Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pretty Porches

Our front porch after much work is a nice place to sit and read or just watch the world go by. The painting is another beautiful piece by Mom and inspired the colours for the porch, thanks Mom.

The outside of our front
porch last year
with the addition of a new
drought tolerant garden
of limelight hydrangeas,
lavendar and boxwoods

Sorry this is not in sequence, I'm still figuring out how to post pictures in order. The next three pics are of the after shots of the front porch with the floor painted in Benjamin Moore's Manchester Tan . We even have a coloured glass window in it to add to the pretty factor.

The before shots, Front Porch

A yet to be painted floor, a new threshold made from reclaimed wood and a
new flagstone step and walkway that my honey laid 8 years ago and it still
looks fantastic.

Walls all closed up after serious structural issues and carpenter ants are taken care of.

Before shots, Back Porch

Just a couple of good look'in brothers working on a new tongue and
groove ceiling.

Ah that's much better now isn't it, no more
worries that the top porch will one
day fall into the bottom porch, we even gained a few
more inches of ceiling height!

Two lights instead of one make folding
laundry an illuminating job
in the dark winter months.

This is what we feared was above
the old ceiling, so glad he talked me
into checking it out, even though I was almost
in tears at the thought of removing the original
old ceiling.

This quartzite real stone floor was on sale for just $1.99 sq ft and I adore the colours.
Hint, if you buy uneven stone tile, just know that it is not
an easy task to install level so no one stubs a toe
on a corner, my honey did a superb job.

A peekaboo window is removed to make way for beadboard, a shoe bench and hooks.
A glimpse of the then cosmetically revamped powder room that has since been
completely overhauled.


The outside of the back porch

The front Porch with it's original shiplap siding and ceiling, can you believe
that the siding was covered with wood panelling and we removed it and painted everything Benjamin Moores Cloud White. We went to just one place looking for the perfect
bench and I guess the stars were lined up for me that day as I found this beauty for the right price and gave her a lick of paint and some Debbie Travis cushions for a comfy spot to sit while you put on your shoes.

I adore our salvaged farm sink in the back porch with its deep and shallow basins

I was thrilled to find this old wood screen door for $40.00 on craigs list complete with
a screen and glass insert, it awaits it's final coat of paint, hmmmm leave it white
or maybe a pretty blue?

Sarah Richardson's "Promise" a soft warm dove gray is serene to me in this space against
crisp Benjamin Moores Oxford White. My honey's gonna make me a shoe storage bench for under the hooks hopefully before the snow flies!

A little ketchup polishes up the original old brass push button switch plate beautifully

Ok, now this shelving just sets my heart a pitter patter, we may take the top one all the way across the room, you'll just have to wait and see and the cabinet may get a coat of paint, what do you think, oh yeah and we'll get the other cup pull put on.

I had previously chosen a modern glass pendant light but decided these were more fitting for our home. Four coats of primer and enviro friendly latex semi-gloss paint over the lead paint on all those windows was no easy task but they are so fresh and clean now that I can't recall the pain. That little japanese bench is over 100 years old and has found many different spots in our home. I love it's rustic feel against the crisp newly painted white.

The front porch windows are actually storms that we installed and the original windows are just like the back porch with many many mullions, one day they will be restored and reinstalled, one day....

In the dead of a very snowy winter in 2000 my honey and I took a drive north of the town we were renting our basement apartment in to see if we could find somewhere else to rent. Our landlords family was growing and they wanted their basement back for the kids to play in. It had been a great place to live for 6 years but the town had grown and I found that the congestion was becoming too much for me to handle on a daily basis. The very best years of my childhood life belong to a 10 acre hobby farm with a creaky old barn and a beautiful red brick century home that had bricks turned up on their sides to resemble Pez candies and so I hoped to find that feeling of home somewhere else.

I remember being so surprised that I had never known about our town as it was only a 30 minute drive away and sat discretely tucked away from a major road. It had a bank, a pub, a variety store, a hardware store and a few other small stores and it was love at first site even though I had not set one foot onto its streets. We didn't see any rental signs but we did see one large yellow century home with green shutters, a green roof and green cedar shakes for sale, the only one in the whole town. Well I just had to live in that town and since their were no rentals available we decided to check into home ownership and found ourselves walking around this empty old home of ours for the first time one week before Christmas and signing the papers for her soon after. On February 9th 2001 we became "pinch me I'm dreaming" home owners and she became our home, OUR SERENDIPITOUS HOME!

I don't know if I new what I was falling in love with then as I had never ever seen a decor magazine or watched a design show but she had all the good things a home built 132 years ago should have and always keep. One of those things were her enclosed porches. There are three of them. One at the front of the house and two, one stacked on the other at the back of the house. The 2nd story porch is actually called a cure porch which was meant to help cure tuberculosis in the 1900's with the large casement windows allowing lots of air in for night sleeping. Although beautiful, behind the walls lurked dreaded carpenter ants in the front porch last year and above tongue and groove ceiling structural errors were disguised in the lower back porch.

We decided after many different changes that our large comfy chairs were the perfect fit for two to curl up in and have tea in the mornings on the weekends. The old wood table, a free find from the basement when we moved in still has it's chippy paint and a coating of tung oil revived it's top for carefree use. We found the bench for a steal and had it in the kitchenin but I could not resist how perfectly it fit this wall of the porch instead.

The back entry porch/mudroom is also our laundry room which conveniently opens into the kitchen We still have a couple of things to cross off the list but it is becoming one of my favourite rooms. It originally had vinyl flooring, a big old 2nd fridge, washer, dryer and a plastic laundry tub. I found the double cast iron sink in the city for $80.00 thinking it would be great for the kitchen when we renovated it but it ended up being too large. I couldn't give it up so we bought a sturdy cabinet for it and we chose a quartzite stone tile for the floor that was nothing like I'd ever seen before with it's colours reminding me of the sand, sea and beach. We also added beadboard and new shaker trim and doubled up the lighting with vintage inspired lights. We kept the push button light switch but replaced the interior parts with safer reproduction ones. Originally we placed a large cabinet over the washer and dryer (another basement find) but decided open shelving was much better as it doesn't block the beautiful windows. We even had to remove a large window that used to be where the coat hooks are. The powder room was on the other side of it so that wasn't suiting anyone's purpose, especially the person using the loo. Now we have a great wall space for coats and hats and I love the sparkle the chrome hooks give to this north facing room. There will eventually be a built-in bench with shoe space below just below the hooks, a large mirror over the sink so you can check out the backyard in the reflection when your cleaning up and a folding counter over the machines will complete the function of our mudroom.

We are so thankful that Charles Brooks chose to build these indoor/outdoor rooms when he renovated our home in 1915 for us to enjoy today and now that my honey has breathed new life into them we hope they will remain for another 100 years!


Restyled Home said...

Hi Sandra!
Thanks for the nice comment you left on my blog and congratulations on starting yours! I LOVE your home and would be happy to share your front porch and mudroom pics on my blog if you are agreeable. Let me know as I would love to send my readers your way!


Sandra said...


Oh my gosh, I'm speechless, absolutely and empathically yes, I really didn't expect to hear back from you, I just wanted to let you know how you have touched my life in such a great way. I would be thrilled beyond belief if you wanted to show some of our home on your blog. Now I think I'd better go out and get "Blogging for Dummies!


Green Willow Pond said...

I love your back porch/laundry room! If you don't mind, I would like permission to pin it on pinterest for inspiration.

You have a lovely home and blog. I'm following via google reader.