Building a Front Portico

Portico is a fancy little word, which really means a covered front porch, so I’m adopting that word for my new and improved little front porch.  I have a new front portico!!  And yes,  I’m still so excited about getting this project done on my house. This one alone makes such a huge difference in the outside of my home and it’s the first thing I notice now when I’m driving up to my house, so I’m going to share how building this front portico came about.

That beautiful little portico is just what I envisioned and having it built was a dream come true. This project was way more than my dad could possibly tackle at his age (although he likes to think he could have climbed up there, figured out all the angles and wood that needed to be purchased, and built it himself!), but we knew better than that.  It was out of his scope of doing at this time in life and so I found the best remodeler guys that I think I could have found.

Mike Joiner is a guy I grew up with in church.  His whole family went to my dad’s church here in Marietta and we grew up together in youth group, so I’ve known him almost all my life.  We had heard that Mike and his son, Dave were now doing remodeling work and that they did a great job.  So, I got in touch with him and asked him to come by and give me an estimate.  He came by in mid-summer, but was so busy that he wasn’t able to get to me right away. They specialize in kitchen renovations and work with a company that does that and they work on one kitchen after another.  But, they also do lots of other projects and can handle anything from a remodeling/renovation standpoint.  You can bet they will be doing all of my projects around here from now on that my dad and I can’t handle.  They did a fantastic job on my little portico.  I told Mike I would be putting his name and phone number out there and that he could probably expect to get some business, so I’m sharing with those of you who live locally in case you need a great remodeler.

mike and dave

Mike Joiner – 770-634-2013:  If you contact him, just tell him you read about his work from my blog.  He’s a great guy to work with, very fair and does excellent work!  I couldn’t recommend he and Dave any more highly.  I told them they look a little Duck Dynasty with those beards and they laughed about that. They are hunters too and just like hairy faces, but don’t let that fool you. They are great at what they do!

So, let’s get on with how this portico came together!

Kelly's house

It all started with this pic!  This is the inspiration pic that started my whole obsession for getting my front portico completed.  My friend, Kelly, from Eclectically Vintage lives in a beautiful 100 year old historic home in NJ and when I saw her front porch, my heart skipped a beat!  It’s so cute, as well as traditional and classic, just what I envisioned for my own porch.  Kelly has done amazing things with her vintage home, so check it out with the exterior photos to see all the changes.

I sent this pic to my remodeler and told him this is the look I’m going for and he delivered my vision!  He kept telling me it won’t look exactly the same, but it will be pretty close.  I knew going along that I was going to love the finished project and definitely DO!  Now I don’t have charming brick steps or a tiled sidewalk, but lots more changes are coming to the front of my house next year. Can’t wait to share all of that with you!

setting up

The guys set up in my driveway with all of their power tools.  It wasn’t the best time of year to do this sort of project, but they worked around the weather until it was finished.  We had some rain-out days along the way, but it was finally done!

tearing old porch down

First things first, was tearing out the old porch. They removed the porch floor and all the old railings and steps and left the base, making sure it was solid and secure to the house.

porch gone

The base was still solid, so they kept it in place and just added from there.

front door before

Take note of the trim around the front door. I didn’t plan on changing it at first, but you know how things like this snowball.  Once the porch was finished, I knew that the trim around the door needed something more, so you’ll see that below.  Just note how skimpy it looks here!  Plain Jane for sure especially after I added the white storm door on top of the old trim early on after moving in.  It was practically non-existent anymore.

platform and stairs

First thing they did was build the new decking for the porch floor and built the stairs in.  My old stairs had only 3 which were very cumbersome to walk up and down.  Mike made the new porch with 4 stairs, which are to code and much more comfortable.  Notice the slope of the porch, since my lot slopes here in the front yard.  He had a solution for that too and you’ll see it later in the after pics.  You have to deal with what you’re working with on things like this.  He got it all level, but a sloping lower stair isn’t very attractive.

stairs from side

The finished porch floor and stairs.  We’re on a roll now!  I was excited watching every single step of this project and tried to get all the major steps photographed.

