The weather is great! Time to move outside!

Beautiful-photo-of-spring-flowers-taken-by-wrenda-goodwyn

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • April 6, 2019

It’s spring and if you are like me, the past few weeks of perfect Southwest Florida weather have you getting outdoors as much as possible. It’s the time to create or enhance your outdoor living space.

Because I was born and raised in the south, I love porches. Today, it can be a porch, a lanai patio or balcony if you are up a level.

When I was growing up, the "porch" was where the family headed after dinner. I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day. And so did all of the neighbors.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I’ve had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs, front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends. But to me, they are all "porches." And I love them all.

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

For years, I have helping my clients makeover their outdoor space as an extension of the home's living space. No matter what the size or budget. I hope a few of my tips will inspire you to move outdoors!

Don’t crowd your space. Decide what is most important. Dining? Relaxing? TV area? And plan the space accordingly with the appropriate sized furnishings.

Protect from water and sun. Purchase cushions with performance fabrics such as Sunbrella.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

Lighting for atmosphere. If there is space, add an outdoor lamp, twinkly lights, a few lanterns.

Add a bar cart. Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments, cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing retreat.

Purchase a new set of dishes, place mats, glasses. Add some color with a few new table enhancements that will bring some fresh, new color to your space. Use them indoors as well. After all, we will soon be heading into summer so let’s make it easy!

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Something blue. Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too! According to the legend, years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called "haints."

It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Charleston and Key West. It’s believed to keep wasp and bird nests from forming because they confuse it with the sky. Two favorites: Benjamin Moore Bird’s Egg 2051-60 and Palladian Blue HC 144. I don’t know about the legend but I love the look.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Add some green. Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical. Hang a piece of artwork or sign on a wall. This makes it feel like part of your living space.

Tiny space? No problem! Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and let the outdoors inside.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Making porches part of your living space

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • July 4, 2015

We're in those lazy, hot, humid days of summer but if you are at home on this Fourth of July weekend, chances are that you will end up on a porch someplace either relaxing, celebrating with friends over a meal or watching fireworks.

prett-white-with-american-flag-and-pink-flowers-ready-for-fourth-of-july

Maybe it's because I was born and raised in the south. But I love porches. When I was growing up, the "porch" was where the family headed after dinner.  I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day. And so did all of the neighbors.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator,  I have had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs,  front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends.  But to me, they are all "porches."  A place to unwind, relax and think.

So, if in these hot, hot,  hot, days of July, you find your porch in need of a little makeover, I have some tips to give your space, no matter what the size, a little refreshing.  For years, I have helping my clients makeover their porches as an extension of the home's living space. No matter what the size or budget.

My favorite

Add a porch swing. What could be better than dozing in a porch swing at the end of the day? Find them at flea markets if you are looking for vintage, hardware stores or check out the Ballard Designs Sunday Porch Swing shown on this page. A porch swing just cries out, "Stop what you are doing and come and relax for a while." And if you find a vintage swing that just will not hold up to much weight, hang it any way and fill it with plants.

Dozing in a porch swing on a lazy afternoon. From Ballard Designs, this Sunday Porch Swing is hand crafted of 100% FSC eucalyptus to be naturally moisture and insect resistant, and finished in a warm whitewash. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Dozing in a porch swing on a lazy afternoon. From Ballard Designs, this Sunday Porch Swing is hand crafted of 100% FSC eucalyptus to be naturally moisture and insect resistant, and finished in a warm whitewash. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug

Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

Lighting

If there is space, add an outdoor lamp.

Add a bar cart

Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments,  cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing afternoon.

Perfect for a porch: Pottery Barn's all-weather wicker bar console. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Perfect for a porch: Pottery Barn's all-weather wicker bar console. Photo: Pottery Barn.

 

Hang twinkle Lights

Arrange some strands of patio twinkle lights to transform your porch or patio into something special when evening comes. They make everything (and everyone) look pretty. And are very inexpensive.

Something blue

Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too. According to the legend! Years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called "haints." It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. And I can say that my own blue porch ceiling has kept the wasps away!

