In the words of the incomparable Deborah Harry, “I’ll have a cup of tea and tell you of my dreaming, dreaming is free!” And yes, you’re welcome for the much-needed infusion of 70’s punk rock on this sleepy, hazy Wednesday. I can hardly keep up with my One Direction Pandora station this morning- nearly every track is getting thumbs-upped. You know you’re a music nerd when you start hyperventilating after Pandora plays three of your favorite songs in a row (yes, I did just admit to enjoying a boy band).
But I digress.
As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, dreaming is free! I’ve been doing a lot of it recently, mostly centered around the house. DUH. I bet you saw that coming. I could wax poetic about vacations, cruise boats and losing 10 pounds, but let’s be practical. I’m only 10k away from achieving a few house renos that I’ve been wanting for a while! Sooo… Anyone got 10k? Yeah, me neither, so until I do, DREAMING IS FREE! (You’re going to get sick of me saying that)
While our roof needs to be replaced in the next couple of months, we definitely need to fence our back and side yards, and the garage desperately needs to be cleaned out/finished/organized, the project I’ve been dreaming about the most is renovating our front porch. I know I’ve talked about it before, but seriously guys, it’s on my mind.
I really need to take a new picture now that all the trees have filled out and everything is
green brown and leafy. D*mn heat wave. Anyway, that’s the porch! Despite having the small-cute thing going for it, there are a few problems with this.
- It’s small. There’s room for a bistro table set, and that’s about it.
- It’s hot. It’s on the west side of the house which is great for hoarding evening sunlight in the winter- but in the summer, the front yard & porch are approximately 847124 degrees hotter than the rest of our property.
- No shade. During evening sunlight- the prime time to be dining al fresco during the summer- sunlight streams in unabated.
- No privacy. While our neighbors across the front yard from our porch do have a privacy fence, their two-story house towers over said fence! Anyone at any of their 6 second-story windows (I counted) has a primo view of the happenings on our front porch.
Dining al fresco becomes a lot less appetizing when you’re cramped, sweltering, and wondering if your neighbors have counted how many baby tomatoes you’ve picked out of your salad and slyly tossed over the railing (Mark, I know you do this!). Ahem.
The cheapest reno would be the following: replace the metal porch railings with sheets of wood lattice (Lowes, $8/panel). Instant shade & privacy! Plant something vine-y at the base of the porch to climb up the lattice for even more shade & privacy. Invest in a cheap outdoor rug, something easily hosed off, to add to the feeling of an outdoor room (Overstock.com, $48). Buy a small bistro table set, add flowers in a couple planters, put up hanging lanterns with citronella candles (Ikea, $8/lantern). I could do all of that for probably <$150. ORRRRRRR I could….
Do something like this:
Ignore the painting/new roof/demolishing/decluttering that happened and look at one thing: a concrete “landing” becoming a beautiful, practical deck! I found this on NewlyWoodwards.com, a fabulous blog about a couple doing a complete remodel/overhaul of their home. It’s an amazing blog and a great resource, especially since now I’m drooling over how fabulous our tiny little concrete front porch could become (This porch reno is from their remodel of their first home, they are now plowing their way through a second- seriously, check out their blog!).
Before and After pictures from their deck staining project. I love this porch so much! We could probably have a deck like this built for around $500, right over top of/around the concrete stoop. I would want to expand the project into a pergola roof with the lattice walls I talked about earlier- sun protection & privacy, natch! Also I would definitely want the blueprint of the porch to be expanded from across the front of the chimney all the way to the edge of the house by the driveway. The big picture window in our kitchen would no longer be awkwardly half on and half off the porch, and the random crumbly concrete path from the porch to the driveway would be swallowed up by beautiful new decking.
Of course, there are a few problems with this dream besides the obvious, which is, well, $$. The concrete stoop we’ve got right now has its own sporty little bit of roof- drippy & dingy, but still there. If the porch was expanded into a fabulous deck, the posts holding up said sporty roof would visually break up the space. I don’t want metal posts in the middle of my deck, but I also like the idea of leaving enough roofing on the deck to be able to sit outside in the rain without getting soaked, at least in that one spot.
Step One, replace the roof. That’s the necessary project that HAS to be completed before fall rainy days come around. Step Two, get an estimate on the decking. I may be way off base with my own estimate! If the deck of my dreams is thousands of dollars, well, I’ll be going with option A, the porch reno for less than $150.
These are some pictures I found that show a little better what I’m talking about, if you’re having trouble visualizing my dream:
(Pergola roof on deck from GardenStructure.com)
(Pergola & deck front porch from fmhomeandpatio.com)
(image from homedesigndecorating.com)
The stonework on the pergola above would cost mucho dinero, but check out that privacy lattice! That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Take that, neighbors, with your puny 5-foot privacy fence & two-story house. No more peeking!
(If my dream deck becomes a reality, we’re totally doing this chessboard idea! Mark is obsessed with chess)
Anyway, Mark takes care of the lawn for a lady who recently had decking built over her concrete stoop like this. According to my husband it looks awesome, so we’re going to get in touch with the guy who did her deck and have him come out and give us an estimate. Fingers crossed for a manageable number!