Front Porch Decorating

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“Porches are America’s lost rooms.”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

One of my favorite spring rituals is setting up the front porch for warm weather living.  This year, I looked at the porch furniture coming out of storage and suddenly felt I had it all wrong.  I decided to move everything around.  Do you ever do this?   I really love the new design so much more and can’t figure out how I didn’t set it up this way all along.  The porch seems more spacious.  The conversation easier.  Movement around the porch smoother.  There is much more of the pretty outdoor rug, my design starting point, to see and enjoy.  I even had room to add a bar area!  It’s not a huge space but it lives big.  I had to laugh, as I sat on my “newly” designed porch reading the latest Architectural Digest issue, when the words of Bunny Williams, a favorite designer, jumped out at me:  “I get so upset when people ask what’s new in decorating? Just take what you have and make it look new.”  Point well taken Bunny!

You can read about how I first created an outdoor room on the front porch here.  Tour the redesigned space and let me know which version of the porch you like more. But don’t  be seduced by those gorgeous blue hydrangeas on the old porch….They’ll be making another appearance at a porch near you, soon!

One of the biggest changes I made was moving this console table previously used as a room divider to the focal point of the porch. The plate rack with its bird house and green tole garden plate was already on the wall. It makes so much more sense to put the console there. The lanterns and urn are the same as when the table was on the side of the porch. Now they really all work together. The table is also in the middle of the seating area and can be used to serve food when entertaining on the porch.

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Easter Table and Front Porch Décor

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Treating you to lots of eye candy today to inspire your spring or Easter décor and entertaining!  From the welcome of spring blooms on our front porch to Easter around the house and at the table, there are ideas galore  to take away.  Enjoy!

An ice cream parlor chair repurposed into a planter greets visitors with a chalkboard welcome sign. Tutorial here.

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Charlotte aux fraises

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“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” –Ellis Peters

Looking for a make-ahead, no-bake, showstopping spring dessert?  Look no further.  This strawberry charlotte is it!  The lovely pink color comes from puréed strawberries which are passed through a sieve to give the filling a luscious, velvety texture.  The lady finger cookies are dipped in a lemon simple syrup giving the cake a fresh burst of flavor.  Easy to make, the cake looks sensational and tastes, well, like a slice of heaven!

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Goat Cheese Stuffed Hisbiscus Flowers

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My friend Anca is the finest of hostesses.  When she received our Italian conversation group, one of the appetizers she served elicited a lot of intrigue and delight.  It was a small little amuse-gueule, with a star-like shape which held a tiny ball of goat cheese.   Anca revealed it was a hibiscus flower imported from Australia, (available on Amazon),  sold in a simple syrup.  I promptly ordered a jar and served them on a cheese platter at a dinner I hosted. No one could guess what they were but we had fun trying!image Continue reading

6 Wine Crate Centerpieces

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“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Wine crates are one of my favorite containers for displaying flowers.  They are available for free from most wine stores and come in many different sizes.  They can be painted or stained if desired to coordinate with a décor theme.  Because of their generous size, they make an imposing centerpiece once filled with flowers.

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This wine crate was filled with pots of annual flowers.  I ran a string of whimsical dragonfly lights through the flowers to light up the centerpiece for an evening party.  Magical!  For detailed instructions on how-to, please click here. Continue reading

Get Your Chill On: 8 No-Bake Summer Desserts

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It’s 90 sweltering degrees out.  You’ve got company coming and need an impressive dessert.  Walk away from that oven!  Instead turn to one of these totally chillin’, easy to make desserts and be one totally cool host.

Click on the highlighted title to access the recipe.

1-  Chocolate Mocha Icebox Cake

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Beach-Themed Table Setting

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“Gather a shell…And listen at its lips:  they sigh…The echo of the whole sea’s speech.” Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The sea for me is rejuvenating and its majesty always awe-inspiring. This table setting recalls the breathtaking beauty of the beach and conjures up favorite seashore vacations.  I started designing this tablescape with a piece of driftwood recently found on a windswept beach and our family collection of shells. I kept the table setting casual and carefree.   An irridescent scarf in many shades of ocean blues shimmers across the table.

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