Ideal spot for entertaining and relaxing
Laurey W. Glenn

A Place to Relax

Behind every pretty room are a hundred decorating secrets -- smart moves, simple touches, and stylish flourishes. This Nashville porch is no exception. Once a tired eyesore, it is now an ideal spot for relaxing, entertaining, or swinging with the dogs and kids.

The simple brilliance of the space is that it connects directly to the kitchen and family room through French doors, so when homeowner Jennifer Frist hosts a dinner party, it's a lot easier to perform back-and-forth hostess duties.

Wicker chairs and over-sized lanterns
Laurey W. Glenn

Out With the Old

When the Frist family moved in this redbrick Georgian-style house in Nashville, the back porch had seen better days. Mom Jennifer's wish list included a space for dinner parties and plenty of seating. With the help of designer Mark Simmons, they screened the covered area, installed a bluestone floor, and outfitted it with a collected mix of furniture.

Comfortable, oversized chairs meant less seating, but didn't block the French doors that connect the porch to the house. "That's important when you have kids going in and out all day."

Red brick painted soft white
Laurey W. Glenn

A Color Change

Before furniture was chosen, a stop at the paint shop for a custom white color was in order. Mark and Jennifer spent hours looking at big squares of sample colors painted on the back of the house. "Our neighbors must have thought we were nuts staring at all these patches of white paint," says Jennifer. A shade was finally picked and all the bricks were painted.

The trim, railings, and columns, however, were painted a lighter, brighter white to create a little contrast between the house and trim. "This makes the architectural details stand out more," says Mark, "something you want on a beautiful Georgian house."

View into the backyard
Laurey W. Glenn

Capturing the View

To keep the landscape in view, Mark suggests copper or bronze screens. "They oxidize faster and have a way of diappearing into the background better, unlike the galvanized metal ones," he explains.

A collected mix of furniture
Laurey W. Glenn

Mix It Up

Always decorate your porch as if it's a room in the house. If the colors are different, the porch will stand out, but in a weird way. Jennifer and Mark chose pieces that flow with the rest of the furniture in the house, aiming for a collected-over-time look.

"Now this porch feels as cozy as a room in our house, only we get to be outside," says Jennifer. "It just has a really nice feeling." Just as home should be.

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