Best Paint Colors

Front Porch Makeover

When we bought our current Toronto home, I swore I’d give the enclosed porch a makeover the weekend we moved in. I’d do away with the dated green paint, dreary brick and scuffed grey floor, transforming the space with glossy white paint and elbow grease.

That was seven years ago.

Somehow I got sidetracked on that move-in weekend. Perhaps it was the Toronto Maple Leafs wallpaper border that needed to be scraped off what would then become my son Cameron’s nursery (no offense, Leafs fans!). Maybe it was because it was 35 degrees and we hadn’t yet purchased any window air conditioners. But like many projects on the wish lists of homeowners, it just hasn’t come to fruition.

While we do make use of the space — there’s ample room for everyone’s rain boots and umbrellas, and it’s an amazing place to be during a rainstorm — it’s become a bit of a dumping ground for scooters and soccer gear.

The room does have some redeeming qualities, though. There are original leaded windows, and the light is absolutely beautiful in the mornings. Some of the windows open, including one on each side of the porch, making for a nice cross breeze on hot days. Generous trim around the windows and doors give it plenty of period charm.

While the colour of the ceiling drives me crazy — as does this old fixture — the beadboard is pretty and should look great when it’s painted white.

My hope is to give this little space a cottage-like feel. The plan is to paint everything out, including all that brown brick. (Cue the brick painting debate.) The floor boards will get a good sanding and a few coats of shiny, high-gloss porch paint. This inspiration shot really speaks to what I have in mind:

What’s not to love, right? The smooth, shiny floors are inviting for bare feet in summertime. The crisp ceiling gives me hope that my green one can look even half as nice when the makeover is complete. And the furnishings are both low-profile and inviting.

Which brings me to one final thought about my current porch space.

There was a real lesson here for me in the true cost of furniture that “will do for now.” The wicker seating is a bit mumsy for my taste today, and was even then. But we were having the hardwood floors refinished inside, and there was nowhere to sit until our furniture could arrive. I bought this set under a bit of duress, and wouldn’t do it again.

When I purchased the cedar chest from a neighbour’s yard sale, I intended to sand it down and paint over the folksy detail. Obviously, that hasn’t happened either, but I’m glad to have somewhere to stow beach toys and baseball gloves. Looking at the black stool in the inspiration shot, I’ve renewed my resolve to paint the chest black as a visual counterpoint to all the white. And, like you see here, it’ll be fun to punch up the space with seasonal colour using throws and pillows.

When I get around to it, that is.

Photo credits:
1-4. Brandie Weikle
5. House & Home July 2010 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford