Porches and Decks
Additions and Dormers
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Barns, Silos and Bridges
Stone Patios, Walks and Walls
Oddities and Painting
Interior Projects

Front porch, Seattle house, Phinney Ridge neighborhood

The old porch (below) consisted of a shabby wood floor and rails under a classy old roof supported by brackets on the wall. That roof was curved and gave us a style for ours, but it was too small to make a decent size new porch so we took it down and started over with a masonry foundation and base with bricks found at a native-owned plant in nearby Canada, a nearly perfect match to the bricks of this house from the 1930's. 

The columns are Tuscan with entasis, that curved tapering classical feature that is inspired by the human form. They are built up from medium density overlay plywood, the same material used for sign boards.

The bricks and pavers worked great for matching the house, but it was hard not to add the new brick details below the soldier course.

The Tuscan canoes might have floated, but got attached to the house as pilasters instead.

Curved-front Deck, same Seattle house

Facing the views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound over Ballard, this deck is bounded by a curved front edge.  The owner enjoys having guests to share a seasonal dining experience.

Photos were taken before stairs and painting were complete.

The floor is made of plywood with a liquid-applied colored membrane.  It is easily maintained, as one can renew it with a new coat over the old with minimal prep required. 

Curved Railing Elements

The 9-inch wide cedar top rails, glued up with epoxy from 2 x 12 stock, are sloped on top with a ridge in the middle and coated with a colored flexible painted-on membrane, the same as that used to waterproof the deck floor.

This configuration enables water run-off yet is flat enough to make a comfortable seat for a momentary pause.

The bottom rail, though narrower than the top rail, is curved along the same centerline and also has sloping top surfaces.

These rails are coated with the same colored membrane as the deck floor, to ensure protection from rain. 

A Three-Season Screened Porch in Niskayuna, NY

Like the dual-pitched Gambrel roof, the front wall was angled into a bow shape.  The floor steps down to two lower levelsat the front to accomodate potted trees that needed more height to fitin the space.

Screening covers all the exterior walls, and we built a custom door for passage to the side deck.

Columns and eave beams are locally roughsawn hemlock 6x6, roof joists are 4 x 6, and the long roof beams are LVL wrapped with local hemlock.  The house wall was re-sided with vertical 1 x 6 pine paneling.

Pressure-treated lumber was used only below the floor and around the perimeter, and locally milled hemlock framing lumber was used for floor joists as well as all the structure above the floor, excluding only the roof decking, which is a locally milled tongue-and-groove 2 x 6 pine.

The floor decking is of rough-sawn locally milled black locust in three alternating widths.  The owner turned over a sample of porch decking and said he liked the rough-sawn surface.  To our surprise, the color is richer and varied, and the feathery surface of the roughsawn locust has no splinters.

A full-width front porch with poorly placed front steps, badly deteriorated treads and risers, and everything else in need of cleaning and a paint job.  After pressure-washing, adjusting and re-surfacing the steps (requiring removing and refitting the inclined rails), replacing a 10 foot chunk of the facia board, and priming and painting all surfaces shown here.  Except some paint on the risers and facia board remains.

Capitol Hill Seattle Porch

This Craftsman house also had a small, shabby porch that did no justice to the charming exterior.  One day, Steve measured the front of the house, sat across the street on another wall, and sketched the drawing shown, indicating how the porch would fit with the house, completing the process in a couple of hours.  Painting was done by others.

A Seattle Beacon Hill exterior restoration and makeover

The owner of this house was interested in a complete restoration and paint job, and thought the back porches had been awkwardly and excessively done.

The front porch (right) simply needed to be restored, with rotten columns, flooring, steps and siding.

After stripping away much of the back porch and roof, and restoring the original porch, the owner opted to keep the full door upstairs by adding a wrought iron guardrail.

The front, restored to a serene state.

New York Porch

A rebuilt front porch in Chatham, NY, in 2007.  The front columns, cornice, railings, floor and steps were all built new and placed on new deep concrete pier foundations. The old porch  had sunk ground-ward because of inadequate footings, and because the old columns and other elements were rotten due to roof leakage and inadequate protection from rain. 

The gutters and various other drainage and sealing methods will help prevent future degradation.

Same house, side porch with the new
entry enclosurestyled to fit with the
existing house. See the "Stone patios"
page for abetter view of the adjacent

              Looking into the enclosed entry, bumped out into former porch area, tile floors, custom oak threshold, etc.
To convert this portion of an old porch to heated interior space, we had to place a perimeter footing at four feet below grade.  We then opened up the old stone foundation to provide access from the basement into the resulting crawlspace.  The opening sides were stabilized with mortar whereas the original stones were dry-laid.