I've tried to ignore it as long as possible, pretend it wasn't true, but the time has come to accept the facts: summer is over. With the dropping temps and falling leaves, it's become necessary to begin disassembling the porch paradise I worked so hard to create these past few months.
Let's take a moment to reminisce, shall we?
I didn't spend much time out here last summer — we moved in the first week of September, and I was a little distracted by getting my room set up and dealing with the pit of despair that was the kitchen. But this year, I was ready.
Our apartment is blessed with not one, but two balconies. Growing up, I thought balconies were pretty much the coolest thing ever, and guess what? They are! The front one is small, just large enough for a bistro table and two chairs, but this puppy is roughly six feet by twenty feet. Plenty of room for the very sophisticated wine and cheese parties I will hypothetically throw when I decide that I'd rather make friends and be sociable than sit around in my sweatpants and re-watch all seasons of Friday Night Lights.
No matter how far-fetched my motivations were, it was enough to get me moving. At first, I foolishly thought that a good sweep and scrub was all the floorboards needed to be barefoot-friendly. It certainly went a long way, but in the process, I ended up loosening a lot more of the flaking paint and saw up-close how nasty the potential splinters could be.
Right. Put a rug on it! Or two, to be more precise. I ordered these from Costco, and felt very strange doing so, as my only previous experience with Costco typically involves following my mom around their warehouses and eating as many free samples as I can find. I'm pleasantly surprised with these because they were (A) relatively inexpensive, (B) large enough to cover some decent real estate (I chose the 5'3" x 7'4" because of the dimensions I was working with, but there's a larger option, too), and (C) neutral but not boring.
I'll be the first to admit that the final look is a little...not great. It's a big improvement (there are actually places to sit now!), but I expect it to look a little different next summer. A little better.
This bench was actually the first piece I bought, and at the time I was just thinking "It's low enough to slide under the window if I need it to, and it's big enough to squeeze two, and it's fairly nondescript and neutral." This all remains true, but compared to the rest of the stuff I ended up adding, it's kind of...boring. I've tossed around the idea of weaving some kind of rope or twine through the top slats, but there's a really good chance that will look terrible, so it's on the backburner for now. Maybe I should paint it? Ideas?
The pillows, I stole from the living room, because the funky pattern felt like the look I was going for, but something else — more of a large-scale, blocky pattern in a contrasting color — might be more suitable.
I bought all the large plants from Home Depot while on a post-paycheck high, and they fulfilled their duties of being hard to kill and brought in some color. I added the gold triangles to the pots because, while at Michael's one day, I impulse-bought some Rub n' Buff and, aside from having the most ridiculous, vaguely sexual name ever, it's AWESOME. Guys, I can make anything gold! (And for a while, I did.)
Please avert your eyes from the rocking chair. That's Andy's. He owns more rocking chairs than anyone under the age of 75 ever should, but I just don't have it in me to banish it. If he wants to sit in his rocking chair, thoughtfully stroking his beard and reading weirdo poetry books, who am I to say no? I will need to recover or replace those cushions, though, if the chair is here to stay. I draw the line at Old Lady floral patterns.
This chair. I've had such a love-hate-like-hate-mildly enjoy relationship with this thing. I bought it on Craigslist and the person lived smack in the middle of downtown, so it took me forever to find a place to park long enough to pick it up and the whole process sucked. It was one of those situations where you know the end result really isn't worth it, but you've already wasted so much of your time/energy/money/life force that you lie to yourself that it is.
And it only got worse from there.
I was initially attracted to this chair because I was smitten with these Acapulco chairs and wanted something similar for myself. This one has cute metal legs that are also easily removable for storage (See? I can care about practical things, too), and the shape was nice and curvy and actually comfortable. But when I put it outside, it kind of blended in with everything else: brown railing, brown/tan rug, brown bench. See, that chair used to be BROWN. And I went ahead and decided to paint it turquoise! Why not, right?
Hahahahaah oh, Lisa. You blonde idiot.
It was a hellish, time-consuming process that I'd prefer never to repeat, one that involved a lot of careful taping, multiple coats of primer, many, many, many coats of color, and a coat of clear protectant. There may have been several trips to Dick Blick and not one, but two different hardware stores, too. Sigh.
Pillow cover was a West Elm clearance purchase that I stuffed with batting from Michael's because I was feeling too stubborn to shell out for a pillow insert, too. The perforated metal tables are originally from Urban Outfitters but were snagged from Craigslist. Duh. The hammock (yeah, I have a hammock on my balcony, no big deal) used to be Adrienne's and is technically for camping. Don't care. It does the job.
One last piece of advice: When you finally buy those lovely strings of globe lights from Target that you know will add just the right amount of ambiance to your space, and you string them up and find that you didn't space them out evenly enough and there's a good two feet left over at one end, LEAVE THEM BE. Listen to your wise boyfriend, and do not focus and obsess on that extra two feet that's just hanging down. Because when you inevitably try to re-string the whole thing by yourself at 10 o'clock at night, you will break at least five bulbs. Because you're trying to use a staple gun one-handed while balancing on the railing of a three-story structure.