Appropriate porch for next door

This home is next door to ours.   In the 25 years we have lived here it was filled with too many people with too many cars and too many kids.  It was foreclosed upon and put on the market in 2010.  We decided to buy it to improve our quality of life.  We had to stare at the aluminum siding since 1988. We knew the enclosed porch with Praire influenced windows was not original on an 1870’s house so we looked forward to adding an appropriate porch.   We spent the next four years doing a historically sensitive rehab of the home.  We worked on it almost every day, all day for four years.  We did everything ourselves except the plumbing (can’t do it yourself on a property you do not live in) and I made the parts for the new porch but did not build it (can’t get a grant for work you do yourself.) Scott and Rob from All Around Home Improvements in Elgin reinforced the basic structure, instlled new cement piers and built the new roof including soffit and fascia.




We recived a $5000 grant from the City of Elgin to take the aluminum siding off of the house and garage.






We have a passion for porches so we wanted this one to be special.  We took elements from other old houses and combined them to make our porch.  We especially liked the posts on a house in S. Elgin that was vacant and falling down as seen in the drawing below.

Huge No Trespassing signs kept me from going on the property to copy elements.  I tried to write to the owner to get permission to copy the posts but he did not respond.   I finally called the city of South Elgin about it as I read in paper the city was forcing the owner to demolish it.  When I called they said the bulldozers were there as we speak.  I immediately went there to find the porch to be in the dumpster already.  I gave the two equipment operators $20 each and asked if I could go in the dumpster for five minutes.  I’m glad the boss was not there as no one would normally allow it because of liability concerns.    They allowed me and I was able to get the elements I wanted to copy.  Destiny!

A huge thanks goes out to the city of Elgin for awarding us a grant to pay for half of the cost of rebuilding the porch.

Here are pictures showing the progression of the making of the porch. A huge thanks goes out to Scott Savel and his assistant Rob from All Around Home Improvemnts for their great work.  Scott says that some call him “anal retentive”. In Scott’s case it is a huge compliment.  He pays special attention to the details.  Cuts are perfect and everyting is absolutely level and plumb. That made adding the details after Scott built the structure very easy.

We were very fortunate to get our project featured in The Old House Journal – my bible since 1975.  Click here to view it.

If you would like to see interior pictures of this house, click here.