Sandy Erdman: Vintage decor makes these stoops to conquer

May 19, 2019

A welcoming porch creates a friendly entryway to your home, and with the right accessories, it can become an extension of your home.

Our front porch is really a deck that steps down to a walkway, but it is large enough to hold planters of brightly colored geraniums. It wouldn’t feel like summer without these welcoming blooms.

Your porch should have vintage chairs, and it doesn’t matter if no two are alike — just that they are comfortable, with a pillow or two propped against their backs.

A table or two is nice to have, with an old Mason jar, one saved from grandmother’s canning cellar, filled with fresh cut daisies or a soft flicker of a candle within the jar. A quilting project, tucked into a favorite vintage basket or vintage furniture drawer, is ready to be worked on at a moment’s notice.

Many homeowners today have an outside deck and patio aside from a porch. Many feature an outside kitchen for dining and grilling, with new or vintage wicker sets with umbrella tables and coordinating side tables and an added bench for extra seating all around the outdoor gas fire table.

Vintage metal lawn chairs, also known as “motel chairs,” once a familiar sight in the manicured yards of the 1950s, are still a hot collectible. Today, these sturdy metal chairs are eagerly collected as some collectors repaint them in vivid reds, yellows, lime greens or another favorite color and attach a padded seat cover to match the color of the chair.

A worn and weathered metal lawn chair that has survived many seasons outdoors is also picked up by collectors. These chairs have a price range of $45 to even $175, depending on condition, at flea markets and antique shops where dealers are now aware of their popularity. However, bargains can be found at garage sales. My favorite book for more information is “Garden Junk,” by Mary Randolph Carter.

Where to find

Lyn Sweazey, owner of Momma’s Spending Money, LLC, in Goodview said, “I have two very cute pink and blue well-made chairs that have that vintage look, selling at $25 each, and the pillows at $10 that can add a bit of color flair to your porch.”

Brenda Jannsen, owner of Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, Winona, said, “People do love their outside areas, as they are great place to relax and enjoy fresh air, bringing back memories of old farm folks rocking on the wood porch or sitting out in the back yard under the tree listening to the crickets. As soon as we display wicker chairs, benches, tables, or bikes, they are snatched up immediately! Another popular item is the single old wood chairs with peeling paint and the metal motel chairs.

“Chairs are easy to brightly decorate with flowerpots or large garden hats,” Jannsen said. “Decorating with primitives has been popular this year on the porch and in the garden. Nailing rusty old tools, barnboard signs or metal stars on porch walls and posts is still trending.”

Also at Treasurers Under Sugar Loaf, vendor Judy Ratz said, “I have gnomes ranging from $9-$20, succulents from $7-$10 range and other garden/lawn décor such as assorted small garden stones and chipmunks, cement candleholders and more.”

Kristine Dienger, another vendor at Treasures Under Sugar Loaf, said, “I have the colored mushrooms in a variety of colors, size and shapes. Prices range from $5 to $40 for the big planter sets.”

Sarah Kieffer, of Sarah’s Uniques and Jim’s “Man”tiques, St. Charles, said, “Spring is by far my busiest time of the year for porch items! I sell not only wicker, but also porch sets, buckets for flowers, antique planters, furniture pieces to hold blankets and wood rocking chairs along with lawn and porch décor including gnomes, fairies, and much more! Galvanized and old farm décor chippy pieces are all big items for on the porches today. Anything that is old, is new again.”

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