or . . . what to do before it all caves in
With warmer days setting in, I find myself chasing dreams of grand old green houses and conservatories, and pondering how to whip one up out of the tacked-on metal and plastic contraption we call a porch. Too hot in summer, too cold in winter, and all year round it drips and mildews from condensation. In short, it sucks. And it runs half the length of our doublewide. Believe it or not, I settled on this house because of the porch - it faces north with a long row of windows full of natural indirect light. The obvious plan was to rebuild it into an art studio. Well, we've argued over how to go about that for twelve years, we've had pretty blueprints drawn up, we've discussed it with various contractors - now we've got ourselves a real dilemma. Due to the latest court ruling on a lawsuit that we and 400 other homeowners have with our park owner - all of our building plans have come to a halt, perhaps permanently. What. do we do. with the porch. now.
Since the '70s, the porch screens have been covered by filmy plastic win-dohs you can't even see through. They finally disintegrated so I issued the order to throw them out. It could change the temperature in the house but, my goodness, what a welcome sight all that green is that I planted eight years ago! Those little Pittosporum Nigricans I tucked in as babies have become a giant hedge. It moves, it sparkles and the birds dart in and out. I'll take it! So the view is definitely improved, but how do I improve the porch?
First of all, I do solemnly swear to get rid of everything that has accumulated there over the past decade. Then I will scrub the room, I mean, my wonderful husband will scrub the room, with bleach. Due to uncontrollable conditions, we have to expect mildew, so I'll camouflage the peckerspecks by painting the entire space, top to bottom, a deep complex bronze. That might darken the room but that's okay, that's what I want, an enchanted forest. Plus, dark paint will hide all the structural flaws, the rough edges, the utter uglinesses. Paint it black. Black is beautiful. The little black room goes everywhere.
Then I think a pair of wet rated outdoor ceiling fans would be in order. That and some outdoor lighting, maybe with a string of fairy lights thrown in for atmosphere. You can never have too much atmosphere. Then I'd like to cover the dingy water-stained deck with wooden rugs. West Elm has some that are downright handsome. They're made for outdoor use and will resist mildew and fading, water passes through the square links, and they come in large enough sizes to cover most of the room. This will add richness and texture and will tie in with the wood floors inside. If push comes to shove us out the door, we'll just roll em up and take em with.
The next step will be to build all that Ikea shelving I had to have two years ago for a mosaic business. As soon as I spent my last dime getting set up with a friend, she decided she wasn't interested. The shelving has been stacked out there in its original bundles ever since, probably out of spite. Now I think their 16" deep slatted shelves will make a wonderful wall of potted plants. My hedge has become slightly sparse in areas where the neighbor has shaved it back, enhancing the view into my bathroom, so the garden shelves will provide extra leafy coverage. I put my house plants there a few weeks ago and they're so happy, the Christmas cactus flowered. Timed drip irrigation can be spliced in from the yard with no trouble, so I'm free to run away from home without having to worry about anyone dying.
I don't want to crowd the space, but a group of modular seating would finally turn it into a room. West Elm (can you tell I just got their latest catalogue?) has some all-weather wood furniture with good clean uncluttered lines. Cushion covers are available in water-resistant poly canvas, but I can also drape canvas painters' tarps on for extra protection. I really look forward to resting out there after a long day of gritty yard work, without having to change my clothes. And what a bonus - the sofa backs are weighted and removable, turning them into nifty little sleep cots. We have a shortage of space in our house for overnight guests, no room for extra beds, so we could easily carry these sofas inside, throw sheets on them and we're all set. Sound terrific? Does to me. Well, there you have it, the seedlings of my indoor forest. Nothing complicated, nothing costly, just elbow grease and imagination. I reckon I'm ready to begin and dig in.
For more of those extraordinary photographs be sure to visit plattlandtmann.
Online magazine Lonny appears to have been bitten by the garden bug too. The bite is spreading and causing people a great deal of itch and inspiration.
Across town, another bay area girl was bit hard by the impulse to make her own verdant nook, le sunroom. She's definitely got a green and black thumb, that sfgirlbybay.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few to help you visualize what's going on in my mind. As a matter of fact, it helps me visualize what's going on in my mind. If that's possible.
I could even plumb a sink out there! Wouldn't that be great for potting and cleaning up after yard work? Keep in mind, this is a doublewide and there are no laundry tubs in the basement. You know, I should probably check under the house ... maybe we do have a basement.
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