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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Designer Set: I Think Not

This past weekend I received oodles of compliments on our porch and patio. Most of those commenting clearly assumed that I had purchased a "designer set". Obviously, they don't know me all that well. But in reflecting on it, I realized how many places in my life that I do precisely what I did with the porch and patio. I build my own chic, elegant look for far, far less than any designer set would ever be. And it looks terrific.
Last summer I needed cushions for the wicker set on the front porch. At this point, I should clarify that our "wicker set" is not a set at all. The loveseat if mine from my college days (I'm not admitting to how many years ago that was!!). One chair came from a tag sale. The other chair came from a damage sale at an odd lot store. It had a big black smear on it and some chipped paint. The coffee table came from the end of summer super-duper clearance at KMart. We dragged them all together and my husband gave them all a coat of glossy white paint. Voila! -- a wicker set. I shopped hard for the cushions for them. I was absolutely opposed to the lurid florals that seemed to be everywhere. I wanted something very clean looking. I finally found cushions in a striped pattern that I bought in July. Although the stripes are of all different colors, at a glance oranges and greens dominate the pattern. I brought them home and put them on the wicker. Then I began collecting coordinating items as I saw them.
Nothing truly matches, they just all have the stripey look to them in the bold colors that are in the cushions. Everything looks clean and crisp and chic together on the porch and the adjoining patio.
---two striped cachepots from the dollar store. These are now home to two citronella plants and sit on the wicker coffee table.
---a striped melamine tray from the oddlot store
---a set of four orange and yellow striped placemats from HomeGoods on the patio table for dining.
---striped candles in a variety of colors from an oddlot store. If only these were citronella, they would be utterly perfect.
---a striped fabric "box" basket. This moves around alot. Sometimes its on the patio table holding flatware for a meal, sometimes its on the porch with napkins or pens and pencils in it. Its very versatile. This came from the dollar store, I think.
---two lime green throw pillows from Goodwill. These look super on the wicker loveseat and if they don't make it through the summer, I won't be too sad about it.
---bamboo placemats with orange and green striped edging. These are my alternate placemats for outside. They are understated, but still coordinated with the rest of the porch and patio.
--- my latest find is a large ceramic pitcher in the stripey pattern. This will be terrific for lemonade on hot summer afternoons.

I've added some citronella lanterns, an afghan for cool evenings, and my usual assortment of potted plants and the entire thing looks fantastic. I certainly didn't spend a fortune doing it, but apparently everyone seeing it thinks I did. I love it.