August 22, 2013

The Porch Reveal

Here it is -- our back porch remodeling is finished and it came out great.

The space is small and narrow, 14 feet long by 7 feet wide, right off the kitchen. It had vinyl siding on the walls and a cement floor. The windows were too high to see out into the yard when sitting down, which made it feel like being in a railroad car.

I tried to make it more inviting than a freight car by putting lots of plants around. In the cold months I put tender plants there to overwinter. But with all that junk out there and with the utilitarian look, it was a storage closet off the kitchen more than a porch. Just a place to put stuff.

Now, with deeper windows, stained wood beadboard on the walls and ceiling, and a beautiful brick floor, it is no longer a storage area. It's a room. A sunroom / sitting porch.

I don't have to cram plants in there to hide anything, and that makes it more open and inviting.

The brick floor is rich and textured, and quite dark. It's actually 2 x 8 brick tiles, Datile Union Square in Courtyard Red. Beadboard wood on the kneewall and ceiling and around the large windows has a natural stain, which is a light color to contrast with the dark brick.

The room flows into the kitchen, through the sliding glass doors. It really does feel like a sunroom off the kitchen.

The big plus is that I can sit on the porch now and see out into the garden. The outdoors comes in, making not only the porch seem bigger, but the view from inside the house more expansive too.

The new windows are 18 inches lower. The newly installed windows are on the left, compared to the old ones still on the right, in this photo taken during the remodeling. A drop of less than two feet made all the difference.

Before, I was able to see just the top of the 'White Chiffon' Rose of Sharon outside the window. Now its pretty blooms come right inside. The hummingbird visits the flowers in the morning and doesn't realize I'm right there through the screen.

This small area is tucked into a corner of the house. From the outside it doesn't look like much of a porch, but the new windows do give it a nicer look even though the space did not change.


Morning light streams in, so it is my favorite place for coffee early in the day. By afternoon it is completely shaded and cool on a hot day. The rustic couch is surprisingly nap worthy.

There are some subtle things that made a big improvement. The original cement floor was a step down from the kitchen. That doesn't seem like anything, but the sunken feeling made it feel like you were stepping down into an area that was not part of the house.

The new brick floor is now level with the interior of the house and it makes the area flow much better.

Another subtle change: the old windows had no sills. The new windows have a shallow sill above the knee wall. It's a small difference that looks much dressier. It means I can put a jar of Jane's hydrangea blossoms by the window, and I found Becky's forged metal HF Bar boot ornament and propped it on the ledge. Good memories.

And the hot air balloonists in the copper balloon who have followed me from my first apartment in 1971 to every place I have lived, are now drifting overhead, looking out the transom and throwing things down on me where I sit.

Naughty ones.




The work was done by Linn Taylor Remodeling. 
He did a fantastic job.  Jim and I stained the walls and ceiling, and painted the white window trim, but all of the tear down, installation, tile work, and finish carpentry was done professionally by Linn.
Why didn't we do this years ago? 

45 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks terrific. The amount of light and "outside" that the new windows let in really makes a difference. I would also enjoy my morning coffee on a porch like that!

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    1. El Gaucho, come over for a cup of coffee. We can sit out there and enjoy the view!

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  2. What a porch! It's a dream! I love your new windows with sills and pretty design. Now you will spend all mornings there drinking coffee and reading and writing posts, won't you?

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    1. Nadezda, yes, the new porch is exactly where I sit now to write blog posts and answer e-mail. I love it out there, even on a hot summer day!

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  3. Lovely!
    Amazing how enlarging the windows changes the feel completely.

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    1. Acair Fearann, I was surprised at what a change the lower windows made. Just 18 inches deeper, same width as the old windows, and what an improvement.

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  4. Truly beautiful and elegant and practical at the same time. You didn't do it before because it wasn't time. Now that you've done it and done it perfectly, enjoy. And, if you can stop doing, get yourself some serious butt time.

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    1. Lee, Thank you. Today was the first day I took a snooze on the couch, with humid, damp breezes blowing in through those big windows. Nice!

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  5. Just gorgeous.

    Love the balloon travelers too... :)

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    1. Aaron, Thanks so much. I had the balloon hanging in the old porch before the remodel but it was not noticeable. Now, in the new space they are quite visible set off by the wood ceiling.

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  6. It looks AWESOME. And like the room is deeper, though I know the footprint didn't change. What a wonderful place to spend time!

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    1. Heather, that's the amazing thing. . . the room is still only 7 by 14 feet but it looks and feels so much bigger now. Clearing away all the plants and clutter, and using high quality materials like brick and wood, makes the difference.

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  7. LAURRIE!!!! It is absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!! Where in the world do I even start with this before and after. First off those window are gorgeous! I am so happy that you now have a view on to your beautiful garden! And those floors...my mouth is watering!!! The walls the ceiling...you need to enter this in a contest....what I would do for a porch like this! I know you are going to enjoy every second of this space!!!! Makes me want to move to a home with a porch like this!!!

