The Powell House

{ Porching it }

One of my favorite things about our house when we bought it three (?!) years ago was that it had a screened-in porch. Porches take me back to my childhood. When you grow up with all four seasons and you are on the porch, that means the weather is fair. Life is good.

Porch 2 (1)

I remember visiting my grandparents' lake house on Winnepesaukee every year and eating breakfast on the porch, watching the boats leave the pier and listening to the world waking up. Theirs was attached to a giant and beautifully appointed airstream trailer. The porch had that wavy opaque fiberglass roof that helped to keep it from being too dark; it was yellow. Acorns and pods would fall from the trees above and drop on the roof with little thuds before rolling down.

Porch 2 (1)

That porch was bedecked in 100% 1970s finery. Chenille couches and weird lamps. Yellow, orange and brown. Giant macrame wine bottle holder hanging from the ceiling, right at the front door. Plastic flowers, because they were only there on the weekends. My grammy smoked, and there was a singular smell to the porch that combined the tobacco and the lush evergreen trees that surrounded their lot. (They sold "the camp" not long after my grandfather passed away. It's sad when you don't remember the Last Time you went somewhere that meant something to you. Or that you don't know it's The Last Time when it's happening. The Camp plays a big part of my childhood memories.)


I remember falling asleep reading books on our porch at our family's lake house in Missouri in a chaise lounge. That porch had an indoor-outdoor carpet and ceiling fans. Tables that were forever in need of wiping down from the Ozark's pollen. The house was nestled high on a slope, so the lakefront porch was nestled up in the trees. We were just a few feet from squirrels and birds. It could be loud. Especially when in cicada season. That porch was so very green; it couldn't be anything else, really. It was basically a treehouse. Coffee tasted really good there.

Porch 5

The porch was where things weren't perfect or tidy. There was a stack of recently kicked shoes and a damp towel, umbrella, or stack of frisbees. There is a special kind of casual welcome that you embrace with open arms. It's not getting cleaned every day, and there is a chance you will find coffee cups or leftover wine glasses from the night before. Playing cards or an upended book, to be continued. 

It's taken a while, but I am slowly bringing our own porch around. It has a bit of an odd shape with giant stone columns jutting in every which way, and it is small, but is it every cozy. Two years ago we planted giant hydrangeas just outside the largest side, which gives us a great deal of privacy during the summer; they will easily grow to 4 1/2 feet in just a couple more weeks. 


(Phoebe, of course, is always thankful when porch season rolls around. It makes neighborhood patrol that much more enjoyable.) 

I picked up an outdoor sofa at the Pottery Barn outlet last year, and it fits perfectly. At night, we use lanterns with giant battery powered candles on timers and twinkle lights hung from the rafters. 

Porch 5

So this is where we will be for the foreseeable future, my friends.  Can you blame us? Stop by anytime. Just don't expect much in the way of formality. PJs, coffee, wine, novels, music, and laughter. And a camera-curious 20lb lapdog. 

Here's to porching-it, friends! Happy Friday! xoxo

{ where I paint every day } The Living Room

There is a good chance if you stand still in my house for too long, I will paint you.

It's no secret that paint is the easiest and cheapest way to transform a room. But I also happen to LOVE painting interiors. Trimwork, especially. I don't tape; I delight in my steady hand and precision. There is surely some kind of obsessiveness that goes with this. I don't mind. I'm happy with my angled Wooster 2" and a cup of coffee in hand. 

I love that this house needs more cosmetic work than real reno work because that means Mr. Wooster and I get lots of time together while the girls are in school. 

For instance:


This was move-in day. The living room was blue. A lovely blue, perfect for a playroom or a nursery. For a few weeks I both loved it and loathed it.  Part of the problem is that it sits directly across the foyer  from the neutral grey dining room. The two did not work together at all other than to frustrate me on a daily basis.

They took turns laughing at me. "Who will you paint first, missy?"

I want to think that in 42 years I have learned to pace myself. For instance, when we purchased our last home, I rushed in and painted the laundry room a horrid color of green that I would need to repaint in less than 5 months. Jay still gives me grief over that one. 

I told myself to wait. To see how things felt. Let the rooms grow on me. 

And a couple weeks later, after things started filling in. I swear I could hear those rooms snickering at me.


The blue was still just too... blue. 

Last week, I decided to jump in and attack. Within minutes I was terrified that I was about to paint my living room LAVENDER.  Because grey is HARD, people. 

I had to keep reminding myself that the old blue was *so very much the opposite* of what I wanted, that this new color was not purple. It was neutral.  

I was very skeptical. Very. I kept texting my friend, Beki, pictures of my progress. Like this one:


Beki is sweet, talented, has a great eye, and is very honest. She'd tell me if it were purple. I think I had her just as confused. We both crossed our fingers.  Then I decided that even if it *were* lavender, I would like it better than the nursery thing I had happening on my main floor. 

Have I said grey is hard? Universally accepted as difficult. Add to that: north, west AND south facing windows in this room.  Trees outside with lots of green. Goldenish floors. Fall light changing.

And BLUE bouncing all over the eggsshell plaster. 

I kept thinking, "It's a good thing I like to paint. There is a decent chance I'll get to do this again next week. Sometimes you win; sometimes it's purple."

(I swear I could hear the rooms mocking me, by the way.)


It might be on the cool-grey side, but it sure as heck ain't baby blue. (And the dining room is a cool grey, so I'm really okay with this.)



LR (1)

In the end, I think it was the original paint that was throwing off my perspective. This grey ended up looking like a much lighter shade of the dining room's grey. Whew. I am no longer conflicted when I stand in the foyer. I'm sure you're relieved. 

Paint:  Valspar Signature Interior Enamel Flat (paint and primer) in Sandstone Gray 7004-18