cutting into roof

Next, Dave began cutting into the roof above the front door to tie in the new front portico.  I’m so glad they are experts at this and knew just how to do it. They had to add a little angled part on the roof to tie in with the existing roof.  That takes skill for sure!

roof

Cutting into the front porch rafters.

boxes on porch

Next step was adding these boxes they assembled that would be the outer edge of the porch roof.  I don’t know the technical terms for these things, so bear with me.

adding rafters

Those trusses or whatever they are called were added on either side, along with temporary 2×4 supports.  Later 4×4 posts were added and wrapped with vinyl to beef it all up.

porch structure

They supported the new porch roof structure which went up pretty fast.

roof structure

Looking up at the new roof line.

dave working on roof

Dave up on the roof adding the necessary components to tie into my existing roof.

adding shingles

I have no idea what he did up there, but it all worked in the end.  You can see here the new white risers have been added to the porch stairs.  These are vinyl risers and will never rot.  This material is more expensive than pressure treated wood, so he used vinyl in areas that are most vulnerable to damage.  The new columns he added are also vinyl and this can be painted too.

columns complete

I totally missed the steps they took to add the big beefy columns, but you can see they are in here. I know he wrapped a 4×4 post, I think it was with the vinyl material and then capped it off with trim at the top and bottom.  They are beautiful, I love these beefy columns!   The roof also has new shingles here. They matched the new shingles up very well with my existing shingles.

coumns

Roof line and top of column.

column base

Base of column.  All this little trim detail makes such a huge difference in a project like this.

dave working 2

I’m practically jumping up and down like a little girl about now, seeing this all come together, exclaiming…I love it, I love it!  They were smiling along the way, happy that I was happy.

side view

More details from the side.

front of house

It’s really starting to come together now.

under roof

Top of roof line.  I asked for a beadboard ceiling and so that’s what I got.

new trim around door

The beadboard ceiling is in place along with the new and improved beefed up fluted trim with bullseyes and a key in the middle.  See the key behind the light fixture?  I’m pretty sure at this point that I’m going to put up a hanging lantern in the middle of the ceiling. I still have to call my electrician back out and get a light fixture, but right now that is the plan.  The old light fixture covers up some of my trim work, so I know it will look better to change that out.

See how one thing leads to another?  Every. Single. Time!

The old concrete siding had to come off too to allow for the  new trim pieces to go in. These all had to be recut and added back.

porch trimout

Side view of the porch progress.

details going up

When those cute cedar shingles went in place, I clapped with glee. This was my plan all along, to add some cute New England style cedar shakes to the front of the portico and they look just as I imagined they would.

side view

Still more trimming on the edges to do.

shingles in

Working on the top trimming out.

side view2

More trim added and more progress.

railings going in

Now it’s time for the railings!  Oh yeah!  We discussed this as we went along and he brought along some chunky railings and I OK’d and went with.  I wanted something a little more decorative than flat wood and plain spindles like I had before.

shingles in place

The top of the portico is done and I love all the little trim details.  All of that makes such a huge difference.  It will be amazing when it is painted.  And yes, I’m painting the beadboard ceiling the same soft blue that I painted my back porch ceiling.

posts and railings

Working on the railings.

finished porch

Here it is all finished and completed except for caulking and painting. It will be awhile before all of that is done, since we have to wait for the weather to cooperate.  Here you can see what Mike came up with to handle the sloping sidewalk.  He added a little platform at the bottom which took away the awkwardness of the sloping last stair against the sidewalk.  At least now, it’s a gradual slope and much more attractive and gives another step up from the sidewalk that is not so steep.

side view

Notice the new siding around the door, all needing new paint.  And here’s a good view of the platform at the bottom on top of the sidewalk.  I really like how this part turned out and it looks so much better than just leaving the stairs at a slope.  Once I get it all painted, it will look so much better. I’d love to do a flagstone sidewalk, so I’m going to look into that and see if I can figure out something decorative to do with my sidewalk without tearing it all out.

