Porch and terrace offer the urban dweller an excellent substitute for life in the out-of-doors
MARY AGNES PEASEJuly11930
A Place in the Sun
Porch and terrace offer the urban dweller an excellent substitute for life in the out-of-doors
MARY AGNES PEASE
THE present-day cult of outdoor life for the preservation of health and beauty has made the city dweller realize the potentialities of porch or terrace as a place where he can have at least an occasional seance with the sun and receive benefit from its healing rays.
The popularity of the outdoor room was rather well expressed by the Canadian schoolboy whose teacher asked him the meaning of the word “porch.” His answer was: “It’s the best place to eat and sleep.” His ideas on the subject were evidently the same as those of the gentleman who said that one should live indoors only when it was too cold or too wet to live outside.
Because of its value from a health standpoint, and also because it can take upon itself the functions of
practically any room, the sun room in some one of its many varieties has become an important consideration in the planning of either houses or apartments. It affords an outdoor dining room, is often, and most advantageously, used as a sleeping room, and can still remain the holiday room of the house.
Aids to Outdoor Living
'T'HE desire to have “a place in the sun,” even when funds are low and no spot for the purpose seems to be available, has made many people find a way or make it.
Some people who .lived in the outskirts of a city, and who had no outdoor room and no means to build one,, converted an old shed which had been used for garden tools and the like into a charming summer room by the simple expedient of taking down two of the wooden walls and substituting therefor latticed slats, leaving quite a deep open space at the top. A latticed fence was also made between the house and this little place, which added to its privacy and also protected it from the sudden onslaught of unexpected callers.
Apart from its advantages to the family as a whole, it made a fine play room for the children, as it was furnished with sturdy old pieces of mission furniture modernized with bright paint and not easily injured.
It is seldom that one is so situated that
some spot cannot be made available for outdoor living. A friend of mine, who lives high up in a tiny apartment :n one of those buildings that house many families, iiscovered that there was a flat part of the roof a little lower than the roof proper near her end of the building which it was possible to reach by a short ladder that hugged the wall. By a secret treaty with the janitor she
managed to have a folding cot, table and chair hoisted to this little spot and fastened securely in place. These she painted a bright green and added further decoration with cushions covered with gay oilcloth. A heavy piece of awning weighted at each corner is spread over these pieces when they are not in use. This little hide-out above the smoke and smells of the city affords a busy woman a place in the open where she can read or sew in her infrequent hours of daytime leisure, and where she can watch the stars and the march of the planets across the sky at night. If one is so fortunate as to have a properly built
porch or sun room, no part, of the house can offer so much joy to the family, particularly when it is attractively furnished. There is a good deal of originality in the design of the present-day porch furniture. Utility of form, strength and lightness of weight are combined with picturesque beauty. Stick reed furniture is having an unusual popularity and in its latest design tends toward the straight line which suits this material immensely better than the tortuous curving of it that was a former fashion. A good deal of the furniture is in natural hue with only an occasional touch of paint
or stain. This does not mean that there is any lessening of color effects in porch or terrace furnishings, but each year seems to bring greater simplicity in design and color and consequently greater artistry in their use.
To the rocking-chair and the hammock have been added swinging seats known as “gliders,” which afford greater comfort and no hazards. These are made of metal, or of wood and metal, and may be used with or without upholstery. The mechanism of these couches and chairs is so well concealed that the swinging movement comes as a surprise. To quote a furniture designer: “Gliders are the modern answer to the desire of many people for movement even while ostensibly resting.”
I saw a porch the other day which had been newly furnished throughout and was most effective and charming. The furniture was of reed, which is particularly well suited to an outdoor setting, and consisted of a comfortable lounge which could be easily converted into a bed, and chairs, table and bookcase to match. As part of this porch is entirely open to sun and air, the cushions were covered with a w'aterproof fabric in green and black design. The curtains and table cover were of mauve oilcloth bound with black. It was a novel combination, but was attractive as well as durable and useful.
Rattan, reed and cane furniture are all
children of the same parent. Rattan is the outside shelllike portion of this woody fibre which grows in the East Indies. This is seldom treated with any sort of finish as in itself it has a very high polish. Reed, on theother hand, being an inner part of the fibre is porous and takes very kindly to paint or varnish. All of these materials are unaffected by moisture and, when well constructed.
and will stand any amount of hard usage.
