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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Befores and Afters

Yesterday I started with "BEFORE" and "AFTER" pics with the outside of the house, today we will take a few steps up the front stoop and go into the enclosed front porch.

Last winter, when shopping for houses, I wanted to have a front porch...   both of the other homes I have owned didn't have a front porch, and this time, by dadgummit, I wanted one! Our last house had a big back wrap-around deck that faced the south, and you couldn't enjoy it in the inclement weather.  When it was too sunny and hot, you baked like a potato on the darn brown wood deck. We didn't use our deck nearly as much as we first thought we would.

I had looked at houses with an open front porch, ya know with railings and places to put weather-proof furniture... but then you have to consider the idea of bugs and skeeters and wind and dampness.  That can also limit the use of a front porch, even if it has a roof over the top.

Well, the house we ultimately chose to buy has an "enclosed" front porch... we had no idea how much we would actually use this porch until we bought this house!!!  We can close it up in inclement weather, open the windows for fresh air, turn on the ceiling fan or plug in a small heater.  We can keep nicer furniture out there with comfy soft cushions and not worry about bugs or birds or critters ripping into them.

The first time we sat out there in a pouring spring rain storm, it was mesmerizing and enjoyable. We were watching the water stream down the windows, the lightening flash, and the storm rage by while we were warm and cozy and dry inside watching it all happen directly out the windows. 

The best part of this front porch, that we didn't really realize until we bought the house ... is that it faces EAST.  That means the sun comes to shine nicely in the morning and it's lovely and delightful and bright and cheery.  By 10-11 o'clock as things heat up in the summer months, the sun has moved on around the to the south side of the house, and the porch is now in the shade for the rest of the day.  Very comfy to go out and sit and relax.  Although it's not a heated room, if there is a sunny bright morning in the winter, it can warm up fast to a tolerable temp to enjoy a bit of morning coffee and sweet rolls!

Not only does it add living space to our home, but the grandtots totally enjoy the front porch! We live on a pretty busy street with a lot of traffic. They can safely watch for big semi trucks or certain colors of cars to go by, making a game of it.  Plus they are all contained in one spot!  LOL

(in this pic, see the peeling chipping paint that needs to get sanded off?) 

When we first looked at the house, the porch had yellowish blinds drawn down to block out the sunshine.  I just knew the moment we bought the house, that would be one of the FIRST things I would take down!   Here are two pics from the first day when looking at the house: 
The day bed and rocking chair were removed by the sellers prior to our purchase.

We bought the house in mid winter, but couldn't do anything about the peeling and chipping paint till it warmed up in the spring.  Well, we were doing so much to the rest of the house that it took until later summer before I could tackle the front porch. 

I hauled out my ladder, sander, primer, paints and supplies....  whew... what a job!   All the loose paint was sanded and scraped off.  Then I primed carefully around all those windows----  and the porch was then completely painted from top to bottom, walls and the ceiling too.  

Whew!   There are 13 windows, plus the windows in the door, and all the upper craftsman style window panes too... all to carefully prime and paint without making a mess!  (3 of the windows open inwards with screens on the exterior for fresh air) 

It took me the better part of a week to get it all done, some each day.  Step by step and bit by bit.  The fresh white paint took on a lovely feeling of serenity and peace.  At first I was worried doing it all bright clear white, but I wanted to accent with cobalt blue so I didn't want to go to a creamy pastel or off white.  I wanted it crisp and clean.

I bet you are wondering why I keep saying "I" instead of "we"???   Well, Steve HATES painting... so this was "MY" project to do!  I got all of the painting done and moved all the wicker furniture into place.  Steve did rewire an electrical outlet on the porch so now I can have a lamp on in the evening or plug in my computer if the battery is going low.  So he did help....

Remember that rocking chair in the pic above when we were looking at the house?  Well, that furniture was all removed prior to closing by the three daughters who were selling the house.  Later on in the spring, one daughter, Paula, asked if I wanted that chair... seems it was her mom's chair and none of the three daughters really had a place for it in their houses.  It was taking up space in her garage and she thought I might like it back at the house where it came from.  SURE!!!!!

