Outside Press

Up for the Challenge: Part Four

It wasn’t easy, but we’ve finished the front porch for the Better Homes & Gardens The whole project was completed for $500, using materials exclusively from

Painting the porch rug freehand while very pregnant was a little harder than I expected, but I’m beyond thrilled with the way it turned out! That and the hanging divider that we made really personalize the front porch.

Brandon spray painted the table and chair set that we bought pink. The set was nice enough on its own (it was a dark brown/gray color), but you know I just had to bring some pink in somewhere. And again, it helped to personalize the design a bit more.

Such a cheery spot for lunch…

The extra two chairs from the set are over by the front door. And I love that lilac between them, but I’m planning to put it in the side garden at some point because it’s supposed to grow to 10′ tall.

So there you have it — the finished front porch! At times I wondered how we would get it done, especially as the baby’s due date came and went, but we did it. Soon you’ll be able to vote for your favorite project (and I can only hope that it’s ours!). In the meantime, be sure to check out everyone’s finished projects and read more about our experience working on the front porch at .

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146 Comments

  • Reply
    Nina
    April 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Beautiful! Love it completely! Especially the hand painted rug, what a great personal touch. Well done, and kudos for doing it while 9mo pregnant!

  • Reply
    katie
    April 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    THAT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!! I AM IN LOVE WITH THOSE PINK CHAIRS!!!!! AND TABLE!!! AND THE FLOOR!!! AND THE WHOLE THING. :)

  • Reply
    Averill
    April 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    No idea how you did this 9 months pregnant, but it looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    Joelle
    April 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Talk about making it lovely! This is wonderful

  • Reply
    Jess
    April 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    It looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    lb
    April 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I love the floor! And it’s so great that you have an outdoor living space that reflects your indoor living space.

    (Isn’t that a hydrangea by the door?)

  • Reply
    erin :: the olive notes
    April 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    i just love everything you did…so far, yours is my absolute favorite of the challenge :)

  • Reply
    Mick
    April 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    This turned out fabulous! I can’t believe it’s all stuff from Home Depot. I never thought to paint the furniture.. Such a good & easy idea.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Bravo! This looks amazing!!

  • Reply
    whitney
    April 24, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I still cannot believe that you did all of this while past your due date. You are my idol. It all came together beautifully! My favorite part is the rug – great job!

  • Reply
    bungalowbliss
    April 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Great job, Nicole. The floor is fabulous, of course, and I like how you created smaller, more intimate areas. Your porch is so inviting!

  • Reply
    Meggan
    April 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    The pink chairs are so cute! I love that you manage to use pink while not making it look too “frilly,” I guess. The little pink plant on the table is adorable too. Nice work!

  • Reply
    courtney
    April 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    the divider is genius! would you mind sharing how you made it?

  • Reply
    Kate
    April 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    That ‘rug’ is stunning – was that just done on concrete or wood or what? What did you use? I’d love to do something similar – you’ve inspired me!

  • Reply
    Heavy Petal
    April 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Gorgeous! The hand-painted floor covering makes it. Love the pink and greens…

  • Reply
    girlrunningaround
    April 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Like the rest of your home. I really like the painted rug idea. Our porch needs revamp, so I just might steal it. ;)

  • Reply
    Margi
    April 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    It’s adorable!

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    The rug is painted directly on the wooden porch floor. The porch looked like this before starting:

    Courtney, I wish I took some ‘in progress’ shots of the divider! Um, I kind of had other things on my mind. ;) Maybe I can still put together some sort of how-to… it was pretty easy.

    And yes, that’s a hydrangea by the front door.

  • Reply
    jennifer little
    April 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Awesome! What type of spray paint did he use. Any trick to keeping the spray paint from “spraying and landing” on everything else in sight?

  • Reply
    Lori Danelle
    April 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    What is the divider made out of? I love the idea and it seems it would work great in my daughters’ bedroom to divide the sleep space from the play area. Plus, I need something that a toddler can’t tear down!!

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Jennifer, he sprayed everything in the garage over drop cloths. We used in “Sweet Pea” (pink).

    Lori, the divider is made out of hardboard. You can find it near the plywood and it’s really inexpensive ($4 for a 2’x4′ board).

  • Reply
    Clair
    April 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I love it! I am planning on buying my first home and love your ideas. Where and when can we vote?

