Front Porch Livin’

by Gladys Hanning


Summer always finds me knee-deep in nostalgia. I think of my Mom, her garden rich with zucchini, Italian green beans, and luscious tomatoes. I think of long hot summer days, carefree and simple times, on our front porch, eating popsicles and thinking of new ways to have fun which usually meant getting into trouble.


I’m sure most of you can think of many reasons why summer captures our hearts. Beautiful gardens, relaxation, lazy days, nourishment, and soulfulness, are just a few that come to mind for me.



Something about summertime always sets me at ease and puts a huge smile on my face. It is that same feeling I had as that kid on the last day of school. It gives me a feeling of freedom. Three glorious months to fill with whatever I feel like doing.


Summertime at our home is magical —  Our front porch is cool in the evenings and allows us a sensational view of the sunset. We watch the deer and elk feed on the grasses from neighboring fields. We search the night sky for shooting stars and constellations on our porch. Whether it’s hanging out with the grandkids, reading a good book, eating, or just lounging. We are out on the porch until well after the sun sets. The Farm style architecture provides us a wonderful covered porch, so if it’s raining, we can listen to the raindrops gently tap on the roof. We can enjoy the smell of alfalfa mixed with the heat of the day and the cool splash of rain that has settled the dust. A thunderstorm rolling through the prairie is always a bonus.



We jump at the chance to enjoy dinners in the backyard around the pool, with our children, grandchildren & our close friends. Maybe it’s the longer days that I love, or slowing of busy schedules, or perhaps it’s the childhood memories of spending summers barefoot, picking berries, and gathering vegetables from the garden, and collecting handfuls of flowers for the dinner table. Oh, it’s so easy to romanticize our childhoods. These and so many more memories of summer I hold so near and dear to my heart.


To gear up for summer entertaining  I did a little freshen-up for our front porch living. I hope it will inspire you to enjoy your outside porch or patio!


What better way to give something a fresh look than with the color green.  One of my all-time favorite colors is green – It’s my go-to color. Green looks fabulous from one end of the spectrum to the other. It speaks life, it’s fresh, it’s simple and it’s timeless. The color green is a neutral color, but it feels bold. From mint green to kelly green. Nearly every hue is breathtaking.


I take my color palette from the creator. Just look out onto any field in nature. The colors you will see are green, white, yellow, and shades of blue. The color green is a color that is inspired by nature. If you are nervous to integrate green in large capacities, start small with pillows. Start minimal and eventually committing to more. Pillows are easy to store away or rotate them around your home. Now if you are a lover of the green world and are looking to fill your space with a plethora of green inspired furniture and accessories, be sure to leave your walls bare and minimal. And if you desire deep green walls, materials like bronze, gold and copper compliment just about any green. Remember color is about emotion. When choosing a color whether it’s pillows for your living room, front porch, patio or choosing a paint color for your home trust your gut and your eye will go with the thing that feels right for you — it’s personal


I am sharing a few of my absolute favorite green paints that will surely make the perfect statement in your home.


All By Magnolia Home Paint @kilzbrand

Olive Grove
Celery Seed
Sunday Stroll
Aspen Leaf
Garden Party
Locally Grown
Magnolia Green


When designing a patio or porch for entertaining or just for your family to gather together and make memories focus on the four basics: seating, a table, an outdoor rug, and plants.


When I started shopping for the porch, I fell in love with these beautiful teal green pillows from the Opal House collection at Target, two frond pillows from World Market, they looked great with the black and white floral print on the settee and they had the perfect greens in them that worked well with the teal.


A simple tip for styling pillows on your sofa or settee. It’s always easy to just throw a few pillows on your sofa and call it good, but there can be an actual art to the task.


When I play around with pillow placement I always use odds and evens. So, if you are using three pillows of one kind, add two pillows of another pattern or texture. As I did on my porch, my settee had three black and white floral pattern pillows, I added three solid teal green pillows with a fun pattern and then added two pillows with a green frond print for more texture.  I like mixing textures and sizes, but sometimes enjoy the look of one texture throughout. My biggest tip? Please don’t karate chop each of your pillows! Let’s kill that trend!


Accessories complete the design. The accessories for any space are always an important detail for me. These are the finishing touches where you get to bring out your personality and make the space warm and inviting and yours. The art of accessorizing is a well thought out process. The room is not cluttered but decorated with interest, texture, balance, and function. It really is the icing on the cake. Vintage accessories for me are a must have! It’s what I love and it’s what speaks to my soul.


When pulling together this space, I added a vintage wicker woven laundry basket for an end table, old mystery books, a found wicker table for the coffee table and sprayed it black, I layered it with a fun oversized napkin, a couple candle holders and a plant or two. When I spotted these giant leaves, well, yeah I had to have just a couple! Simple and elegant, yet utterly eye-catching, they are a perfect addition to the terrarium. I love the idea of mixing wood tones, painted, metal, and it all works.


To quote James Gordon in the recent movie Peter Rabbit “ It keeps the area from feeling too matchy-matchy.”


A statement light fixture in an outdoor space is pure love! Nothing beats the warm feeling that twinkle string lights provide! I found LED string lights at Target, made by Threshold. They are weather resistant and have a cool vintage vibe with Edison bulbs.


Here are 5 outside entertaining tips and tricks that will create a successful experience!

1. Light candles for even more ambiance. If you use the bug repellent candles, you’re not only setting the mood, you’re also helping your guests to not get eaten alive.

2. Have extra blankets on hand if the evening decides to get a little chilly.

3. Music is a must. Bring a Bluetooth speaker outside and watch the stars, while grooving to your favorite band.

4. Keep the snacks coming. I love to entice my guests with lots of yummy treats and drinks. It can be as easy as setting out a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

5. Plants. Either potted or a well-planted garden bed makes the whole area feel friendly and calm.


Photography by Cary Burnett Photography


About the Author

Gladys Hanning is an interior designer & stylist in Spokane, Washington. Co-Owner of Junebug Furniture & Design and creator of The Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market that she and her daughter, Celia Hanning/Therens host annually in the fall at the charming 5-Mile Prairie Grange in Spokane, WA. Their business, Junebug Furniture & Design offers collections of vintage furniture and accessories which can be found at Boulevard Mercantile in Spokane, WA.  Gladys and her husband, Steven live in Mead, WA. in a farming community. Gladys always had a passion for interior design from a very young age. She is attracted to things that make life beautiful – family, love, design & adventure. When she’s not working, she enjoys cooking for her family, gardening & dreaming up her next home project.



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