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    1. Nicole, Love your enthusiasm! The whole redo made me pretty excited too. The size and shape of the room didn't change, but it's a completely different feel. The big windows really make it. Thanks for all your compliments!

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  8. GORGEOUS!! Love it! I really thought you'd widened the space. Now I want a covered porch!

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    1. Tammy, it does seem wider now without all the stuff crammed in there to hide the ugly siding! But it is still just 7 feet wide, really the size of a walk in closet : )

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  9. Isn't is wonderful when everything comes together? Amazing...until you clarified I was almost certain you'd widened the space. Windows do make a huge difference and bring the outdoors in. I love both the beadboard and brick tile detail. Great job!

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    1. Sue, thanks. It did come together better than I had expected, actually!

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  10. What a wonderful space. I bet you use this daily forever. I can just imagine sitting there watching the snow fall or watching a nice downpour. You would feel like you were out in it. Great.

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    1. Lisa, it's funny, I said the same thing to Jim -- I want to sit out there in a rainstorm and feel like I am in the rain, but protected. That would be great.

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  11. What a dramatic transformation. It must make a world of difference, being able to sit inside and almost be in the garden. It's hard to believe you didn't wider the room; it looks so much larger now.

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    1. James, the windows make it seem wider because there is more light, and the view of the deck and garden outside becomes part of the space inside. And I have less junk out there now!

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  12. What a fantastic room to enjoy 12 months of the year! It just exudes happiness and tranquility.

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    1. Kathryn, thank you. For the first time Jim and I sit together there; we never did before. And it really is tranquil.

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  13. What a beautiful transformation! And the view outside your window is beautiful--I know I would sit there with my morning coffee if I were you, too. Love your copper balloon!

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    1. Rose, thanks so much! I have had that copper balloon for over 40 years -- makes it an antique, sort of like me, I guess.

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  14. I'm just amazed the difference those windows made - inside and out! It looks fantastic, and I love how the morning light shines in. What a wonderful way to wake up in the mornings.

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    1. Holley, it's the best place for morning coffee and newspaper! Thanks.

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  15. I absolutely love the transformation. When can I move in? Those big windows make a huge difference, but that brick floor is pretty great also.

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    1. Sarah, you can move in and come help me with all the garden chores -- fair deal?

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  16. Laurrie, I love it! I can imagine how wonderful it is to sit with a cup of coffee and watch the hummingbirds. You have created a special place that really adds a lot of charm and comfort to your home. I especially like the tall windows and the brick floor.

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    1. Deb, thank you! It came out great and we are really enjoying it at all times of day.

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  17. Wow, that is fantastic! Congratulations! I love those big windows.

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    1. Jason, thank you! I'm loving how it all came out.

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  18. Wow that is quite the redo, After looks way better than before

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    1. Pat, I like the "After" version much better too!

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  19. It looks great-I look forward to a future visit so I can see about that nap couch. Phil

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    1. Phil, come see for yourself how it all turned out. It's nicer than the rest of the house so we may put you out there instead of the guest room, okay?

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  20. The new porch looks fantastic Laurrie! One day we hope to close in our back porch. There is no foundation underneath and I worry about how many months of the Canadian year we are going to use it. Would the floors be freezing underfoot in the fall and winter I wonder? How do you find your porch floor? Does it have a foundation underneath or some form of insulation at the floor level?

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    1. Jennifer, Thanks! Our porch was originally built with a concrete slab over a bed of sand and gravel, like a garage floor. When we raised the floor for this remodel, the contractor put fiberglass insulation on top of the concrete, then plywood over that, and then the new brick tiles were set on the raised plywood floor. With the sun coming in during winter and the insulated brick floor plus tight windows, we will be able to use the room except in the coldest part of winter.

      Can you somehow get insulation under your porch and enclose it around the sides? I'm not sure if that is feasible, but you are right that it will be cold without something underneath.

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  21. Laurrie what a great makeover...I love the brick floor. A perfect spot to while away the hours.

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    1. Donna, thanks so much! It has turned out to be a great place to sit and daydream.

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  22. Having wide and high windows is an advantage because this will give you a better view of the outside. Likewise, they will provide you with a sufficient amount of natural light. A porch is much better if its well-lit.

    John Gwaltney @ Nehemiah ReConstruction

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    1. John, you are right, it made such a difference in the light when we opened up the size of the windows.

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  23. Removing those plants in your sunroom was a great decision, as they constricted the area a bit. Plants help to create a relaxing atmosphere, but you don't have to overdo it. Two to four pots is already fine. Look at your sunroom now. It looks more captivating, doesn't it? Good job!

    Ryann Hoyer @ Yancey Company

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