June 24, 2017

The Porch That Took 17 Years to Build (Part 2 – After)

Nov11

Over eight months ago, I posted on instagram a picture of our “dream porch” and this sentence,

“After saving for years and living off our saved cash “porch fund” during 2 unemployments, this dream is going to be a reality.” EEK! #debtfreeliving #cashisking

A friend replied, “You are building my dream house.”

I showed my husband her comment. We chuckled, “If only she knew”.

Can I ask you a huge favor?

If you haven’t read the back story behind this front porch addition, pretty please take a minute (or two) and read it first.

I’ll wait, really, I will.

Without the understanding of why it took us 17 years to build this porch, it will be just another porch to pin, a beautiful “Before and after,” but it’s so much more than that.

With the back story, you’ll be encouraged that there are moments to choose joy along a difficult journey and that’s the message I want people to hear.

Pour some coffee. Go read Part 1 BEFORE reading this.

Are you done?

Ok, we can continue. 🙂

For the last seventeen years, the front of our house looked like this.

Sad, pathetic, neglected. It’s actually quite embarrassing to look at this picture, but it was our reality.

Every time we discussed adding some landscaping it ended with, “But then we’ll have to tear it all out when we build the porch and considering the porch will be done “next year (next year, next year), we’ll just enjoy our beautiful woods.)

Our homestead is set in the middle of wooded acreage and the natural beauty of that  covers a multitude of landscaping woes, although its hard to believe myself when I see the camera zoomed in like this. I wanted those ugly overgrown bushes out years ago. 😉

As you read in Part 1, the desire to build a Front Porch was the reason behind our house design choice in the first place.

The Porch That Took 17 Years to Build - an inspiring story for anyone who wants their dream home

After we purchased our home and had settled in for about two years, we were ready to build.

“Back then”, one had to actually hire an architect to make sure we were on the same page as our builder. This was the first sketch that he faxed us, and it was fun to find it last year during this planning process.

Last year, when we approached the first builder for an estimate, we used our original drawing because of course, that was the porch we were building. Imagine my shock when it came in around $20k MORE than what we anticipated. Yes, you read that right. Surely, it must have been a mistake,   so we asked a second builder’s estimate and the ball park was around the same.

By the third estimate, we realized that the dream plan I’d held tightly to for nearly two decades needed to be adjusted.

The decision to scale back began, but admittedly, after saving all these years for THIS porch, it took a slight attitude adjustment to realize that if we wanted to stay close to budget, our “dream porch” had to become a new dream porch. One that fit into our budget.

A flat roof topped the list of our “must haves,” but as we hashed it through with the builder, that “must have” ultimately needed to be released. That was a hard one for me, but in making the switch from a flat roof to one with a slight pitch elevation, we saved $10K, plus the cost of the railings.

Yes, a significant savings.

The original architect’s plan had the depth of the porch at 10 feet. I wanted it to run 10 feet deep all the way across the house, then jet out to 12’ x 12’ squares around the corners to make two large living areas before wrapping around both sides of the house. We now wish that we would have made that even a bit larger.

Most porches are 6 feet deep, but that doesn’t allow for real living to occur, so having it wider was critical. Having large dinner parties, rehearsal dinners for all the kids and more, set the tone for our desired depth.

We realized that if we decreased the width from 10 feet deep to 8 feet it still gave enough room for full length tables with chairs, plus saved us thousands.

We also determined that we didn’t need to wrap around on both sides of the house and even adjusted the “porch look” on one side, to less expensive decking with no roof.

Ideally, this is where a garage might attach some days, so with that reasoning, we wouldn’t have to waste the expensive part of the porch. 🙂

Using this side porch inspiration, painting the railings white is on our “to do” list.

It’s truly crazy how much every little addition increased the cost substantially. We had not anticipated how the cost of wood and supplies had sky rocketed over the last few years.

Our dream foundation was brick or really, any other choice besides lattice, but it was the least expensive option. We determined that once landscaping is completed, the foundation won’t be seen anyhow, so lattice is just fine.

As we tweaked and tweaked our plans to fit into our budget, we finally had to determine where to invest and that came in a last minute decision to upgrade flooring. It honestly took me two weeks to finally allow myself permission to go ahead and spend the money, since it was a substantial upgrade over decking.

Not only did we upgrade to flooring that we will never have to sand, stain or paint, but then we took it up one more notch to a tongue and groove look which really mimics indoor flooring (you can see it fully on the Part 1 post.) It really feels like a living room, rather than a deck and we love that.

Yes, there’s been many jokes going around about how our outdoor flooring is ten times nicer than our tacky flooring inside. (Our next project.)

