Christening The Party Porch

For over a year and a half, my husband and I have been working on building an addition … a “porch” of sorts that would multi-task. Our house is small and we needed a dining room that could seat 8-10 people. But, it also needed to serve as a mudroom. The challenge was to make it pretty and practical. The absolute deadline was Christmas 2012 because it was our turn to host the holiday get-together for my family. We did it! I love my new sanctuary … C’mon on in and have a look …

First, here is my carpenter-husband at work this past summer. He built every inch of the porch in his spare time. Also, 90% of the building materials are recycled – all of the lumber! We dismantled an old school building. The sub-floor is made of the school’s hardwood gymnasium bleachers, as are the steps. We were building the porch and refinishing antique furniture simultaneously — working on top of what we were building – not ideal to be sure. It was difficult to stay out of our own way 🙂  In this picture, Lynn was ‘putting a fix’ on my 1880s era step-back cupboard (given to me by a friend). It was in dire need of a rescue and as crooked as a country road. But, Lynn firmed her up and I put a new “old” finish on it. I’ve wanted an antique cupboard like this for nearly 30 years … and it HAD to be that wonderful shade of indigo so popular in the 19th century. Here she is at long last … Ta-Dahhhh!!!

My farmgirl pal, Michele, built the little house and she made the tree too. Both were inspired by the book, Seasons At Seven Gates Farm.

Once we had finished the porch and all the furniture refinishing, I had no time to dawdle as I was looking down the barrel of Christmas right around the corner. So, I cleaned the porch from stem to stern and immediately moved EVERYTHING in and then decorated the porch and the rest of the house for the holiday season. Ready for the tour?

Here ‘tiz … and my sister & I.

A few details: I bought the upholstered chair 30 years ago and had it reupholstered by a friend recently. The small white sidetable was purchased this past fall at a benefit auction; I refinished it. The round table that the Christmas tree is sitting on was pulled out of an old shed on a ranch. My sister gave me the ladder-back chairs. I was going to re-paint them, but I decided they’re cute just the way they are; all they needed was a little Tung oil. The blue and white Bethlehem sawtooth star quilt (hung on the wall) was one that I bought in Ohio in the late 1980s. It is a masterpiece and quite fragile now. It was made in the late 1800s. Perfectly matched points on the stars and tiny quilting stitches tell of hands well acquainted with the quilting art. A few of my farmgirl pals joined us for our Christmas party: Donna and Anita (their husbands came too).

I found this old sign at an antique shop; it had been painted solid white. You could barely make out the lettering on it. So, I repainted the message, sanded it off a little to age it again and then applied a light coat of spray varnish. It now graces a dutch door that Lynn built in place of the former exterior door into the house.

One of the other things my new porch needed to provide was more storage! The old blue cupboard is my emergency pantry. The white cupboard is a general catch-all and the large barnwood closet that Lynn built is the “hidey-hole” for boots, coats, chaps etc etc. I didn’t want all of that to be visible, so, we used an old shed door on the closet. I’d stashed a couple of white porcelain door knobs and closures for the closet and the dutch door. I also found a piece of old textured tin for the closet door.

I really like RED and I decided that barn paint would fit my old farmhouse theme perfectly. We put beadboard on the walls for an old fashioned look.

A checkered apron serves as a curtain on the door. Next spring, the plan is to walk out of this door into a screened patio. Phase II of the make-over.

The oil painting was a gift from my sister.

Ok, you get the idea by now … so, below are more photos …

As a special treat, I ordered a cake from my friend, Brittany. She’s a gourmet baker. I saw a picture on Pinterest and thought this cake would be the perfect Christmas cake. It was four layers of dark chocolate — coconut frosting, covered with coconut snow … and topped with a little tree. It tasted like a Mounds candy bar – as delicious as it was beautiful.

After Christmas, I sat in the quiet of my new room and enjoyed the realization of a dream. There is very little in life that is more satisfying than the rush of self-esteem that results from finishing and being well pleased with a big project. Ahhhhhhh, I could finally soak up the ambience of my cozy farmgirl-style haven. The bank of windows in the room looks out onto my garden yard, which now wears a large wreath and Christmas lights.

Shery’s new porch: Put a fork in it … IT IS DONE!

So, now onto planning projects for 2013. I bet you have a list too. Before, I get carried away with more To-Do items, there is time for some New Years socializing. The other night, we went to a dance at the local senior center. It was fun … an old-fashioned dance is something that I’m sad to say is probably a dying pastime. It was a delight to see folks enjoying the cordial closeness of dancing hand in hand with friends & neighbors. My farmgirl friend, Anita, is married to a guitar playing songbird and another friend played with him. I scattered some cornmeal on the floor and the boys played country dance tunes. What a great way to welcome the new year. Lynn is shown below, too, dancing with a friend.

On New Years Eve, we’re going out to dinner with friends and then on to the annual Buck & Ball — an all rough-stock rodeo in which the rodeo officials in the arena and the pick-up men wear tuxedo coats. After the rodeo, a dance in the great hall follows. Everyone will be ‘dressed to the nines’ in cowboy bling. I’m wearing a vintage fur coat and my turquoise boots!! Woohoo 🙂

To all my farmgirl friends out there … I hope that your 2013 is full of the good things in life and that a hardy & positive attitude will get you through the unavoidable challenges that lie ahead. Happy New Year … and in the words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless Us Every One!”

  1. Michele says:

    Awesome sums it up:) Shery you not only a wonderful friend, you are a very talented entertainer:)

  2. Pam says:

    the wait was worth it. Loved it all. So many treasures. enjoy!

  3. Adrienne says:

    That’s a terrific looking room you have there and your hard work paid off splendidly. I hope and yours have a wonderful New Year with a new screened patio on the horizon.

