Weekend Porch Refresh

By Kate Riley May 20, 2019

*in partnership with Lowe’s

Over the weekend I finished up a porch refresh for a great friend of mine. Naomi and I met five years ago in a fitness class, she is a single mom who works full time to support her family. She has two kids in elementary school and no spare time to spruce up any space in her house so I wanted to surprise her with a porch refresh over the weekend while she was at work. Her son plays basketball in the street in the evening with his friends so I thought this would be a great spot where she could relax and watch him play.

Her porch has been bare for the last year and the deck was in need of a protective coat. I played off the red door for the color palette, choosing swivel chairs with complementary cushions and pairing them with tropical foliage and accent pillows. The porch looks quite different with the new accents from Lowe’s!




Before we could add the furnishings and plants I solicited her help in first giving the deck a protective coat. Lowe’s has several products available for treating wood, I suggested we choose one without stain with just a clear finish to enhance the natural color of the wood. We chose Valspar’s One Coat Clear Stain to protect against rain and elements. We washed and swept the deck then applied the clear coat, it only took us an hour working together to apply the clear stain. I started with an angled brush but then switched to a wider flat brush (highly recommended!), the Blue Hawk brush made the application much quicker and easier.



We’ve had a rare flurry of rainstorms this week and another swept in yesterday, but no worries, look at the results after one application of the clear coat, the water beads right up, impressive!


The clear coat dries in 4 hours but we gave it a full day to cure. Yesterday I stopped by her house to add the chairs and planters and I’m so pleased with how it all came together!



These swivel chairs are a great bargain, only $208 for the set of two. They look charming on her porch but would look fabulous around an outdoor dining room table too!

Notice the tropical leaf pillows, they reverse to a stripe to change the look, also a bargain for $15 each. The ferns in the large black planters play off the tropical pillows.


Lowe’s has a great selection of modern geometric planters and I love how foliage looks with black. Seen below are the black resin square planters, green glaze ceramic planters, and the black glaze ceramic planter, all filled with palms and foliage found in Lowe’s garden department.


I added the nesting end tables for her to place her beverage when relaxing while watching her son play or talking to neighbors.



I couldn’t wait for Naomi to return from work last night…. Check today’s Insta stories for her response!


sources: swivel chairs (set of two) / black resin planters / green ceramic planters /

black glaze planter / nesting end tables / tropical leaf pillows

*This post brought to you in partnership with Lowe’s! All photos and opinions are my own!

Are You a Collector?

By Kate Riley May 16, 2019

It piques my curiosity when I learn that someone is a collector, and the revelation of the object they collect is a window into who they are. There’s always a story behind the passion to collect a certain thing. What is it about that object that a person loves so much that they gather dozens (or hundreds)? Often it’s something to do with a fond memory from childhood. Somewhere along the way they became attracted to a particular thing and as a result began collecting it.

Matt is a numismatist, he started very young collecting coins and going to coin shows and although he’s bought and sold plenty over the years, he still collects rare coins to this day. I have one friend who collects Fiestaware and another who collects vintage GI Joe dolls. I’m not an avid collector of any one particular thing, the only thing I truly collect (if you can call it that) is a unique piece of art from the places where I travel, and it’s usually by a street artist.

In this KonMarie age when the movement is to eliminate excess stuff, it begs the question how much of a material thing should one accumulate? But since one of the tenants of the movement is the requirement that the thing “sparks joy”, collections qualify. I came across this image a few months ago where a family has a Thermos collection on display and thought to myself, well that’s quirky and cool, I wonder what the story is there.

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Collecting art I understand the most. I find it interesting and visually pleasing when a specific style is displayed on one wall in a gallery style, like these vintage dog paintings, engravings, and seascapes.


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My sister in law collects antique floral patterned teacups and she has a collection on display much like this image below. I find that so charming. It takes up a small wall in her dining nook and she’s served coffee to me and to friends on many occasions. She actually puts her collection to use so not only do her teacups make her feel good looking at them every day, they also serve a purpose of connection and friendship.

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I’ve become more minimalist with my own decorating, seeking an airy aesthetic and appreciating more the impact of negative space. It stems from my internal dialogue to simplify and my focus on attaching myself less to material things while placing more value on experiences. However I do get a thrill from seeing something vintage or unique gathered up and displayed in one area.

I was walking through Portugal and stopped into a cafe where all of the walls were filled from floor to ceiling with glass cases which were filled with vintage tchotchkes and my first thought was “wow, cool” and my next thought was “but someone has to dust all of this” :)

If you watch any of those antique appraisal shows you know that there are plenty of material things that exist that have absolutely no value to one person but have real monetary value out in the world because of their uniqueness or scarcity or desirability.



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Groupings of unique things that share commonality are visually pleasing. When styled in an appealing way, the collection draws the eye to the artful display.




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I find it enchanting when people get excited about certain objects they collect, enthusiasm is such an attractive characteristic in humans. I enjoy seeing the light in someone’s eyes when they are talking about some thing that they’re passionate about collecting.

Do you have a collection of treasures? What’s the story behind it? Can you share any funny stories of collectors you know, friends or family?


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