Our very first "small project" will start next week! We decided to tackle the porch first for many reasons. The porch represents probably 80% of the first impression of the home, we do spend a great deal of time out there in the summer, and the front steps are simply unsafe.
We're busy scrambling to pull together details for the reconstruction. Our goal is to match the original architecture as much as possible. One change we are considering is a different combination of railing/shingled surface.
You'll note that our current porch has a solid shingled wall:
This is the original porch, we are fairly certain. The only missing element is probably a widow's walk above the porch. We know this based on the old photos and this drawing from the local newspaper, published in 1901:
Here are some examples from our neighborhood of what we may do instead of the solid wall (the first two being from the same architect, and probably the third as well):
The railing adds a nice detail that would improve the overall look of the porch, but something about changing a design that has existed for 109 years seems... wrong. Using the architect's own design from another building feels slightly better. We would love to rebuild the widow's walk, but we're not touching the roof of the porch in this project, so maybe later.
I will have to get out there this weekend and take extensive "before" photos before the demolition starts. That should be a good show for the kids!