When the owners of this 1926 Minneapolis home undertook a renovation, they included the outdoor spaces in their plans. The home now includes newly built front and back porches that designers Laura Engen of Laura Engen Interior Design and Rob Edman of Edman Hill Interior Design transformed into three outdoor living spaces that coordinate with the home’s interior and welcome neighbors, family and friends most of the year.
“Both porches were completely new so we had a blank slate to work with,” Laura says.
The goal for the 325-square-foot front porch was for it to be a gathering place where the family could chat with neighbors and also roast marshmallows. The designers delivered, giving the family a seating area with a brand-new fireplace and a separate conversation area with a porch swing.
“We love that everything looks like it could be used indoors as well.”
The blue palette, which is also followed inside the house, informed the fabric and décor choices for the front porch and was carried over into the back screened porch. The homeowner uses that 175-square-foot poolside space for entertaining family, enjoying a second brand-new fireplace and watching TV.
“All spaces were designed at the same time, so we had the opportunity to coordinate with the adjacent rooms to make them feel like they flowed together,” Laura says. “By using similar colors and textures, we came up with a cohesive look.”
“We had the opportunity to coordinate with the adjacent rooms o make them feel like they flowed together,” Laura says. “By using similar colors and textures, we came up with a cohesive look.”
Durability was a must in the selection of furnishings, fabrics and accessories for the three outdoor living spaces. “The homeowners requested high-end, heavy-duty outdoor furniture and fabrics that would hold up to the outdoors and their family,” Laura says. “We balanced the budget by using less-expensive pieces like the Crate and Barrel stump accent tables to complete the look.”
The durable wicker furnishings Laura and Rob selected feel like living room furniture, a plus for the designers and homeowner. “We love that everything looks like it could be used indoors as well,” Laura says. “It doesn’t scream ‘outdoor furniture.’”
For these designers, outdoor looks are sometimes brought inside, too, such as fabrics. “There are so many wonderful outdoor fabrics available, they’re made for soil-, stain-, mildew- and fade-resistance, usually acrylic or polyester,” Laura says. “Sometimes we use outdoor fabrics indoors because they’re so durable and good-looking.”
Getting the Swing of It
There are multiple considerations when adding a swing to your porch. If you’re planning to hang it, consult the experts to make sure it’s done properly and safely. Laura brought a carpenter in to hang this swing, ensuring the porch structure was properly reinforced for the installation. You may also want to consider purchasing a glider or framed swing to minimize the installation concerns.
Regardless of the type of swing you purchase for your porch, placement is key. “Consider what the view looks like when you sit in the swing,” Laura says. “Do you want to look at your neighbor’s house or the street? Do you have a landscape feature that you admire, or maybe you have a fireplace you want to cozy up next to? Determine what the purpose of the swing is, and then decide what placement makes the most sense.”
The original plan was to locate this swing fireside, but space didn’t permit it. The swing is now located in front of the French doors that lead to the sunroom, which gave new character to the front porch.