Bither Bungalow: Sun Porch Redo

If you wait until you have enough money to decorate and make your home your own, 
it will never happen.
If you wait until you can afford to buy everything new,
you are missing the point.
It is the old, the new, the made, the hand-me-down,
the collected, the worn -but loved- things in your home that make it your own.
//Stacy Risenmay

I am very excited to start the first of many renovation/redo posts for the 'Bither Bunglaow'. As you may know, Nick bought his Grandmothers house last November and we have been slowly but surely redoing each and every room both inside and out. Neither of us have very much free time as we both have two jobs, but every day we have been able we work hard and long to get things done. It is definitely a process, but it is slowly coming along and starting to really take shape. The house has great bones as his Grandfather was a carpenter and built everything extra strong and took meticulous care of everything in the home. Because of this, we are lucky in that most of the renovations are purely cosmetic.

The quote I posted above really resonates with me and is something I strongly believe in. Don't get me wrong, it would be nice to order the entire Pottery barn catalog and have it delivered and installed without lifting a finger but unless we hit Powerball next Wednesday *fingers crossed*, that just isn't in the cards. I also think that sometimes those "catalog homes" just seem so sterile and boring and as if you can't even touch or use the furniture in fear of "messing it up". I absolutely LOVE homes filled with character and decor that tells a story and actually MEANS something to you in one way or another. We have tried to incorporate as many things as possible that have special meaning to us or have been passed down or given to us from family or friends. Making a house a home can be really fun, and it doesn't have to happen all at once. We have taken bits and pieces and memories from here and there and have started to put each room together piece by piece. I know that most of it is just 'things' and material possessions that we can't take with us, but the memories attached to them make us love and cherish them even more.

One of the first rooms to be "finished" is the front sun porch on the second floor. Nick's Mom told us that this porch was her parents' (Nick's Grandma and Grandpa) favorite place in the house and that they spent more time out there than any other room. That right there in itself is so nice to know, and makes us want to take the upmost care of it and treasure our time there because it is so special to his family. Nick made my wishes come true as he always does and granted me carte blanche to redo and decorate it however I wanted! It was going to be my little project and I couldn't wait to get started. My dream has always been to have a house on the water with a big front porch with the ceiling painted the traditional Cape Cod sea-foam blue. While the ocean front property is still a ways away, he said I could paint the sun porch ceiling blue! I started brainstorming for the color scheme and the over feel I wanted for the room. I decided on a bright and airy coastal-cool theme but didn't want to make it too nautical as we already have a nautical theme going on in some of the other rooms yet I still wanted it to tie in with the rest of the house.

Without further ado, here is the Bither Bungalow Sun Porch Redo!


Nick's Mom sent me these awesome old photos of the sun porch from when Nick was a little boy. They are so cute and you can really tell they spent a lot of time out there! Here is Nick and his sister Kat sitting together on the old furniture.

I love these next two! Nick with his Grandma who he absolutely adores and loves. She is so sweet and I am so glad to have gotten to know her over the past few years.
Nick and Kat with their Grandma and Granapa. I am sure this is a photo they now cherish as sadly their Grandfather passed away last year. I think we need to get another frame and hang this one in the room as well.
Here is Auntie Susan with their cousin Jackelyn sitting and reading on the porch, something I am sure we will be using it for going forward, it is the perfect reading spot. Thanks so much to Nick's Mom for these photos!
Nick sent me the measurements of the room so I could get working on the layout and picking out some decor while making sure everything would fit in the small space (about 60sqft). 
Here is my initial thoughts on how to lay it out. The final space ended up being pretty close to what I had originally planned! Considering that I work in construction my "blueprinting" skills are clearly lacking...
Here are some newer "before" photos of the porch a few weeks ago before we started doing any of the renovation. The walls and ceiling were a dull white and a portion of one wall was painted beige. There was a yellow rug on the floor and a few miscellaneous decor items leftover that we moved out. Everything was coated in a layer of dirt and dust since it hadn't been used in quite a few years, so it was due for a really good cleaning and scrub down! We had to dust, clean, wipe, windex, and vacuum every square inch in order to get it ready to redo.

