Have I ever told you I am a bit obsessed with porches? Ever since our house in the States had one I have coveted them. It’s that gateway between outdoors and in, a kind of informal living room that you can hang out on even in colder months. Wrapped under a thick blanket under the stars, I have this thing about being outdoors in winter not sure why? Too many Swedish crime thrillers I reckon, bleak landscapes, wooly jumpers, air so cold you can see your breath. Nice! Check out that porch by the lake on the slide show – in love!

I digress Dwell magazine recently paid homage to this architectural feature and mentioned this quote by Jane Jacobs who wrote in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, “The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts…The absence of this trust is a disaster to a city street.” Interesting hey!

I bang on about this all the time but if you have an outdoor space and link it to your indoor space through furniture, texture, planting it will actually make your indoor space feel bigger, no matter if you have a porch or not. The biggest trick with outdoor areas especially if you live in this part of the world where nights are a drawing in is to light them. It’s a game changer. I am sure I have told you this but I have this problem (amongst many) of being shut in so in this house there are no curtains you can always see outside day or night. Shutters don’t close over windows (OK there are blinds in the bedroom and bathroom) but that is it. It’s a simple trick the lighting one but it is the most transformative, promise!