a fresh start: our (first) porch!

by Grace Bonney

Hello, have we met? No? Please let me introduce you to . . . our new porch! AC and I found a new apartment last week, and if you guys knew the degree to which I was squealing last Thursday night after I got the news, your ears would be ringing like crazy. Last week, AC and I drove up to Greenpoint to see a promising space (remember the one I dreamed about?), and we put in an application almost immediately. It has skylights, a washer and dryer (I can barely breathe I’m so excited about that) and a pretty porch with a covered trellis structure. We are going to live on that porch after we move in, so of course, I decided to stay up late last night imagining how I’d decorate it. I’ve always been a cart-before-the-horse sort of girl, so why not jump the gun and start dream decorating? I cannot wait to finally be able to have friends, family and colleagues over for meals and celebrations. As someone who has always loved to entertain but has never had the space, this new outdoor area makes me the happiest I’ve ever been, house-wise. Hopefully I can meet some of you in the neighborhood (we’re moving back to Greenpoint!) and have you up for a drink on the porch. xo, grace

Images above, clockwise from top left: This rug is JUST my style — Dash and Albert’s Lakehouse Indoor/Outdoor Rug, $38+. Filigree Sphere Lights, $498. Tolix Chair, $275 (I love bright pops of red against navy). This table is an antique, but I’d love to find a more affordable version of this farmhouse-style dining classic. Agate Candle Holders, $110 (for romantic outdoor meals). After the vertical garden is done, I want to plant some flowering trees in my collection of vintage boxes. Dahlia Placemats from Chilewich (can be left outside in the elements), $64 for 8. My biggest inspiration for the porch is Saipua’s Red Hook Shop and Terrain’s Cafe outside of Philadelphia.

Images above, clockwise from top left: My first goal is to build a vertical garden on the side wall of the porch (like the one at Flora Grubb). I want to hang some minimalist feeders to attract small birds in the area (Disc Bird Feeder, $32). Eva Solo To Go Grill, $330. Cats need to lounge, too, right? I have a feeling Ms. Jackson would love this hammock from Fickle Feline, $89 (I don’t think AC will let this in the house, though. You should have seen the face he gave me when I showed him.). I’d like to swap out the current sconces for these bright red ones, $174.

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  • As a fellow Brooklyn dweller, I am achingly jealous of that porch. You need to grow wisteria on that roof!!

  • A balcony in the spring and summer sounds absolutely heavenly, but I think I’m really green with envy that you have a washer and dryer! *sniff* *sniff*

  • Ah, Grace, I loved that you said you’ve always been a cart before the horse gal. I am so the same. Last night we got a new sleeper sofa & The Man was wiped out after 2+ hours of moving it from sellers apt to mine.

    When we got it into my apt. I started yakking about all my ideas for rearranging the living room & by the look on his face I decided quickly that I should just save that for another day. I guess in my case I was trying to attach my cart a little too soon after the horse’s arrival. :)

    Your patio is going to be spectacular and again I am so happy for you about this wonderful new space! It’s so perfect for you and you deserve it!

  • Don’t know if you’re hankering for that specific brand, but Overstock has a set of four of those red chairs for almost that same price. You’d have to paint them your color, but could still help you bring in the rest of the project affordably! :)

  • So nice to meet you lovely porch! Grace this is amazing – I would work, eat and sleep on this porch if I had one.

    Currently live with my hubby in a super small apartment in SF and I love hosting dinner parties. Hopefully when we move in a little over a year we can get something like this. Crossing my fingers and toes :)


  • Oh girl, you can practically feel the warm, spring breeze! I can’t think of a better way to banish the crap winter you guys have had up there than decorating your new deck. Yay!

  • How exciting!! Is it odd that I’m just as excited for your move? :) I love that feeling of looking at an empty space and imagining all the possibilities with it. That porch looks like such a great space too – covered but open. Love it. Can’t wait to see what you do with it! :)

    • thanks so much for all your kind comments, guys! i’ll definitely be posting pictures of the whole home’s progress as we get settled :)


  • Outdoor living is the best! I waanted to let you know that there is a much cheaper source for those amazing filigree pendants–http://tinyurl.com/699kn4t
    I ordered one, and love it– it casts such beautiful shadows all around.

  • Oh porch envy.. ha. At least our small apartment has a Juliet balcony, it’s cute and lets the air in but fits two-three people tops standing room only.