Nick's Mom and Stepdad Art surprised Nick with a new dark colored ceiling fan! It was a great gift that we really needed and one less thing that we had to purchase for the new room which was a BIG help. Just starting out, the budget is pretty tight so we were trying to make it as nice as possible while being as budget-concious and thrifty/DIY as possible. Sometimes it takes some extra searching and work, but it is worth it in the long run to not break the bank.
The "before" looking to the left and then looking to to right.
From on the porch looking toward the house this is the larger wall space to the left where I had planned to hang a small gallery wall. To the right is the carpet that was in the room which had some serious fading due to the constant sunlight the room gets during the day. It definitely need to be replaced.
We ripped up the carpet and lo and behold, hardwood floors! Yippee! We felt like real life HGTVers getting extremely excited over hidden hardwoods. The back porch is linoleum tile so we assumed the front would maybe be the same but had no idea what was underneath and were very surprised. We had initially planned to maybe put down some pergo that Nick had gotten from a friend at the gym, but we decided to stick with the real deal and just paint them! They were a dark grey but one strip had been replaced as well as some paint stains around the edges, so we decided to paint it all white.

I love that the entire space is windows! It is so bright and lets in so much natural light, and at night you can open them all up to the screens and feel the cool cross breezes blow through.

I decided to work from the top down so after a trip to Home depot I picked up the perfect paint color for the Cape Cod ceiling and a gallon of pure white for the rest of the room. I wanted it as light and bright as possible! The ceiling was a LOT of work because it is not a flat ceiling, it has wainscoting which is GREAT visually and to go along with the Cape Code porch motif but a pain in the neck (literally) to paint! It took me about four hours to do the 5x10 room ceiling. It came out great and I love that it looks a different shade at all different times of day and in different light. The paint is Behr color Mirador M420-3 in eggshell finish.

Love the wainscotting! It's just that small extra attention to detail that makes the porch look all the better. Nicks grandfather definitely knew what he was doing and all of the woodwork is great.
Next step was for Nick to install the ceiling fan! He got it up pretty quickly without really knowing "how" to hang a fan and make it work, but he did it and I was really proud! It looks beautiful and we LOVE the dark wood color against the seafoam ceiling, it is one of our favorite features of the room.
Next up was to repaint ALL of the rest of the woodwork, window sills, railings and walls a fresh coat of white. This also took quite longer than expected because most if it had to be painted by hand and not with a roller. But it was well worth it as the fresh white just made it look so clean and new. Here you can see Nick going over what I did with a second coat as I am definitely not the most skilled painter in the world...."just slap it on" is the name of my game and that really doesn't fly with my perfectionist man. I actually am a perfectionist, just in different ways, so we balance each other out. He re-paints where I painted and I re-dust where he dusted.... it works!
We used Behr Eggshell paint in pure white from Home Depot. Paint is one thing you really can't/shouldn't be too cheap on. It's worth it to spend a few extra bucks to go for quality over having to redo it every few years or have it not cover well or need multiple coats.
After all of the walls, wainscoting, and window sills were painted, it was time for the floor! I gave it a thorough vacuum and sweep to get up most of the dirt and dust, and then we each started at one side and met in the middle. We had to paint ourselves out of the room!
Nick finished the last little bit of the first coat and then we had to let it dry well. It was definitely going to need a second coat to cover the grey but we wanted it to dry overnight first.