We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in March, and we decided that the upgrade would be our present to each other. We promised we’d still get away for the weekend, but (cough, cough) that still hasn’t happened yet. We will. 🙂

We added recessed lightening, as well as four ceiling fans throughout the length of the porch. It makes such a huge difference, and I’m so glad we didn’t cut corners on that. We also upgraded the lighting features on either side of the doors (not shown in the above pic.)

When I look at these two photos, I sure wish safety wasn’t an issue. I LOVE the look of the larger columns without any railing. It gives  the grand look that I so desired, but obviously with our house being set so high, that wasn’t an option.

 I understand the benefits of meeting the safety code. This porch will have our grand kids running around on here some day and I surely do not want to worry about those blessings falling down, but oh, I just love that look.

This porch celebrates life to its fullest. I wish you could all come sit and sip some tea and coffee with me and share life together. There’s just something better about doing it on a front porch. 🙂

Already, we’ve had hundreds of friends gather here and the memories created are exactly why I’ve been desiring it for such a long time.

(Yep, it fits 60 people with no problem.)

If you follow me on facebook or Instagram, (jenschmidt_beautyandbedlam),  you know first hand how it’s become an integral part of our day to day, and it’s just worth every second.

For those wondering from the pictures, it’s been six months now and there’s still not any landscaping or grass. Hopefully, we will be doing that in the spring and I’ve asked a landscape friend to help me design the layout.

As much as I can tackle the planting and manual labor with our big boys, I want to have cut flowers and blooming bushes year round and all the little details that can only come from someone with a better  knowledge of  landscape design than me. That too will be a worth investment.

For now, I will enjoy every bit of our porch and the natural beauty that surrounds it.

I’m fully content in this blessing of a porch that took us 17 years to receive and even though it’s been months since it’s been completed, I still pinch myself.

Periodically even our kids sit out there and mention, “I can’t believe it finally happened.”  It’s a totally new house.

This past year, I began pinning to my Front Porch Love board and since this is so similar to our home now, it gives me a vision for Christmas decorating. Last year, I bought a bunch of wreaths on sale “just in case,” but it might take another year to gather after Christmas sale items to reach this festive level.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I can’t wait to have fun with ours.

Thanks for journeying with me. It’s been fun to show you our porch and you will definitely see updates as we slowly furnish it more, add that landscaping and paint the railings.

Yes, step by step that dream porch is still a work in progress, just like me. 🙂


Comments

  1. I love your porch, it’s beautiful! You know before the internet, we perfect strangers wouldn’t be sharing and cheering each other on. I’m contemplating a small front porch and front yard landscaping. AND it’s taking me 6 years so far. You’re going to be my inspiration for my new front porch.

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  2. Congratulations on getting your porch – and on the lessons in patience and rewards that I’m sure your family learned in the process! 😉 It’s so lovely and welcoming!!

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  3. Beautiful! It has always been a dream of mine to have a home with a big wrap around porch. Congratulations on your much waited and worked for dream come true! ~K.

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  4. Beautiful! Your article gives me hope. We bought our house 6 yrs ago and do things little by little as we save the money. We have had so many setbacks- unexpected ER trips & surgeries. We need new flooring in over half the house but the heating/air unit had to be replaced in July. That was a huge setback! The good news is that will be paid off here next week and we can get back to saving for the flooring project. It’s been two steps forward, one step back.

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  5. it is gorgeous….and makes your house look so cozy and welcoming..enjoy your lovely family porch…it looks like the 17 years were truly worth it

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  6. What a dream porch! Who wouldn’t love sitting out there drinking ice tea and enjoying that beautiful wooded surrounding! It’s the prettiest porch I’ve ever seen.

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  7. Having celebrated ON that porch, it is perfect!

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  8. Your porch is wonderful Jen – what a beautiful place to gather together and enjoy good food and fellowship! I am so glad your dream was finally realized and that God honored your commitment to staying debt free by rewarding you with the desires of your heart! I can’t wait to see what you do for Christmas! I’m sure it will be breath-taking!

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  9. Jaw-dropping!! I’m not kidding – that is totally exactly what my dream house looks like on the outside. I may have gasped a little at the photo of you on the porch. It looks so spacious and livable!! And worth the wait. 🙂

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  10. That is gorgeous! My house is the same style, but with a much smaller porch.

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  11. Congratulations!! Your porch is beautiful. Just a side note, I like it better without the railing on the second level. It lets more of your house show.

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  12. It may have taken 17-yrs. but it is right on time. So beautiful!
    Big Congrats!

    JaG

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  13. Love it! I wish it were mine!

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  14. Beautiful! It does change whole look of the house. Congratulations.

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  15. I have never seen such a HUGE porch. I would never have been able to envision it from your description, thanks for taking so many pictures. A very big house though, so I suppose a small porch would look odd.