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks! Voting actually starts May 1, and you’ll be able to vote once each day for your favorite project (hopefully it’s mine!).

  • Reply
    Nikki
    April 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    This is awesome! I am a big fan of your designs! I hope your baby comes soon. I love reading your blog!

  • Reply
    Shari
    April 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    OMG, do you not sit still? Not even for a minute? I adore the divider. I really think this is fantastic. You’ll love having a place to sit and relax outside when the baby comes. I could totally see your pink puff out front with your feet on it too with you and the baby on that couch!

  • Reply
    luuvely
    April 24, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    ive been watching all the others and yours hands down beats EVERYONE! aaaannddd the fact that you are OVERDUE! lol is even more of a win!

    congrats..really wonderful work!

  • Reply
    Manvi
    April 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    AWESOME!!! love the floor + the divider!

  • Reply
    Keren @ ChicTip
    April 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    It came out amazing!!! I can’t believe you have the energy still…
    Good Job!!

  • Reply
    teresa
    April 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! You are seriously super woman doing all of that work while SO pregnant!!

  • Reply
    robin
    April 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    this is so great! i love it.

  • Reply
    mrslimestone
    April 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    That floor is completely amazing. You did a stellar job.

  • Reply
    lauren.
    April 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    i love this, the colors are fabulous! :D

  • Reply
    creative*type
    April 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    i haven’t seen any of the other entries but you have my vote. just that you can even BE this creative while pregnant (and DUE) is amazing in and of itself.

    it’s beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jessibee
    April 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    No contest Nicole! Your project is by far the best. I love the pink table and I just bought the same paint to redo an old brass lamp. I know that you will win!

  • Reply
    katherine
    April 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    adorable! what a great way to channel that end-of-pregnancy nesting energy!

  • Reply
    Mrs. Priss
    April 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I’m absolutely in love with the finished product! I can’t believe you were out there painting at 40 weeks pregnant, haha… I was having a little pity party for myself on the couch around that time. You go!

  • Reply
    Beth
    April 24, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Hardboard and…what did you use to hook each piece together? Every time you don’t post for a while, I think, “well, she had to have had that baby!” But still no! I’m so amazed at the fact that she’s not here yet! I think she’s cooked enough – are they going to induce you or just let you keep cookin’? :-)

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hardboard and s-hooks.

    I’m scheduled to be induced if I don’t have the baby by Tuesday morning, since that will officially be 42 weeks and they won’t let me go any longer.

  • Reply
    Melissa (miss)
    April 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I can’t really say anything that hasn’t already been said. Beautiful.

  • Reply
    alice
    April 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I checked out the other contestants! You blow them out of the water! Great use of color, space, and materials. Very impressive. All while 9 months pregnant, I don’t know how you do it?

  • Reply
    rachel
    April 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Your porch is fantastic! I particularly love the hanging screen – what a great idea that could be used in so many places.

  • Reply
    sunny
    April 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    soooooooo pretty! love the pink and green combo. And I must get some of that beverage for this weekend!

  • Reply
    Stacey Ball
    April 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Yours is BY FAR the best of the bunch! The hand-painted rug alone steals the thunder of all other competitors. Nice job!

  • Reply
    Taylor
    April 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    That’s is so beautiful and Spring-y! You’ll have fun eating and watching your neighbors walk by.
    The only thing I would have done differently is put the divider on the other side of the dining area to block out the view from the neighbors window.

  • Reply
    Sherry @ This Young House
    April 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    You totally lived up to your name. You made that porch so lovely it took our breath away! We were anxiously awaiting your big reveal, and now that we’ve seen your fabulous porch we can go back to anxiously awaiting your other big reveal… that cute little baby who’s taking her sweet time!

    xoxo,
    Sherry (& John)

  • Reply
    peggy
    April 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Nicole, you are like superhuman! That turned out so beautiful. I love the color scheme. The pink table and chairs are wonderful. And I adore the painted rug. The hanging divider is wonderful as well. How did you make that?

    Good luck to you and Brandon. Still looking forward to the post regarding the new angel that is coming soon.

