We chose to paint our house during the summer of 2011. That summer unexpectedly continued into the next summer. Our house is small and we didn’t think it would take too long to prep and paint it. The problem was we decided to repair a “few things” before we started painting. We thought we’d quickly replace the front stairs, which were slopping at an odd angle. We assumed it was because someone built them that way. Turns out the porch was actually sinking. We also wanted to remove the plywood that covered the porch balusters, and replace them if they were in bad shape. That “little” project turned into us having to remove the entire front porch, including the porch roof.
Under the plywood we found crumbling, rotting wood. Once we took the skirting off we discovered that the west side of the porch was supported by a single, crumbling brick. The porch roof had detached and was only hanging on by a few nails on each side, completely unattached from the house in the center. This discovery was hidden by new shingles that were installed right before we bought the house. This was all too dangerous to ignore and much more work that we ever anticipated.
Since we had already started scraping the house of old paint, we continued that project while we dealt with removing and rebuilding the front porch. This taught us a huge lesson…only do one big project at a time. As everyone will warn, there are always surprises during a renovation. Some much bigger than others!
The old porch roof had detached and was only hanging on by a few nails on each side, completely unattached from the house in the center. This discovery was hidden by new shingles that were installed right before we bought the house.
Once we took the skirting off we discovered that the west side of the porch was supported by a single, crumbling brick.
Under the plywood we found crumbling, rotting wood.
The original porch was probably built at a slight angle so rain water would run off. Over time the porch sunk even more, making the slope quite extreme.
We propped up the existing roof while we removed the bottom section of the porch.
Since this was not a planned renovation, we quickly drew up some ideas for the new porch with a friend of ours.
We began pouring a new concrete footing for the porch. No more cracked bricks!
Graig pouring cement.
With the porch roof still suspended over us, we continued to pour the cement pad.
Once the cement pad dried completely we built the frame for the porch. We decided to use the bottom section as an enclosed storage space.
Now that the bottom half of the porch was built, we could use it as a work surface to remove the porch roof.
The house looked really sad without a front porch!
We worked as late as we safely could during the long summer days.
Living in a construction zone!
At the end of the first summer things start to come together.
Wedding anniversaries used to be about special dinners, or little getaways out of town. Now we wear matching safety goggles!
Since there was nothing structurally sound to attach the porch roof back to where it was originally, we decided to extend the exiting roof-line straight out to cover the porch.
Extending the existing roof-line also gave us a few options for enclosing the porch, as well as a vaulted porch ceiling.
We then had to decide if we wanted to leave the front of the porch roof-line open, or enclose it.
An example we found of an open porch roof-line.
We looked at as many examples as we could find online, as well as around our neighborhood. We lived and breathed every inch of this porch remodel!
An example of what it might look like if we enclosed the porch roof-line.
We also hastily Photoshopped what our house might look like if we enclosed the top section of the porch.
In the end we decided to enclose the top section of the porch. For a quite a while our house didn’t only look like a wreck, but it also looked like we didn’t know what we were doing. It’s amazing how all of the finish work and paint really make things come together!
Although we never found any examples of an enclosed porch roof-line that also incorporated a vaulted ceiling, we decided to do it anyway. This decision made the porch feel much more spacious.
The siding goes on and we build the new porch balusters and railing.
As the summer comes to an end we continue working when we can, weather permitting. In this photo Graig is checking something out as we leave to go to a friends house for Thanksgiving dinner!
Spring rolls around and we are able to start some serious work again. We knew exactly what door we wanted, but the cost was keeping us from buying it. Then, as luck would have it, we found one listed for sale at Second Use, a reclaimed building materials store. This was the exact 4-lite, 4-panel exterior door, in the exact odd size that we wanted. Rather than paying $500, we got it for $100, and it was brand new with the plastic still on the glass panes!
The new door is installed.
The new door and handle set.
The railings…of all the things that a married couple could argue about during a huge remodel, this one was probably the worst!
A simple wooden post with a handrail was absolutely not going to cut it!
The posts needed to be wrapped and capped. The balusters also needed to continue down the handrails to complete the look.
Once this was agreed upon, then we had more simple choices to make. Like, how to cap the end rails. With a simple cap, or do we build it out a little?
We chose to build out the end rails and then cap them.
This made the porch railing look a lot more substantial and balanced.
Our house looked pretty bad, for a long time. Even after the porch re-build. It took us months to finish all the detail work and paint.
Another anniversary, another day of working on the house!
The bottom section of the new porch was framed out with two doors so we could have extra storage space.
The new vaulted ceiling awaits something special…
We really needed a statement light to accentuate the vaulted ceiling of the new porch.
We narrowed it down to two lights from Rejuvenation Lighting, and once again hastily mocked something up in Photoshop to see what they might look like.
In the end we decided on the larger of the two lights. We spent a fair amount of time measuring, and even mocked up a cardboard version of the shade to determine just the right length.
The perfect light for our porch! Even though we still had a lot of painting to finish, the installation of the light really made things feel complete.
Another summer gone by, still touching up the paint on the new porch.