Erica Hill may not be able to kick back and relax on the weekends, but when she does have extra time, she knows exactly where she wants to spend it.
As part of our original series “At Home with TODAY,” the weekend TODAY co-anchor is inviting you over to show you her favorite spot in her suburban New York home — the front porch.
“It really is an extension of the house,” Erica said about the inviting area, and her family of four certainly treats the space that way.
From sitting on the porch in the early morning hours — “The boys will bring their cereal out” — to enjoying the fresh air while watching TV through the opened French doors — “My husband will sit out here and watch football” — she says the front porch is one of the most popular spots in the family’s home.
Decorating the space was a welcome challenge for Erica, who moved to the home with her family two years ago from their Manhattan apartment — where porches are non-existent.
“I didn’t want to break the bank,” she said of finding décor for the porch. “It’s outside so I didn’t want to go crazy, and we still have other projects we need to do, so I hit the sale at Target and stocked up my cart.”
Using coral and blue as a color scheme, Erica placed ottomans out front for people to rest their feet or sit, and added a variety of plants to warm up the space. She also laid out a patterned outdoor rug to pull the look together.
“The rug really does an incredible job of warming up the space,” Erica said. “If you just had some chairs out here without a rug, it would just be a porch, but this feels more like an extra living room for us.”
Two of the most sentimental pieces on the porch are the pair of brown chairs, which Erica's husband, Dave Yount, purchased as a surprise on their move-in day.
After the couple finished packing up their apartment and sent their two sons and dog to stay with Erica’s mom for the night, Erica took off in one car for their new home just north of New York City while her husband left in another. When Erica arrived at the house, Dave was nowhere to be found.
“He finally showed up and he had stopped to buy two chairs so we could sit on the porch,” she said.
Their new neighbors had dropped off a bottle of wine and two glasses earlier in the day for the couple to enjoy so after a very long day of moving, Erica and Dave poured themselves two much-deserved glasses and plopped in the chairs.
“We sat down on the porch and I literally felt this huge sigh of relief,” Erica said. “I felt like I was on vacation and I’ve felt that way ever since.”
After Dave gifted Erica the chairs, the next purchase the couple made were ferns to hang from the ceiling as an ode to the couple’s time living in Atlanta.
“It’s our Southern connection,” she said.
Erica says the porch remains a popular destination all year long for the family, regardless of the weather outside.
One of her favorite moments came in August when she and her 4-year-old son, Sawyer, sat there together during a rainstorm: “It works rain or shine.”
Check out more At Home with TODAY posts here.