Porch Politics

No, not that kind of politics. (Thank God.) I have been working on our front porch for nearly a year now. First we had to replace the roof. Once we pulled the shingles off, my husband noticed the rafters were running the wrong way, so down comes the old ceiling and new framing goes in with a new beadboard ceiling. Meanwhile, the fascia board needed replacing, the concrete stairs needed to be re-poured to fix an uneven step, the floor needed to be repainted, new electrical outlets and lighting installed…..the list goes on. While my husband was busy doing the real work I did some scraping, painting, cushion covering, etc.

Thankfully, we are doing most of the work on the screened porch side when it’s cold and there are no bugs. We are out there most weekends making noise, sometimes cursing and mostly arguing about design. Now. here in Ghent, we have many people that walk the neighborhood, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups, often with a dog or two, and once we even had a goat go past. Inevitably, they stop, comment, give advice, or ask for help when they go by. My husband talks to everyone, which means work stops for at least 10 minutes each time. Some days we lose an hour or 2 of work.

Yesterday a new neighbor walked by with her dachshund, introduced herself and asked what we were doing. She said she had recently moved in, loved the neighborhood but was wondering about  the porches. She is from up north where front porches are not a thing. I am most recently from Arizona and grew up in the northeast so the front porch phenomenon was new to me also when we first moved. She asked if neighbors hired someone to decorate the porches. I probably should have jumped right in and told her I’d be happy to decorate her front porch, but instead I launched into my opinion of the porches in our neighborhood. Another opportunity lost but I had my reasons.

In our neighborhood everyone decorates their own porch and every porch is a reflection of the homeowner. When we first moved to this neighborhood my husband and I walked around endlessly looking at everyone’s porch and landscaping. We picked out the ones we loved and the ones that we could steal ideas from. We asked about plants and seasons and we learned a lot. We also met our neighbors and it all became clear. You can look at someones front porch and not just tell what colors they like, but if they are retired, do they have kids, what holidays they celebrate, and yes, what their politics are by the flags they fly. I love that they put it all out there for everyone to see. Loud and proud! So although I may have missed a job opportunity, I hope that I inspired a neighbor to put her own stamp on her porch.

This is my porch, almost done.

And here are a few porches around my ‘hood. I only had to walk a couple blocks to come up with these. There are so many more, I could never fit all of them.

The beautiful architecture, unique lamp posts, and mature landscaping drew us to this neighborhood, but it’s the colorful people and their porches that make us want to stay forever. So make sure your decorating doesn’t stop at the front door, bring it right out onto the porch or yard so everyone can see.

Nancy Bradley photo

Nancy bradley

I consult, design, and remodel spaces that reflect the homeowner’s lifestyle and budget by getting the cost question out of the way and really listening to what my client wants and how much they have set aside for their project.