The thing about living in old houses is that something always needs work. The back porch was iffy when we bought the place twenty years ago. But as long as it stayed relatively intact, it was the house repair can we kicked down the road. Until one day this spring when a sizable enough chunk fell off that we realized there was no more putting off getting a new back porch. A temporary repair was made with a sheet of plywood, but clearly, the porch needed attention because someone, most likely the dog, was going to fall through it sooner rather than later.
Adjacent to the back porch is the sun room – arguably one of the reasons we fell in love with the house.
With three walls of gloriously vintage steel casement roll out windows, white painted paneled walls, wood floor and bead board ceiling, the room was light filled and charming. But if you looked closer, a good number of the windows no longer opened – or properly closed. There was water damage in the floor and walls when we purchased the house twenty years ago that we’ve kept hidden with furniture. The painted pine paneled walls weren’t worth repairing, they just needed to be replaced. And the single pane of glass in said windows meant the room was unusable come winter. I’ve long babbled about making that room a year round room – maybe even expand it across the back of the house so it connects to the kitchen, moving the back porch and stairs….
So calls were made. And after pricing out my dream renovation of expanding the sunroom vs the more practical version of just replacing what’s there, we went with the more practical decision. We are rebuilding the back porch and stairs in pretty much the same footprint – although we are getting rid of the small gap between the back porch and the sunroom wall with the sunroom remaining the same size. The sunroom will get all new windows, walls and ceiling – we wanted to keep the feel of the room the same, so there will still be three walls half made of glass, although these windows will have a much better insulating value and will operate properly (!). I understand the fabulous vintage ones have found themselves a new home out in the county, where they are finding new life in another building. The floor in there is salvageable, so that will just get patched. We are still debating how we’re going to furnish the room – the glider set that was in there will be getting a facelift before it returns, if it returns. We may go in another direction. After living with a room for twenty years that we couldn’t use all year long, the idea that we could possibly use the room all year still seems like a dream, so we kinda want to see how we use it before we change up the furniture.
Demolition started last week. As to be expected when renovating a seventy-something year old house, we found a few things along the way to be addressed – some rotten wood, a few wasps nests, ant colonies and of course, avocado green paint. (Sidenote – according to the evidence uncovered in various home improvement projects over the years, the entire house was pink inside and out, while two rooms – the dining room and sunroom – featured avocado green. Do with that what you will.)
As for living through construction, we are minorly inconvenienced by the loss of the back stairs for the time being. Oh, and the compost tumbler had to be dissembled to get the scaffolding in, which, given that it is canning season, is unfortunate. The plywood and black plastic covering the window holes in the sunroom makes the adjacent dining room feel like midnight on a dark night, but overall, living through this construction isn’t awful. It was a very good excuse to clear out the sunroom and under the porches. Purging is good.
Betsy beagle however, has a far different tale. The back porch and the space under the sunroom are some of her favorite places to hang out. So losing them to construction has been hard for our poor pup. She’s not as friendly to the construction crew as she was when they started, since obviously, they are responsible for this development in her life. With Edie girl away at camp, her whole world is slightly out of wack for the time being. Betsy keeps walking to the back of the house and just looking, sometimes with a little whine. This project cannot move fast enough for her.
As I write this, I think we are finally done with demo (and surprises?), the structure has been shored up and windows are slated to arrive (hopefully!) next week. I’ve been posting some progress shots on Instagram and I’ll be posting updates here too, because let’s face it, what kind of home and garden writer would I be if I didn’t write about my own renovation?
4 thoughts on “Ripping it off.”
That looks like it will be lovely when it’s finished. Nothing beats at least a screen porch come mosquito season.
We debated doing a screen porch, but in the end, decided to stick with the sunroom for a number of reasons. In the end, it should be like what has been part of the house for so long, just in better shape.
Exciting! But yeah, old houses with their surprises during renovations. . . I think I have finally come to expect it.
Poor Betsy. I understand her feelings – I don’t like the chaos that comes with renovation.
I think Betsy would handle it better if it wasn’t HER spaces so directly impacted. She’s dealing with it okay though – dug herself a new dirt wallow in the front yard. So now the entire yard to torn up.