The sides of the porch are left open for now, but my plan is to add a concrete board underneath and add either faux stone or real stone to the bottom side of my porch on either side, sort of like a skirt. Won’t that be pretty!?

top of portico

I’m leaving up this garland for awhile, it’s really so pretty (from Lynch Creek Farm) and will last awhile longer in the cold.

trimmed out front door

The beefed up front door trim up close.  Isn’t it gorgeous??

side view 2

I’m so completely in love with this new portico that I can hardly stand it!  It just adds so much more beauty to my plain house and takes it up several notches.

house after

My friend Carmen, who I introduced you to is going to help me with a landscape plan for my front yard and I’m so, so excited about that.  It’s going to be so cottagey and cute when we get it all finished. She is an expert and this place is going to be transformed with azaleas, hydrangeas and lots more.  God blessed me even more when I met Carmen and she came into my life!  She’s already getting ideas on what we can do out there and this yard is going to start being transformed in the Spring, I hope.

Before and After Porch

So, here’s the Before and After!  It’s all I dreamed it could be and I can’t wait for more of the landscape story to unfold this new year. It’s a complete blank slate, waiting for an artist to transform it.

garage door before

Another area I really have never showed y’all is this ugly side entry in between my garage doors.  This existing old door was so rotten and pathetic, but we’ve been working so hard on the inside that I have just ignored the outside for now.  But getting Mike over to do the front portico project, I asked him about this door and so he took that on to and I’m so glad to get this outta here!

new header on garage door

The wood trim right above my garage door was all rotten, so he replaced it with new pressure treated wood.

cutting door bigger

He took the old rotten door out and enlarged the space so that a new bigger door could be put in.  The old one was so skinny!

old garage door out

He got a new fiberglass door installed for me and I’m so happy to have it in place, complete with a door frame and threshold.

garage side after

To fit it in, they had to cut out some of the existing 2×4’s that were in place, so it ended up not being completely even on either side, but I can live with that. Bigger is better!

Now my front portico is completed and I have the garage area all spiffed up too.  All that’s left for the exterior of the house is a good paint job in the spring. That’s going to make it all look great! I’m leaning towards a nice medium to dark true gray with crisp white trim for the house. I’ll have to do some sampling for sure to find just the right color.

I’m going to share the cost of what I spent on this project, just because I know everyone likes to see how much things cost.  I got the entire portico done, along with repairing the trim above my garage, the new door and repair on the middle garage door, all for $2,400, which I think is a very reasonable price for what all they did.  That’s materials and labor, everything.  If you’re looking for a remodeler in this area, you can’t go wrong with Mike and Dave. They will be doing all of my projects from now on, the things that we can’t handle around here.

Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

I’m sharing this over at Sarah’s Before and After party this month.


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. It looks fantastic!! Can’t wait to see the rest unfold!

  2. Love it, love it, love it!! You have added so much value to your home by really making it your own. Cannot wait to see how it looks after you get all your landscaping done!!

  3. Wow Rhoda! They totally nailed it! You had a great vision for your house. The porch looks like it belonged there all along.

  4. I love porticos! It looks fabulous!

  5. Wow, it is perfect and everything is coming together so beautifully. Also, the peace of mind of getting a new door and trim, replacing the rotten stuff….I can see why you are over the moon. And a GREAT price for all that work. Congrats!

  6. Wow, for all that work, that price sounds very reasonable! Fantastic job they did – so much more character after!

  7. I am so impressed by all the new improvements to your house. Everything looks great! Thanks so much for sharing your improvement projects with all of us. It’s so fun to see all the great things happening at your house. If we lived close to you, we’d definitely call on your two guys for projects! I hope alot of people do!

  8. That landing at the bottom is perfect! Sign of a good carpenter that he wouldn’t just leave the slope on the sidewalk.

  9. I think if you added another walkway, a curvy one, winding up from the street to the portico it would really give your home a cottage look. You probably already have this planned, just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents. I love the new look of your home.

  10. Oh Rhoda – you must do a happy dance up and down those stairs every day! Your portico looks amazing – this Duck Dynasty guys know their stuff! I love the idea of adding stone around the bottom – and I can’t wait to see it all landscaped!
    Kelly

  11. Sheree cloyd says:

    Wow – what a transformation! It is beautiful . Thank you for sharing with us! I work for a builder
    And know ….you got a great deal!, Enjoy!

