Connecting Formal with Informal

September 18, 2018

Karlynne and Gene Wood found their comfortable place with a little help from their friends.



     In the past, people gathered on the front or back porch to enjoy a time of fellowship and a glass of hand- squeezed lemonade. It was a time to offer words of ad- vice, share stories, and perhaps a tidbit of juicy gossip.

If porches could talk . . . the stories they could tell!
     This renovation story began in November 2017, in Louis- ville, Kentucky. As friends gathered, they realized that three of the men would be celebrating their fiftieth birthdays with- in three weeks of each other in the coming year. Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate together? But where? Karlynne and Gene Wood volunteered their home, located in Ridgeland’s Bridgewater subdivision. At that point, they already had the plans and permits for a new poolhouse complete with a full bath, storage area, covered porch and outdoor kitchen. This conversation merged that project with the inspiration to 
transform their current porch to a more formal patio setting.

     The Woods contacted designer Susan Fontenot of Fontenot Designs. Karlynne states, “Susan’s creativity is amazing and she is incredible.” They knew Susan would use her imag- ination and unique abilities to create a patio and a poolhouse/ porch beyond their expectations. Susan met with John Weav- er of Weaver Architects to implement her ideas for the patio.

     Then builder Marty Martello began the complicated process of remodeling the current adjacent back porch, as well as starting the construction of the new poolhouse and porch. Over the next few months, because of inclement weather and an unavoidable enormous tree root, progress was slow.

     Meanwhile, Susan was overseeing the project: choosing tile and paint colors, and purchasing new furniture, lamps, accessories, plants and exterior fabrics for curtains and furniture. There was upholstering furniture, painting the walls and outside brick. All of this was taking place in the sawdust and mud, sunshine and rain.
     Inspiration and ideas became a reality as the spring winds 
began to blow the newly-hung outside curtains. With the outside fireplace as the focal point, a sofa, outdoor daybed and comfy chairs were strategically placed for guests to relax and enjoy conversation or a television program. A long table with eight chairs works for an elegant meal or an afternoon coffee gathering. No matter where a person is in this patio room, everyone will have a beautiful view of the pool and landscaped area.

     Approximately twenty feet from the patio is the new poolhouse and covered porch. The Big Green Egg grill, originally on the existing porch, was moved to the new patio adjacent to the poolhouse/porch, and a nook was specifically created for it along with a grill and outdoor sink covered by a copper awning. The unique feature of the new porch area is the vintage hand-painted room screen which was hung on the wall. Various sizes of ginkgo leaves are painted on the screen offer- ing a distinctive way to add a splash of color. This area has a table with four chairs, a small couch, two comfy chairs and a television.

     Throughout this project, the phrase “talking to one another” was used repeatedly. The main goal was connecting the formal with the informal, the patio with the pool- house/porch, both areas communicating wel- come, relax, rest a spell, take in the beauty, enjoy the food and fellowship and find your comfortable place.

     Everything came to fruition one week be- fore the big event on May 19. Guests came from various parts of the country to celebrate fifty years of living and friendship. And when it was time to depart, Gene and Karlynne heard their guests say, “Enjoyed it so much,” all thanks to an idea hatched miles away and the desire for three friends to celebrate together.










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121 North State Street

Jackson, MS 39201


P. O. Box 1183

Jackson, MS 39215

© 2018 by PORTICO

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