Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just One Little Problem

Remember when the front porch used to look like this?

That is one seriously ugly porch.  Seriously.  Ugly.  It hurt my eyes to look at it.

From the time the house was built (around 1887) until at least 1947 when this photo was taken, the front porch looked like this:

Hipped roof, pretty spandrel, iron roof cresting.  Beautiful little porch.  It hurts my heart that it's all gone.  (By the way, the polka-dot background is what my kitchen countertops used to be, and it does not hurt my heart that they are gone.)

In the spring of 2009, Mare and I got rid of most of the ugly porch, and for a day or two it looked like this:
I really liked how the porch looked all open like that, and for about 48 hours I lost my resolve to screen part of it in.  Then I thought about how much I like to sit on that front porch, and how much I fear flying (and biting) insects, and so we screened in one end of it.

And I was almost immediately sorry.  I wasn't sorry that I could sit on the front porch and drink a beer without being chewed to pieces by mosquitos.  I was sorry that I did something to the house that made it look even less like it did in 1887.  (Although taking all those damned shingles off the rest of the house so that the original siding shows did a lot to assuage my guilt.)  Still, it hasn't set right with me ever since.

So, about a month ago I called Mare to ask him to give me a bid on making the porch look like the 1947 photo.  He finally showed up, unannounced, yesterday.  Mare has always been long on ideas and short on money.  Yesterday was no different.  He was completely unable to give me even a ballpark estimate of what the new front porch might cost. Sigh.  However, he did come up with a great idea.  His plan is to remove the front porch completely and re-use it on the back part of the house so I can have a screened-in porch back there.

This is what the back of the house used to look like, before I had the shed torn down and before I got rid of all those awful shingles.  (My camera is missing and my cell phone is utterly dead, so I had to dig up this old photo.)  The screened-in porch would go from about where that shed wall is, then past the back door to the end of the house.  This would solve a few problems:  I would still have a place to sit outside without fear of June bugs; the porch door could be lined up with the sidewalk, which is about 4 feet to the left of the current back door, so my eye wouldn't twitch every time I look at the back yard with its sidewalk leading to the middle of a wall; and (best of all) the front of the house would look more like it's intended to.  Second-best is that the back porch would not cost anything, since that area's smaller than the front porch and we can re-use everything.  

There's just one little problem:  I still don't know what the new porch would cost.  Sigh.


  1. If it were me, I'd definitely want the front porch opened up. Do you think you would use the back porch very much? The reason I ask is because you can buy really cute screened tents for you yard if you wanted a place to sit outdoors free of insects. Or, you could build a porch off the garage. Just throwing out some ideas....those are free. :)

    BTW, I think the gray looks great. I would not have come up with that color since I like warmer colors, but on your house it seems right, and looks richer.

  2. The open front porch is cute. I can see why you like it better. To be able to sit out there and drink your beer on buggy evenings, go tropical. Ikea sells this mosquito netting
    It will be plenty big for a chair or two, a small table, you and the furballs. When you're not using it, you can swag it up against the house or the other end of the porch, Or take it down and store it in a pretty box.

  3. Sounds like a great idea! It would mean you would get to do two things you enjoy so much (preserving your home's history and not getting eaten alive by bugs.

  4. That original porch is just fabulous!

    Just be careful with your roof junctions. It looks like the current front porch has a flat roof that is lower than the house roof. If you go back to the hipped porch roof you don't want to end up with valleys between the house & porch that will collect water and be forever leaking.

    Good luck working with Mare!

  5. This is just my opinion, but I have the choice of sitting on my back deck or my front porch. I far prefer the front as I like to watch the world go by and not much happens out except the occasional deer, fox, etc. On the front porch, a car might go by giving me someone to wave at who might just stop and chat for a while. Just my preference. All that being said, not much happens in my neighborhood as I live 20 miles from nowhere. Haven't been able to sit anywhere outside this year, however.

  6. Excuse me for hijacking your blog :-)

    One of the toilets in my house is blue and the seat needed replacing. I found every color imaginable and then some at The blue one I ordered turns out to be very high quality and the Bemis phone customer service people are very nice. Also, made in the U.S.A.

    Just looking at all the colors at that link makes me understand why people went nuts with colored bathroom fixtures.

  7. Are there lots of bugs around? Or is this a solution in search of a problem :-)