  4. Carol Norwood says:

    Shery … Your porch is magnificent. You should be so proud of all the hard work you and Lynn did to make it all come together. What a pretty place to have a party. I was especially touched by the typewriter … I made my living as a school secretary, starting in the early 1970’s with an electric typewriter and, of course, ending my career using computers! Thanks for sharing your beautiful place … and Happy, Healthy NEW YEAR! God Bless … Carol

  5. bonnie ellis says:

    Shery: Thanks for sharing your wonderful porch and Christmas decorations. Looks real "spiffy" gal. Keep up the good work for 2013. Wish we could visit in person. Bonnie in Minnesota.

  6. Love your new porch and all the lovely furniture. So nice and country like. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS. God Bless you.

  7. Joan says:

    Oh HOOORAY you have a most wonderfully, beautiful ‘old’ room. You two should be right proud for sure – such a lot of work and well worth it. Thanks for sharing the pictures – you really know how to stage. And I must say – y’all have way too much fun up there in the cold – our area is just getting built up so maybe here soon we can have some get togethers and dance hand in hand. Happy New Year to you and yours and I can hardly wait to hear from you next time. God Bless.

  8. Diana Henretty says:

    Thank you for the beautiful New Year’s gift!
    What a treat to see your new porch, homemade and so sweet!
    Too beautiful for words, and so inspiring to create new cozy spaces!
    "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, ANYONE can start from NOW and make a brand new ending…….Carl Bard
    Happy New Years From Diana in Noel Mo!

  9. gwen quon says:

    Oh my I love your addition!!! I live in California and I too love country and I have a good
    all American quarter horse. I love your old style which takes us back to simpler times and
    is so charming. Oh yes, red is the best color to awaken a room and your wood pieces are
    rustic and strong. Shery tell your husband he did a wonderful job. Enjoy your new place and God bless you in 2013! Happy Trails.

  10. Terry says:

    You’ve done yourself proud Shery my friend. Have a blessed 2013.

  11. Karin Thomas says:

    Shery, your porch is beautiful and I absolutely love it! The Christmas decorations are gorgeous. I know you are going to enjoy it for years to come. Wishing you a Blessed and Happy New Year.

  12. Kim Manning says:

    What a beautiful place to enjoy a Christmas! Love the finished porch and I’m sure it will give you grand memories.
    The dance looks like a superb time was had by all. Small community get togethers just can’t be beat. The rodeo ball was truly a western way of greetin’ the New Year.
    Thanks for sharin’!
    Kim M

  13. Terri says:

    Your porch is awesome! Just think of all the fun family & friends times you will host. Happy New Year from NC!

  14. Jeanette Jacobson says:

    Your porch is beautiful! You really have the touch when it comes to decorating. I’m saving this post for inspiration for some of my own projects. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

  15. Marcie says:

    Oh Shery, it all looks so perfect.
    So proud of you and Lynn for building such a warm and cozy porch (wish I had one like that … someday)!

    Thanks for all the pics, it was like all your fans were there enjoying your Christmas feast with you. The cake sounds great … may try that myself.

    Wishing everyone a great 2013,

    take care, Marcie

  16. Jan says:

    Simply WONDERFUL…You amaze me with your creative abilities and your ability to visualize and plan your projects! I think that it’s good for us to see what you do and to give us that added PUSH to accomplish something wonderful in our own domain! I have been waiting for the unveiling of your porch room…Thank you for sharing!

    It is because of YOU that we are working on a vintage travel trailer this winter. You finally pushed me over the edge and made me commit to a project that I have wanted to do for a long time. I also ran into a ‘spare’ that is plopped out in back for after the ‘Montana Cowboy/Cowgirl’ trailer gets done..

    Here’s to many more projects that make life worthwhile! Happy New Year!

  17. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi Shery! Well, you’ve done it again~~~the party porch is totally adorable!! You are my decorating, "farmgirling", repurposing, inspirational fairy godmother! Thank you once again for sharing your heart & homey hospitality. I feel like I’m right there enjoying the party & your friendship. Can’t wait to see what you bring us this new year:0). Speaking of~~~Happy New Year~~~may you & your family & friends have good health, love, & Blessings from our Lord.
    XOXO, Linda Sister# 971

  18. Brenda says:

    Shery your porch is to die for! I love it, and it is in my favorite colors. Red and Blues. You and your husband should be proud of your project and just in time for your Christmas gathering. How perfect. It has been cold here in Michigan but in our area, which is called the snow belt, we have hardly any snow on the ground. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  19. Christine says:

    It’s just wonderful! Love it. Really like the red wall too!
    My husband and I do most of our projects with recycled things also.

  20. cora jo says:

    And a very Happy New Year to you, Shery. I too, sport a new "porch" which is windows on 3 sides and my sewing things live there. Ah. so sweet.

  21. Mary says:

    Love your porch project. I’ve been going back and forth on whether to add a wrap-around porch to my home or update my over 30 year old kitchen/bath/utility room area. My concept for a porch, was to use as part of my agri-business, antique/vintage storage and, of course, family & friends gatherings. As much as I would love to have a new country kitchen, I’m still leaning toward the porch.

  22. Terces says:

    Oh My Gosh, you are amazing. I am continually inspired by you.
    We are working on a home, have been living in a yurt (illegally) for 5 years and I DON’T MISS A SINGLE ONE OF YOUR POSTS…..thank you for a year of inspiration. I follow you on pinterest for even more inspiration too!
    Your porch is beautiful, just like you.
    Happy New Year,

  23. Carma says:

    After looking at a handful of the blog articles on your website, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging.
    I saved it to my bookmark webpage list.

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