Front Porch Gets an Upgrade (Part I)


May 9, 2013 by stpaulhaus

The front porch has been in need of a major overhaul since we moved in.

In fact it has been the recycling graveyard for some time now. Every winter it practically gets filled to the brim with our recyclables (we have a terrible habit of not getting the recycling out each week–who actually likes bringing out the recycling?)

We have vowed to turn a new leaf and bring the recycling out more often, and take back the front porch as actual living space. The cats love the porch and let us know often when they want to go out there.


I introduced you to the porch with this photo in the last post..


Leaves something to be desired.

This is one of those things that you forget about because you have lived with it for so long and get used to looking at it everyday.

This porch used to be an open porch way back when. The original beams are still intact, unfortunately the posts are gone–Not uncommon as the posts and balusters are more exposed to the harsh Minnesota climate and are the first to rot. That carsiding that runs under the windows was put on when the porch was enclosed. It became popular to enclose porch to escape inclimate weather/insects. I would love to bring this porch back to its roots, but we just don’t have the cash for it. I don’t want to start tearing things apart only to find a big and expensive surprise so the enclosed-ness stays.

For the appraisal for refinancing the house (which took place yesterday) we did a little mini upgrade or “Part I” of a makeover resulting in this:


image image image

I did a little staging in here from the help of Adrian’s mom and her outdoor love seat, pillow, side table, and hanging plant. The This Old House magazine is all mine 🙂 .

To satisfy my need to tear something apart, I did remove a few layers of siding off the side of the porch to expose the original clapboards all the way across the back wall. Clapboards make my heart happy. Maybe someday I will own a home with real wood clapboard siding (that you can actually see). I know some people are horrified by the idea of wood siding and painting and so forth, but some people are also horrified by vinyl siding.

I have already spent a substantial amount of time painting in here which has been an ordeal due to the prolonged winter. The temps needed to be in at least the 40s to be able to paint or it wouldn’t cure right.


The siding got 2 coats of a flat sheen blue custom matched to the vinyl outside. I did this over 2 days with a brush. The beams and trim got a coat of an off-white called Ivory blanket by Dutch Boy (Menards). They still need another coat, and the window sills and the carsiding haven’t been touched yet.

The floor will be getting new paint but I’m having a hard time deciding on the color. I narrowed it down to 4 colors…from darkest to lightest:

Dark Brown



Or Cream

On Facebook there were a lot of different ideas and opinions on the subjects. I think there were votes for each, but the general consensus was a darker color would be better for hiding dirt. I do like the idea of a light and bright sunny porch, but I really dislike cleaning at the same time.

Additionally, the ceiling is going “Haint Blue” likeaso:

Historic Blue Porch


wilmington 1 119

You may be asking yourself what the hell is haint blue? I have known that painting your porch ceiling blue was a “thing” for some time but I didn’t know it had a name until I did some research on it. Blue porch ceiling are apparently a tradition seen mostly in the south and east coast (started in South Carolina and Georgia) that was originally done to ward off evil spirits. The evil spirits, or haints, would not be able to cross it and enter the home. It was also popular in Victorian homes.  It is not extremely popular in the Midwest, but I think has a cool story and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This makes me think about the movie Skeleton Key (which is actually one of my favorite scary movies. Sadly I have to watch it alone ((which I don’t like doing)) because ever since Paranormal Activity Adrian has not been able to watch another scary movie.

There was also some nonsense about wasps not building nests in a porch with a blue ceiling but it sounds like that isn’t actually a real thing and it probably had more to do with the kind of paint that was used back in the day and it has become somewhat of an old wives tale even though some people swear by it anecdotally.

I think i will be painting it the same color as the bathroom which is Waterscape by Pittsburgh paints (Menards) because I have so much paint from that leftover.


For more info on Haint Blue check out Flowergardengirl here.

We removed the old storm door and replaced it with an old wooden screen door that used to be on folks house way back when like 100 yrs ago. It is saggy but it works pretty well for us.


I do plan to paint it down the line, but the current worn paint is so charming. To make it most functional for use we attached 2 hook and eye closers.


One at the frame to keep it closed/locked and one at the window sill to hold it open when needed.


The hinges we added are spring hinge so the door closes on its own. Loooove it.

The rusty and damaged storm door to go outside was also removed and replaced with a new door made by Larson.


It was the only 30in door Menards had in stock. The one we removed was 28in but we were able to remove some of the casing and trim pieces to make room for a wider door. Unfortunately, the opening was in no way square, level, or plumb which made things difficult. We did get it up successfully with many hours of work and some frustration. I have no tips or advice to offer..we read the directions and followed them-that’s about it.


The wall still needs a few more tongue and groove boards over the window and some other random trim pieces to complete it, as well as paint, but it already looks better.


The windows are in bad shape, and actually one pane of glass is missing of one of the windows which fully lets in all fun Minnesota weather. We would like to replace those at some point. I’m not looking for anything overly efficient for a few reasons 1) they cost a lot 2) the room is not insulated and was never meant to be so what’s the point 3) anything will be an improvement. I would LOVE to have some push out casement windows like these that you just unlock and swing open:

…but again they are expensive, so I may have to settle for something like this:

Product View

Which is still cool but not as cool as the push out ones. These ones have a crank mechanism which is a handle that you have to spin around to open the windows.

I like the idea of being able to swing the windows open and almost feel like your on an open porch on a nice day, but then swing them closed on the not so good days too. They are a little more open feeling than the double hung windows we have throughout the house that just opening up and down.

We put in a mail slot (so awesome) to replace our old rusty mailbox.

image image

It still needs the interior metal sleeve to cover up the rough edges of the wood we cut through, but I still need to buy it. I wonder how the mail carrier feels about it? I will have to write a specific post about the mail slot and the storm door.

Still have a lot of stuff to do, but I am definitely enjoying it the way it is for now. Where’s the lemonade and a good book at? What do you think of the changes so far? Any final thoughts on the porch floor? Or the haint blue ceiling?


5 thoughts on “Front Porch Gets an Upgrade (Part I)

  1. Jaimie says:

    The end of this post has an Iron Man 3 ad. Yes

  2. Mother says:

    just lovely

  3. […] of the Porch here (minus any finishing touches we did right before the sale including painting the ceiling […]

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