There is a new fabric on the market this year which is rapidly gaining popularity as a covering for porch and garden furniture. This fabric is specially treated to withstand the ill effects of water and sun. It has a rich silk-like finish and can be obtained in delightful colors. It is most pliable and decorative and has infinite possibilities for use both indoors and out, especially for the open room.
Sometimes the addition of a porch to a house cuts off the light and sun from one or more of the rooms, and in such case it is better to arrange for an awning roof for it, which can be raised and lowered at will. The advantages of an awning roof for a porch are many; it is a shade from the sun by day, and when it is lifted at night—as can he done with no other roof—one is able to enjoy the glories of the sky. A porch of this kind requires furniture that can defy rainstorms, such as the rattan or reed type, which is rather improved by moisture, or the very modern light-weight steel pieces. The latter, while reminiscent of the cast-iron furniture of an older day, are surprisingly light in weight and graceful in form, and lend themselves perfectly to the decorative touch of lacquer. When to these pieces are added cushions covered with some of the attractive new oilcloth or other moisture-proof material, the odd storm offers no risks to either furniture or fabric.
When the porch room is on the ground floor, it is sometimes necessary to provide some means for securing privacy without cutting off air and light. An excellent shield and buckler for this purpose is a lattice-work screen mounted on castors, which is sufficiently large to hide the dining table or couch, and which, if painted to harmonize with the rest of the furnishings, can be ornamental as well as useful. Lattice work lends itself to much adventurous decoration and is one of the best means of securing privacy.
Where Color is King
TF ONE’S fancy runs to wooden furni* ture for the porch, there is a hard maple wood that is well suited for the purpose. This, when painted in brilliant colors, such as orange, lip-stick red, jade green, bright blue or yellow with contrasting stripes or flower motifs, makes a fine background for the new smart glazed chintzes or other fabrics suited for such purpose. The porch is a fine place to experiment in decoration, for here there need be no fear of too much color. It is a place where color is king, and should offer spirited contrast to the furnishings in the rest of the house.
Yellow is a splendid color for porches. It enhances the sunshine on a bright day
and has a cheering effect on a dull one. I saw a porch last year which had this as the key color and which was most effectively and satisfyingly carried out. The furniture was of reed which had been finished with orange lacquer with touches of green and black. The upholstery carried these same three colors, which were further emphasized by small cushions each of which was covered with jade green or orange. The curtains were a sunny yellow, and a straw rug in large squares of yellow and black made a smart, background. The yellow table had a centrepiece of black lacquered oilcloth, on one corner of which were appliquéd narrow strips of green, orange and lavender. On this was a large orange bowl which held tall sprays of blue delphinium. Hanging about the room were witch balls with hanging festoons of ivy.
To be effective, yellow must be carefully chosen, and the right accents of contrast provided to make a perfect ensemble. Blooming plants add enormously to the color effect, as do also glass and porcelain lamps.
In motoring through the country, one often sees farmers and their families taking their evening meal in the open on a spot encased in trees, with perhaps some lattice work between the trees to provide a little seclusion. Sometimes this improvised dining room will have a roughly paved floor of stone or brick to make a solid base for such furniture as is required. This simplicity of setting calls for rather primitive pieces. Sometimes these are made of rough hewn logs flattened on one side for the seats and table tops, with legs made of round timber. I am told that if the surface of this wood is treated as soon as the bark is removed it will retain its light color and give the agreeable effect of newly-cut timber.
If you cannot get away for a holiday in the good old summertime, why not make a holiday spot of your porch or terrace? It is a fascinating pastime to try to keep up with Nature by enlivening the outdoor room with paint, using as a guide the colors of the grass, the flowers or the sunsets. If you are tired of last year’s colors on the porch, why not try something new—blue with orange, yellow with black, or grey with old rose? Remember that all furnishings that are designed to compete with Nature must carry clear, vivid color. Pale shades fade into insignificance outside. If your porch is furnished in brown and there is no time or money to paint the furniture, it can be much improved by adding bright-blue cushions and making a table cover and curtains of blue chintz or oilcloth. Much can be done with little money, and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
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