  12. It looks fantastic! I am so happy for you, Rhoda.

  13. I loved your descriptions of how the work was done..and the attention to detail that Mike and Dave showed is a great advertisement for their skill…wish we lived closer.. I need railings added to my front porch steps! But at least I now have a better idea of what I need, what to look for and a window of costs. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Amazing job! I think it’s a small amount of money for the added value you gave to your house. I can’t wait to see the landscape transformation! What color do you have planned for the house? That is such a huge decision for me!

    I will keep Mike and Dave’s number – I have some projects I hope to start on in the Spring. And your Dad is just like mine – they are the same age and my Dad would have insisted he could still have done that work….

  15. Rhoda this looks fabulous! I have been planning to do an awning over my front door but now you are making me rethink it. An awning is so temporary and this is more permanent. We are in a house that we may sell soon and I thought I would do something that wasn’t expensive but the awning quote is 1200, so for approx. 2400 i could have a structure. I do love awnings so now I’m wondering which I should do. I guess first I should get a quote from someone. Too bad your guys are in Atlanta. The contractors I use for my projects would charge so much, I wish I had a Mike! oxoxo Happy New Year. You are really making great strides with your home. I love it!

  16. Rhoda, what a huge difference the portico makes on your house! And I knew those urns were going to be somewhere in this post! I can visualize the stone wrapped around the bottom of your steps and continued around the bottom of your entire front! I have a friend who works for a stone company near Covington. Would you like for me to put her in touch with you?

    • Jane, yep, I agree with your stone idea! Before reading your post, I was thinking that the chimney needed a stone facing, but I like your idea of stone across the lower front of the house. It’ll be fun to see what Rhoda and her landscape architect comes up with to improve the curb appeal. I’m always in awe.

  17. Loving everything about the portico! I have a wooden sided fireplace “box” like you. I am stressing out about how to landscape for this big blank space.

  18. It looks wonderful! Mike and Dave did a great job with your vision for a new portico. You are an inspiration!

  19. Your portico looks absolutely stunning! What a transformation! Your home is so beautiful. I know your can’t wait for spring to plant some flowers in those urns. Wish I lived close enough to hire that crew!

  20. Rhoda, it just looks wonderful. It’s amazing what a difference some architectural interest can make. I’m so happy for every milestone you meet.

  21. Marianne A. says:

    Love it! Love how they put the platform at the bottom, too, to solve the sloping problem.

  22. Wow! It looks fantastic! I am so happy for you, Rhoda!

  23. Rhoda, this looks fabulous! I also love the garage door too! I’m thrilled you have the is new home and are getting to do some new fun things to it! It looks great! You have such vision!

  24. It looks great! It will be so pretty this Spring when you get the ceiling painted blue and add some pretty flowers.

    Looking at the front of your house… have you considered building out the fireplace so that it goes all the way to the ground? It would be faux of course… just for looks, but I think the fireplace hanging out in mid-air like that is kind of awkward looking.

    • Yes, Karen, I’m going to do something with that. Either build it down OR add a trellis to disguise it. My landscape person is giving me ideas, so something will happen there too.

      • Marianne in Mo. says:

        I thought the same thing, it just looks like it’s hanging on for dear life! Your guys did a fantastic job, and so reasonable! I would be reluctant to share them, they will be so busy you will never see them again ;-))

    • I agree–stonework would be great with the future stone on the portico–that would really “ground” the fireplace. Everything is looking lovely, and you’re so fortunate to have such talented and reasonable builders working for you. Congrats!

  25. Rhoda, the price was a bargain!! You would easily pay double, maybe triple that where I live. I LOVE it!! Classic and elegant! It totally updates your home and I can’t wait to see the landscape changes.

  26. Love IT, the attention to detail is AMAZING !! the platform idea, brilliant – The cost is peanuts compared remodeling work of this nature in Australia, something like this here would cost, 3 times as much, and NO were near the professionalism of this job…. Times like this I wish I lived in the U.S…NO wonder you’re beyond excited, its charmingly beautiful..

