Jenny & Collin's "Work With What You Got" Balcony

Jenny & Collin's "Work With What You Got" Balcony

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Adrienne Breaux
Apr 27, 2012

One of our favorite house tours in recent memory is the Austin home of cute couple Jenny and Collin, who, despite living in one of those beige, cookie-cutter apartment complexes managed to create a bold, colorful and personality-filled home. To say we were surprised to learn their miniscule outdoor areas were given equally thoughtful design treatment would be a lie; we knew they'd be adorable.

And we were right. Jenny and Collin have continued their awesome habit of making the most out of what they have with their teeny balcony and even their front stoop. You can see they haven't done anything terribly drastic or expensive: they've just slowly accumulated plants and pieces that resonate with them, and then thoughtfully arranged all the elements in a smart, space-maximizing way to create a spot they use nearly every day.

We were ultra impressed to see that the balcony was arranged to fit storage for gardening tools and supplies, extra seating, a cute little eating area, food-producing plants (they've had quite a great year with their pepper plant) and even hanging space for a bike. Jenny really summed it up best when we were marveling at how much she and Collin managed to fit on their balcony: "You can always find a way to create more space."

What makes your outside space unique? It's a green lung in an oasis of apartment complex concrete.

How do you use the space? First and foremost, we use it as a potager for culinary herbs, but we discovered that we also love to have breakfast or dinner out on the porch, and we have extra folding chairs stowed away in case anyone wants to join us! Every so often we'll swivel our living room TV to face the balcony and catch up on the Daily Show while sitting outside too. Recently I've taken to lounging out there on a sleeping bag in the afternoons, as springtime in Austin is perfect weather for outdoor reading.

Do you use the space year-round? Weather permitting, we use the space year-round.

What's your outdoor space style? We let the plants do most of the visual work in the space, and supplement that with eclect