I was giving a friend a tour of the house recently and she commented, “you sure do have a lot of spaces just to sit and relax”. I had never thought of it that way and while it does appear to be indulgent, why not?! A living room, den, upstairs “parlor” and a great screened porch – just for me, my husband and 3 cats. And we use every inch of it. We each have our favorite spots, and mine – right now, is the screened porch. The first day of fall is tomorrow, I can feel it in the air and I know this will be my new happy place!
In all fairness, if you live with pets, you know that they like to claim specific rooms, special spots. And for such relatively small creatures, when they claim it, it is theirs and theirs alone. The problem is that we all want the same space – the favorite chair, the cozy space on the couch. But somehow they always win, in our house at least. But on the porch, the cats like to hang out under the furniture or by the screen (pretending, I am sure, that they live in the wild) so there is space for the whole family.
So what makes this porch so special? That’s easy. I can hear the water from the garden fountain, I can see the buds on the camellias beginning to form, the brick patio made of historic Charleston brick is a reminder of how lucky we are to be here, and one of my favorite pieces of furniture, a refurbished kitchen cabinet, original to the 1915 house, sits prominently on the porch.
I knew I wanted to save this small, glass cabinet, but I was not at all sure where to use it. (Clearly, this is my sentimental gene kicking in again). I kept envisioning it in the water closet, but I was not even sure it would fit. My husband kept saying, let’s just wait and see. And then we met Bryce Davies. He had recently moved to Charleston for the second time and was working with our contractor. He is a very talented woodworker and was doing alot of the carpentry and detail work in the final phases of the renovation. He masterfully repurposed the cedar from an old bedroom closet for the kitchen peninsula. When we asked him his thoughts about how to repurpose the kitchen cabinet, he immediately said he could build a table, put a cedar top and cedar legs on it and we would have function and a fun piece of history on the porch. We loved the idea! He painted it the same color as the door (Sherwin Williams Hazel), put some historic looking glass knobs on it and turned a very rough looking kitchen cabinet into a very special piece of furniture that we love.
I could not be happier, in my new happy place.
Porch photography by Gillian Ellis.