  27. Wow! Beautiful! What an awesome job! I like that you included the cost. That helps us dreamers know what we would need to save up to do such a project. If I lived in your area, I would hire these guys in a skinny minute.

  28. Rhoda,
    It adds so much to your home. I really think they did a great job. Thanks for sharing. Just the finishing touches and such a welcome to your home.

  29. I love this Rhoda! So beautiful. Totally worth every penny.

  30. You have done such an amazing job on your home! I always look to it for inspiration for my own home. Fabulous job and the new portico is so welcoming. I can’t wait to see the front with new paint and landscaping! I know it will be fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Carol Stanek says:

    Hi Rhoda,
    I love the new portico! I happen to notice it during the holiday on a house in my neighborhood and now I see the same portico in your blog! I belive we may actually be practically neighbors! Thanks for all your inspiration!!!!
    Carol

  32. Rhoda – the new portico looks fabulous! Every new project makes such a huge difference. Can’t wait to see the paint and landscaping.

  33. Your unbridled excitement and gratitude are even more charming than your new portico. Thank you for sharing!

  34. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Applause…applause…applause. Charming, functional and so well done. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

  35. It looks fantastic, Rhoda! Just a beautiful addition to your home, and I’m so glad you had a trustworthy friend who could do it. That makes it even better!

  36. This looks beautiful! I can’t wait to see what comes next! You’re blessed to have found good carpenters for a good price, not easy to do.

  37. What a pretty addition to the exterior of your home! I can’t wait to see the landscaping too! Happy New Year! ~Kerri

    • Anita Lemmen says:

      Love the look, love the urns, do Mike and Dave come up to talking Rock, I would like to add wood plank trim above my fireplace, great job

  38. I’m a porch fan and I think your portico adds a lot of “welcoming” to you home. Very nice.

  39. WoW Rhoda, the crew did an amazing, beautiful job – I know you’re so proud!! Can’t wait to see the landscaping do over…. ♥

  40. Looks really wonderful Rhoda, these guys did a great job. Look forward to seeing the painting and the landscaping. How exciting for you.

  41. Love the portico! Can’t wait to see and be inspired by your landscaping. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  42. that is just gorgeous! amazing job, amazing price! Love it and can’t wait to see what Carmen does!

  43. Rhoda, What a huge difference to the front of the house. Have you considered “dummying” out the bump-outs on the front of the house so that they reach the ground? I have an old house and have been spending a large amount of time trying to come up with plans to improve the curb appeal. No portico for me. The entry to my home has an original beadboard ceiling in the small entry porch. The beautiful blue used so often in the South just wouldn’t work with reddish brownish brick and rust trim on my 1920s Tudor. I love those ceilings though. I am sure yours will be great after you paint it. I will be watching for the next stage of the plan.

    • Iris, the only bumpout I want to disguise is the fireplace, so I’ve got plans to do something with that, not sure what yet, but it’s in the thinking process. I’m going to add windows on the lower level to the left of the front porch soon too, so that’s something that is definitely going to happen. Those guys are coming back to do that too. Still have a ways to go, but hopefully when I’m all finished with landscaping and all, it will look like a completely different house.

  44. I’m certain it will look like a new house – the inside definitely does. Since you are painting anyway you might just frame the bottom of the fireplace out, use siding and when it is painted it will look like it was originally built that way. By the way, I don’t blog but I am always adding my two cents worth to other peoples. I think you know what it’s like. You look at something and your brain takes off in eight directions at once. I can’t help myself. Happy landscaping.

  45. Rhoda, I can see why you’re so thrilled with the new porch. It’s beautiful and adds so much charm & character to your home. Can’t wait to see all the landscaping to come. The price for all that work is fabulous too. I think I need to call these guys to help with my house. Thanks for the recommendation.

  46. It looks fabulous Rhoda, you must be thrilled with it. I am in the middle of re-doing the front of my house and like you had a large space below my windows before the ground (not as high as yours), however, I have used three standard topiary bay trees and created a garden behind with box hedging hard up against the house. I have then layed weed matting and white chip over the area, it looks amazing. Not ready to photograph yet as I am in the process of rubbing down windows but possibly in a couple of weeks time I will be posting it.

