A Thing for Threes

It’s not nice to leave you wondering, so I won’t make you ponder any longer; Tim and I agreed option ‘C’ is ideal for our new porch.  It was the first option to catch my eye and after talking it through with Kimberly, our designer, I was firm in the choice.

Kimberly Kerl - first porch plans_Page_1 (1)a

There are several reasons I like ‘C’ best, not the least being that I have a thing for threes.  As you will notice, the elevation is centered with three windows flanked by a pair of windows on each side.   The Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” means everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, a set of three is complete.  Plus, in my mind, the room was already divided into three areas just as the windows divide the space:  a center entry highlighting the view with a sitting area to one side and a dining space on the other.

Also, the big window in our kitchen is divided into three so the idea of repetition is appealing.


There were practical reasons too.  Within the room, sconces will be well placed on columns closer to the center of the room.  While below, a wider spread between the hefty brick columns will provide better views from the patio and make the space easier to screen if we decide to enclose it later.

Option ‘A’, the crowd favorite, is certainly the most dramatic, and ‘B’ takes the prize for being straightforward and balanced.  Our thought is that ‘C’ offers the best of both.

On the bloom front, I surprisingly have an offering for In a Vase on Monday, sponsored by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  This branch of deciduous magnolia, clipped for a recent program highlighting camellias and other plants with winter interest, has decided to flower!


Plus, I want to give a nod to Jason at Gardeninacity, who provided seeds and nuts to songbirds during Chicago’s weekend blizzard, with a photo of two of my favorite birds—a Carolina wren and a red-bellied woodpecker—enjoying breakfast at the suet feeder.





33 thoughts on “A Thing for Threes

  1. Christina

    When you explain the design I can understand why you chose C, it sounds a wonderful project and will give you great pleasure when it is complete. Amazing to have the Magnolia in flower, just shows that many branches can be brought inside to force.

  2. Martha Robinson

    I was drawn to “A”; however, there really were no losers. Will be fabulous and I bet you will spend most of your awake hours at home there.

  3. Jan Bowman

    Hi Marian, I am wondering why you chose to not install that slide on the lower floor. Not knowing what is on the inside, though, doesn’t it add opportunities for a rest from working in the garden? Also, a staging area for the gardening supplies needed for clean up and new flats of plants? Or, maybe that would be too costly for it’s use? Anyway, thanks for sharing the ideas!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jan–There is a slider on the basement level, it just isn’t shown on this rendering. We use the door very little, though, because it’s just easier to go through the garage. Maybe when the patio is complete, that will change.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Matt–Though you can’t see it in this photo which looks up towards the sky, the kitchen window overlooks the Reedy River. There are always red-tail hawks, owls, and blue herons along the river, and sometimes I spy a river otter.

  4. Julie

    Marian, is that the view from your Kitchen window? If so its wonderful, what do you look out on? Love the Magnolia, birds and window choice too.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–The view is the reason we moved here. The front of the house is slightly below street level and behind the house the property drops away in a series of terraces down to the Reedy River. What appears to be a park on the other side of the river is a golf course, but it’s very beautiful and natural looking, plus the river draws a lot of interesting birds and other wildlife to the area.

  5. Chloris

    I look forward to seeing your project shape. I am sure it will be wonderful.
    I love your Magnolias, I never thought of forcing them. Beautiful.
    The birds are gorgeous, I have never seen either of them before. And what a fabulous photo.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Chloris–I’m eager to get started but I’ve lived through construction before, so I know we have a long way to go and the process will have its challenges. Don’t know why I didn’t realize the magnolia would bloom. For me, it’s pretty enough in bud.

  6. Cathy

    Seeing that magnolia open like that is really intriguing – when would it be flowering on the tree? You will have lots of us trying that out in due course, I think! Fascinating to see your rather different bird species too – thanks for sharing them and your vase

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Cathy–This particular magnolia blooms early to mid March, depending on the weather. If we get a hard frost after it blooms, the flowers turn to brown mush, which is a shame.

      1. Cathy

        A shame indeed – mine is later than that so is less likely to suffer frosts, but I shall certainly try cutting some to see if the buds will open after seeing yours.

  7. Julie

    What an exciting project you are undertaking – C looks like a great option and I agree about threes. I think the magnolia is wonderful – i would never have thought about trying to force one, but as soon as mine is mature enough I will be stealing a branch every winter to enjoy inside!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–As soon as holiday decorations are cleared away, I gather a new collection of houseplants and begin to look for bits and pieces in the garden or natural world to display. Winter is relatively short here, so I always try to make the most of it.

  8. Cathy

    Now I can understand why you chose C and can’t wait to see it take shape! Your Magnolia looks beautiful in your vase and I am so glad it is opening for you Marian. 🙂

  9. digwithdorris

    An interesting post: architecture, a vase, a forced magnolia and bird life too. I especially love the view from your kitchen sink. As to the birds, I have wrens and woodpeckers call by occasionally, I will have to try to take a picture as they are the same, but so different.

  10. Marian St.Clair Post author

    Dorris–There seems to be an awful lot going on right now, too much in fact for winter. I’m afraid these lazy days are not lazy enough to suit me and slipping away all too fast. Looking forward to seeing your woodpeckers and wrens.


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