    • thanks jess- it will be nice to be back in greenpoint. that’s where i first lived when i moved to nyc in 2003 :)


  • Congrats on your move! I’m a loyal designsponge reader but hadn’t ever commented. . . but then I saw that you’re moving onto my block! I feel creepy–but I recognize the retirement home and green fire escape across the street. . . . Welcome to Greenpoint and a fabulous leafy green street (in the summer anyway)!

  • Eek is right! That porch is so amazing!! Congrats on finding just the right space – it’s always a tireless search but so rewarding to know you’ve made the right choice.

  • The porch looks wonderful! When I moved into an apartment with a patio in Williamsburg last year, I wanted a huge table so I could have tons of friends over, but I didn’t want to take up the whole space. I bought the Applaro drop leaf table from Ikea and it’s been a-ma-zing. For $129, it’s solid acacia, looks much more expensive, the quality is very high, and it converts from seating 4 to seating 12 in seconds. I also left it outside all winter and it still looks perfect!

  • Oh I have that problem. We went to look at a house and I had the whole thing designed before we even had ours listed. 4 months later and we still haven’t sold ours….but I know what I am going to do with that house I want….if we get it!

  • Congratulations! The new outdoor digs looks great even bare. I’m sure it will look great soon, can’t wait to see!

  • I am green with envy! A washer/dryer AND a porch?? I am considering moving to Brooklyn from Manhattan, and I was wondering if you (and your readers) used a broker or craigslist or something else?

    • hi annie

      i found our apt on aptsandlofts.com (it was a rare no fee apt through them), but the owner also listed it on craigslist. i searched mainly using my new best friend: padmapper.com -AMAZING site that lets you search apts by area :)


  • I just moved greenpoint from park slope in the fall and LOVE it, congratulations on the porch!!! Such an amazing find in this city

  • Firstly, congrats! Then, not sure if anyone has mentioned it but Pottery Barn has the Tolix chair on sale right now… $200 each. I just bought some, so excited to get them! Enjoy decorating….

  • love the cat hammock. unfortunately, not available for sale on their etsy site… looks like their last sale was in June :(

  • Looks to me like a cute spot!! I know how it feels looking for the right place, and wanted to have a new kitchen. outdoor area more space etc…I am glad you and your partner have found a better place, definitely a new start and bring on the social entertainment!!

  • Oh my gosh! I’ve been researching that area a lot lately. Both of my mother’s parents were from there. 128 Milton Street was my grandmother’s address. I found this on a letter sent to her in 1925 booking her for a modeling assignment. I researched the property, but unfortunately the building at that address was built in 1927, two years after the letter and her marriage and move to Dallas. If the original building still existed, I would have considered buying it as an investment. Oh well.

    Here’s some of my grandmother’s modeling photos from the flapper days:

    I am looking forward to following your move in future posts!

  • Oh my gosh! That exists in Greenpoint?!?! My bf loves his back patio over on Driggs in Greenpoint, but yours even undecorated is already loads more awesome (his unfortunately has AstroTurf). Can’t wait to see it decorated!!

  • wow great space! that treillis is amazing – so exciting! good for you (and the cats!)
    the only thing missing is a lovely blanket for cool spring evenings! wonderful decorating list. love the stripes and pops of red.

  • Oh my god! Grace that looks amazing!!! What an awesome porch! Love the wood slats and the open, modern feel. You can even sit out there in the rain. Woo hoo! So excited for you :)

  • Congratulations, the porch looks divine! I love your outdoor decorating ideas – I just bought two vintage Tolix chairs and am considering similar lamps for my living room!

  • congrats! that is an amazing porch. you will enjoy it immensely just as you are anticipating.

    i lived in brooklyn for 17 years (bay ridge, fort greene, and park slope) before moving to pasadena, ca. now i have a patio and my hubbie and i enjoy a lot of “outdoor living”. its the best.

  • Like everyone else, Im SO excited for you. For now I can only dream about the day when I have my very own porch. (its sacrilegious to not have one in Cali) I will be sending you some more inspiration if i come across it!

  • Grace, I’m so happy for you! This porch looks perfect! To find an apartment with one and that lovely horizontal modern fence! What luck!

    Thanks also for the suggestion of padmapper! My husband and I are moving to Portland, OR and this website will be a huge help!

