Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover... Screened in Porch Edition

I've had a lot of plans for this huge space.

Originally I thought it could serve as an outdoor sewing room, play area, reading spot, sleeping porch and dining room. God knows it is big enough. (Interestingly it's roughly the size of the new smaller houses I've been looking at for next year.)

We've tried all sorts of stuff out there.

But more often than not we were left with the always attractive "shove all your weird shit on it's way to someplace else" decorating scheme.

And I wasn't loving it.

And because it was filled with random shit and toys that the kids didn't actually use (you know the lets give this thing one more shot before we toss it as if it's crappiness will become more interesting in a new exotic setting?) it was cluttered and ugly and the last place any of us wanted to spend our time.

The constant dust (dirt)... (someone tell me... is it coal dust??!!!)... and mildew have ruined TONS of things we've had out there to boot. So the idea of using *real* furniture out there was somewhat misguided. This past couple of weeks I've been working to move the wood furniture back in the house (or basement for storage) and bring our outdoor dining table in (since the mosquitos have kept us from using it since early June).

Not even a true BEFORE... mid clean out... and... YES I DID MOP THE ENTIRE PORCH... SOMEONE BOW DOWN TO ME!


I'm going for "less is more" out here now.
Our outdoor patio table & chairs.
A faux wicker loveseat w/ storage table & side table (matching chairs on front porch).
Kids' dollhouse (this will be brought in once it gets cold).
Kids' tumbling blocks and mat (which they do use and are weather proof).
A bin of outside toys: hula hoop, tunnels, baton, balls.
Plastic kid table & chairs.

And YES we're still rocking the outdoor window treatments... that's the best idea I ever came up with.

THAT'S IT. Nothing else will be kept out here!

The wide open space is always more inviting to play in than a toy and housewares war zone.

I've really put a lot of thought into our new toy choices. Previously we had the kids' play kitchen out here with ALL THE FREAKING PLAY FOOD, shopping cart, and cash register. We had the tumbling stuff and then a hodge podge of lame B list toys. The kids never played with the kitchen. And inside they have 3 dollhouses. It occurred to me that when I send them out to play out there that I had made the wrong choice. The kitchen et al took up tons of space... but it is a social game. Kids always want to make something and serve YOU... they do not play with it on their own (mine don't anyway). The big dollhouse has been in our living room. It's super attractive and we don't mind having it around where we constantly see it.... but... they have other dollhouses they can use. And you know what the dollhouse is good for? Independent play. And really that's what I want out there. We drastically cut down on the play food and stored it in an attractive woven basket (that I glued sheets of felt on the bottom of to prevent scratched floors!) next to the wooden kitchen and brought them into the living room where the dollhouse had been. And you know what? They play with it constantly. Cash register & shopping cart hit the dirt and are down in the basement until we can sell them.

So now we have the physical play stuff and one appealing independent play draw (the dollhouse). Instead of feeling like I need to fill every corner out there I'm leaving at that and our legitimate outdoor furniture.

The wooden table and chairs (my original apartment dining set) we had out there have been cleaned off and brought into our living room in front of the fireplace as a game table/craft table. In one week it's had more use than it did in the full year it was out there. It also helps fill up and define that awkward space in our over sized room.

Now tomorrow I'll have to tackle this:

Yep. All the crap I brought in out of the porch (minus the junk that hit the trash in a covert operation so as not to be seen by little eyes) is now taking over the office.

Woe is me.

At least that job can be done in the air conditioning.


inkelywinkely said...

wow that is alot..especially with no ac.

know what I did today? microwave leftover take out pizza and bring a dog to pee. Oh yeah, and read and look at blogs.

::cheese:: :D

Yes, the humidity and heat will ruin regular should see what happens this far south...plastic weather proof outdoor furniture gets mold and mildew if you don't clean it alot...oh, and can become brittle from the heat.

I'm proud of you. Now, go sit and put your feet up.

Melanie said...

Wow I'm impressed (and bowing at your feet!). What a wonderful space, its huge. I think I'd live out there!

Golden To Silver Val said...

OMG that screened in porch is to die for! You did such a good job with it too. What a terrific place for the kids to play on rainy days (as long as its a gentle straight down rain, lol). As for the windows, I think I would put shutters on them to replace the curtains...that way, if you desired you could open the louvers and get some light in the room on the other side...if you want privacy, just close the curtains or blinds or whatever you have in that same room. They would not be susceptible to mold or mildew either. Just a thought. Mrs. F, I am in awe of you. I had one hyper child and I know some of what you go through. I learned to exist on 4 hours sleep a night because he would not sleep any longer and got into EVERYTHING. I bow down to you as well as take off my hat.

Mrs Furious said...

Golden to Silver Val,
Shutters! I never would have thought of that. I might do it if I can find them for cheap. We usually leave the outdoor curtains open on the office windows to let the light in and closed on the bedroom since I don't need the light. These we're old treatments that we would couldn't use inside. But they are already fading from sun damage. Thanks for the idea!

I thought we'd be out there all the time when we bought the house. Our house is pretty small so we thought it would offset the interior size. But for whatever reason we really haven't used like I expected. Hopefully now we will. I think the real truth is Mr F and I rarely have time to relax so until we can wash dishes, etc out there we'll probably still be stuck inside ;)

I can't believe the mildew. Everything we keep outside is covered in it. Our stroller fabric is disgusting to look at now. Oh well. Live and learn.

Marie said...

Just took a minute to check in from vacation...the porch looks GREAT! And LOVING the country living/2010 plan. I would love, love, love a small place w/ a few acres, a large veggie garden, perhaps a few chickens... Its a dream that hopefully we can fulfill in a few years. And for the "crazy laura ingalls" style..I'm just finishing up reading Little House in the Big Woods to teh girls and now they want to move to a log cabin w/ a cow in the woods...and we are also "ma" and "pa"..hysterical!

Missives From Suburbia said...

MY GOD -- it's enormous!

Don't you wish you could have a week alone in the house to throw away everyone's crap that they do not use without them seeing you do it? I would pay for the privilege of that.

HaleyBird said...

Holy crap on a cracker, woman -- the mopping alone is impressive to me.

BsOnlyToots said...

So ... are you headed down to Florida anytime soon? You could come clean my house out and everything is in the A/C! LOL

Andrea said...

wow looks fantastic I love th less is more look since we've moved into our house a couple weeks ago Im trying to use that approach more especially since we moved from a 2br. apt to a 4br. house I love the open feel and less shit to clean and dust. hats off to you.

Mrs Furious said...

as it should be ;)

dust?!! What is that ;)
congrats on the new house!

hope your vacation is going well.
I loved reading Kid the Laura books. LOVED IT. And she then was in character as Laura for a good year and a half. And we were Ma & Pa too. So fun and cute. Enjoy!

Oh God what I could get done. Mr F always claims that the kids cripple him... that's the first thing I pointed out to him when he got home... I did it all and I did it with the kids underfoot. Then I ordered him to "Honor Me!"

Heck I actually would do that. It's always kind of fun to clean out other people's stuff... no emotional attachment.

BsOnlyToots said...

Very true! It's easy to toss other peoples crap! LOL Let me know!! I'll be waiting! hahaha

Mr Furious said...

Well, if you left the house that would help. If I turn my back when you're here, they immediately run to wherever you are...

Mr Furious said...

That's not to undermine the tremendous screen porch victory. I could NOT have done it—kids or not.

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