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