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Diary of a Mad Renovator: The Porch of My Dreams

Written by Jaqui Lividini

I think that everybody dreams about having an idyllic porch in the country, where the main activities are relaxing, drinking coffee, reading the paper, and enjoying family and friends in the sunshine. Our beach cottage renovation project presented me with a unique opportunity to create such a place in my home away from the hustle and bustle of New York City life.

We knew from the outset that we’d be starting at zero with a new porch because the home’s original porch was destroyed during Hurricane Irene. Not ideal, but also not insurmountable! We’d already begun construction on the frame of the porch when we learned that the house would need to be lifted in order to comply with the new FEMA regulations for beachfront properties. Unfortunately, this rendered all of our work on the new porch pretty much useless.  

But we carry on, as we’ve learned we must in these renovation endeavors! The house was successfully lifted and we began work on (another) new porch. Since the porch was now 9 feet off the ground, we knew we would need a railing and posts that would work to tie the railings together as they wrapped around the house. Much discussion ensued about the materials we should use for the posts—square shingles to match the siding or solid wood cylinders or a combination of the two? 

Trying to determine what type of post will work on the new porch

Testing the shingle post idea

Front porch complete with shingle posts

We eventually decided on a combination—half-shingled post, half-wood post, and a sturdy railing around the entire structure.

The posts and railings completed. Half square shingle and half wood cylinder

Next up in creating the porch of my dreams came the floor. At first I was thinking we would go with a pine floor, but after I spent some time looking through Traditional Home Magazine for ideas and inspiration, I found an incredible type of porch flooring I was previously unfamiliar with called Zuri. It’s a wood-based sustainable flooring that utilizes proprietary technology to resist scratching and fading. The color selection is fantastic. We had several different stains to choose from and found one that matched my weathered shingles perfectly! We put down the first piece this past weekend and it looks amazing. Even Jeff, our contractor, who was skeptical about this new type of flooring material, was duly impressed.

Our gorgeous new Zuri porch flooring

I’m convinced that we absolutely made the right choice and that soon enough I will be relaxing and enjoying an afternoon of pure porch bliss!

A look from the water side

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