The Front Porch Project - A Long Drawn Out Project

I've meant to focus on the front porch since summer 2014...but then we'd asked my brother to get us a quote on redoing one section of it and John suggested I wait.  He figured my brother could paint the whole porch at one time when the rebuilding was finished.  I agreed.  After all, why waste money on paint when you know it's going to be painted later?

Well here we were this past summer (2015) and the back porch still looked fairly fresh and new and the front porch looked terribly shabby.  I'd added to the shabbiness over the year as this porch became my studio for spray painting since it was going to be painted afresh anyway.   Looking at medical expenses and judging my brother's new job and his very busy schedule for carpentry work, I realized we weren't likely to see this rebuild any time soon.  I couldn't bear having the porch look so bad.  It got worse.

You see mid-way of cleaning railings, I decided to paint the iron chairs with a fresh coat of red.  And even though I carefully laid out newspapers, a rough breeze came up and slung papers here and sprayed paint there and...well what didn't get on  the chairs, covered me and the porch floor.  Now it really looked horrible.  Ugh.  To add insult to the whole affair the tacky (as in sticky) red spray paint over four coats of latex paint did no favors either.  Every step I took, great sheets of paint layers came up.  I got busy scraping the paint off the porch, working in ten and fifteen minute increments throughout most days.  I never did get it all up but I got up every loose bit up after something like a month of scraping floors.  That was August 2015...

Oh dear..

 I went to work washing railings and siding and refreshing furniture pieces and then got sick of the mess of it all and went to work on the back porch a bit.  I'd thought sincerely I'd only be at the back porch one short afternoon.  Well that turned into a project of it's own.  I set Labor Day weekend as my finishing goal for both projects.  Then it rained and rained.

Obviously painting was out but cleaning was a wet job, so I went right back to cleaning railings and one bright sunny morning when we'd had three or four dry days running together,  I dragged out the half gallon of white exterior paint from the paint cupboard and went to work on the first patch of front porch railing.  It took me three mornings to complete but it looked so sharp and nice I couldn't help but see that ugly red porch floor.   We bought paint for the flooring that week and then we had more rain.  Obviously my Labor Day weekend goal was pushed way off.

One free Sunday in late September 2015 dawned hot and sunny.  Checking the weather I noted that it was meant to be sunny all day long.  The porch had had several days of warm sunny weather to dry out thoroughly.  I went over it with the paint scraper one more time and took up a few more loose strips and bits, swept the porch really well, and then grabbed my paint.

True fact:  It took me almost as long to open the paint can as it did to put on the first coat of paint.  Somewhere in the house is a paint can key.  Who knows where?  It is NOT with the paint in the paint cupboard.  That would have been too easy.

Doesn't it look GOOD in the photo above? (How I wish the dogs hadn't muddied it so this spring!)  I did two coats on that Sunday on the bulk of the porch floor.  I was so tired after the first coat but three hours later it was dry enough for a second coat and I went right on and put it on because free days and rainy days were more common companions than you'd think.  I let that second coat sit about four hours before putting the chairs back.

The truth?  The porch didn't get finished after this paint job.  The Fall was  nothing but wet weather and misty foggy days and that is not painting weather by any means.

I painted the ironing board and then I altered the yellow you see below, buying another shade of yellow and putting on top of it.  Then it was sort of school bus colored.  Whoo hoo.  Not.  But I refused to spend money on a third can of paint for it when I'd swore I was only going to use what I had on hand anyway.
      One of the in between coats of paint on the ironing board.  It got worse before it was better.

Paint, paint, paint.  I'm all about paint.  Wonder what I can paint next?

Well as it turns out, quite a lot more!

I painted chair cushions for the front porch chairs.  The pattern is slightly visible through the spray painted color but it makes them look more like damask than anything.  John was quite pleased with the cushions as he'd doubted spray painting them would work at all. The added advantage to spray painting the cushions?  It made them a bit more waterproof.  The disadvantage?  They stuck ever so slightly to the chairs just at first. 

