natural cedar.
Removing the giant yews exposed the original concrete porch, and we built the horizontal slat privacy screen for a modern architectural feature in front of the concrete and added yuccas, grasses and sedum for as much of the Modern MCM Cali landscaping as our climate can handle. We found these rocks in our overgrown backyard rock garden (next years project), and I did a hard prune of the junipers and I'm happy with the modern bonsai look.
Our concrete porch is 8'x12' and with the steps on one side I wanted to create an open architectural detail on the other. I found a plan for this modern planter bench on HGTV here. I adjusted the plans from a 12' long planter to 8' and other than having to modify construction for the bench it took a lot of headache out of my DIY construction skills with a material list and instructions. I added 1/4" decorative white stones at the top and planted two pre-made arrangements on either side for an easy and fun tropical look that fits with my colour scheme.
The vintage bamboo and rattan mirror with shelf was a thrift store find a couple of years ago, and I used a few of my house plants and added a new dark pink floral for some greenery in the alcove. The string lights were originally purchased before the pandemic for what was going to be my vintage/homegoods booth I was launching at a local vintage show. I think they look great here and add the finishing touch and mood lighting at night.
Moving around to the other side, below is the view from the middle of our driveway. The shutters add just the extra detailing to the front facade. I was looking for a more modern shutter that were also budget friendly. These were a great compromise with the 4 modern squares of louvers, and after a couple of backorder dates they thankfully arrived in time for us to install them for the reveal.
What you don't see yet are the gorgeous 8" aluminum house numbers from Modern House Numbers that will be mounted on the top right corner of the black privacy screen. Due to shipping delays they haven't arrived yet, however, I just got notification that they have cleared customs across the country so I should get them soon! Just picture how fantastic they will look...and it will be nice having house numbers after years of not waiting until I did the front . Ha ha...people have still managed to find us!
At the front of the driveway we have the garage door to the right and a side door. If you recall from before we had an overgrown shrub and elephant grass filling this section. Removing the large shrub left our garbage/recycling and our utility meters exposed. So we build a narrow privacy screen to match the porch and it works great at concealing the unsightly but practical nook.
We really emphasized the minimal modern garden in this front bed with this new yucca (Can you believe out of the three I planted the one that flowered is here....AND it flowered just in time for the reveal! I may have done a little happy dance. I'm also happy we ended up getting this fountain. We may have had to drive over an hour away to get one in stock, and unfortunately the sale apparently ended the night before, but oh well. I think it looks great and adds a modern sculptural feature and soft falling water sounds as you approach the house or while sitting on the porch.
Turning towards the front door is a view of the minimal plantings. Thanks to my client for gifting their grasses that they were taking out for their own landscaping project! The euonymus and original juniper were trimmed way back, another rock found in the backyard, the natural cedar mulch, and the new black shutters and privacy screen make up a much cleaner and modern garden and home facade.
One simple update to our original concrete walkway, that was not in the budget to change, was edging them with pressure treated 4x4s. It was my FIL's idea, and was fantastic at finishing the edges, was easy and cost little!
Let's take a sec and go back in time to when I first bought the house 10 years ago...
And back to the future....Wow, that makes me happy!
The 4x4s frame the walkway and draw your eye forward. The black privacy screen and supersized planter/bench make an original concrete porch fresh, modern, and welcoming.
The planter was a Homesense find from last summer with one of my snake plants for a vertical plant contrast. The gray chairs were part of a wedding gift from my Mom last Fall. For this project I wanted to work with what we had as much as possible, for furniture, decor, and also garden and decorative plants.
We needed a new area rug since our old one was stained with rust from our metal rocker chairs, and I wanted to cover up a good portion of the concrete. This indoor/outdoor rug in the soft black and white geometric does the trick at creating an interesting pattern without overwhelming the space.
The outdoor cushions soften the look of the geometric, and I love that they don't look actually look like typical outdoor fabrics, and were on sale which makes my inner bargain hunter happy.
The table is an old Ikea table that was originally purchased for my first born baby's room (who is now 15 years old lol) and has been repainted a few times over the years. It is now the same green as the door and adds a pop of colour in front of the black screen.
A front view of the beautiful outdoor cushion with the area rug and table. I added this lovely white and gold lantern that was on sale at Indigo, a plant from my kitchen window, and a coconut citronella candle from Homesense.
I'm loving the planter/bench, and I surprised myself actually being able to build it! It caused some frustration at the end with attaching the bench boards, but I took a break to figure it out, talked it out with my hubby, and got it done the next day.
The unknown and cool detail was this vintage rattan chair. It was out on my neighbour's curb for bulky garbage pick-up, and out of four this one was in good shape. I still need to clearcoat it to protect it from the elements, but it fills this corner nicely and adds even more seating.
You can see our original vintage door painted the green. My plans to tile the door step with decorative cement tiles are now back to the drawing board. The tiles were originally back ordered until the end of June, but I thought I still had a chance to get it done in time. But they have been delayed now until the end of August (maybe). So it will be a mini project later to repaint the door trim, stain the sill, and either source a new tile or now stencil the step.
I already had this beautiful vintage marble tray (and used it for our backyard wedding decor). I love how the blush glass bottle and outdoor glasses look surrounded by the greenery (the photos don't show the blush as well as in real life).
I found a spot for the original concrete planters! They may have some cracks, but they are over 50 years old! I love how I was able to keep them here and create a nice trio of planters. Take a look again at the old picture from when I bought the house and you can see them.
I love the view looking out my front door now. We can still see over and yet have enough privacy to sit out in the evening once the sun is on the other side of the house. It's become the evening and night time porch.
And funny enough, even with adding a 5'x12' privacy screen and a 8'x2' planter bench the porch actually feels and looks larger! How about that? Giving definition to spaces doesn't always make a space feel smaller. And darker colours recede and blur the edges.
So there we are! Our porch and gardens are ready for summer enjoyment. And it looks like we will be here for most of it, so I'm glad we have the extra outdoor space!
Big thanks to One Room Challenge and Better Homes and Gardens for putting this on, and modifying it for these times. It has been an great first time experience being a Guest Participant and gave me the extra motivation and a place to share. My hope is that it may offer inspiration to others for their home. Thanks to those who have been following along for all of the support and encouragement along the way!
And a very special thank you goes to my love. Thanks to him for believing in me, believing in my vision, and helping me when I needed it. I'm super duper grateful. xo
Your Designer, and Modern Boho Mom,