Friday, May 28, 2010

On Porches

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!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Plan B

If you're wondering what the heck is going on with The Project, well, join the club. The whole thing got held up at the appraisal stage and... as we expected... things did not pan out. The numbers don't make sense. Why would you build if you can buy for 75% of the cost? Home prices are coming down, building costs are not. Bla bla bla.

But this is a renovation journal, not a finance blog so long story short, we're still moving ahead. We're just going to do it in a more financial cautious manner.

We've prioritized smaller projects to tackle while we watch the market and re-evaluate The Project in another six month.

The smaller projects we want to tackle now are:

*Re-build front porch
*Repair a rotten rear deck

We met with Bob the Builder, yesterday (his name really is Bob). Understandably, he's disappointment that the whole thing is not happening as planned. However, he was more than happy to help us get started on smaller projects.

He was so happy, in fact, that he stopped by unannounced today to scope out the porch project. He left a sample of ceder shingles which made us inordinately happy. Something tangible, colors to choose! We're really getting something done after almost two years of planning!

So, as for color...we're thinking of a traditional grayish shingle color, and an overall color scheme along the lines of this:

Originally we had admired some color schemes with more contrast, like this (sorry for the tiny pic):

But that was nearly two years ago when we first started all of this planning, and now we're thinking the dark trim with beige is going to look too 2005...

So our current choice is Seacoast Gray, which will look roughly like the first photo above. We hope to see Bob back here next week for porch demo, otherwise known as Phase I of Plan B