Paint the porch ceiling a shade of blue. It's pretty and legend says that it keeps wasps away! Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn

Paint the porch ceiling a shade of blue. It's pretty and legend says that it keeps wasps away! Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn

Invest in plants

Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each

Go vertical

Hang a piece of artwork, plants  or a mirror on one wall.

Tiny space? No problem!

Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and in the winter months in Southwest Florida,  let the outdoors inside. And if you are on a budget, or even if your aren't, you can get creative with furniture by turning crates on the side and using them for benches of plant holders.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog. And to see a selection of her favorite color palettes, go to www.pinterest.com/wrendagoodwyn

Island hopping: Kravet's Soleil Lifestyles fabric

Photo of colorful Kravet fabricPhotos: KravetLonging to escape to a tropical paradise this spring?

One of my current, fun decorating projects is a total lanai redo for a client who wanted major pops of color on her gorgeous new furniture. So, as I began planning, I discovered Kravet Soliel Lifestyles with collections from Echo Design and Windsor Smith Outdoor.

Photo of colorful Kravet fabricWindsor Smith Home fabrics left to right: Kanekopa in Akuatic - 31725-13, Kura Kura in Orkid - Kura Kura-17, Halua in Hibiscus - 31718-317, Kura Kura in Haze - Kura Kura-6, Mandella in Orkid - Mandella-17, Halua in Parakeet - 31718-540, Kura Kura in Veridian - Kura Kura-3, Mandella in Haze - Mandella-6, Kura Kura in Akuatik - Kura Kura-13

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Decorating for the soul: The comfort of a friend's porch

In a time when we are all searching for comfort in some form, I think of porches. For me, porches help to make sense of a world that has gone off the charts.

A friend's porch.

I think about one of my closest friends who decided it was time to make an addition to her home. She wanted to add an L-shaped porch that wrapped around the entire back of the house.  A place that would extend the living area and add another dimension to this already charming, vintage home in Winter Park.  

I was happy to be asked to help because there is nothing more fun than coming up with a decorating plan for a friend whose taste you know. Hers: a combination of eclectic, cottage chic with very cool accessories collected from her travels and living abroad. It is much more than just a porch.

Today, it is a place where friends gather. Family celebrations take place. Important decisions are made. Friends have shared happy times on this porch. Solved world problems and a few of our own. Planned road trips. Shared dreams and concerns. It is always a place of comfort.

Big wicker chairs, candles, tables filled with beautiful orchids, comfy pillows, breezy fans. It is a place where you can get off the treadmill and enjoy the peace and quiet. Simple and uncomplicated.

It is one of my favorite places. My home away from home. They say the distance to a friend's house is very short. The same goes for the back porch.  

So, on a day where we still cannot make sense of it and the horror of 9/11 still lingers heavily, I think of the comfort of a friend's porch. 

Spectacular Spaces offers tips in area magazines for outdoor living in southwest Florida

Photo of outdoor patioThe great spring weather has everyone in southwest Florida heading outdoors!  Spectacular Spaces was happy to be included in Beth Luberecki's article in the March/April issues of Times of the Islands and Bonita Living magazines.  Check out the tips below for making the most of your outdoor space.

 
 

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Follow this advice, and you’ll be looking for any excuse to head to your porch or patio

by Beth Luberecki

Chances are, you might be flipping through this very magazine while sitting on your lanai or balcony. Take a look around. Is your outdoor space the alfresco oasis it should be, or could it use some work?

Living in Southwest Florida, we’re lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of our time outdoors. But who wants to spend that time in a ho-hum, unfinished space?

“For most people, an outdoor area gives you a break from your home, a place you can go to at the end of the day to get some fresh air,” says interior decorator Wrenda Goodwyn, owner of Estero-based Spectacular Spaces. “I think everybody is looking for that place to go, for that restful retreat.”

So what are the secrets to creating a space that’s both fun and functional, whether it’s a tiny condo balcony, spacious screened-in porch, or expansive pool deck and lanai? Start out by determining how you’d like to spend time there.

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