By Brian Underwood
An Outdoor Oasis
The back porch Kelley Vickery built was meant to be a quiet refuge and a charming spot to entertain. But it sat unfinished until Woman's Day sent in designer Annie Selke to bring it to life. Photo credits: Mark Lund/Woman's Day
When Kelley Vickery, now 46, was going through her divorce, the Lenox, MA, resident's biggest concern was making the transition easier for her three children. "We sold our home and I used the money to build a new one next door," says Kelley. "I wanted my kids to be able to stay in the same school."
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Construction on the new house went smoothly until money became tight. Suddenly, there wasn't room in the budget to complete everything. "I focused on the bedrooms and the kitchen and had to skimp on other areas like the basement and the garage," she says.
Room for Improvement
One neglected spot-the porch overlooking Kelley's lushly wooded backyard-was particularly tough to put on the back burner. "I never installed a screen, and we live in a green, hilly area so bugs are an issue," she says. Also a problem? The stark, clumsy furniture that added no personality or functionality to the space.
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A Place of Her Own
To the rescue: designer Annie Selke, who used modular pieces that serve the high-traffic, multipurpose porch well. "It's what I always dreamed it could be-great place for my family to come together and a room where I can reflect on the day," Kelley says.
Selke constructed a storage banquette along one wall. The kids can pull up a table and perch on the comfy cushions to do homework, or stash the decorative pillows below to make room for a nap.
Thanks to Selke's installation of screens and shades, which control the sunlight that floods the porch, the area can now function as a three-season spare room in Kelley's small home.
Pick Adaptable Furniture
Selke chose two tables that can be placed together for large gatherings or pulled apart and tucked into the corners to open up the space. Durable aluminum chairs and a wipe-clean rug are ideal for the semi-outdoor space.
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Slide 1: 66" Square Aluminum Table, $130 each; RestaurantFurnitureWarehouse.com. Aluminum Chairs, $170 each for similar; Overstock.com. Trimaran Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Rug, $298; DashandAlbert.com. Smith Barnett Muffin Round Stool, $129.11 each; Wayfair.com. Spot On Napkins, $38 for 4; PineconeHill.com.
Slide 2: ScreenEze 96" Patio Screen Frame & Cap in Bronze, $22.95; QualityWindowScreen.com. Mel Stripe Shams, $34-$38, and Melody Quilted Shams, $58-$68; PineconeHill.com. Mountain Peak White OC-121 paint (on bench seat), $37 per gallon; BenjaminMoore.com.
Get the Look
Selke (right) outlines five design personalities in her book Fresh American Spacesincluding Happy Preppy, which was the inspiration for Kelley's porch. Here's how to bring the style to life in your own home.
1. BRIGHTEN UP. Bursts of saturated colors, as in Kelley's pillows and the movable lime green ottomans (previous page), make a room lively and cheerful, Selke says.
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2. INCORPORATE CLASSICS. Structured shapes with clean lines like Kelley's tables and chairs keep a small space from looking cluttered. "These trend-proof designs will look fresh for years," says Selke.
3. GO FUN AND FUNCTIONAL. Crisp rugby stripes on the banquette's cushions make what could be a purely practical element dynamic.
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4. GO GRAPHIC. To add another visual layer to the porch's decorating scheme, Selke used paisley and floral pillows and a striped rug. "They add impact and energy to the space," she explains.
Before "Now, the room reflects Kelley's personality," says Selke.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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