Front Porch Makeover — A Before and After

by Katy on July 30, 2012 · 63 comments

Although my front porch has always looked good from the front of the house, until recently it hid a a dirty little secret. The unseen left side was a dumping ground for gardening supplies, sports equipment and Stuff that other people needed to pick up.

It looked like crap.

But I recently came across an outdoor loveseat and chair for $25 and $20 at Goodwill. I bought the loveseat, but left the chair behind as I felt it was overpriced. But I changed my mind and went back the next day and scooped it up for a discounted $15.

Not crazy cheap, but also much less than buying new.

It was makeover time.

But first I had to clear the crap that was defining this space. The red jacket went to Goodwill, (I had asked the owner to pick it up last November, and have reminded him twice since then) skateboards went into the garage, plastic flowerpots got recycled and that red and white tote went to the curb and disappeared within a few hours.

With the porch thus decluttered, it was time to set up the new furniture. I styled the space using a few plants from another area, added some free pillows, neatly stashed the sports equipment underneath the furniture and even added a thrift store painting.

See, better:

Here’s a view from the side, where you can see how cute the plants look on my crap-ass shabby chic table, underneath the thrifted landscape.

This space has already become my go-to morning writing area, as I find it easier to focus when I’m not surrounded by my thousand-tasks-that-beg-for-my-attention home interior.

And for $40, I now have a lovely new space. And I am no longer greeted by chaos every time I enter my home.

Better.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane July 30, 2012 at 4:09 am

Absolutely adore this space! Good restyling.

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

Thanks! I’m really happy to have such a awful space turn into something useful.

Katy

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Catta July 30, 2012 at 4:39 am

How nice it turned out! Lovely place to spend time in now:-)

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Anna July 30, 2012 at 4:59 am

Gorgeous! I love when you post pics of your home – it’s beautiful! Have a blessed day! 🙂

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Charla July 30, 2012 at 5:00 am

I really like your ideas about not buying new, repurposing, etc. However, I find your language inappropriate and offensive at times (i.e. crap). Please learn to use a better choice of words, especially if you are hoping to be nationally syndicated.

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 5:02 am

Oh honey, if you find the word “crap” offensive, then maybe The Non-Consumer Advocate is not the blog for you. 😉

Katy

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Reese July 30, 2012 at 5:52 am

I find the language to be very real. I have no clue how folks get through their everyday lives with nary a swear-word-laced thought. Maybe this means I’m inappropriate, too. 😉

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jen July 30, 2012 at 5:54 am

I find your language refreshing in a sea of ‘pure’ writing. Although I do read and enjoy many blogs written by women who are more, um, modest than myself, it’s nice to read one by someone who ‘talks’ like I do.

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Ellie July 30, 2012 at 6:09 am

You know, I’m starting to wonder if the objection to “crap” might be a regional or cultural thing.

Where I’m from (greater NYC area) “crap” was always considered a mild negative word, along the lines of calling something “junky”. It’s also a word for “feces” that falls in-between “feces” and the “s-word” for feces – but on the more-acceptable side of the line. In fact, as a kid, I specifically remember “crap” being widely allowed by parents and teachers as an acceptable alterantive to “real” cursing…we were allowed to express strong feelings by saying things like “Oh crap!” instead of anything more, uh, “adult”.

And yet, I’ve run across people who accuse me of having a “dirty” mouth and “cursing a lot” because I freely use “crap”. They react to “crap” like it’s a major curse word, or something, and get pissed that I used it IN FRONT OF their kids – whereas as kids we were allowed to freely use it ourselves!

Which is why I’m really starting to wonder if this is some sort of regional or cultural thing I don’t fully understand.

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nicoleandmaggie July 30, 2012 at 6:21 am

I got in trouble for saying the word “prick” in class. In the midwest it means “jerk” and has been used in newspapers. Apparently in the South they focus on the sexual connotations.

You could always go for the nerd-slang: cruft

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 7:27 am

Interesting take. I consider “crap” to be the slightly grittier cousin to “junk.” Although as a nurse, there is no scatological reference that bothers me. 😀

Katy

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Daisy July 30, 2012 at 6:23 am

I can’t say I have ever had any problems with the way you say or describe anything. Frankly it follows very much what my internal voice says. 🙂

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marie July 30, 2012 at 7:57 am

Me too. I grew up saying “Crap” instead of S::::. Though I once was corrected at my place of employment for using crap. Someone thought it was (way too offensive) to use in the workplace. Easy come easy go>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
p.s. I love the porch. Wish I still had my old home in Portland. The new houses have no personality. Though the plumbing Great! LOL

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Constance July 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

And here I was loving that you used the words “crap ass”…was going to see how many times I could use those in a sentence today 🙂 Boy, I love me some blog drama…keep it real sista

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Cate July 30, 2012 at 8:01 am

Hear that, Katy? Better give up your dreams of national syndication! 😉

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Erin July 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

Um, have you ever read or listened to any nationally syndicated columns? “Crap” ain’t nothing, honey. There are far “worse” words that are allowed by the FCC in many broadcast forms.