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  16. Your porch is amazing… thank you for sharing… I dont want to wait that long… I am already in my mid 50’s.

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  17. Amazing!

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  18. SO beautiful! Is there anyone who doesn’t dream of having a deep wrap-around porch? : ) And I have to tell you – while I do love the pillar look, it can often seem more stand-offish and cold… I really think your home looks so much friendlier with the railing-ed porch you ended up with – it looks elegant AND inviting!

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  19. The porch and whole house is beautiful.

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  20. What a fantastic porch! It gives the house a totally different look. I would love a porch like that.

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  21. It is gorgeous! And you have been using it, just like you wanted to do! Thanks for sharing pics with people on it, so we could actually see how big it is.
    “to realize that if we wanted to stay close to budget our dream porch was going to become a new dream porch” Love that line, the dream had to become a new dream. Hey, I have an idea! You could allow people to rent your porch for events! Ok, just a thought, quit gasping/laughing!

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    Jen Reply:

    You think I gasped? Nope, I didn’t. I’ve always wanted to run a bed and breakfast, since before I was married. This house isn’t conducive to that ever, but my next “Dream?” To build a large
    “barn”/events building that we could rent for weddings and use for ministry. With 15 nieces, nephews and kids that still need to get married (just from those who live on our homestead) , we could pay for it. You can always use our porch for free, anytime, any day. 🙂

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  22. Eileen Richter says:

    I am on year 13 of our back porch story. Just a simple screened in small space but wasted in not using for all these years. Icky. spiders, bugs, grass tossed in I dont know HOW from a the lawnmower and AAaachhhooo…pollens for allergy ridden bodies. So, we are 3 months in and have windows and a patio door. Step made from a block of wood. My teen daughter’s window scapes out into the porch, and for now…plastic covering…the only window we dont know how to put in as the house part was of course already built. DIY’ers save money but sometimes do not end with a quick project or a happy occupant. ahem…mom. We shall see what happens. I am just lucky it didnt take SEVENTEEN years. But will take that long to just do all the other little things this 34 year old tiny house needs. I am gonna be watching your landscaping. We need that desperately! Thanks for sharing. Your house is magnificent. Wish we had had a house like that raising 6 kids. SO amazing truly!

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    Jen Reply:

    @Eileen Richter, OH yes, please keep me updated on your project too.

    As much as I love DIYing, this was definitely not something I could have even thought about, except maybe hanging a plant. 😉

    Feel free to bring those six blessings over any time and let them romp on our land and porch. 🙂

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  23. Jen, Your porch is so beautiful and welcoming! I am amazed at how much it changed the look of your home! Absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy!

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  24. It is so good to be reminded that sometimes waiting really is best! I know you can enjoy this so much more because it wasn’t instant gratification and you saved and worked so hard for it. Isn’t that what the Lord teaches us and yet it is so hard to live out so often! Thank you for inspiring me to be content with what I have and work towards goals, knowing it won’t happen overnight. We will get there someday and learn so much in the process! CONGRATULATIONS to you, ENJOY that porch!!

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  25. I’m PROUD of you.
    The lessons the Lord has taught you have, I’m sure, been numerous.
    I can’t wait to take some of the principles you shared, and put them into action.
    Thank you for sharing!

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  26. i love your porch story! you have a beautiful home. imagine all the years with family, friends, and grandchildren on that porch! maybe i’ll visit you one day too.

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  27. Oh, Jen, my sweet friend!! I’m so so happy for you and your new porch. What a sweet story of God’s blessings, even though you had to wait. I’m getting ready to get a little portico built on the front of my house & can hardly wait. Next week it is. It’s been so fun sharing this blog journey with you and seeing how God has worked in both our lives is just precious. I love our friendship & can’t wait to see it all continue on in this blog world. God is so good, even down to porches and dreams!

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    Jen Reply:

    @Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality, Sweet friend – thank you so much.

    You are a blessing to so many (me included). 🙂

    I can’t wait to see your portico. Is that amazing daddy of yours helping or is taking the holidays off?
    xoxo

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  28. wow, shedding tears of joy for you! That is our dream – one day, a front porch surrounded by family and friends.

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  29. Sigh, Jen, just ADORE this so so so much!!

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  30. Beautiful Jen!

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  31. Your porch is gorgeous…so worth the wait. I too want a porch someday, along with a great room and front entry addition. This gives me hope that one day it will happen.

    Blessings,
    Deborah

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  32. What a beautiful HUGE front porch! ♥♥♥ I love your story, too. Good things are worth the wait. 🙂

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  33. I so loved sitting on your front porch for the (in)RL gathering. Sweet memories there! I can’t wait to see how you decorate for Christmas!