I was committed to the red on the chairs and the blue on the cushions.  There were touches of sage green in lanterns and decorative hanging baskets and that school bus yellow ironing board and a white table...  I needed something to tie it all together.  And there my completion of the project stalled hard.  I thought I'd use drop cloth to make curtains but that involved still more paint.  I'd had enough of paint at this point!  I thought of shower curtains but the prints were crazy busy or horribly garish. I looked at curtains but they were too pricey. I looked at sheeting but knew it would never hold up long to exposure to sunlight.  We'd used them at the windows indoors and replaced them on average about every two years due to sun bleaching and weakening.  I dropped that idea and continued to look.

Finally I found a lovely patterned outdoor tablecloth at Aldi. I thought at first they were plastic but I realized they were true outdoor fabric.   I  looked hard through the two boxes to find two of the same size, 60 X 120.  I had planned to sew a rod pocket in the top of the curtains, but I'm not yet sure how I'll go about hanging them.  I came across some very large grommets that are made of hard plastic.  I purchased those and hope to insert them in the tops of the curtains IF that is how I decide to hang them. 

A sneak peek of the fabric can be seen in this photo from the Aldi store ad:

My happy moment though was when I realized that these tablecloths meant I could get rid of the yellow on the ironing board.  That didn't hurt my feelings at all, lol.  Based on the curtains, I decided to go with navy blue once more.  Made me sorry I painted the silly thing yellow in the first place because I went right back to the color it had been, sigh.  That is thankfully, one of the few color mistakes I've made and not an expensive mistake over all.  But as usual a little bit of paint...well it does not go a long way here.  I ran out of the blue I was using and went back to the store for more.  I could not find the same color for anything.  John fortunately talked me into a spray paint/primer combination paint and the last color to go on the ironing board (that would be something like number 5 for this makeover).  It took just one coat to cover it and I didn't use a full can. 

I'd purchased a second copy of this bird print last year after weather destroyed the first one. 

This time I took the added precaution of spraying it with clear poly acrylic to protect it.  I loved that it pulled in the blues and greens on the porch...but what about the red and yellow?  I thought I'd use birdhouses as a theme with the picture.  Suddenly inexpensive birdhouses were nowhere to be found and I nearly gave up that idea. Fortunately I found two of my own in the shed and we picked up a cute handmade cottage birdhouse that was unfinished at the local Strawberry festival.  It made a nice addition to the porch.  Then I found a bird chime at The Fresh Market that was a cute bluebird.  I could see my 'theme' was working well enough, if it was coming together slower than I'd have liked.

The ironing board is starting to look the worse for wear...Perhaps I can find a new older metal ironing board sometime.

I've hung baskets at the entrance but trouble with my camera and my computer today prevents my showing them.  The bird chime I've mentioned above isn't showing up in any photo but take my word for it, it's cute.  I'd like more plants and to do something with a plate rack and a wire half basket I have.

And for now, while I await the funds and inspiration about how to hang the proposed curtains on the porch, we'll call this project 'to be continued'...


Anne in the kitchen said...

Very cute porch!

shortybear said...


Anonymous said...

Very nice! What a lovely place to just go sit and daydream. Although, I can't imagine even wanting to be outside in your temps. If we hit 80 here everyone is complaining because it is so hot. I guess it is just what you get used to. We are visiting in NC and my son in law is telling me it is going to be close to a 100!Maybe it will melt away a pound or two, or doesn't it work that way? Gramma D

Kathy said...

Oh I do love your front porch! The floor looks great, and your bird houses and everything is so pretty! Great job!

Deanna said...

It's really coming together! Our back patio is on my list for fix-up projects this summer. There will be photos on my Life With Dee blog at some point.

Tammy said...

I love all of the colors of the ironing board. Birds are a favorite of mine, and I think your birdhouse collection is very sweet! Lots of work, but a lovely place to relax.

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