White all around!
I woke up the next morning to leave for work and snapped this picture, I loved how the colors looked in the bright morning light.
The first coat was dry, and Nick was going to add the second coat to the floor later that evening while I was back in CT for the week.
He sent me this photo once he was done, it looked perfect with a second coat and the painting was finally finished! It definitely has character and that Cape Code weathered porch feel, my dreams were starting to come to life. And now came the fun part- furnishing and decor!
Nick re-hung the old blinds that were in the sun porch from before. We liked the beachy style and the color matched the overall theme so we decided to stick with them! Also, the window lengths are odd and they are likely custom sizes, so it would have been hard to find new ones that would fit or we would have had to maybe go with curtains which I wasn't too amped on so I am glad we stuck with the old! I liked keeping a bit of it's old charm and character. Also, notice those hooks on the ceiling that we decided to keep as I had some ideas for how to use them in the new space. I made sure to paint them with the ceiling paint as well so that they didn't stand out too much.
Next up it was time to find the larger furnishings for the room... the couch, the rug and the coffee table. I wanted to get these three bigger items done first, and then work on bringing in some smaller décor and accent pieces later on. Keeping to our thrifty budget we turned to one of our favorite places, Craigslist. We have gotten some GREAT stuff over the last year so I was really hopeful and optimistic that we would be able to find something. The room is small, so I was looking for preferably a white loveseat or small settee in a more casual style. There was nothing in either of our immediate areas, but the below loveseat came up in Cambridge MA and it was the perfect style and size. Just needed a little ironing and fluffing up! Although it was a far drive, I had to be in the greater Boston area to photograph a wedding anyways, so I took my Moms SUV and made a pit stop early in the morning before the wedding. I don't recommend picking things up on your own, especially as a female, but desperate times called for desperate measures and I was willing to take a chance that "Kyle" was not a serial killer. Turns about she was a female weighing about 100lbs and all was fine! I got the couch for $80 and it still is available online at Ikea for a retail price of $380. She also gave me an extra set of the white slipcover which costs an additional $40 at Ikea. So I got a $420 piece that had barely been used in excellent condition for $80... not bad!
The measurements were the exact width of the room, so we were hoping and praying that it would just fit!
All loaded up! Also... getting a sofa down a three story walk up with a spiral staircase is NOT easy. I was sweating!
Now that the couch was taken care of, I decided to focus on a rug. Rugs are hard because they are SO expensive and they are hard to come by on sites like Craigslist. It's not an item that is often sold second hand and if it is it's usually gross, worn, or completely out of style. Instead of going to a million rugs stores, I decided to try my luck online even though its hard to visualize the true color from online. I knew I either wanted to go for a natural color rug or a seafoam color to play up the ceiling and I was able to narrow it down to these two choices. I wanted something about 5x8 in size and either a braided or jute material that would be good for a porch and more durable. I was so torn between the two but after taking a vote with our families and thinking about how I really wanted the room to look, the natural rug on the right won hands down! I really wanted the ceiling color to stand out on it's own and be the main focal point, so I decided to ditch the blue rug and go with the more natural color. It was about $100 on Amazon Prime with the free two day shipping which is always great.
Next up was the coffee table. I knew I wanted something fairly small, and either a white or natural wood color or combination. I browsed sites like Target and Ikea and found a few options that I thought would work, but still wasn't fully decided on what to get.
Nick and I went to dinner at my house in CT when I remembered that I had my old side tables from my bedroom that my Mom had said I could have. Upon further look, we figured one of them would make a perfect coffee table for the porch. It was just the right size, style, and shape and we figured we could paint it white and give it a mini makeover. It was also FREE!
Nick touched up some of the other areas and we both took turns putting coats of white on the coffee table using the same paint from the walls and floor. I was loving all of the white and how the room was going to be SO bright and airy!


The rug arrived from amazon prime two days later and we now had the three main furniture pieces in the room! It was started to look like a room again and it was finally time for my favorite part of the redo process- the decorating!


