Image: Robin Stubbert / Styling: Ann Marie Favot
How decorator Cynthia Weber fashioned a fresh farmhouse porch worthy of its stunning rural setting.
As much as decorator Cynthia Weber loves to look out at the pastoral landscape beyond her Huron County, Ont., porch, she also adores sitting and staring in the other direction: facing her 1878 home’s stone walls. “The mind boggles to think how much effort went into constructing this house, from hauling the stone via horse and cart to building it without modern machinery,” says Cynthia. “Plus, I’m mesmerized by the plethora of colour in the stonework.” That’s why, when decorating the sprawling 650-square-foot wraparound, she took palette inspiration from the stones themselves, opting for grey, black and white to complement the house rather than compete with it – in fact, it’s one of her porch decorating rules.
Here, Cynthia shares her five other secrets to creating her outdoor space, which truly shines in the sun.
1. NURTURE MOTHER NATURE
“For decorating an outdoor space, my number one tip is not to compete with nature,” says decorator Cynthia Weber of her idyllic Ontario porch. To that end, she selected low-slung seating and a monochromatic palette in patterns that don’t beg for attention. “Enhance views – don’t detract from them,” she says. And with such verdant greenery and pretty dappled sunlight, why on earth would you want to?
2. THINK INSIDE THE HOUSE
Step outside, and your porch should feel like an extension of the room you just came from – so opt for similar colours, patterns and accents. The stripes used in Cynthia’s kitchen are echoed here, pretty country crockery is proudly on display in a stunning indoor-style vignette, and even the coffee table has interior provenance. “In the spirit of complete transparency, it’s a living room ottoman,” admits Cynthia, who had it slipcovered in an outdoor fabric and added casters so she could wheel it out of the rain when needed.
3. REPURPOSE PRETTY PIECES
The indoor-outdoor coffee table isn’t the only piece Cynthia adopted from elsewhere. The bench – which seats six and accommodates catnaps – was salvaged from one of her decorating projects and the shelf brackets were constructed from leftover corbels found in the basement. “They’re the same ones used along our roofline, so it’s a fun, unexpected repetition,” she says.
4. GO GREEN
Essential to Cynthia’s outdoor style, fresh-cut flowers and lush plantings are peppered everywhere. “I keep things monochromatic using varying shades of the same hue,” she says. “I love the subtlety of it.” Even better? When she switches up the plant life – which she does often – she gives her porch a new look by introducing a different colour.
5. STRIKE A POSE
Stunning vignettes are a key ingredient of any well-styled home, so why should a pretty porch be any different? When curating hers, Cynthia chose an ornate vintage side table and shelves stocked with antique crockery and glass water bottles; her handy husband made the wooden tapas tray. And for something completely natural, she included an empty wasps’ nest, found at the edge of the forest, for its texture and sculptural look.