She brought it over and I gladly took it for our front porch, to return it to it's rightful place ....I was surprised that it's a very heavy chair!  I gave it a fresh coat of paint, and recovered the cushion with some leftover navy fabric from the cushions on the rest of the wicker furniture we bought on Craigslist for the other areas of the porch.

I am a fairly new quilter and decided to make a quilt for the front porch once the painting was done.  I sewed up the blocks for a nice quilt, but made a minor mistake on four blocks.  So those became throw pillows and I finished up the quilt as more of a lap quilt size to hang over the back of the wicker loveseat.  Now it's nice to curl up with a book and if the evening chill comes, I can grab the quilt and still stay out on the porch!

Our friend Linda, gave us this lovely watercolor that was painted 
at a state park along the Lake Michigan shoreline.... 
It hangs in the porch too and completes the decor.
(but i want to get a different frame for it yet) 

It all came together into a pretty nice place to relax and regroup and reconnect.  The stained glass parrot came from the mother of a friend of Steve's brother who was getting ready for a rummage sale.  She gave it to Steve on a whim, and I loved it!  It hangs up from a planter hook on the porch and rotates slowly in the breeze if the windows are open. I added a little white table and chairs for the grandkids to eat snacks on too. 


My daughter Erin makes fun of my fake silk plants out there, but it adds greenery and accent even in the colder times of the year when plants can't be grown out there.  I like em, so they are staying!
(my next project is handwoven rugs in cobalt and navy to replace that runner) 

The front porch now is a great place to gather with the wee ones. Here is a rare photo of all five of our grandtots together, in one place, without anyone running away or jumping on the couch....  geesh MONKEYS!

An extra P.S. on the new puppy info...  
Yesterday three or four times I went upstairs to do stuff, Finnegan followed me up there and scooted right to his little bed pad by the foot of our bed and laid down, tail wagging and happy.  As if to say "Is it time now?"  I think in his little puppy mind, he is worried that it was a "one time" thing to be in our room the night before, and he would instead be put back in his crate overnight again.   

By bedtime, we went up the stairs to head to bed, and he led the way.  Duke laid down on his own rug, and little Finnegan curled up right on his little bed pad and didn't move all night.  This is how he looked this morning when I peeked over the side of the bed.  Notice.. he is wide awake but NOT leaving his little bed.  Awwwwwww


  1. Good doggie! I love the crispness of the blue and white for the porch.

  2. Love your front porch - I've never had an enclosed porch, but it would be nice.

    OMG, that little Finnegan could NOT be cuter! And the same goes for your grand kiddles. :)

  3. Absolutely love the quilt and matching pillows.....my favorite colors! I think Finnegan has your number. He's a cutie

  4. Hey, Karen - the bird feeder you asked about is VERY home-made, and attached to my regular bird feeder hanger. If you go to this link,


    you can see it up close in that blogpost. I took a plastic Kentucky Fried Chicken "to go" container, very small, and drove a long nail through the container, then the lid, and put the nail down the hole on the top of the pole. Not very fancy, but it sure attracts the finches! :)

  5. Great looking porch. Last time I lived in a house with one, I was 12 years old. Enjoy!

  6. The porch is great, I appreciated the hard work you put in it, and I really like the pictures of the "grandtots" and then the quilted pillows, and of course the puppy!

  7. an inviting porch indeed, i guess someday we will rejoin the stick and bricks group as well

  8. Lovely porch! Your quilting turned our perfect! I am also a spinner and knitter, but not weaver. Tried it years ago and did not have the patience for it. Can't wait to see the rugs you will make for the porch. You might add some stackable floor pillows for the grandkids. I van see many happy hours out there

  9. We have an enclosed porch in the back and I love it.

    Also love your sweet puppy. What a little love.

  10. Your porch is so nice & cheerful looking and the quilts are beautiful. You did a good job. Cute grandkids too. The pups look so peaceful. Cute that Finney just lays there when he awake.


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