For the décor I wanted to keep it fairly minimal and coastal feeling, but wanted to bring in some pops of color and warmth. I decided to use the seafoam ceiling color as one of the main accents, with a salmon/coral color as a secondary accent and some gold and white tones mixed in as well. I made a trip to one of my favorite places, Homegoods, and I got extremely lucky that these colors just happened to be in stock! I found some really great items that all tied in together really well, and I spent about $120 on some pillows, a throw blanket, frames, candles, art and accents. I could see it all together in my head and was really excited to put it all into the room.
Another idea I had to utilize some of the wall space on the larger wall was to create a small gallery wall of photos and accents that have meaning to Nick and I. Creating a meaningful home is important to both of us, so I started to gather and put together items that were special to us. My Mom and Step Dad had recently got us this rustic Fleur-de-lis to remind us of our trip to New Orleans that we had loved so much. It hangs on the wall and the small bulbs even light up, so I knew this would be a perfect piece for part of the gallery.
I collected a few frames and things from my house in CT that I thought might work. I ended up using the two prints on the top left! It took quite a bit of mixing and matching to get it right but I am so happy with how it all turned out as you will see below.
I wanted to incorporate some photos from our Hawaii trip so I got several different 4x6 frames in our color combo and printed some matte photos at Wal-Mart. The only frame color I absolutely could not find was a salmon/coral frame... so I decided to make one! I got a wooden frame for $1 at Wal-Mart and then just spray painted it with coral spray paint from Home Depot and it came out great. Sometimes when you can't find exactly what you need you just have to improvise and DIY it!
Since the room is a sun porch that would be getting tons of natural light, I also wanted to incorporate some live plants. I do NOT have a green thumb, so I am sure these plants will have an untimely death at some point, but I am determined to at least try to keep them alive. Call me old fashioned but I absolutely HAD to have some of those 60's style Macramé plant hangers. We had multiple hooks already in the ceiling so I really wanted to have some hanging plants and I felt that those would give it that natural and coastal feel. Turns out I got really lucky again and my area Home Depot carried some in just the perfect colors! I got two Dracaena plants and one Jade plant. The Jade came in a terra cotta pot that I loved but I knew I had to find two planters to repot the Dracaenas. Check out the Macramé hangers... they had a natural color, a green, and an orange... perfect!
Turns out I found two perfect white planters at Wal-Mart and took the plants outside to repot them. They were the last two at the store and were the perfect style and color, I loved them!
They looked SO good in the new white pots! That is until, catastrophe struck and one of them slipped from my hands while I was bringing them back inside. I was so mad! Especially because they were the last two at that store! I had to go to three other Wal-Marts with no luck of finding another! I finally went back to the original store I had gone to and they had ONE left, but in black. I bought it and figured I would just have to spray paint it white. It was such a headache from a dumb mistake, but it ended up working out fine in the end and you can't even tell that one of them is spray painted.
We also needed a small side table that would be used as a TV stand. We are lucky in that there is cable already run out to the porch! Nick took his small bedroom TV that we don't use and decided that we would put it out on the porch. It would be the perfect spot to cozy up and watch TV at night or on weekend mornings. We turned to our best friend Craigslist once again and I found a couple small tables that looked like they would be perfect! I went with the one on the right as it had straighter and cleaner lines, but they were almost exactly the same. It has a small crack in the top so I was able to get it for only $10.
Another CL success story! I showed up to pick this one up with my brother and his friend Kevin who is about 6'4". The guy answered the door with a surprised look and said, "The tables not that big...." it was too funny.
The last décor project was to put together all of the pieces for the gallery wall into a shape that would fit the space and be appealing to the eyes. It turned out to be a mixture of framed photos, prints, and accents pieces that all have special meaning to us. I went through a few different layouts and ended on this! I think it was a good balance and looked great!
The frame in the top right was a 5x7 so I had to get a photo for that one as I had only printed 4x6's. We had a photo of Nick and I from a wedding we went to in Austin Texas that we love, so we decided to use that as you will see later!
Each piece of the gallery has a story behind it and/or significance and meaning to us. The piece in the left photo below is an antique thermometer, clock and barometer that was given to me by my Godparents from their old beach house in Waterford that I have spent many many wonderful days of my life at and is my favorite place on Earth. Nick got to be a part of it in the beginning of our relationship but recently the old house was knocked down to be rebuilt. The house was over 100 years old and I am so grateful to have this piece that came from it. The best and CRAZIEST thing about it, is that the brand/maker of the piece is "Springfield"!! How wild and coincidental is that!!?? I really feel that it was just truly meant to be. The center piece in the right photo is a Nautical Star that Nick and I bought together a little while back. We both love all things nautical, and it also represents a travelers way home when they are lost, as well as the stars on our American flag and the pattern of a compass rose. All of these things combined make it a really special piece for us that we love! Below and above the star are three photos from our trip to Oahu and Kauai.
In the photo on the left below, the top picture is an 11x14 watercolor print of my favorite beach in the world that Nick and I go to every summer, Pleasure Beach. I bought it many years ago from the yearly firehouse fair across from the house my Dad grew up in where my Grandfather lived until he passed when I was in high school. My Grandfather once even saved the old Buffalo Fire Truck from being destroyed when the Firehouse it self was burning down! I just needed to still get a frame for it! The bottom is a print that my Mom had given me for my birthday a few years ago with one of my favorite quotes that reads "The cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears or the sea"... so true! In the photo on the right, the D represents Nicks last name. The sunset photo in the middle is the first sunset we saw in Hawaii, and on the bottom is the Fleur-de-lis that we got from my Mom and Step-dad to represent our trip to New Orleans. Each of these items brings back great memories for us and I was really excited to get it hung up on the wall. Nick is the best helper for hanging things and we got it done together in record time. I would measure, and then he would nail and hang. It was good practice for when we redo the entire stairwell in black and white photos this fall...!!


