Victorian Era Home - Front Porch
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Exterior Renovation


When we started working on the exterior, we were hoping to replace the siding on half of the house and finish two gables before winter. We did not expect that the front porch project will take us almost all summer.

BEFORE (1904-1930)

What a treat that would be if the house actually still had the amazing wrap around porch with columns. Unfortunately, the first owner replaced them with brick and enclosed a sun porch in the 30s. I guess the growing noise of the automobile was his reasoning.

For a short while we considered taking down the brick and adding the columns back to the original state. After pricing out the 21 columns, we decided, it's just too expensive. We will be fabricating and installing the 2nd floor railing back in Spring of 2011 when we replace the flat tin roof..


Porch Before

As mentioned before, when we purchased the house it was surrounded with 11 pine trees. The brick was very dirty, which you can see in the first photo. After taking down all the trees, we pressure washed the brick for the first time.

Porch Before

The windows in the sun porch were single pane and were 80 years old. The glazing was falling out and the sashes rubbed in many places. Although you can't really see on the pictures, a lot of the sashes were weather damaged and missing paint. The screens were not salvageable. After installing 33 windows in the house we couldn't justify another 24 in the sun we shall restore what is there.

The brick used in 1930 was rather "unique". This cannot be visible on the pictures, but it's a heavily textured scraped brick, that is not very appealing. The mortar between the bricks was turning to sand everywhere. We had it tuck pointed multiple times, but there was no end to it.

That was the main reason to paint the brick. Also, we thought if we use white paint, the brick will be similar to the white columns from the 1904 wrap around porch and will match the porch railings on the 2nd floor.


The work began. Pressure washing and scraping the ceiling and the trim in the sun room. We did not touch any of the siding, since we will install new LP Smart Side in a wood grain finish.

IMPORTANT TIP: Please remember that any scraping and paint removal on an old home could involve lead dust. We had to be extremely careful, since all the work was happening where the main entrance was.


We washed, scraped and scraped some more.

We started by priming all the surfaces. Next, we used Be hr exterior paint (2 coats each). It took us a long time and a few trials to figure out the paint scheme.
The interesting part is that we live on a very busy corner, close to downtown. In the summer, most people visiting downtown would walk by our house. Since we spent most of our time on the ladders with brushes, we got to receive all their comments first hand. As it turns out, some people were not very happy with us painting the brick (and they were not shy to express that!). But after all the paint went up and they saw our vision, everything has changed. We were receiving so many wonderful comments from all the strangers, that is what really motivated us and kept us going. Thank you Portage friends for your support!

Both of these pictures are in progress.

In Progress

After with sun porch doors and windows

Window stripping and glazing was done in our garage where we built a special booth to capture the dust and paint chips. As you can see in this picture, not all the windows made it in before winter. Hopefully, we can finish installing it first thing this spring. winter

Here is a close-up of the exterior and inside the porch. We had to use an artist brush to paint the dental moulding. We also made castings of the gold onlays that were installed both on the exterior and interior (see out TIPS page for casting details). It was a long journey, but well worth it.


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