Sunday, June 17, 2012

Porch demolition, yeah!

This post is dedicated to my dear old dad on Father's Day! Without him, I'm sure we'd never have the desire or confidence (skill development is still in progress) to tackle such a lifelong project. His help and enthusiasm for true craftsmanship has gotten us so much further than we ever could have gotten ourselves.  Hopefully he can come over soon and enjoy our improved front porch.  

I've often said that our porch looks like someone parked an RV from the 1970s in front of our house.  I mean, OMG, those windows!  

The ones that are open are the ones that are not broken.
Gabe's mom told us once that they were salvaged from Martha's Restaurant, which was a popular place in Bethel back in the day.  I wonder why they would want to get rid of these beauties?

 Luckily, the original posts were still in there, encased in clapboards. Could be worse, I guess.

It got worse inside.  Meet our old friend, Painted Particle Board.

Because we're still suffering from an overabundance of stuff, and because the porch is generally unpleasant, it  more often served as storage during our various other projects than being the nice summer hang-out spot it should be.  So this is what it looked like on a good day:

Add all that up with fungus growing on both the floor and the ceiling and you can see how we were ready for change.  

The floor was covered in a mysterious substance that turned to mush when it got wet, which was all the time, because the roof leaks in several places.  By the time I ripped it up, it was literally growing mushrooms.  You should be thanking your lucky stars that I couldn't find the camera before I eliminated that.  It turns out the mystery substance was just an underlayment that never got its overlayment, and was definitely never meant to get wet.  

1982 was a rough year for porch renovations.
So I pulled up the floor first.  The craziest part about the whole underlayment fiasco was that the floor underneath wasn't half bad!  A few patches and a new coat of paint and they would have been in business.

1982 "under"layment on left, halfway decent wood floor exposed on right.  
We knew we'd be in for a big project, but like the rest of our house, there were strong bones and much potential under all those layers of yuck.  The posts and trim work around the door and windows were in great shape.



Gabe got a head start on wiring when we worked in the ceilings of the wall on the interior of this wall.  So yay for that.

When I was out for the day on Saturday, Gabe went nuts on the walls.  Since he can't use a Sawzall and take self-portraits at the same time, he didn't get any awesome demolition shots.  But it was pretty sweet for me to come home to this!


Woohoo!  I bet the neighbors didn't even know we had those windows.  


And look, we have a decent-looking front door. Bet you didn't know that either!


Perhaps the greatest part about this is that it forced us to clean off our porch, forever, because we have nothing to hide our clutter anymore.  The attic is a little more stuffed but it feels so good to have another whole space empty!

I really underestimated the difference this would make - the living and dining rooms have so much more afternoon light.  I will have to see if I can find some pictures that will help demonstrate the difference.  We feel so much more exposed, but in a good way.  And the smell is much better without the mushroom colony growing out of the floor.

Of course, it's not all fun and games.  You also definitely notice the peeling paint, which is the worst in the areas where the porch roof deflects the rain...



...and there's a lot of caulk and gunk where the panels between the posts were affixed.  We have a lot of scraping in our future.


Overall, it could be a heck of a lot worse.  It doesn't feel unsafe or anything.  The roof could get interesting, and it might need to be jacked up a couple of inches.  But hey, anything that gets us closer to hanging up that porch swing we got for our wedding nearly two years ago (that's still in the box) is a good thing, right?  We're forward thinkers.  

21 comments:

  1. You're so lucky they didn't destroy the existing porch structure when closing it up. It looks great!

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  2. Holy Amazeballs! That looks unbelievable. That's a seriously awesome difference. Also - what is it with the family unintentionally working on similar projects? While we were tearing down the living room, Andy started on our porch this weekend!

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  3. Holy crap! That looks freaking amazing. Psyched to porch sit. :)

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    1. Come on over anytime! Just wait until it gets a paint job.

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  4. The house must feel so much lighter inside. Great job!!!

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    1. It is SO much lighter inside! I wish I had taken a before picture with that in mind...I might be able to find one to see if I can document the difference. It stuns me every time I walk in the back door.

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  5. How do you think this might affect heating the house during the winter?

    On a lighter note, I was headed out the door to the office a few minutes ago, iPod turned up, when I heard Beth yell "Holy crap!" and then something unintelligible from inside the house. I ran back inside; she pointed to her screen, at the picture of Mr. Gabe and the new porch. Nicely done!

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    1. It will definitely affect the heat scenario...we will probably get a storm door. But this will actually allow us to get at those pesky gaps around the windows from the outside, which is way better than damaging our interior woodwork and plaster to do that. So hopefully it will actually get better.

      Gabe says the porch will be a great place to kick back with his new Kindle :-)

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  6. Well done! The difference is truly amazing, like a whole different house front! Dan and I have been talking about going in the opposite direction and enclosing our porch, but you make the open porch seem so sexy after all....

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    1. Well Jules, just throwing out ideas here, but you COULD use windows that aren't hideous and you COULD finish the interior in something other than particle board. But that's up to you. I've got 10 1970's awning windows for sale, real cheap.

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  7. Gabe, this is such an amazing face lift to this wonderful old house. You are doing such a remarkable job. It's wonderful to witness the transformation. The house even looks happy! Kudos!!
    Betsy Paquette Lamontagne
    Formerly of 55 Mason St.

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    1. Thanks, Betsy! We're doing what we can to keep the neighborhood looking good. Now for a paint job.

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  8. It looks fantastic!! Now THAT'S a porch!!
    Leslie M

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  9. Absolutely fabulous. Looks like your house got a face transplant!

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  10. Wow- what a difference! Major improvement. Good job, you guys!

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  11. That is so awesome! Great spot for cold beverages and feisty games of Yahtzee (or similar).

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  12. Oh my gosh! That is totally our plan for next summer. We've also got a porch swing in a box that we bought last year, and have been using the porch for storage. Yours looks so great - K is a little skeptical about opening ours up, but I'll show him this and we'll be good to go. Looking forward to reading more.

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  13. Yaaaaayyyyyy!!! That is amazing. Looks like the whole façade is breathing a sigh of relief.

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  14. The only draw back, albet a minor one, it will again be mourned by some, you have yet again eliminated the beer cooler! hahahahh! :)
    aunt B

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  15. You can finally enjoy that lovely space that has been unused for several years. Did your dad check the entire roof for any damage on the porch before installing the ceiling? I hope you addressed those leaks to prevent further damage. Kudos to your dad for his great hard work on working with this porch. You can certainly see that he worked so hard to make it functional.
    Jere Leach @ Yancey Home Improvements

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  16. How's the house coming? Are you still working on it? Would love to see any pics and/or hear any stories on your progress!!

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