    I think if you put some topiary trees of a decent height along under your window to the right of the porch and maybe some hedging you can cut into box, behind and possibly in front it would look fabulous. Just a thought. Would love to know what ideas you have for that area.

    I have my new camera so snapping pictures madly everywhere I go and will be sharing some of my own home, finally this week.

    Lee

  47. Oh Rhoda, it is beautiful! It is worth every dime! Their work looks excellent and all of the details in the trim certainly take it up several notches! I can’t wait to see your house next summer when you have completed your exterior projects!

  48. Hi Rhoda!!!

    I love the change with both doors!!!! They did a great job!!!
    The before and after is amazing!!!

    Have a great week!!!

    Pam

  49. Love it Rhoda! Looks so great. I really want to add one to the front entrance of our home…but I have no idea when I will get to that one ;) I’ve seen them on ranch homes and they add so much style and curb appeal :) xo Kristin

  50. Rhoda it looks beautiful! Your home sure has come a long way since you bought it! I know you’re so proud! I can’t wait to see what else you come up with :)

  51. Wow, what a transformation! I just love it and can’t wait until the weather improves so you can paint it and show it…we will all wait anxiously for the landscape additions as well…great job!

  52. Melesa Garrison says:

    I love it and the door looks nice as well. I hope you didn’t shoot yourself in the foot because this guy does great work, and now he just got some great advertising…He may not be available for upcoming jobs that you might need done. No, seriously, I hope he does get some work from this post. I do think you got a good deal. It amazes me how he fixed those steps with such expertise!

  53. Wow. What a transformation! I can’t wait to see your new landscaping. I like everything you’ve done to your new home.

  54. How gorgeous your new portico is!! I love how much it adds to your cute house! I was jumping up and down when ours was being built too. I might have even hugged our contractor. Here is ours after it was built if you want to take a peek.
    http://sixtyfifthavenue.blogspot.com/2011/11/craftsman-style-cottage.html

  55. Rosie from Raymore says:

    It’s all coming together so pretty! It will be fun to watch the landscaping this year.

  56. Oh wow, Rhoda!!! I’m jumping for you with you too. Your new portico is the absolute delicious icing on top of the beautiful cake! Love! Love! Love! And I would pay twice that if I could get your wonderful friends to come build me a new portico or porch on my ranch house here in Texas! I’ve begged my hubby to do it since he is quite handy. But I think I need experts like yours to cut into the roof line.

    So thrilled for you that you are continuing to be blessed beyond measure! Thank you for sharing your joys and triumphs after the storms. We all need to hear of God’s faithfulness!

  57. Looks so nice. Can’t wait to see the landscaping go in. I love that kind of remodel job as much as the interior. Loved the baby shower post too. Your family is so cute.

  58. Paula Lusk says:

    Wow, what a difference the portico makes. So much character. Love it. It is great that you had the guys fix your garage door frames and replacing the walk-in door. They did a wonderful job, and let me tell you, it would cost two times, at least, to have that done here in Southern California.
    You have certainly taken a house and turned it into a home, such a blessing. Take care Paula

  59. Rhoda, I think this is my favorite transformation of the entire house project- it takes the look from plain vanilla to your particular style- gorgeous! Definitely filing the contractors’ contact info- I have a kitchen project this year that is calling their name! Thanks for sharing.

  60. I have been following you well before you moved home to Marietta. When you did I about fell out of my chair, as I live in Marietta too. Thank you so much for posting this post along with Mike’s number. My husband and I are wanting to have someone tackle our ugly, outdated kitchen for us – but hate the thought of calling random people that you know noting about. He’ll be hearing from us for sure! They did a wonderful job!

  61. I needed this post so badly! I want to add a porch to the front of our plain jane house so badly, but was convinced it was way out of our budget. So glad to see it’s not … now if only Mike and his crew traveled to TN I would be golden!

  62. Love the portico. Can’t wait to see the landscaping. Just an idea, maybe windows installed on the left side of the house, even if they are are inoperable to provide balance.

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