The City Magazine Since 1975

One Porch Three Ways

One Porch Three Ways
February 2012
How to dress a grand Tradd Street piazza? Interior designers Angie Hranowsky, Biggs Powell, and Julie Rogers each had a unique vision. Whose ideas will you steal?

Bohemian Chic

Angie Hranowsky
Angie Hranowsky Design Studio

What happens when a designer lauded for her texture-rich, modern-eclectic interiors tackles the porch of a stately, circa-1835 single house? She goes boho. “I imagined this was the home of a well-traveled family with a love of art, the outdoors, and entertaining,” says Hranowsky, a longtime graphic designer who opened her downtown interior design studio in 2005. Her signature use of bold color and pattern—seen in publications ranging from Lonny to Coastal Living, Metropolitan Home to House Beautiful—helped transform the space into an exotic, relaxed hideaway. 


(From Left to Right) A rattan daybed and a thrifted wicker peacock chair formed the foundation for Angie’s exotic design. The daybed’s peacock-motif blanket (above left), an Urban Outfitters find, is complemented by a throw pillow in a deep purple Katherine Rally fabric. Always looking to contrast textures, Angie paired a mid-century, Asian-style chair with a faux fur cushion (left). An African table sets a dramatic stage for eclectic accents including a vintage Italian owl.

What she did:
Played up the porch’s tropical—not traditional—side. “The backyard’s banana plants reach up to the porch, so I enhanced that exotic look with palms and orchids,” notes Angie.

Mixed furniture styles. “This makes a space more interesting, as if items were collected over time,” she says. “I balanced the rattan and wicker with a black African drum table, a silver stool, and an Asian-style chair.”

Created a rich color palette around the blanket covering the daybed. Pillows pick up hues from the batik pattern, with pots and a ceramic owl adding pops of blue.

Angie Hranowsky Design Studio, 57 Cannon St., Charleston, (843) 810-3286,

Daybed cover from Urban Outfitters, 371 King St., Charleston, (843) 720-5293,

Silver drum stool from GDC Home, 1290 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston, (843) 571-5142; 695 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant, (843) 849-0711; 420 Freshfields Dr., Freshfields Village, John’s Island, (843) 768-4246,

Plants and pots from Hyams Garden & Accent Store, 870 Folly Rd., Charleston, (843) 795-4570,

Clean & Classic

Biggs Powell
Biggs Powell Interior Design & Antiques


After opening in 2002, it didn’t take long for Biggs Powell’s Memphis antiques shop and design firm to find success. Southern Accents, Veranda, House Beautiful, and more have highlighted his sophisticated style that focuses on proportion, functionality, and architectural interest. And when he expanded to Charleston last March, Elle Decor quickly made mention of his 159 King Street location. Here he can “enjoy the history, architecture, and quality of life,” notes Powell. What better way to dive into the local vernacular then dressing a Holy City piazza? “To me, a porch like this calls for traditional design,” he says. “I added an element of the unexpected, but one that felt appropriate to the space.”


(From Left to Right) Custom pillows in an outdoor Pierre Frey fabric soften Munder-Skiles “Montgomery” benches (left). Chinese Chippendale iron fretwork chairs (far left) pull up to a teak pedestal table scaled perfectly for the space. Mounted on a stand, the large fiberglass bust (above right) brings a vital element of the unexpected. A pair of Sutherland tables—topped by removable scalloped trays— hold electric Plexiglas lanterns with light bulbs “that you can dim for a nice soft glow,” says Biggs.

What he did:
Worked with the piazza’s lean dimensions. “It isn’t very deep, so seating shouldn’t be either—you need space to move around. I chose comfortable furniture that wasn’t too large,” Biggs says.

Thought about functionality. While his iron fretwork chairs, as well as teak benches and tables, are architecturally interesting, they can stand up to the outdoor elements.

Added a surprising detail. An oversized fiberglass bust “was critical to the porch’s design because it created a lot of visual interest,” Biggs notes. It also suits the height of the space and balances the schefflera tree in the corner.

Biggs Powell Interior Design & Antiques, 159 King St., Charleston, SC, 29401; (843) 718-2428 & 1698 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN, 38104, (901) 725-5225 (by appointment);

Teak tray side tables from Sutherland, 168 Regal Row, Dallas, Texas, 75247, (214) 638-4161,

Throw pillow fabric by Pierre Frey,

"Montgomery" benches, "Watson" iron fretwork chairs, and teak pedestal table by Munder-Skiles, Garrison, New York, 10524, (212) 717-0150,

Schefflera tree from Hyams Garden Center, Hyams Garden & Accent Store, 870 Folly Rd., Charleston, (843) 795-4570,

Green Retreat

Julie Rogers
Julie Rogers Design & The Fielding Group

As a space planner specializing in kitchens and baths and the owner of construction company The Fielding Group, Julie Rogers brought a unique perspective to this porch. “I work mainly with new construction and renovation, where the entire space is my canvas—from floor to walls to ceiling,” says Rogers. “I couldn’t decorate this porch without sticking to my roots and working the vertical as much as the horizontal.” Plants and furniture hung from the ceiling add dimension to an outdoor room made to invite frequent use by family members of all ages.

(From Left to Right) Julie included the back corner of the porch in her design, which is anchored by a Pierce Martin sofa dressed in pillows from Celadon, plus a couple of custom “prima donna” patterned numbers. “On welcoming porches, one should be able to easily make a cool drink. This industrial bar cart rolls wherever company lands,” says Julie. She displayed terrariums on a table that she upholstered with inexpensive plastic-backed painter’s drop cloths, then studded with nailheads. Julie constructed her own piece of living art, adding plants that thrive in the Lowcountry, such as maidenhair fern and tall and dwarf mondo grasses.

What she did:

Made a living wall. “I wanted to create a focal point at the terrarium table and also provide privacy, so I hung the ‘wall’ like you would a piece of art in, say, an entryway,” says Julie.

Took advantage of the architecture. “The corners and columns broke the porch into sections that could be treated as individual spaces, yet tied to one another,” she notes.

Created an “active” space. “I set up a station for terrarium and wall gardening; added a chess set; and hung the chair, which invites children to come out and twirl around.”

Julie Rogers Design, (843) 270-2114
The Fielding Group, (843) 296-7438
Julie Rogers’ antiques space at Seventeen South, 4 Avondale Ave., Charleston, (843) 225-4230

Wall art plants and hanging baskets from Hyams Garden & Accent Store, 870 Folly Rd., Charleston, (843) 795-4570,

Upholstered Parson’s table and custom lacquer on end table from Charleston Fabric & Interiors, 4201 Scott St., North Charleston, (843) 744-1188

Terrarium scapes by Kenneth Hyatt and Justin Shram, (803) 322-3585

Fresh flowers from Charleston Flower Market, 1952 Maybank Hwy., Charleston, (843) 795-0015,

Neutral colored sofa pillows from Celadon, 1015 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant, (843) 884-7005,