I can’t recall a better Summer to enjoy my front porch.  For our non-Nashville readers, I hope you, too, have been delighting in a similarly glorious summer.  The amount of time I have spent on my porch has given me the opportunity to have a critical eye and re-evaluate my decorating choices. I hope this post inspires you to bring a critical eye to your porch and then enjoy a St-Germain cocktail from the recipes provided at the end of this post.  We all need some porch time before Old Man Winter blows in.

I can’t remember the brand name of my porch furniture.  But, I know that I got it on a 75% clearance sale at Home Expo about six years ago.  It was obvious why no one had purchased it: it was grey with grey damask outdoor fabric.  It was just kinda blah.  And, an expensive blah at that.  But, I saw the bones were good as it was light-weight rust-proof aluminum that carried a heavy visual feel.  I think it was made by Lane, but if not, it was a reputable name that I knew made good furniture.  I knew I had to recover the pillows.  Thus, a call was made to my hubby and he agreed to the purchase.  The furniture came home with me that day.  Flash forward six years and you know what has happened: the cushions were never recovered.

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As we put our house on the market, I thought about having those cushions redone, but elected to put my money elsewhere. But, the grey cement porch, grey aluminum and grey cushions were actually making me gloomy.  Now that we have decided to stay in Nashville, the first thing I did was buy the fabric and have those cushions redone!  I ordered some Sailcloth by Sunbrella at The Fabric House.  My FABULOUS decorator, Rachel Halverson*, mentioned that she thought I should have the furniture painted while I was at it.  The results are fabulous.  Rachel picked out a Sherwin Williams color: Black Beauty in exterior oil and my painter came with this awesome equipment that can “blow” the paint on to give it a professional powder finish.

Rachel also suggested that I remove the frosted glass from the side table and have a piece of stained wood cut down to fit there. I NEVER would have thought of that and I love it.  At this point, I will probably paint my porch swing next Spring and add an outdoor rug.   But, for now, phase 1 is complete.

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There is a story behind my porch coffee table.  It was purchased from Pier One 13 years ago as my DINING ROOM TABLE!  We could fit six, tightly, around that table.  But, as I’m a believer that the tighter the fit the better the conversation, that never bothered me.  When I inherited my fabulous dining room table from my husband’s grandmother 10 years ago, I took this Pier One table and sawed the legs off to make it coffee table height and moved it to my family room.  Then, it was moved to the porch and lots of rain fell on it.  It has warped and peeled as the laminate top was never made for the outdoors.  But, I love the weathered look and I believe in recycling furniture as long as you possibly can, so it’s a perfect porch table for us.  Funnily enough, Rachel LOVES this table and asked me where I got it.  Sorry, it’s not one you can ever go out and buy!

The wooden trivets, upon which the glass hurricanes are placed, were purchased at Merridan Home Furnishings on Franklin Pike.  The hurricanes are currently at Pier One, as well as the candles and sand that you can see in them.  The new green pillows were purchased at Restoration Hardware for 50% off.  My orchids are going CRAZY outside right now as this weather is perfect.  Import Flowers has wonderful HUGE orchids for about $40 that you would think were well over $100 as they are so large.  Mums are courtesy of my dear friend Kristen who just pops over with things that make me smile.  One day my life will calm and I will be able to be that friend to her as well:-)

I hope I have inspired you to make sure you have a welcoming porch that beckons to you each day to enjoy.  Rarely used before, this weather and the new look have us outside reading or conversing daily.

Now, the story of St-Germain and why it is the perfect cocktail for your porch: Over the course of only a few days each Spring, 40-50 men hand pick and gather wild elderflowers from the foothills of the Alps in France.  They then climb down the hills and bicycle the blossoms to market…as that is the only way to gather these precious blooms!  Thus, those few days of gathering give the world its only St-Germain for the year.  It is hand-made in limited quantities and “the first liquor in the world made in the artisanal French manner.”- from website.  The liquor also comes in the hands down most beautiful bottle I have ever seen.

Cocktail recipes for this coming weekend! Reader beware: I make a drink the way I cook “a little of this, a little of that.”  So, feel free to interpret these recipes the way YOU see fit!  These recipes are courtesy of my equally rebellious recipe friend, Jere.  Thank you, Jere!  And, St. Germaine can be pricey, so a big THANK YOU to The Wine Chap for offering 10% off St. Germain this week to Styleblueprint readers.  So, don’t feel cheap.  Speak up and say we sent you!  Get that discount! -Liza

Cocktail Ideas:

  • Take a vodka tonic and finish it off with a splash of St-Germain. Squeeze a little lime in there for good measure. (I like this with Blue Saphire Gin instead of Vodka)
  • Mix some vodka with Italian lemon soda (available at Whole Foods and Target), add a splash of St-Germain.
  • Muddle some blackberries, strain them if you need to, add (you guessed it)—vodka and perhaps a little cranberry juice, and St-Germain.
  • Bellini—mix champagne with St-Germain. Throw in a slice of fresh peach.
  • For more precise recipes, including margaritas, mojitos and martinis, see their website.

*I know I know!  Rachel is super busy right now for those of you trying to get on her calendar.  Never fear, just book that appointment even though it’s 3-4 weeks out.  That time period of “after the kids go back to school and pre- Holiday crunch” is always crammed busy in the decorating world.