A Welcome Change

In the midst of the re-siding project, Matt got the great idea to enclose the exterior front porch area, to create a larger interior entryway for the house. We knew this would prolong the project, but if we were going to do it at all, we had to do it now.

The old porch was not a horrible exterior space (it still would have required some revitalizing), but it was space we weren't sure how to use well. And the thought of welcoming guests into a bright, spacious entry instead of a dark, cramped, awkward box had us really fired up. So, full speed ahead! (And only slightly sidetracked. Oh yeah, we're supposed to be working on this whole siding thing. Oops.)

Preparing a foundation for these new walls was the first step. This is a crucial load-bearing corner of the house, so Matt started by building another temporary support wall  because the original posts would need to come down during this rebuild. 

The next step was digging, and a lot of it. Matt had to dig a trench in which a concrete footer would be poured before the foundation was built. This runs across the front edge of the old porch, and along the side in line with the original posts. Before digging the front trench, the first section of the concrete porch had to be broken out as well.

You can see that the original posts were made with an unusual construction by bolting together two 2"x4"s with spacing blocks in between. At the base of each post, a steel connector anchored the post to the original concrete footers which had been poured into clay drain pipes. These metal anchors were rusting away, and the corner post was bowing noticeably outward.

Once the digging was done, a gravel base was spread and rebar was added for additional support. Then we were ready for the footer!

After the footer was poured and cured, the old wood posts came down and the rusted metal anchors were sawed off flush with the concrete. Matt had pushed shorter lengths of rebar down into the wet concrete, with about 6" sticking above the surface so that the block foundation could later be tied to them.

With the foundation in place, Matt began building one of the key elements of the entire exterior project. We had alway planned on modifying the facade by adding some sort of architectural structure to break up the "boxiness." This front entry project became the perfect time to flesh out the details of that plan.

One nice aspect of the old entry was the large covered area outside the front door, where visitors could wait under shelter from the northeast Ohio elements. In order to preserve this function after moving the door to the front of the house, we had to add a new roof structure. We chose not to involve any new posts, which left us with only one option: a cantilever. We can't compete with Fallingwater, but every modernist loves a good cantilever.

We thought adding some dimension to the side of this overhang would also create a nice visual.

The inside framing of the cantilever is anchored to the floor joists above and will appear as a "floating box" when the drywall is installed. There will be cove lighting above the box, and recessed lighting within it.

After this, we moved on to the floor. The original concrete porch had to come up so that a vapor barrier and insulation could be placed under the new interior floor. Matt and Tony made quick work of this with a sledgehammer, a shovel, and a wheelbarrow.

Concrete is poured, raked, floated and troweled:

After the new floor was poured, we moved back outside to finish the newly framed overhang. Matt created a slope to direct the water across the front and down the side edge toward the back so that no gutter or downspout would be visible near the front of the house.

Last summer we replaced the roof of the house with a commercial-grade flat roof membrane made of PVC. For this smaller additional roof we used TPO, a similar material that is easier to work with.

Finally, on to the fun part! Doing the detail work, even if slightly premature, is always more exciting because we get a glimpse of what the finished product will be like. Here we have the recessed lighting, front door and new lock set installed.

Moxie and Miles explore the newly enclosed space. Soon they will have a much clearer view of the road and any possible threats to their territory.

If you find yourself at our new front door, we promise they're all bark and no bite!


  1. Just found you... LOVE your home....LOVE IT! I have always dreamed of living in a midcentury modern home... you are doing a fantastic job!