Typically when I get the opportunity to start decorating a home, the inside is where I begin; after all, this is where the living happens. In this particular situation, with our ‘Homemade Vanilla House,’ we arrived 1 week before our truckload of furniture, therefore, the exterior was the first space I could get to work on. Because we can not make major changes to the exterior of this house, I decided to play up a few of my favorite features to make our home stand out amongst the rest of its cookie cutter clones.
I wanted our home to feel like an oasis. Not only for my immediate family, but for visiting relatives and friends. Additionally, when people walk by, I want them to WANT to come inside and meet us. This means our exterior needs to be thoughtful, eye-catching, and most importantly, inviting!
When designing what might give this house some curb appeal, I thought about what message I really wanted to send passing pedestrians and new neighbors. It boiled down to four things: personality, comfort, life, and relatability.
PERSONALITY: In the South, it is important to let people know where you are from and what team you root for. In this house, we are Sooners!
To dress up the front door, I used a stick wreath adorned with rope, ribbon, two thin artificial stems and a small American flag. Two potted ferns flank the door on this shady porch and to bring in some color I planted a Foxtail Fern, White Geraniums, a Little Ruby, Cuban Oregano, and one spilling Sweet Potato Vine in a large doorstep arrangement.
COMFORT: Southern hospitality is a kind of comfort you have to experience to really understand. It’s a take your shoes off, lean back, and tell me your story kind of space. This type of comfort is best explained from the vantage point of a rocking chair with the smell of heating charcoal filling the open air. We have that here, too, but you’ll need to come through the front door and out to the back porch for this experience.
Comfort expressed from the front of our home comes in the form of a handcrafted bench. I used the footboard of an old twin bed frame as the bench back and my husband constructed a seat using treated pine. I then stained the wood and spray painted the frame a matte black. Finally, and most importantly, I coated my bench in a spar varnish to protect it from water and sun exposure.
LIFE: Yes, there is life happening inside these walls and I want it to overflow out into the community. Not only do plants breathe life wherever they are planted, they represent something pure and lovely that is thriving.
I wanted to play up the large kitchen window on the exterior of our home by adding a custom cedar flower box with spilling, fresh foliage and blooms. Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers should thrive in this outdoor garden, while also adding some texture and interest across our ranch style home.
RELATABILITY: At the end of the day, forming intentional relationships with others is at the top of our list. My hope is for our home to serve as a gathering place where other military families on post feel welcome. In order to facilitate this, we must be relatable.
What better way to represent this than with the American flag, especially when living in a military community. To me the flag says, “We are on the same team, we understand, we are with ya.”
Special thanks to Corvias Military Housing for awarding us June 2019, Yard Of The Month!