Today I want to share our porch renovation. In April of 2017, when we moved in, the screened porch was in shabby shape. The wood framing was rotting and the screens were sagging and had holes. The concrete floor was a mess and ugly with those racing stripes. Not to mention, the door was warped and didn't shut. Thus, I shared my porch furniture with a variety of tree frogs, wasps, lizards and spiders. I even have a spider bite on my neck from 3 years ago that I received while taking a quick Sunday afternoon nap!
This is where we started.
So, in the summer of 2018 we decided to get an estimate to glass the whole thing in, which would add 100 square feet to our cottage taking it to a total of 1983 square feet and adding value to our home. The folks at Porch Conversions came out and gave us an estimate. Of course it was higher than I expected, (what isn't these days?) but we decided we would start saving. I always do better and am motivated if I have a goal to work towards.
Well, then hurricane Florence came and put an end to that as we had to spend a bunch of money on clearing downed trees, roof shingles, fence repair etc. We were grateful though as many friends and neighbors lost their homes entirely, so we weren't complaining one bit about what we had to deal with.
I am a tree hugger though and it broke my heart to lose so many of these giants.
Then, in the winter of 2019, we had another surprise. The crawl space foundation was falling on the right end of our cottage and the floor bounced so much that Sabrina kitty could actually make the dishes in the cabinet shake when she ran across the floor for her snack! I worked in custom home building for 12 years. For the life of me, I don't know how this floor system passed code. In fact, there are many things in this house that we have fixed that would never have passed code. Somebody must have been paying somebody to look the other way, just say'in. ;)
We ended up having to put 14 steal beams under the cottage to pick it all back up and stabilize it. Needless to say, the floor isn't going anywhere now and we are all sleeping a little more soundly knowing it isn't going to fall down.
So after saving again for another 8 months, we finally had enough pennies to start. The first thing they did was remove all the old screen and rotted wood framing.
Two days after they removed all of that, we got hit with Hurricane Dorian. Luckily, we only had a few tops of trees break off and various limbs and yard debris to deal with. Thank goodness!
We got the yard cleaned up again and I was grateful that the forest survived this storm as it took such a beating from Hurricane Florence the year prior. I count my blessings every day that I wake up and go to sleep to this view. The birds, squirrels, owls, deer, raccoons, opossum, turtles and various other creatures live there and it makes me so happy seeing them and having them in my very own wonderland right out my window.
The crew came back and added the new aluminum framing and slider windows. These windows can withstand 150 mph winds so unless it's a whopper hurricane, they should be fine. Of course, the roof could always rip off. Yikes! Don't think that, knock on wood that never happens. ;)
We have a really large deck area that David repaired after we moved in. Another thing that was falling apart. Call us crazy, but we work hard for every penny and we believe in taking care of the things we work hard for. It's amazing to us how many people don't care and let things rot and fall apart. Plus, we truly enjoy breathing new life into forgotten things and making them shine again.
After all the glass was installed, it was time to tackle that ugly floor. David put down a concrete leveling material to smooth out the crumbling floor and serve as a solid base for the new floor to lay on.
After a bunch of research and a recommendation from my dear friend, Captain, I decided to go with a Luxury Vinyl Plank. It's waterproof, Eco friendly and fit our frugal budget perfectly. David did all the work laying it down and installing new shoe moulding over the edges. Sabrina inspected his work and approved.
Next we cleaned off our teak furniture and oiled it, which brought the warm color back to it. I got that furniture 5 years ago during a Christmas clearance sale. Let's just say I practically stole it! LOL! It's solid teak and will last forever.
Next, David took on a huge project and installed a HVAC unit out there so we would have heat and air conditioning, which now makes the room qualify for square footage. We had an electrician run all the proper wires and outlets in the room and yes, it's all to code! LOL!! It's a very energy efficient unit and we saved almost $4000 doing it ourselves. Well, David doing it himself. I'm just the superintendent. hee,hee,hee.
Finally, I wanted to add some magical little twinkle lights around the top. I originally had these with brown wires as I thought they looked like branches, but I have since switched them out for twinkle lights on a white wires so they blend in. I may change out the ceiling fan one day, but for now it's fine and functional.
We also kept the ceiling the "Haint Blue" which is a Southern thing. Many porch ceilings are painted this color to keep bugs and other insects away, in addition to keeping birds from nesting in the eves. However, in the old Gullah tradition, it was also a way to keep evil spirits away, which is what it serves as now since the bugs and insects can no longer get in.
The tree of life iron piece is an original piece of art I purchased from Haiti. It's made from an old oil barrel and is hand cut. I purchased it from a company that helps artisans there earn a living wage to support their families.
The lights look so magical in the evening. It's a wonderful place to sit and chat with friends. Of course, it's also the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon nap now that I don't have to worry about spiders taking bites out of me or lizards and frogs pooping on the cushions. Ewwwwww...
I must say that this room turned out to be well worth the wait. It's the perfect addition to our little cottage and I'm so glad we did it. There really is no place like home.
See ya back here next week!