Monday, November 13, 2017

Soft Reveal of the Porch

The porch is finished, more or less. There are a few decorating things to settle, but the major components of this project are complete.

First of all, here's how it looked when I started.

I put the basket chair at the curb and the new neighbor next door asked if she could have it.
I'm glad it gets to stay in the neighborhood.

And here's how it looks, as of yesterday:

The tree is intended to be a holiday decoration.
I'll decorate it and dress up the pot later.

Endless potential for seasonal tablescapes. I just threw this together very quickly for the photo.

I bought the green iron star on Etsy.

Now I need to do something about the cafe table and chairs. I bought them second hand ages ago and I don't really want to get rid of them. They're in good shape, just filthy and the chairs still come in handy. I know I said no seating on the porch, but once these are painted, they might look OK on the far end. Maybe we could sit out here for dinner sometimes. 

I'll need to spray paint them but I have no idea what color.

In case you forgot, here's how the dresser looked before (below). Now, the drawers hold small garden tools and other outdoor things.

Also, I'd like to design some kind of attractive outdoor shoe storage solution - mainly for snowy winter boots. I have an old wood crate that might serve. I'd just need to clean and paint it. If I use the leftover primer and white contrast paint, the cost will be $0.

Budget: I didn't track expenses very carefully, but this was not an expensive project. Here's what I had to buy, with cost, if I can remember. The single most expensive item was the black paint for the porch floor. I did spend quite a lot of time, mostly scrubbing the floor, but I really had a lot of fun doing this project. It was so satisfying to turn my embarrassing disaster of a porch into something presentable.

Masonry Patch
All Purpose Latex Primer
Roller Pads
1 Gallon Latex Masonry Paint (Sherwin-Williams Inkwell) ~$50
1 Sample Quart Latex for contrast stripe (Sherwin-Williams Snowbound)
1 Gallon Water-Based Urethane Masonry Sealer ~$30
Set of 8 Drawer Pulls $42 (Wayfair Hickory Drawer Pulls, which I think are close to what was on the dresser originally.)
Cast Iron "Earthquake Star" $23, from Eagle-Eye Finds Etsy Shop.
Wegman's "value" flower bouquet $4.00 (The vase is an old sap bucket that I had on hand.)
Wegman's pie pumpkin and squash - which we will eat
Wegman's mini tree $24
Still need - spray paint for the cafe table and chairs.

I used leftover primer from the floor for the dresser and paint that I already had on hand, Sherwin-Williams Copen Blue. Would I have used this color if I'd set out to buy new paint for the dresser? Probably not, but I'm satisfied and I can always paint it a different color in the future.

*Those are not affiliate links, BTW. I have not monetized this blog. It's really just a hobby.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Furnishing the porch

Except for one last coat of sealer, my porch floor is finished! The application of sealer isn't interesting enough to photograph and document, but I'll say it's an essential step. I considered not applying it, but in the short space of time between the final paint application to the day I added the first coat of sealer, a bit of the white stripe became stained from something rusty that dripped on it. (I don't even know what, there's nothing rusty looking above that spot.) It's in a corner where it's not very noticeable. Anyway, with two dogs and the general bustle that happens at the main entrance to any house, protecting this paint was a must. I used a water-based urethane product that's intended for painted masonry. I ordered it from Amazon because the paint store didn't have a product I liked and I'm not willing to drive all the way to the local Lowe's.

I had an epiphany about the porch furniture - that we really have no need for seating here. If the weather is nice, we sit on the brick patio. If it's raining, this porch isn't deep enough to provide perfect protection from getting wet. And we don't need the shade because the brick patio is already shaded by the trees and the house itself. Anyway, to me, a row of rocking chairs on a porch says "halfway house."

What we do need is a way to contain the clutter. We don't have a garage or a shed, so our porch is a natural dumping ground for gardening tools and other necessary but unsightly objects. We have an antique dresser, a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law who inherited a lot of furniture from her great aunt. We used it for years, but then relegated it to the basement because the drawers stuck so badly. So I put on my cricket-stomping boots and braved the basement to see if it hadn't crumbled to dust and to make sure no animals were living in the drawers.

The dresser was animal-free, although there was a cleverly constructed (abandoned) mouse nest in one drawer. It was quite an undertaking to get it out of the basement, since oak is heavy and Jon is on crutches.

Now I'm trying to decide what color to paint it. I'm hoping that one of the two leftover blue sample quarts I have will do. The lighter color on the left (above) is Copen Blue by Sherwin Williams. I rejected it as a color for my front hall, but I used it for shelf backing and for a cupboard in my kitchen. The darker blue is Raindrop, also by Sherwin Williams. If neither one works out, I can default to the "Snowbound" color I used for the stripe around the floor.

It will probably be a couple more weeks until I have a final reveal post. I have a few minor details to work out. The drawer pulls need to be replaced. They are extremely ugly and are stamped 1976, so I don't feel guilty about throwing them out. I really don't think the dresser itself was built in 1976. The weight of it, the tiny castors on the legs, the locks on the drawers, the curved front all strongly suggest it's from the early 1900s. Not that it's something valuable. It was probably made in a factory for middle class buyers, but it's definitely old. I also need to accessorize a bit more and I'm hoping to design something attractive for outdoor shoe storage.

The ugly 1970s drawer pulls

Monday, October 30, 2017

Porch Project Update #3

First, a reminder of what the porch looked like before I started.

The entire time I spent preparing and priming the porch, I was mentally dithering about what color to paint it. (Or if I should paint it at all. I considered an acid stain.) The floor was red when we bought the house, and back then, the house was tan with a red roof, and no bricks in the front yard. Now, with the yellow house, green roof, bricked-over front yard and cobalt planters, red seemed wrong. I also wanted to do some kind of painted decoration - a stencil or faux rug or something of that sort. It has been my lifelong dream to paint a diamond checkerboard on a floor, and for weeks, I was committed to a diamond checkerboard porch. But that left me with the added difficulty of choosing two colors. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that the front of my house is busy enough without adding a checkerboard porch. My final decision on color was black - but not a true black, more of a deep blue-black charcoal. I selected Inkwell by Sherwin Williams which looks quite blue in the can, but dries to black.

After all the work that went into the prep, painting the floor was a breeze.

Very very very very very dark blue.

To add a little interest, I decided to paint a single contrast stripe around the perimeter. Taping off the stripe was pretty difficult. I couldn't manage the chalk line, so then I just hand-measured (and eyeballed in a few spots) a one-inch stripe around the perimeter of the porch. I realized in hindsight that it would have been so much easier if I'd painted a wide swath of the contrast color first, then put down a single strip of tape and painted the black over it. 

The inside corners were particularly difficult.

I was so excited to pull the tape off! I'm pretty pleased with the result. The tape pulled away bits of the black paint, but I retouched it. I know the line isn't perfect, but it's good enough for me. The wider margin on the side closest to the bricks was done on purpose, to clear the posts, but I didn't want that wide of a margin all the way around.

This project isn't finished yet. Now I'm figuring out how to furnish and style it. I intend to use furniture that I already own. Also still need to protect this paint with some sealer.

Also, for those wondering, Jon is recovering. No new health emergencies and he has been able to return to work. Mobility is still a challenge, but he's getting around better than he was at first.