And, Katy, I love the way you write and how you sprinkle in colorful colloquialisms. You gotta love someone who not only knows what a tchotchke is but knows how to spell it too!

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Bauunny July 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I love your occasional lapse into language that I often think and sometimes use because it feels “real” and authentic. It makes me smile.

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Alyssa July 30, 2012 at 5:43 am

Fantastic makeover! Love it! I want to curl up and take a nap on the loveseat 🙂

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 7:08 am

Already have!

Katy

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Steph July 30, 2012 at 6:05 am

Haha, crap is so mild it is weird what some people find offensive. I find poverty and inequality offensive myself, but there you go. Katy, you continue to be my frugal hero, I love everything about this post. Stephx

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Jenn H August 9, 2012 at 3:38 am

That second sentence made me actually LOL. Thank you.

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Jen August 10, 2012 at 3:01 am

I agree, people focus way too much on unimportant things, like saying the word crap, than they do on real problems. I guess it’s easier to worry about insignificant issues! I am originally from Oregon, and I have never thought of the word crap as anything to fuss about. Maybe it is regional!

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AnnDenee July 30, 2012 at 6:10 am

Beautiful! I think that would be my morning space too!

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nicoleandmaggie July 30, 2012 at 6:19 am

That’s awesome!

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Lili@creativesavv July 30, 2012 at 6:20 am

First pic — oh my!
Second pic –Wow!

We’ve been slowly working on exterior areas of our home, choosing a new area each summer. This year it’s been the front of the garage (painted and replaced rotted wood on just the front), and driveway (pressure-washed, then repaired cracks, holes and sealed the whole thing this weekend). This fall we’ll move around to the side of the house and clean up that area and add a new gate. Just a little bit at a time. Soon the whole house will be repainted and spiffed up.

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Daisy July 30, 2012 at 6:26 am

I love your makeover! $40 is a great price!

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Holly July 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

LOVE it! Makes me wish I had a porch. (Although I do have a backyard now, so I guess one thing at a time right?)

And I personally think you should be able to say whatever crap you want on your own damn blog! Oh look at my Jersey potty mouth…

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Linda in Indiana July 30, 2012 at 6:47 am

Love the makeover. Wish I could do something like that with my screened in porch or my open front porch. Can’t as the wind here would just strew things everywhere. And when we were still getting rain, it blew so much that it would have had the same effect. Enjoy….it it is beauuuuutiful:)!
And in regard to your language…if it isn’t someone’s else’s cup of tea…well, then they don’t have to read. I think most of us speak or think like you do and can really relate because of it. You are approachable and The Real Deal!

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Kelli July 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

Love, love, love your blog and look forward to each new p0st!! You execute your writing with authenticity that isn’t found on some blogs–thanks for keeping it real and one I can relate to. Oh crap– my phone is ringing now so I have to sign off. 😉

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Cate July 30, 2012 at 7:50 am

Ooh, I LOVE your porch Katy! I’ve always wanted a front porch; the first house we put an offer on was perfect, right down to the front porch. Sadly we ended up in a porchless house. Maybe I should just come visit you?

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks. Most Portland houses have porches, so maybe I don’t know to appreciate it enough. And sure, c’mon over!

Katy

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Kristen | The Frugal Girl July 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

I’d love a porch too. How about a trip, Cate?? We can both go and enjoy Katy’s porch. 😉

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Yay! 😀

Katy

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Cate July 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I’m in!!

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Lindsey E July 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

Love this lil makeover! Our front porch/yard is on our to do list. I’m a lil jealous that your Goodwill has furniture! I’m sure the nearest one is 50 miles away for us. :-/

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Gena@BakeAllTheThings! July 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

That looks fantastic! What a great spot for a glass of lemonade and a good book!

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Donna Besst July 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

Well… oh “crap”, does that means that I can’t look forward to reading you with the big boys and girls because your actually real? I thought that’s what we were going for here… I love your realness… 😉 and your real readers love you. Your comment was just what I thought. There are many other blogs out there..go find one girl. Your porch is bee-u-ti-ful by the way.

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Angela July 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

Very nice! And I love that little shabby table – I’m a shabby gal 😉

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Daniel Troppy July 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

Loving that Goodwill love seat and how can you beat that price???

