We moved into our little corner of Brooklyn a little over three years ago. And silly enough, it has taken me all three years to truly appreciate our back porch. Our porch was sort of the saving grace for this move initially. We didn’t have the big open kitchen, nor did we have tons of closets, but we had a porch—a shared backyard too. But there was just something about the exclusivity of our porch that really got me.
I had initially planned to have it all ready many summers ago, but life got in the way. This spring, instead of setting an actual date, I worked on it gradually, giving myself space to design and think. And you know what? It was much more enjoyable than I could have imagined! Every free moment I had I put into our porch. I purchased plants and rugs gradually, and it wasn’t as much of a “project,” as it was simply a hobby of mine for some time. Last week, I finally completed the porch! It’s kid-friendly, comfortable, and it’s ours to enjoy—that feels so incredibly good to say.
Here are iPhone images of it before.
See, not terrible, but not amazing. Right?
Of course, I decided to add lots of plants and flowers. We even have a strawberry plant and some basil growing about. The kids get to help pick things for dinner and snacks. I’ve noticed that the hardness of a space tends to disappear when you add colorful flowers and an array of easy plants. That was my goal, and I think I accomplished it. It also helped bring in the space, to make it a little more cozy.
The other end of the porch I saved for more adult watching and relaxing. I found a comfortable school chair on the street that is great for withstanding inclement weather. And then to help lift up the patterns in the rugs and flowers, I received this vintage Eames chair from Patina NYC, which is extremely comfortable.
I also took some time to slowly collect old coffee cans to use as planters. A while ago, a friend of mine gave me one, and I’ve been hooked ever since. By simply drilling a hole in the bottom and two holes in the back, they become fantastic hanging planters. I really want to add more, but I know that will take time since I thrift them all locally. The plants are hanging on a little fence we purchased at Home Depot and an old window gate as well. The gate is heavy and weird and beautiful to me, so it worked well in the space. I also hung some lights around the fence and gate for nighttime use.
I’m not going to go so far as to say the porch wasn’t functional before, it definitely was. But it wasn’t me, and it didn’t inspire us to enjoy it. Now, our baby Oak climbs under the window and taps at the wall and points outside first thing in the morning. River keeps inviting all of her little friends to come play in her “garwen,” and my husband and I are completely enjoying it for our simple date nights when the kids go down. I know our summer in New York City is fleeting, and I am excited to finally have this space completed to enjoy it even more.
Thanks for letting me show you our space! – LaTonya
Credits// Author: LaTonya Staubs. Photography: Peter and LaTonya Staubs.