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely
    April 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks Sherry (& John)! And yes, she’s totally taking her sweet time. ;)

  • Reply
    jocel
    April 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve admired your site for months now and this project has brought me out of ‘lurkdom’. It is absolutely stunning! You make me want to pinkify my home :) I wish I had your creative genes to even put a planter together! You have my vote! Can’t wait to see baby pics…

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    You make me want to move back to Chi. I think I also saw your home on Apartment Therapy a while back? {I think I bookmarked it} porch looks beautiful! Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    Erica
    April 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    wow! could not be more gorgeous! i am head over heels for the pink

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    April 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    it looks fantastic! and it’s even more impressive given your current physical thought :) great job!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    April 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    ooops, current physical *state

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    This is just stunning! And incredibly creative and resourceful. Such an inspiration!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    WOW….I browsed many times but this is my first comment. You guys have CLASS, ELEGANCE, STYLE & TASTE. The painting on the floor & hanging are just awesome. You must patent the hanging style before “Crate & Bar…” and other stores copy it from you :). Good luck with the baby.

  • Reply
    bink
    April 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    B-E-A-UTIFUL! You are amazing. I am at loss for words. I just had a baby and in my last week I couldn’t even imagine getting out of bed…and my baby came early.
    What a woman! Your little girl will be so fortunate to have such a wonderfully talented mother.

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Let me be the millionth person to say this looks amazing! Especially the rug. I love it.

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    That looks awesome! Love it! Best of luck with the baby!

  • Reply
    Anja
    April 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    oh- i thought, the reason for your silence during the last days was the birth of your baby-girl. i was sure, you are in hospital… and all you did was your front porch. (just kidding)- this is beautiful! respect for the painted floor. it´s just awesome.
    greetings from germany

  • Reply
    ren
    April 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    wow, it’s so cutesy

  • Reply
    lesley
    April 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    this looks beautiful! i love it, the pink and the green painted carpet are fantastic.
    btw, my 1st was born at 42 weeks with an induced labour, and it was still a lovely, relatively quick and beautiful birth. good luck to you, and however your little one comes in to your arms, enjoy it to the fullest.

  • Reply
    Jasmine @ Experiment in Poverty Blogspot
    April 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    ohmigosh! it’s amazing! i looooove it! congratulations on finishing. you guys better win.

  • Reply
    Kristina @ my heart behaves
    April 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I think the graphic treatment on the floor truly ties it all in … from the house color, to the bright punches of color from the accessories. I would love a ‘curb-side view’ from the streets. Quite picturesque!

    8•)

    Kristina

  • Reply
    JFM
    April 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Just like another reader, I’ve been admiring your site without commenting for many months. This is truly amazing. The details and execution are so well-thought and it comes together beautifully. My jaw seriously dropped and I bounced up and down in my chair at work.

    good luck with the little one!

  • Reply
    Jessica Jones
    April 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Nicole, this looks AMAZING! And you’re totally amazing too, for doing all this while about to have a baby any minute! Holy cow. I’m in awe.

  • Reply
    LauraC
    April 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I LOVE the “rug”!!!!!! You are amazing. ’nuff said.

  • Reply
    harp
    April 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    You have my VOTE hands down! AHHHHMAZING!!!!!!

  • Reply
    JaimeisCrafty
    April 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    You deserve many hi-5s! Looks Great!!!!!

  • Reply
    Risa
    April 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    the porch looks great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i can’t beleive you don’t have a baby yet!!!

  • Reply
    Nicole (ThreeBySea)
    April 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Nicole- I love the painted floors- what a trooper you are! I picturing you practicing some on all fours painting and practicing some labor positions- lol! And that room divider is such a cool idea. It’s giving me ideas for my son’s room…
    Good luck with the baby- the doctor had to give my son his eviction notice (induce him) too, which I was nervous about, but it all ended up fine. I know it’s going to be fine for you as well! ;)

  • Reply
    SoBella Creations
    April 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    What a fantastic transformation! I love the painted porch “rug” idea. You did a wonderful job. And the pink looks great with the green.

  • Reply
    puck
    April 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Great work! I really love it!

    Now… Get. that. baby. OUT!!!

  • Reply
    Monica
    April 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Nicole, I love how you always think things through and take such care with your projects, which ALWAYS turn out lovely. And a big high-five to Brandon … you two make a great team! I’ll be voting for you!

  • Reply
    E. Lindsey Hornkohl
    April 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Oh, I just dig it! What does the husband think? This girl’s man has his own design ideas…there’s no way anything pink will ever make it into my house!

