When we moved into our old house, it was looking pretty shabby inside and out. We decided to address the exterior first, partly so that the neighbors wouldn't hate us, and partly because our restoration carpenter told us our front porch was going to collapse and kill someone. Noted.
As you can see, there was a lot to address. The porch roof had become detached from the house, and the floor didn't have a proper foundation so it was sinking into the ground. It was holding itself up with sheer willpower, it seemed. Not to mention the rotting floors, too-tall and unpainted Home Despot railings, iron pipe handrails, super ugly stairs, and flaking paint. Oh yeah, and the giant bittersweet vine woven through all the gingerbread details.
With consulting and some help in key moments from our wonderful restoration carpenter, we rebuilt the porch ourselves. We jacked it up as best we could, reattached it to the house, poured concrete footings, and replaced the spent floor with new douglas fir. I spent I can't even tell you how many hours scraping the turned posts and gingerbread, and repainting them. Tristan made the beautiful new lattice frames.
We painted the ceiling blue, which was traditional for Victorian porch ceilings (and we have proof that ours was originally a similar color. The rest of the paint scheme isn't really traditional, but we think it looks good with all the color going on in the brick and mortar. We also restored the front door.
Truth be told, we've still got some work to do. A teeny bit of painting (porch stair risers), and most importantly, adding salvaged railings. All but two small pieces of the original railing were long gone, so we scoured Craigslist and salvage yards for over a year. Finally, a few weeks ago, we found railing that was the appropriate height, in enough length, coming out of a house that had burned down. We've got to experiment with wood hardeners and epoxies to fix some rot, but we hope the railing will clean up nicely and really make the porch pop.
It feels good, though, to know that we've saved this original porch, and to see how much better the house looks now than when we bought it 2 years ago.