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CB July 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

Katy, it looks SO CUTE! Great job, I’m totally jealous of your mad thrifting skills.

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Elaine in Ark July 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

Any time you eliminate some chaos, it’s a good day!

Your porch looks charming, and comfortable.

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Julia July 30, 2012 at 11:40 am

Holy crap, Katy. You know you’ve hit the big-time when trolls come to roost. Love you, love your blog, and go ahead and say it, sister!

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Well then, I think I hit the big-time years ago!

Remember this old gem? 😉

http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/2008/08/capitalistic-brainwashing-a-response/

Katy

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Anne July 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Would just like to throw in two more cents on the swearing. I think it may be a bit of a generational thing. I have turned the air absolutely blue a few times in my day….but always within my own home. I would not curse in public as I would be afraid people would think I was “trashy.” However, I’m in my ’60s.

There are a couple of renovation /makeover reality shows that I watch and I’m always stunned at how many ‘bleeps’ I hear because they have bleeped out swear words. Really, on TV you can’t keep from saying the ‘F’ word? I honestly don’t understand it.

But I really do understand it’s a different world from when I was young.

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Erin July 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I giggled quietly to myself when I read the crossed out “crap-ass”. I seriously thought it was funny. I’m a mom of 4 small children, so I have to watch my mouth, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it 😉

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Erin July 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

The porch looks super cute by the way!

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Karen July 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Love the porch!

I think “crap” is mild, actually, and certainly doesn’t fit in the swearing or cussing category. The word stems from the inventor of the modern toilet, one Thomas Crapper. So, it is an earthy word for sure, but we do need our language to reflect reality.

I too prefer “crap” over “junk”; it simply imparts the truth more. Perhaps the bias against this work is regional. I just know that those who live on the west coast usually cannot get through the day without availing ourselves of it ; )

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AnnW July 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

If that’s the worst thing you’ve ever said, you’re in good shape. I find ignorant writing and using words improperly more offensive. I also don’t use the word “P” for going to the bathroom. We weren’t allowed to as children. My mother said that it was shorthand for P**s which was worse. I also find references to God directing people’s daily lives offensive. Charla should take a trip to My Favorite and My Best and report back. Katy, you’re going national all the way!!

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JoAnn July 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Nice!

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terri July 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

It looks really cozy!
You live really close to other houses. Is that difficult? I would not like that at all.

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Katy July 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Not a problem at all. I love these neighbors and I think the photo makes it look closer than it actually is.

Katy

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Margaret July 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I find it hilarious that there was a complaint about crap, but not ass! Isn’t ass considered “worse” than crap? And I loved your response, Katy. “Oh honey, if you find the word “crap” offensive, then maybe The Non-Consumer Advocate is not the blog for you. ”

Funny, real, and right on the money… she does not need to read your blog if she finds it offensive.

Oh, and I loved this post. Beautiful work. Like I’ve often read… when you want to go shopping, try cleaning instead. Still… I’m really glad I read the comments. Gave me a chuckle.

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Rachel Gillespie July 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm

It looks great! I’d use it for writing, too. My brain is now ticking over as to how I can create a similar space in a similar way …

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Ann July 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Love your blog. Don’t mind the language. Get a life, ladies! Used to be a bookkeeper for a Teamsters Union headquarters. Katy, you are mild!!!

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Jessica Wolk-Stanley July 31, 2012 at 6:31 am

Wow Katy,

That looks great! Nice job pulling it all together. I did kind of the same thing in my kitchen, only it is a pot lid organizer that I screwed onto an interior cupboard door. But it turned a junky cupboard into a restful haven of calm. Seriously though I want to come over and hang out and knit on your porch.

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Paula in the UP July 31, 2012 at 8:19 am

I love your porch makeover! I know you hear this all the time, but I do not find patio type furniture like that in either of the 2 thrift stores we have, Goodwill and St Vincent DePauls. And it’s in such good condition, for the price!! I do live in a much, much smaller area which could have a lot to do with it………..just sayin’!!

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Alisa July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm

What a wonderful makeover. I love it! Good job, Katy.

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Mrs. GV August 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Love the makeover. It looks so comfy. Here in the rural south, I would have to check under each cushion for a snake before I could sit down. Lol

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Katy August 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Ack! Here it’s slugs. 😉

Katy

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Mary Stubblefield August 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

lovely….I’m jealous that you’re porch looks so nice. in IA I don’t think the weather is acceptable long enough to even spend the $40 on it…

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Katy August 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

Portland may be wet and soggy 9 months out of the year, but our mild summers make it all worth it!

Katy

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Joyce September 28, 2012 at 4:55 am

I love the crap ass remark. haha

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