A Porch: All Shiny and New (Looking)


I think I've mentioned before that David and I bought a house in 2008 that was built in 1921. Seven years later, we are still renovating it. For the past three or so years, we've been looking at the rafters of our porch. We decided to do something about that before the snow flies. Several weeks ago we lined up two carpenters to come and put up the ceiling. David and I bought sheets of plywood that are textrued to look like wainscoating and painted them blue before the carpenters showed up. One day we had twelve 4 by 8-foot sheets lying on the driveway to dry in the sun.

David stripped the beam at the top of the porch, and then I painted it. Now we were ready for the carpenters to do their job. They finished that in two days, which was a week ago. David and I still had lots to do. First we bought crown molding, painted it, and David put it up. He had to figure out how to make the joints. The corners were the most challenging, which he used a coping saw for. I had no idea what a coping saw was until he needed one for the corner joints and I went to buy one at Home Depot. Now I know more about cope joints than I ever thought I would!

While David was installing the molding, I repainted the pillars on the porch. Then I filled in the nail holes on the crown molding and repainted it. Finally we were ready to do the last step to finish the inside of the porch — paint the floor. That was around 4 PM yesterday. By sundown, we had that done also. By then we were so exhausted, we could barely move.

This is what our house looked like when we bought it in 2008 from the front walkway:



I took this photo this morning, also from the front walkway:



Fall colors from our front porch:


From the ground up:


From this position, you can see what the inside of the porch looked like a few short weeks ago, when the rafters were showing, the beam was still to be stripped, and the trim needed to be put up. Those ugly planks on the left — they are scaffolding that David had erected to start work on the soffits and facia board back in June. The day of his accident, he had plans to start the very next day. You may remember that he ruptured the patellar tendon in his knee and had to have it surgically repaired. Four months later, he is hoping to finally begin that part of the project.

David is almost at a "new normal" with his knee. He can do most things without his cane these days, including stairs. He also climbed ladders during these projects, which is something he needs to do when he returns to work. He is working on stamina right now. His knee gets really strained when he's been on it for longer than a few hours. The way he describes it is that it feels like a rubber band that has been wound really tightly. He also has trouble with driving a car for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, this is his driving leg, and his knee has trouble holding that position. As a result, he ends up driving from the passenger side of the car, with my hands on the steering wheel. We will both be happier when he can return to the driver's side of the car!

We have also completed another project in the last month. The windows on our second floor still didn't have it's trim put up until last week. We had kept the original trim pieces from the windows, but David had to make new inserts for the sides and the top and new windowsills, because the walls became thicker when we added two inches of rigid insulation on the outside of the house. So David cut four new pieces for each of the windows, plus there were seven pieces of original trim that had to be sanded, painted, and installed. Multiply 11 pieces of trim by eight windows, and you get the picture — this, too, was a major project. We completed the main part of that project last week. I still need to spot paint two of the windows.

Here is an example of what the windows look like:


I thought once I had submitted my Fulbright application, I could return to posting to my blog once a week. So far that has not happened. Sorry for the delay, and I will try to be more regular during the winter months. There are several Amish topics I want to cover. After all, that is what this blog is about. Thank you for your patience!


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29 thoughts on “A Porch: All Shiny and New (Looking)”

  1. Pingback: A Porch: All Shiny and New (Looking) | Former Amish News

  2. You both are so good at taking care of your home. The porch looks stunning and I just love the blue ceiling. I like the pictures of the house. Maybe you could send them to a home magazine. :-)
    We are glad to hear that David is doing much better.
    Have a restful weekend and enjoy your new porch. Take good care.

    1. Miriam, thank you for your compliments. We’d probably need to have our home professionally photographed to send to a home magazine.

      We wish you and your family a restful weekend also. Look forward to connecting soon.

  3. Your home looks very welcoming and “homey” I love older homes and styles of architechure. Although my home is 50 years old, my husband and I do our best to make it appear more vintage with our paint, millwork and decorating. Happy to hear about David’s progress. Long and tough but worth the struggle in the end. Happy Fall!

  4. The joys of ownership! You have put a lot of love and thought and work and money into your home- it looks lovely.

  5. Enjoy reading your blog/articles. You are a BUSY lady….It seems you have done a lot of work on your beautiful home. I would love to visit Amish areas in OH., IN., and PA. sometime. but time flies and those trips may never get off of my bucket list! BLESSINGS~

    1. Blessings to you too, C.J. My favorite Amish community to visit is Holmes County. It’s so much more beautiful than the area I came from. Indiana is too flat for my tastes, but there definitely is a large community there. And then there is the most commercial of them all… Lancaster, PA. I hope you make it to Amish country sometime.