  • Reply
    jennifer
    April 24, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    i know I’m like the 50th person to say this but I love the divider!

  • Reply
    achristinaw
    April 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    oh my goodness! it looks amazing! love love love it

  • Reply
    Jill
    April 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    It’s awesome! I hope you win.

  • Reply
    caroline armelle
    April 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    wow!
    that is super cute!
    you did an amazing job!

    i’d love to spend time out there!

  • Reply
    courtney
    April 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Can you tell me what you made the divider out of and how you did it? The porch looks great!!!!

  • Reply
    paola
    April 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Seriously you should consider designing rugs. I’d buy that one…it’s awesome…

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    You’ve done it again! You are officially Wonder-Woman! That painting makes it all. Love the cholor scheme. Bravo!

  • Reply
    Shannon
    April 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Lovely! It looks great! I really adore the floor! I can’t believe you did that 9 months preggers!

  • Reply
    Trixxie
    April 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    GORGEOUS! I’ll definitly vote for you. Can’t wait to see a picture of you with the little one on lounging on the porch.

  • Reply
    Desiree Fawn
    April 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    You guys are SURE to win!!

  • Reply
    amy purple
    April 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Your front porch is so inviting! Don’t be surprised if you find me over there just eating some cookies.

    Please remind us when we can vote, i’m afraid i might forget.

  • Reply
    Manda
    April 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    WOW! I’m blown away – it’s looks SO amazing Nicole!! You’ve given me so many ideas for our outdoor area. I don’t know what detail I love most, although the ‘rug’ is just gorgeous. Now you can concentrate on ‘other’ things. ;) Congratulations on finishing, it looks perfect!

    I second one of the above comments, although instead of rugs I’d LOVE to see you design textiles!!!

  • Reply
    katrina
    April 24, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    This is truly lovely. So creative, the colors are great. I am glad you painted the furniture pink, that is exactly what it needed. Great job!!!

  • Reply
    Fiona
    April 24, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    You crazy, overachieving pregnant woman! Very impressive. Love the floor, and having been pregnant myself, I know it must have been tough to see what you were doing!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Thriftydecorchick
    April 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    This is beautiful! Love the divider! Congrats on your baby girl — your life will never be the same! And that is a VERY good thing. :)

  • Reply
    southern hostess
    April 25, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Nice work! I love the color combination and that painted rug is amazing!

  • Reply
    adrienne
    April 25, 2009 at 12:32 am

    super cute! I love the floor and the polka-dot plant!

  • Reply
    Castle Resorts
    April 25, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Wow!… This is really cute work.

  • Reply
    kate
    April 25, 2009 at 2:21 am

    it is ridiculously charming. i wish i could come over for lemonade or a mojito!

  • Reply
    Travelingmama
    April 25, 2009 at 4:40 am

    So gorgeous! I {love} the touch of pink!

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 25, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Nicole, I absolutely love the porch..it’s perfect!! Just wondering what type of paint you used to paint the rug and if you had to do any prep work before starting.

    Love everything you do; best wishes to you and your new bundle of joy!

  • Reply
    French furniture
    April 25, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I love the combination of green and pink. It looks great!

  • Reply
    Christi
    April 25, 2009 at 6:47 am

    You did a fantastic job! I love looking at your site – it’s so inspiring.

    Just curious, though, what is the name of your patio set? I’m looking for something very similar!

    Thanks so much :)

  • Reply
    Knitterella
    April 25, 2009 at 7:52 am

    WOW! It looks sooo awesome!!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw you on the floor freehand painting like that – I’m 8 months prego and just sitting on the floor to fold my laundry is annoying. You are amazing! This project turned out top-notch!!

  • Reply
    Becky @ Farmgirl Paints
    April 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Very fresh and fun. I love the color combination. You guys did a great job.

  • Reply
    kate
    April 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

    it’s wonderfully charming – wish i lived closer and could come over for lemonade while the babies played…

  • Reply
    Nuit
    April 25, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Oh Gosh Nicole!! what an amazing transformation! I love the green + pink combination… I have to admit I would not have thought of that myself, the divider is soooo creative and the outcome simply beautiful. You’re gonna win!!! (I am sooo looking forward to that post with the happy news!!!)

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