  • Congratulations, Grace! Funny enough, I am relocating from Boston to Park Slope next month…now I know a pretty sweet apartment is about to be on the market! Thanks for the Padmapper recc…I could really use it as I navigate the Brooklyn neighborhoods.

  • Congratulations on the new home! I am certain you will enjoy the openness of your outdoor space. I have a narrow terrace (3ft x 30 ft) and I appreciate my “porch” everyday!

  • I ordered the overstock chairs (in white) a few weeks ago and love them! I would definitely recommend them to anyone who loves the Tolix chairs but is looking for something more affordable. as of a few weeks ago they were available in white, red black and silver.

    congrats on the new pad, grace!

  • Grace, I’m loosing sleep over here! I’m so excited for your move to Greenpoint! I can’t believe we are going to be neighbors! Can’t wait to see how you decorate your porch. Congratulations!! xx

  • ooh, congrats on the porch. We had a patio/balcony while living in Milan and the cats were out lounging on it every chance they got (as was I).
    Having a little outside private space is a little bit of paradise in the city.

  • Love.

    Thanks for keeping us posted, Grace. And why is it I’m not surprised that you, a fellow stripe-lover, would claim your spot on a porch with stripe-y slats?

    So happy for you!

  • Such a gorgeous porch! Can’t wait to see it when everything is put together. Love the idea of the vertical garden, very unique!

  • Great bones! I will look forward to seeing what you do with it! I am busy imagining what to do with my flagstone patio at the new studio……. I can’t wait to put together some planters.

  • The vertical succulent garden is really nice and easy to maintain, I have some succulents which i removed from a roof and just placed them on the ground and in pots and they grow without any care! Thanks for your inspirations!

  • How wonderful! Can’t wait to see more.
    Just a note (sorry it’s a negative one) My stomach did a flip flop when you talked about the cat. Those walls are pretty low and easily jump-able — especially from any furniture. We have a terrace and our calm, well-behaved mature lazy fat cat goes nuts when a bird lands on the terrace. She loses her mind and any caution, and just hurls herself after them! We eventually had to put up green wire fencing – which doesn’t block the view as much as it sounds, but it stopped the nightmares I was having about her going over the edge. If you’re going to put bird feeders up, PLEASE consider the cat. It’s impossible to watch them all the time and it only takes a second…
    Again, sorry to be a downer. It’s a wonderful space! Glad for you

    • Hi Janie!

      Not to worry- my cats are like my children and I’d never put them in harms way- we are going to test out fencing and other things to make sure they can’t jump out or fall ;)


  • Your porch is making me uncharacteristically and whole-heartedly envious. And of course it’s going to be the most beautiful outdoor space imaginable when you’re done! Congratulations :)

  • As a country girl, I could never imagine living without a porch. But my husband and I had to rent an apartment with no yard or porch for a while and I was miserable. So I can totally share your excitement. I hope your porch provides you many content hours outside.

  • Hot damn, that is one fine porch! I would be excited and scream-y too. And I would instantly start buying seeds!

  • What a stunning porch. I am a huge believer in outdoor entertaining – and that looks like the perfect place to have lots of lingering dinners with friends!

  • I can see a wonderful roof garden in the making !!So much space, you can have clematis climbing up, and box balls all along the side and will still have tons of space- – and you can spend summer and winter there if you want!There is nothing like a bit of outdoor space when you live in the city!! It just makes life so much nicer.

  • Congratulations Grace! Everyone need an outdoor space. I know it will be amazing. I looove to dream decorate, I wish I had a new space to do, I’ll have to settle for changing my home accessories seasonally. In with the white & weathered beach woods & touches of living green! Can’t wait to see your porch in the after picture!

  • that’s amazing grace… congrats on finding such a gem! we have a deck too and we literally live out there when the weather is nice. how about a hammock? we really enjoy ours :)

  • grace, congrats on the new digs! i love greenpoint so many fun memories with friends there. and a terrace/ patio that is totally to die for in that area. i KNOW you are going to have so many lvoely get togethers there. ps i love vertical gardens and hope you can share how to keep hens and chicks alive in the NE.

  • Grace, welcome back to the neighborhood! I think we live around the corner from each other. I echo your thoughts Eastern District, it is amazing and such a welcome addition to the neighborhood.