I’ll start this post with a confession: I hated our patio back then we finished it last fall. Hate is a strong word and, admittedly, odd to use for a homepage. But I will explain later in this post. The good news is that I no longer harbor any ill will towards him. In fact, it has become one of the spaces I am most grateful for in our little house. Especially after some of the functional additions we’ve done last year since you saw him.
I love this space so much, that I’m actually writing this post now. Call it the Blogging Method. I am fully immersed in my character.
Recap of Kitchen Porch Renovation
You can read full post of this homepage update before, but the short version is: this used to be the porch of our bedroom, which had 8 glass doors leading outside (yes, a whole eight doors in one room). We closed the two doors leading to this terrace, which you can see in the photo below (which is also creating a wall for our bed). Then we traded the black window for the door that connects to this foyer our kitchen.
Taking this from an “unused bedroom porch to an oft-used kitchen patio” has been a complete game changer. We love that this update creates a quick path from our entryway to the kitchen, which makes carrying groceries so much easier.
You can see below how we parked our car right outside the gate outside this porch. There’s still parking for guests in the front yard (they can walk out onto our pretty front porch and into the seating area, which is nice for people visiting), but this little parking space in the side yard is great for us. It’s a much more direct route into the house, and the patio is covered, so it’s a dry place to walk if you come home during a downpour.
We also love the easy access to our outdoor grills which are steps away from our kitchen cooking area.
For comparison, here’s what happened when we bought a house:
It’s hard to articulate how much convenience this setup has added to our lives, but again, game changer is a word that keeps coming to mind.
So How Do We Improve It?
To see the changes we’ve made over the past year, and to get a feel for how functional this has been for us, you can watch a short video tour filmed by Sherry (watch my cameo). This will give you a better overview of the flow and you can see some additional functions in action:
Note: You can too watch this video on YouTube.
Adding Outdoor Cabinets For Shoe Storage
As you can see in the video, the biggest upgrade we’ve made since you last looked at it is the addition of these two cabinets. They specially made to be outdoors and they slip perfectly into the space, where once taken by a wicker console table Sherry found on the curb, which is pretty but gives us about 89% less function (zero hidden storage and rickety wicker top).
The #1 thing this outdoor cabinet does is provide convenient outdoor shoe storage. Since we didn’t have a mud room or foyer, having not one but two places to store our shoes was very helpful (ours had a cube closet next to the front door with baskets where we also stored our shoes).
I know keeping it outside might seem like a recipe for disaster, but it’s been a few months (some of the hottest/moistiest) and we haven’t had any issues with bugs/smell/moisture. Sherry joked that the bugs preferred being in our lush, plant-filled yard, and our shoes got great ventilation through small cabinet cuts made for airflow (again, these were made on the outside, so a little air to move around is likely why they weren’t swollen/curved/messy). You can see more of it if you watch the tour video Sherry made that I shared earlier in the post, where you can also see Sherry opening another cabinet to show you what’s inside.
The nice thing is it’s a BONUS shoe room thanks to indoor storage in our cubby by the front door. Plus, keeping your shoes outside helps minimize the amount of sand and dirt that gets tracked down.
Cupboard it also creates bonus counter space, which comes in handy as a prep area whenever we grill (you may have noticed my grill toolbox is kept on top of the shoe). And wood frame concrete counters have so far proven to be very durable and weather resistant.
Beyond their function, they fit perfectly into this space and we love that they look like an outdoor extension of the closet inside. It looks like our kitchen table extends five and a half feet (and because the patio is covered, it can be used all year round).
Added Water Feature
Maybe the “water feature” is a bit of an exaggeration, but we appreciate the sound of running water even more our pool so much so that we wanted to try to include something that sounds good on this side of the house as well.
So we bought this fountain as a complete, all-in-one kit (you literally just put a ball on top, fill it with water, and light it up). Very easy. We especially love the green patina that holds our copper rain chains together and the sound is excellent (you can hear it in the video).
We’re considering moving it to the yard at some point, we just need to figure out the electrical situation first. But for now, it just plugs into the wall socket here.
Create a Hammock Zone
Sherry mentioned on Instagram that we doubled our backyard pool area by sliding the fence back (we’ll write a post about that as soon as more is finalized). And as soon as we got that much bigger pool yard, we moved on our bonfire there, which means we can do a lot more entertainment in one place. Think of the kids swimming while the adults enjoyed a campfire, which we often do at our friends’ houses so we know we’ll love it.
Moving the firepit left an unused zone in our side yard – just beyond the kitchen patio. The kids love having hammocks so we bought one and it fits perfectly old fireplace.
Actually, we bought two hammocks. That fabric that we ordered in advance turned out to be very uncomfortable (IMO, at least – your back can’t be arched so much that you feel like it’s stretched out and kinda flat) so we put it back and got a much cheaper but superior one traditional rope hammock instead. It’s quickly become a favorite reading spot for all of us (and a stellar nap spot for me). The only downside is that I feel like I’m cheating our outdoor daybedwhich used to be my go-to place for such relaxing activities.
It’s been amazing these past few weeks thanks to the autumn weather around here. Like there’s no humidity, but still getting into the 70s and 80s every day. But even when it’s on the hot side, hammocks get great shade!
I know it sounds like I’m gushing (boasting?) but then again, we’re super excited about how this whole side of the house comes together. Next on our list is to get some more permanent walkways and then continue to turn them into a plant-filled paradise (as you can imagine, Sherry is ON every time we go anywhere near a plant store).
So Why Did I Hate This Porch in the Beginning?
OK, back to my confession of mixed feelings about this space at first. It really had nothing to do with space itself, just the timing of… things. One of the reasons we updated this zone – fenced off the side yard, added a new door, improved the porch, etc. – was for our 15 year old dog, Burger. We want to create a fenced area where he can easily go outside, sleep in the sun, go to the bathroom, etc. Until then, he had used the front door for that “activity” and, since the yard was unfenced and right by the road – in constant need of supervision. And, if the weather is bad, bring an umbrella with you.
Yes, I’m a Fonzworth Bentley for Burger’s P Diddy. Or should I say its Pee Diddy?
After all, renovating this porch must be for us Petersik humans too, but it’s also specific to Burger. Sadly, he died less than a week after we finished it. We’re thankful he was able to use it for a few days (see how happy he was in the photo below) but somewhere in the grief over his death I sometimes feel like I hate this patio. I don’t know if I’m mad at us for not renovating it sooner, or at the universe for the cruel timing of it all. I’m fully aware that the feeling was misguided but that’s the best way I can describe how it felt at that moment.
It’s been over a year now and luckily my feelings have sorted themselves out. We still love and miss Burgers every day, but it’s so easy to fully appreciate how important this space is to our family every time we walk out – the convenient door, the added storage, the extra space, the grill near the kitchen, the pathway closer to the car, etc. We also find a lot of comfort in how much Our dog Penny enjoy space. It’s great to see it use it in all the ways we’ve come to expect from Burger. Especially when they hang out “together” (note little metal chihuahua we put on the corner in honor of Burger).
I hope that’s not a disappointing way to end this post (about the simple homepage, no less!) but it’s nice to be able to appreciate how hard this area worked for our families, and reflect on how much we all enjoy it now (although it took me a while). This whole side of our house was pretty useless when we moved in, so we’re proud of the development. Now excuse me, I have to take a nap in a hammock.
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make purchases through links on our site at no additional cost to you.