Coffee on the Courtyard

When I moved into my townhome a few years ago, one of my “must-haves” was a covered porch or patio. Non-negotiable. Couldn’t live without it. The house I was moving from was a new-construction bungalow, styled to match the surrounding homes in the historic neighborhood. It had a welcoming front porch and a small screened patio that opened to the backyard from French doors. 

Even though I loved that house, I was ready to move to a place with less yard work and new rooms to decorate. But it had to have some kind of outdoor area. And it had to be covered. I didn’t want my vintage twig porch furniture ruined by the Florida afternoon thunderstorms. I wanted a shady spot from the sun if I wanted to enjoy the outdoors at any other time than dusk or dawn. I wasn’t budging on that point.

I was excited to move to the other side of town into my sister’s neighborhood. I would be just down the street and around the corner from my niece and nephew. My new townhome’s floor plan was totally different from my house, offering exciting new options for decorating. Except it didn't have a covered porch or patio. Instead, the townhome had glass sliding doors that opened to a screened courtyard. Screened. Not covered. But I put my porch furniture out there anyway. Rain poured in. The sun beat down. The cushions on my twig furniture got wet. Brown spots of mold dotted the fabric. The twigs started to break from constant moisture.

I got an estimate to partially cover the courtyard with corrugated aluminum. But the homeowner’s association denied my request because any cover had to have tiles on it to look like a roof. It seemed kind of difficult to put roof tiles on top of aluminum, so I gave up the idea.
This stone candleholder from a discount store
 looks like a piece of interesting architecture.

Several months later, my sister and brother-in-law graciously offered me a gift of patio furniture. Made of white specially-treated aluminum that doesn’t rust in the rain. The cushions are made of fabric that dries quickly and fades slowly. I’m not sure about it. I’m convinced my courtyard has to look a particular way for me to enjoy it. My porch has to resemble the pages I’ve torn out of magazines of my dream outdoor space. I sadly retire my beloved twig furniture to the garage. 

My new love seat, chair and table arrive. I’m surprised at how nice it looks. I’m relieved of worrying about my twig furniture. The new furniture is made of heartier stuff. I decorate the space with plants, flowers, lamps and candles. This is where I enjoy my morning coffee or read a book in the evenings. It looks enchanting twinkling by candlelight.  

I still keep a vintage table and chair set on my courtyard, 
with a vintage gate hanging behind it, despite the weather.
So often I get bogged down with wanting things in my life to proceed according to my plan of perfection. I seem to forget that being receptive and open is better than being stuck on one rigid idea. I’ve found that when I consider a shift of perspective or make an adjustment to my viewpoint, I expand my possibility to appreciate and enjoy. 

The alternative could be different from what I originally thought. I might get used to it. In fact, it just might be perfect.


  1. I love your photos! They keep getting better and better! I always look forward to reading your posts, and using your ideas!

    1. Thanks to a few lessons from a very talented photographer! :) See more of Brittany Grubbs' work here:

  2. So true! I've noticed that I enjoy the real life outcomes more when I relax and take time to appreciate what's in front of me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think I've found that trying to adapt to something new might be a bit easier than yearning for what might have been. (For me, it seems to apply to porch furniture or just about anything else!)

  3. I loved this post. It's so true. My son is an ice dancer and when he and his first partner split up we weren't sure what was going to happen or even if he would continue. He ended up with an even better partner who he gets along with even better than the first one. :)

    Your patio looks like a little Parisian cafe -- maybe a way to keep your upcoming trip home with you when you get back?

  4. Amy,
    I agree that the idea of change is hard so trying to see beyond it can be quite the challenge. It's so surprising when the change turns out to be so much better! I wish I could remember this lesson! Thank you for the compliments on the patio -- I love the idea of turning it into a little bit of Paris! :)


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