In my last post, I made a few references to a certain contractor who had done a bang-up job on our then-new kitchen, and a little bit down, noted that I needed to look into laminate flooring for our renovated porch. What I didn’t say was that the same contractor is doing the porch job, too.
The guy is our next-door neighbor, and has done more work on this house than anybody has for, I suspect, all the house’s 55 years of existence. Our first clue that we were on to something good was when we hired him to redo our bathroom, and we loved the job he did. So we had him back to do the kitchen, and we really loved that job. Last September, we had him redo our back steps; for 22 years, we had been living with three stone steps that went up to a stone landing — no handrails — and as we grew older, that was getting a bit too hazardous for comfort. (I slipped more than once on icy steps.) So he bought composite decking and vinyl railings, and now we have not only steps of a comfortable height, but a lovely little porch and deck on the back of the house.
We thought that would do it for awhile, until he asked in April if we needed anything else done — he hadn’t worked since Christmas. Ouch. Well, as it happened, the front steps were also stone, and we’d figured we’d have them done in another year or two — now’s as good a time as any, since he needed work.
The front steps morphed into a nice little roof over the steps, and a new front door. I talked the hubster into a mail slot, so now our mail is delivered right onto our porch, and nobody can get their hands on it — what I hadn’t expected was that our neighbor/contractor would build a little collection box, stained to match the paneling on the porch. Then we decided to have the porch windows replaced. (It’s always been an enclosed porch.) Good thing we did: It turned out that the old windows hadn’t been caulked properly, and all the wood on the front of the porch had gotten wet and rotted, so that all had to be replaced — which necessitated ripping out part of the paneling from the inside of the porch. The guy replaced it all with brand-new paneling that he proceeded to stain so that it looks just like the stuff that’s been there for 55 years. I’m telling you, he’s good!
We almost decided not to have the last phase of the porch done — ripping up an ugly blue shag rug — since we didn’t know how much that unexpected little side trip was going to cost. Then he submitted a revised estimate that was only a little bit extra, and included putting down laminate flooring on the porch. Considering that the flooring was included, we said, “Go for it!” And yesterday, he slotted in the last board.
I have to say, I wish I had thought to take before-and-after photos. You would not believe the difference. There’s still a lot of clutter that we have to wade through to get it looking liveable — over the past five years, we just kept storing stuff out there, since we couldn’t use the porch for the first two years (road work outside our front door), and I was incapable of any heavy work for the three years after that — but I stand in awe of this man. From having a non-descript 950-square-foot little house, we have gone to owning a cute little bungalow with almost an extra room added, but no extra square footage — that porch will serve us very nicely as a room for three seasons out of four. We have a beautiful light in the portico that does a great job of lighting the steps — the lamps had originally been located inside the porch — what rocket scientist thought of that?! — and an almost clean and airy space in which to read or cross stitch or just watch the passing scene. Once we clear out the boxes of books and extra paraphernalia that have accumulated, it’s going to be almost heaven!
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