The Walter’s Serene Patio Quickie

13 01 2010

While we were back in the Midwest over Thanksgiving we spent some time at home with John and Rose Walter.  They are currently in the midst of building a patio addition to the front of their house and asked us for some suggestions.  We jumped at the opportunity to help them with their fresh slate.  Here’s their letter:

Hi Sharon,

We visualize this porch area as a 4-season room since we plan to include heat, probably in the form of a stove.  The room’s purpose will be as a casual eating/sitting area, a place for plants, and a way to enjoy the view of nature.  The only needed storage might be a broom closet and we currently have a table with seating for 4-6.

The porch needs to bring lots of light into the kitchen, as the kitchen’s only natural light will come via the porch.  The porch has three large sliding-glass windows and two exterior doors, and one other window which does not open.  There is also a door and a window into the kitchen.  In other words, minimal wall surface!  I want white walls to facilitate light reflection and I especially like bead board.  There is a slanted ceiling with two skylights and we are up for suggestions on how to finish the ceiling.  The floor covering should be casual and easy to clean.  Dirt will be tracked in.  I like colors, and want some bright blue, green, and yellow to off-set the white walls.

We need some type of window treatment that can be minimized to allow lots of light to enter, or be closed to keep out the sun due to the south and west exposures.  Maybe top-down/bottom up shades that can be adjusted from the top or the bottom?

The room’s dimensions are 12’ north-south and 15’ 8” east-west.  The south wall is 8 feet high and the north wall is 10+ feet high.

We’re excited about this!  Rose and John

Looks like we have a long way to go in making this space the serene, ‘take back your day’ kind of space the Walter’s are hoping for, but I think with a little bit of hard work it’ll become the end of day break that they desire.  So without further ado, the patio design board:

Here is the design board breakdown.

  1. Our color palette is cozy, yet airy featuring creamy neutral tones and a bit of yellow for the walls offset by bright apple green accents to really give the room some pop.  We think that Ralph Lauren’s Paint Tuolumme (#WW39) would be the perfect creamy white color for the bead board and all the trims in the room.  Speaking of trims we were thinking that sandwiching the bead board between a heavy base board and a chair rail trim at approx. 5’-0” high would bring a country look but would allow some much needed color higher up on the wall.  Above the bead board to the ceiling we suggest Dunn Edwards Fine Linen (#DE5470) which is a subtle and soft yellow.  The dark brown we see represented on the floor.  Since you have what appears to be a nice concrete slab we thought it would be great to paint the floor for the ultimate in easy to clean and with a darker color you will have much less noticeable tracking in of dirt. We suggest going with a color similar to Ralph Lauren’s Turret Stair (#NA32) to get a rich chocolate-y color.  The apple green we referred to before should be thought of as accents throughout the space, so when you are picking accessories or maybe even a seat cushion for the bench, think of the bright fun color.
  2. This little, delicate valance hit us like a ton of bricks.  It seemed perfect for a country home and is machine washable to boot.  It shouldn’t block the sun and gives the windows a little softness.  We would suggest going with the ecru color to match the bead board and trims and to hang it on either a 1.5” rod in a brushed nickel finish, selecting finials that are somewhat petite or hanging it on a white “U” shaped curtain rod as a less expensive option.
  3. Underneath that pretty valance you said it best yourself Rose, the option of choice would be single cell cellular shades with the top-down/ bottom-up feature.  These really do the trick when the sun is hard to navigate!  Local options are best for selecting these shades, but a couple to check into would be: Levolor 9/16” Single Cell Cellular Shades (these are a classic) and Hunter Douglas offers some as well.  I have had good luck with Menards and their Diamond Cell Continuous Loop-Eternity.  Look into the cordless option as it really provides a nice clean overall look and the price can’t seem to be beat with these blinds.
  4. You mentioned wanting a broom closet in the room to hide some supplies.  We are thinking this wardrobe (finish is Antique Effect) would do the trick.  Putting the back towards the east wall in the corner near the interior door and putting the hinge on the wall side closest to the interior door will give it a great corner.  The options for the interior are endless, but we were thinking at the very least you would want to put a shelf at the top and maybe a couple at the bottom to store other things as well.  We just love that they take the eyesores and hide them in a neat package!
  5. Right next to the broom closet we thought this bench would be a welcome addition.  Since this is the entry to your house it gives you a place to sit and put your shoes on or a place to hang your jacket or purse in a pinch.  It also has storage in the seat so a great place to keep gloves and other winter wear.  Don’t forget that the shelf at the top would love to house a couple small plants and maybe a knick knack or two.  Also the right of the piece you might want to add some additional taller plants to really give the space some zip.  We think maybe a cluster of 3 would be nice in pretty pots (maybe even in that great apple green accent color.)
  6. This is just an option since we already know you have a table and chairs set that fit great in the location.  We just couldn’t get this great table off of our minds!  The color and the cane backing on the chairs nod to the country style but have certainly been updated with a unique base that adds a touch or modern to a more traditional piece.  We think this set would just look great in the patio and with everything else being new and fresh we wanted to include it as an option.
  7. Also, this rug adds warmth and a foundation to the table and chairs set.  We think you were totally correct in saying that the best place for the table set would be tucked into the northwest corner in front of the picture window adjacent to the kitchen.  Speaking of that corner this would also be a great area again for some potted plants on a great oak stand!
  8. The stove is a great addition to making a 3-season room a 4-season one!  We think this one from Lowes is a great look.  Simple and classic with those great traditional legs and if you run the duct work properly you could heat your entire first floor of your house as well!  Nothing beats the cold outside like a warm wood burning stove and this little guy sure looks the part.
  9. Lastly, for the accents again we are thinking bright green, yellow, brown, and black.  About half this selection is from Ikea but anything from planters and vases to artwork would look great within these colors.  You can even get a bowl for a centerpiece on your table and put in lemons and limes to garnish in the summertime.  We found these great vase fillers at pottery barn but we are fairly certain a Hobby Lobby or Michaels would also carry similar items.

So there you have it, a patio full of functional and inviting style.  We can’t wait to hear what you guys think!  And if anyone else out there is in need of a custom makeover of their own, click here for some decoration advice on the double.




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