After putting it all together, we are so happy with the way it turned out and it was such a fun project. I brought my Nikon over to take some good shots of the finished product! Check it out!!

Can't wait to light up these yummy candles! They both have wooden wicks that crackle as they burn.

We scored this GORGEOUS white hydrangea arrangement from Chris and Christina's wedding! I wish it would last forever!

I brought in a couple accent pieces from my bedroom in CT that I no longer use.

We love the rug! It fit the room perfectly.

This lamp also comes from my godparents old beach house, filled with jingle shells from Pleasure Beach!

The hooks on the ceiling worked out perfectly for the hanging plants! Speaking of which, I need to water!

We LOVE the dark ceiling fan on the colored ceiling.

Another new vase from Homegoods, I just need some more flowers!
A tiny pop of nautical with this cute fishy accent pillow.
We got this glass hurricane ball after seeing and loving the ones my Grandparents have on their deck up in Moosehead Maine.
Here is the gallery wall, completed and installed! We love how it turned out.

The TV stand has been put to good use and after a quick visit from Comcast, the cable is up and running.
I stacked a few of our favorite coffee table books on the TV stand as well. The top book I gave to Nick at the beginning of our relationship and listed him as #14,001! The bottom Shel Silverstein poem book Nick gave to me the first month we met.... it has my favorite poem in it and he even put an elephant (our favorite lucky animal) bookmark on the exact page! The middle book is some travel inspiration for all the places we want to go!
I got this gallery wrap at Homegoods that ties in with our coastal/nautical theme and is the perfect colors for the room.
The view to the East and the view to the West! Yay, it's done!!!!
Some up close shots of the gallery wall installed. You can kind of see where it says "Springfield" on it!
Sunset beach and the Napali Coast where we took a helicopter ride and hiked 8 miles.
Things from my Mommy.

Here is the photo of us from the wedding in Texas I was talking about.
Always there to guide us home!
And a few final photos at night. I love how the colors all change from day to night in different lighting.

We absolutely love how it all turned out and it's the best place to sit in the evenings and when you first wake up with coffee. Its so warm and cozy and you can just sit, relax, and read or watch TV. We are a little sad that we will only be able to use it from April-Octoberish as it's not heated, but maybe I will get a space heater if I really miss it in the winter months :-). Can't wait to show you more of the Bither Bungalow reno's and redo's, so please stayed tuned and thanks for reading!

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