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    Jen Reply:

    It was so wonderful having you there as well. You sweet ladies were my very first guests. 🙂

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  34. You saved money now and will save money later with that slight roof pitch. That pitch means water will run OFF the roof and not work its way between roof and house…not matter how well built. It’s beautiful and I’m happy with/for you.

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    Jen Reply:

    You are so right, Sandra – my builder said the same thing. 🙂

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  35. It is beautiful!!! Happy for you after so long getting it to enjoy. We built my dream home 23 yes ago with porches. I also had to compromise as we were paying as we built. I am so proud of our home & have had children, grandchildren and great – grandchildren to enjoy it with us. I’d love to follow you to keep up with your updating and landscaping. Thanks for your story.

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  36. What a blessing you are!! Thank you for sharing this <3

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  37. The porch is beautiful — the story is lovelier — and you are loveliest of all! I’m always so encouraged by your posts.

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  38. Came across this on Pinterest (actually, your post about upgrades to increase the value of your home) and I am blown away by how gorgeous your home is! Congratulations on that gorgeous porch!

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    Jen Reply:

    Thank you so much. It was a long time in coming, and I still pinch myself, but it’s such a blessing and adds SO much to our home.

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  39. Shirley Burdick says:

    Wow! This sure is beautiful! This porch sure puts your house in a grandeur scale!!! Congratulations!

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  40. You own my dream house!!!

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  41. Georgia Gschwend says:

    The porch is beautiful…The pictures of the seasons are great too.
    This is my first time on your blog.

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    Jen Reply:

    So glad you stopped by. A big warm welcome. 🙂

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  42. I chuckled several times as I read this because, like you, we have been “building a porch” for years! Ours is in the back yard, and we’d long neglected the landscaping for the same reasons. We never fenced in the backyard (much to the chagrin of our dog, who has to do his business on a leash) because the builder told us they’d have to take a big chunk down to get the concrete trucks in, and several times the “porch fund” has been chipped away at to cover other emergencies. Finally, this year we did “phase one”…the foundation and concrete and brick floor. Now, we can landscape, add that fence, and start saving for the roof and screening. It would have been much easier to just “add a few dollars to the mortgage” and do it all at once, but I know we wouldn’t appreciate it like we will once we have it all done.

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    Jen Reply:

    I can’t wait to see it. Yes, building it all at once is a dream, but trust me, you will appreciate it that much more once it’s finished.

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  43. Juanita says:

    Beautiful, gorgeous, my, my what a journey. Great lessons to learn there. I am a big spender, yet there’s so much I have to do, like starting up my own business, I have chances of gathering capital, but wastes it on ‘small wants’. Your porch project has taught me alot, and now I am gonna take up some of yo frugal living to makr dream biz. I’ll keep you posted. God keep on blessing you, and please keep me in your prayers.

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  44. Your home is absolutely beautiful, as was your story. It is refreshing and inspiring to read a story like yours. I am hopeful that one day my husband and I can give our children the gift of a home as beautiful as your own.

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    Jen Reply:

    Thank you so much. And while you may never have our exact home, I know your home will be just as beautiful, filled with lots of love. 🙂

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  45. I ran across your “Life is Hard” post today as I surprisingly ate my lunch without too much interruption. 🙂 I was intrigued by the 17 year story of the porch and enjoyed reading both parts 1 & 2. It is very encouraging to hear about the satisfaction that comes from sticking to your convictions and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. My husband is self employed and has been for 4 years now. That was a long time coming in and of itself. We have had an extremely modest income for years and have certainly been through the ups and downs of having savings and then needing the savings and we, too, have received anonymous groceries, gifts, and even a vehicle! I wouldn’t trade trusting the Lord for anything. But, then as I wait now for us to be able to build a house my focus often moves from His faithfulness to my own impatience. We have a place to build and house plans ready. My husband is going to do 95% of the building himself and we hope to build with little or no mortgage. In the meantime we are living in 550 square feet (with a dog and 4 kids and 1 on the way!) waiting on our previous home to sell so we can have the money we need to start building. We’ve been in our humble abode for 17 months now. Most days I am truly content. Thank you for sharing your story! It is encouraging to hear of His faithfulness to others and lessons learned in the waiting.

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    Jen Reply:

    elizabethe – so much for your comment and I’m glad you found my little spot on the web. Hang in there!! IT sounds like you are doing amazing things and yes, I completely feel the back and forth between contentment and impatience, but it’s so worth it in the end. The lessons learned you will never want to trade. 🙂

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  46. Kim Pritchett says:

    Your article and porch make me smile! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] My friend Jen has her own story of waiting 17 years for her dream porch! Go see her gorgeous porch! When you get there be sure you click back and read the backstory on it, […]

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