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Behind the Before & After | The Biggest Extra Part 2

Updated: Jan 17

Or, how My Beloved 3-Season Porch Got a Ceiling to Floor Makeover, right in the middle of our kitchen renovation. It all started when we removed a window . . . and then . . .

A Raised, Wooden Ceiling

To begin, when we ripped down the ceiling, we discovered the house has a much higher ceiling over the front half of the porch! The previous owners had created a fake, dropped ceiling just to match the height in the back half of the porch. So of course we ripped that all out and now we have a beautiful high ceiling in front.

Then, we found a void in the ceiling where the porch meets the garage. Here, we got lucky and the timing was perfect; this demo happened right before the insulation guys were scheduled to do the kitchen and dining room walls. So our contractors made sure the porch got insulated as well, and it didn’t add anything extra to our bill.

Left to Right: the higher roofline, the new insulation (and a peek at the fridge we kept on the porch during the kitchen reno), the wood ceiling.

Years ago at my brother’s first house, he installed a beautiful wood ceiling in his mud room and (sibling rivalry) I always loved that look. So I asked my contractors if they could do a tongue-and-groove, natural wood ceiling on our porch. Honestly, I was envisioning fat planks that ran horizontally across the ceiling, but they installed slimmer pieces of wood and ran them vertically. This is a good lesson: when you have a specific “vision,” always translate that vision by way of a detailed conversation with your contractor. But I really like the way they installed it, and I think it came out awesome.

Tough New Flooring

The flooring was another challenge. I loved my old DIY dark blue carpet tiles - they made the space homey, it was soft underfoot, and relatively easy to clean. And I thought the blue was perfect - it was my little slice of the beach out there.

But for the new floor we decided to go with Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring. Because this space is half mudroom, half hangout spot, we needed something durable and waterproof. Something the dogs wouldn’t destroy, but that could also handle ice melt, pebbles & sand that get dragged in on our shoes (and paws).

Apparently, there are 9 bajillion kinds of LVP, so we went to Home Depot to look at them. My husband - being ever so practical - was mostly concerned about texture, and someone slipping, so we want to touch and feel the planks as part of our decision making process. We did this before we looked at colors; it was easier to narrow down to a brand and style based on texture rather than color. And LVP is supposed to mimic hardwood floors, so the colors and styles are all variations on “wood” - there aren’t a wide range of options.

But I felt like I really wanted a dark floor. I thought it was important to have a contrast between the floor and the ceiling; I didn’t want to walk into the room and just see WOOD. I was also used to having a darker floor with the blue carpet. So we initially picked out this really lovely dark brown, walnut-color floor.

And then when our contractor went to purchase it, it was out of stock!

Left to Right: The blue carpet tile I installed in 2012, the Pergo LVP, the LVP installed!

So back to the store we went, this time to Lowe’s so we could have a few new options. It actually ended up working out great, because they had a Pergo brand LVP - and the difference with Pergo is that they ensure a water tight seam between the planks, so no moisture can seep down underneath. That’s great for this high-traffic indoor/outdoor space.

The other thing to note about shopping for LVP is to make sure the product has a backing on it - otherwise the installers have to do more prep on the subfloor, which will cost. With the backing already on the planks, there is nothing to do but install the floor. And because it’s a “floating floor” it just sits on top of your subfloor and can be leveled during the installation. It’s also great because it gives it a little bounce and cushion under your feet.

This time we settled on a lighter wood color. I was still concerned about it looking like too much wood, but my husband really liked the lighter color and he felt the floor should complement the ceiling. He really wanted this the first time around, and I had fought him over the darker color. So given a second chance, I let the Hubs pick what he wanted. In the end, I love the look and I am so happy this is what we went with. The wood tones look great together, and I also plan to throw down some beachy area rugs to define the space a bit.

Two New Storm Doors

Lastly, we have decided to replace the two storm doors at either end of the porch - the front door to the driveway and the backdoor to the patio. The doors are relatively inexpensive, about $300 each: they are heavier than what we had and actually have screens and glass that open for airflow - what a concept! I can’t believe we kept those old cruddy doors for as long as we did; another one of those to-dos that never got done until we had a crew of professionals at the house.

Left to Right: Old front door, old back door, new door!

One thing we aren’t changing, for now, are the porch windows; the vintage jalousie windows are so pretty and they still work fine. There's some painting and trim left to do, so I'll post final After pics later. But it’s all coming together, and the timing worked out since we have a lull while we are waiting for the cabinets anyway. So with this, the small extras from last post + the kitchen & dining room, it feels like we are getting a brand new house!

Cabinets are scheduled to arrive at our house on August 12th, so keep us in your thoughts and remember to invite us to dinner in the meantime.

I'm writing these Behind the Before & After posts about our kitchen renovation because I want to share our process - including any bumps along the way - so that homebuyers and homeowners can get a look at what really happens when you take on a major renovation. Clients ask me all the time, "Should I renovate?" And my answer is - usually - this, "Renovate for you, now, and how you want to live" so I'm following my own advice and inviting you to follow along.

Read more about our kitchen renovation here! And feel free to comment or contact me with any questions you have!!

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