Does this sound familiar? The tree is down, the ornaments are packed up, the greenery has been recycled, the lights are no longer twinkling, the decorations are back in storage and the house is looking a little bare? When the layers of décor are stripped away and the bones are revealed once again, there either comes relief or the need to recreate.
In my case, although there’s plenty to do inside to bring the space back to life, this is the time of year when I crave an outdoor space and start dreaming about entertaining on the porch or in the garden. Living in a high rise, our porch space is a little limited but I love to live vicariously and dream about what if's … or of course the garden in France, which is a never ending project. With our latest container from France that just arrived and is filled to the brim with gorgeous pieces that will work equally well inside and out, there's been fuel added to my fire - and an eagerness to get going.
I’m crazy about these pots that we bought in France but are originally from Greece. These are great statement pieces that can stand beautifully alone or in a grouping of three.
We love the look like in this house (photo from Pinterest by Paulina Arcklin Photography).
And speaking of pots, these Willy Guhl planters, originally from Lausanne, Switzerland, are becoming harder and harder to find, especially in the shape of the “Tulipe” which is so gorgeous and sculptural.
We also landed some great pots this year from France that remind me of the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris. And we can never get enough of the antique Biot jarres, like the one below, whose iconic egg shape, patina and small top lip attest to its 18th C. provenance, from the South of France.
These "jarres" are beautiful, and can be used inside or out, as seen in this spectacular interior by Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors.
One of the most spectacular pieces on our container this month is a gorgeous 17th C. wrought iron base of table with a stone top, from the South of France. Perfect for any outdoor space, even one that is uncovered, we may insist that a piece this beautiful be used where it can be seen the most.
Of course, we at Huff Harrington believe that you don't just have to use "porch furniture" on porches, as long as what you choose can withstand some moisture. Do you remember the beautiful Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Spring Showhouse this year, in which we were lucky enough to have the front veranda? We decided to bring the indoors out, and it turned into a gorgeous extension of the indoors.
The key was using performance fabric on the twin sofas and wooden pieces that could withstand the moisture and temperature fluctuations, like the worktable above left.
This container has a few pieces tables that would be perfect for porches:
Courtney Giles, a marvelously talented Atlanta based designer, used a similar table in a stunning Cashiers home that she decorated, featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.
Courtney married the table with wicker chairs, which we also have coming on the container, in a French Regency style of faux bamboo and caning:
But we might also think about marrying an antique table with vintage 1960's swivel chairs, a la Knoll, which we also love:
As you know, at Huff Harrington we are all about le mixe! Do you remember the Cashiers Show House in 2017 that was in three pretty houses? We did the porch in one of those and had fun with the mix of modern and rustic:
Speaking of, we've got some beautiful wine tasting tables on this container, which would marry as well with the contemporary chairs:
Or, for a stone and iron look, we have a remarkable one-of-a-kind from Paris that has gorgeous rustic legs and a pretty marble top:
One of the favorite porches we ever did was for a Showhouse in 2016 that featured, among other things, a workbench used as a sideboard and topped with a painting by Melissa Payne Baker.
That vintage French workbench sold quickly but I'm happy to say that we have another one that just arrived, shown here in the market in which we found it, which due to its size, shape, condition and patina, is one of the best we've ever found.
What about the walls? They're an important part of adding warmth and a personal touch even to outdoor spaces. As you've seen, it's perfectly OK to put original art as long as the space is covered and somewhat protected from rain. In the space below, we used several oil paintings, including one vintage 1940's painting that had already weathered its own elements!
Oil on canvas is surprisingly robust, but you can also add other decorative pieces, such as barometers, light fixtures and mirrors (although you need to watch out for the reflection of direct sun). One of our favorite mirrors on the container is this one, that was originally glass and iron, and used in a greenhouse:
We're also smitten with these gorgeous, signed and hand-made plaster mirrors from an artist friend in Paris:
We have seven that arrived on the container, all in different shapes and sizes. If you use one of them on a porch, you'll need to wipe it down from time to time, to keep it clean and white. (And by the way, if you love these, know that they sell out fast, although we can probably get you another within a couple of months.)
And speaking of mirrors, there's no reason you couldn't add a gorgeous Louis XVI on your porch, as long as it's secured. We love the idea of marrying this gorgeous formal mirror over a rustic commode, such as this painted Louis XVI here:
Finally, we love barometers and have several that have just arrived in various shapes, sizes and conditions. Here is a rustic one that I particularly love:
And a more formal one, that is in mint condition:
There's nothing to be afraid of in using wooden furniture on a porch, although we would keep away from anything that is varnished or inlaid. Remember Meg's pretty porch in The Nest? She dressed it as though it was an indoor space and they spent as much time out there as anywhere in the house!
So whether it's indoor or outdoor, if you're feeling the need to feather your own nest, you're not alone. With the holidays behind us there is usually a sense of relief accompanied by a little emptiness that, I'm happy to say, we are ready to fill!