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.