When Taylor Smith returned home to Coronado from a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina in October 2019, she found she was missing something. She had spent much of her vacation in Charleston swaying gently in a porch swing, soaking up the afternoon sun and enjoying the coastal breezes. When she got back to her family home on H Avenue, she found that she missed the comfortable, relaxing feeling of kicking back in the porch swing. She decided to do something about it.
“When I was in Charleston, I saw all of these houses that reminded me of Coronado houses, with these big porches,” said Smith, who graduated Coronado High School in 2015. “A lot of people had porch swings on them, and they looked very nice, custom-made. But there aren’t very many porch swings in Coronado. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to bring handcrafted porch swings to the island?”
Taylor asked her dad, Brian Smith, a retiring airline pilot, to build a prototype.
“I said Dad, this would look great on our front porch, can we please build one?” explains Smith. “He’s not a woodworker, he’s a pilot, but he figured out a way to build it. A month later, and that’s the swing we have at our house.”
Smith says everyone in the family fell in love with the porch swing. Her mom loves sitting out there with a book, and her dad likes to relax in the swing with a beer. Smith cuddles up on the swing also and hangs out with friends for an afternoon happy hour.
“It’s exactly what I wanted,” said Smith. “It reminded me of the porch swings in Charleston. It’s perfect. It’s a great way to sit on your porch and enjoy it the afternoon. I wanted to share that with the rest of the community because i see so many fabulous porches and homes that would fit a beach house porch swing and enjoy it just as I would.”
And so Beach House Porch Swings was born. And who better to build the swings than her dad, right at home in the garage?
“I said Dad, I have a full-time retirement job for you! So now we make the porch swings right here in my garage carport,” said Smith.
She put out a small sign advertising her company, Beach House Porch Swings, and built a website. It wasn’t long before a neighbor walked by, admiring the porch swing and saw the sign. It was her first customer.
“I knew it was a success when I got my first order,” said Smith. “It was really exciting for me. In my heart I knew it was a great product and a great idea, but once somebody actually wanted one from me, it became real.”
Smith says her porch swings feel special because they are all custom-made and handcrafted right here in Coronado. She says they will fit almost any porch and they can be built in a variety of sizes and styles…whatever the customer wants. (Check out the swing gallery on her website for pictures.) The swing itself is made of cedar which endures in the salty air, and can be painted or stained almost any color. The fabric for the cushions is high-end and durable, made by Sunbrella®. It’s great outdoor fabric, explained Smith, and the colors stick around and won’t fade in the sun. Fabric choices are abundant, and all of the cushion coverings have piping and a zipper for easy washing.
For customers who are interested in a porch swing, the process is pretty simple. Smith asks customers to visit the inquiry page of her website, and then Smith will come over and take some measurements to make sure she can create a porch swing that fits the space.
“I will bring the measuring tape and this book of cloth samples, wood samples and rope sample and I will ask you how you envision your swing,” said Smith. “Where do you want it, and how do you see yourself using it? Because everyone is different.”
She will provide quote for the swing, and once an agreement is reached, the customer will select their paint or stain for the wood and the fabric they want for their cushions.
“There are so many different patterns, and if you find one online you love, I can order a sample and bring that to you. I am here to guide you and we can decide together,” says Smith.
The best part? The height of the porch swing can also be adjusted lower or higher, depending on the view.
“I’m building one for a lady on First Street who has a couch on her balcony,” said Smith. “But if she has a porch swing, we can build it high enough so she can see the Bay.”
She says the swing frames take about three to four weeks to build, and the cushions take ten to twelve weeks. Smith delivers free to anywhere in Southern California, and she can ship as well.
From start to finish, the entire process is completely custom. Her dad, Brian, says each order is a new and interesting challenge, and yes, he works well with his boss.
“I think it’s a good idea, it’s really fun, and it’s cool,” said Brian. “It’s her business though. I’m not doing marketing or sales, I’m just drawing the designs and building the swings. Every single one has been different.”
Smith says she has only marketed once, by posting pictures and sales info on Coronado Happenings (local Facebook group). Right away, people started calling.
“I realized it’s something that people really want,” said Smith. “I know in my heart it’s a great design and a great product and I enjoy it so much myself. And they are handmade right here; I think that’s super special.”
Smith, who also works in real estate and has dedicated lots of time coaching Pop Warner Cheer, says when she’s not showing homes or walking around the island with friends, she’s chilling in her porch swing.
“It’s great people watching,” says Smith. “I love saying hi to the neighbors as they walk by. Aesthetically speaking, they are very nice and it’s also a great way to just to enjoy your outdoor space. What a better space than Coronado? People are always walking around, neighbors are always chatting.”
Prices for a Beach House Porch Swing start at around $2,500. For more info, see BeachHousePorchSwings.com.