Alexandria, Va., based designer Anna Kucera chose neutral, weatherproof fabrics for the seat cushions on this Great Falls porch, which she accented with vibrantly colored throw pillows.
Photo by Veronica Bruno
When a Great Falls homeowner decided she wanted to breathe new life into her large covered porch after a long, cold winter, she called on Anna Kucera, owner and principal designer of Gracious Living by Design in Alexandria, Va., to give the space a fresh look in time for warm-weather gatherings.
“The client has an expansive porch with incredible views of Great Falls,” said Kucera. “She [wanted] to refresh and update the outdoor living space while still allowing the vista to remain the focal point.”
Kucera’s goal was to create a space that was at once tranquil and invigorating, but also respected the home’s architectural features, including stonework and wood siding. Kucera was careful to upholster the casual, but elegant seating with fabrics that were durable, heavily textured and able to withstand the elements.
“Although the porch is covered, we needed to select materials that could withstand moisture and sun exposure,” said Kucera. “And considering the large quantity of cushions on the porch, it was prudent to select upholstery fabrics that would not become tiresome after a season or two.”
The upholstered cushions were crafted from outdoor fabrics made of 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic. The main seating area is accessorized with custom-sized, flat-woven, polypropylene area rugs by Couristan.
“Both solution-dyed acrylic and polypropylene are inherently mildew and fade resistant,” said Kucera. “We selected an off-white solid woven from Stroheim to cover the back and arm cushions. For the seats and contrast welt on the back cushions, we chose a neutral tone fabric with a subtle dot pattern designed by Wendy Tsuji and Linda Ueda for Perennials.”
The rugs are perfect for alfresco gatherings: “Clients who enjoy entertaining outdoors and love natural sisal rugs are impressed with the way polypropylene rugs offer the same look with the added benefits of easy clean-up ... along with durability,” said Nancy Hardy, a design associate at Gracious Living by Design.
Kucera used a neutral and timeless palette as a backdrop for vibrant pops of color in accessories such as toss pillows. “We created emphasis by combining succulent citrus shades of green, orange and yellow,” she said. “The mood could easily be changed with pillows by combining soothing tones of sea glass, green and aqua, or by boldly contrasting black and off-white.”
To complete the space, Kucera picked up a few accent pieces at The Virginia Florist of Alexandria. “I found accessories and finishing touches such as orchids in cachepots, a sweet bird votive holder and greenery-filled urns.”
These carefully chosen details gave the porch a polished aesthetic. “The objects and works of art that we look for and carry are as important as the floral arrangements that we create because we think they should always work together,” said Kevin Green, owner of The Virginia Florist. “Our clients are interested not just in flowers, but in decorating their environments, and we share that kind of holistic approach.”