  6. Saloma, when i saw the first picture i started laughing, not because you two did some horrendous job but because not so long ago my husband Paul gave our front porch (our home was built in 1920) a freshening up and he wanted to paint the ceiling blue. I said, “No Way!!!” I hated the idea.
    Seeing yours I realize that was a big mistake on my part, its beautiful!!!
    The simplicity of your house is very calming and inviting, I love it.
    You just taught me a great lesson, I need to listen to my husband, the ARTIST, he might know a little more than me.
    How to you spell humble?????????

    1. Pamela, that is funny. What color did you make your porch ceiling? Someone who knows about color advised us to paint the ceiling white. She said we shouldn’t get too many colors going, with the purple trim and all. David and I didn’t think white would hold up against spider spots (which we have a LOT of). We once saw blue on a house we were thinking of buying and we liked it. But theirs was a little more subtle :-)

      Thank you for your kind words. We try to keep things simple in our home. Years ago, when I sent my mother photos of our home (a different one), she said that other Amish people were saying it looked like an Amish home. It’s my Amishness showing through :-)

      1. HA!! Yes I would say your “Amishness” is showing !!!but nothing wrong with that.I was afraid of too many colors also. We have white siding, green shutters,green door,natural wood antique screen door, brick red floor and green and a putty color on all the railing (which we have a lot of,our house sits on a low hill with lots of steps down to the street). We went with a white ceiling. We don’t have spider marks, we got stink bugs marks instead. Those awful little bugs LOVE white siding!!
        I noticed from the PBS “shunned” that your house reminded me of my Amish friends home.The few Amish homes I have been in always have a calming effect on me. I’m sure yours would to.I have been slowly cleaning my house out,giving things to my daughter-in-laws and to Good Will and I have to say the more I get rid of the happier I am!!!
        Oh, and I LOVE THE BLUE YOU PICKED!!!!

        1. People have said that about our home… that the austerity is calming. But I also had a Mennonite cousin say to me once, “I LIKE how sparse your home is, but it just doesn’t feel like home to me.” When I visited her home in Missouri, I got that. She collects “things.” Nice things, I might add, but there can be too much of a good thing.

          I know the feeling of giving away/throwing away to get to bare essentials… I love it. David and I did that a couple of years ago, and now we actually have room in the storage area of our attic to crawl around in. The other part of that is being mindful of what I buy thereafter. One thing we bought some years ago that we’ve not used often and yet I cannot bear to give it away, is a yogurt maker. I keep thinking I will use it again, and yet I don’t.

          So glad you like the blue we picked. Sometimes I like it, at other times I think it might be too bold. In the last photo above, it matches the color of the sky, which I like.

          Good luck with your culling and becoming happier :-)

  7. What a beautiful job you have both done! Actually, blue paint on ceiling of porch is what I grew up with here in South Amherst – was told it was traditional – so first chance I had to paint a porch ceiling it was panted blue, not unlike your blue! Encouraging to hear about David’s progress! will be in touch again!

  8. Love the work you are doing on your house. Glad David is doing well. I visited Savannah and Charleston and many of the porches have blue ceilings. It is a very popular design feature in the south. I like the mix of Amish and personal blog posts. The internet has let me meet interesting people who feel like friends.

    1. Susan, thank you for comments. Yes, I know that blue ceilings are popular in the South.

      I’m glad you like the combination of personal and Amish blog posts. Thank you for saying so. Glad you’re enjoying meeting people via the internet.

      Happy Autumn!

  9. You have a lovely home! Those types of homes have always held an attraction to me,especially w/ the wrap around porch; probably because I grew up in a house similar to that one. We recently bought a house w/ some land as a bank foreclosure. In reading comments on de-cluttering, I am right there…things are looking kinda bad yet, but I am determined to get rid of “stuff” instead of just storing it yet again. Having in recent years gone through our parents things, it made me aware of the future when our children will need to go through “our” stuff. Why not make it easier for them?? Enjoy your “new” porch & the satisfaction of having done a lot of work yourselves & may the knee continue to heal, so you can graduate to the passenger side once more!

    1. Thank you, Mary Ellen, for the compliments. I am glad it is reminiscent of your childhood home.

      Our “cleanout” a few years ago was motivated by exactly the same reasons as yours… so that our sons would not have to go through what we went through when David’s father died. Three floors of “stuff” yielded inheriting lots of things for all five families, loads to Goodwill, and four huge dumpsters full being hauled away for trash.

      Good luck with the de-cluttering process, and happy autumn to you!

  10. Your home is beautiful! I like that kind of houses.
    I am happy to hear that David’s knee is healing. I hope he can drive longer than 30 minutes in the future!

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