Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lynchburg Day Trip, Part Two ... Porch Research

If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, you probably already know that one of my long-term projects is researching and recreating millwork elements for our front porch.  Our house was built as a gingerbread Gothic Revival ... during a renovation in 1967, all of the trim was stripped and replaced with colonial-style flat trim.  The front porch lost its Gothic Victorian gingerbread long before that.

I believe that this is the oldest photo that we have of our house, taken in the 1930s.  Notice the ladder leaning against the side of the house.  I have another photo that shows painters working on the front door surround.  My theory is that the front porch railing and tapered box columns were new at this point.


Our porch currently looks like this.  We rebuilt it in 2005, replacing rotting framing, posts, floor, and trim.  It has been in this state for so long because we found no clues about what it may have looked like originally.  Whatever we do is going to be our interpretation and recreation of an 1800s porch ... a fact that has made me very nervous.

Cedar 4x4 support posts, and a railing made from 2x4s and 36" grade stakes.


Last winter, one day while I was pondering my porch problem, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.  I don't remember exactly what terms I used in my search, but whatever it was helped me find buried treasure ... this photo of the John Marshall Warwick house in Lynchburg!





The Pinterest pin linked to an album of photos on Flickr, where I found this photo of the house's facade.  (There are nine photos in the album.  Click HERE if you want to see them for yourself.)



Our second stop during our Lynchburg day trip last weekend was to see this house in person.  It definitely did not disappoint.





This porch has everything that I have considered using on the redesign of our porch ... double front columns, sawn balusters for the porch railing, fretwork corner brackets ... even a curved iron handrail on the stairs.  





What this porch brings to the design of our porch is the use of those little double corbels on the fascia board over each column.  



I'm more energized than ever about the prospect of finally putting pretty stuff back onto our front porch.  Can't work on it now, though, because spring is the time for garden work.  Any time I use for porch work takes away from other things that I need to be doing at this time of year.  That's okay.  Now that I have finally seen a porch that matches the feeling that I want our porch to have, I will file this away until the time is right to act on it.  This porch design keeps getting better as I wait to work on it, as I discover new ideas and refine the ideas that I already plan to use.  I may not be physically working to rebuild the pretty parts of our porch yet, but this project is definitely running in the background of my imagination.

(Want to see earlier posts where I show how the design of our porch has evolved?  Click the HERE to see all posts labeled "Porch".)

12 comments:

  1. This is so EXCITING.

    Had no idea about your house in the past.

    Have been googling incessantly, front porch-paint colors-kitchens-furniture placements-drapery placements, since buying my new 115 year old house. It is not Victorian, it is Edwardian. A pared down style but not Poverty Cycle.

    Isn't anticipation great !!

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

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    1. Tara, dear, you will get to be an old house archaeologist, too, very soon! The most difficult part about this place is the anxiety that I sometimes get about whether or not whatever I’m doing is right for the property and its history. Stewardship. I take that very seriously … but we need to live here comfortably, in this 21st century

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  2. Oh My, you must have had a crazy beating heart, sweaty palms, lost breath...you know, the feeling of falling head over heals in love at meeting that porch in person.

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    1. That’s exactly what it felt like!! Standing there on the sidewalk, looking up at approximately the same angle as I do when I’m facing our porch, it was totally love at first (or in this case, second) sight! My husband and I stood there and discussed the various elements, what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we liked but couldn’t use for our porch. I’m very close to saying that this porch of ours is completely designed. All that’s left is to decide on a final profile for the columns. Soon.

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  3. I love it! Looks like it would be perfect for your porch!

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    1. I'm glad you think so! This inspiration porch isn't original to the house ... neither is ours, but that's okay in both cases. I think something like this will be a really sympathetic interpretation of what could have been here at some point.

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  4. Breaking down some of these Victorian designs is fascinating. They always seem to include more than the sum of their parts. Thinking through any project like this is a good thing; but I'm sure it will be lovely once it's fully realized!

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    1. You hit that nail squarely on its little punkin head!! Recreating an appropriate Victorian porch requires the cooperation of SO many different pieces and parts. It’s definitely not as simple as slapping up a few pre-made fancy brackets. Getting the right look takes lots more planning than I ever imagined. The final result will be better for my effort … but there are days when I think that it’s gonna make my head explode.

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  5. First seeing the picture, I thought this is IT! I can just see it on your house. I loved the corbels too.

    Happy Gardening and dreaming about this future project.

    FlowerLady

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    1. I thought the same thing!! I will be so glad to finally get started with the production aspect of this porch of ours. There are days when the imagination of it, spinning around in my head in the background of whatever else I'm doing, gets really distracting. Porch comes later ... gardening now.

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  6. How awesome to find a porch on a house that looks so much like yours, Connie! I can definitely see you adding this to your own home. It's going to look just perfect!! We're renovating our front porch soon (i.e. repairing shoddy workmanship from 30 yrs ago), and adding a screened porch to our back deck. I can hardly wait to have another room to decorate! :)

    xoxo laurie

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    1. I’m really excited for you about the screened porch that you are planning! We had a screened porch on our last two houses and it was my very favorite part of the house. We have a vague idea of adding a sunroom/three season porch to this house … but, like the front porch, there are design considerations to be overcome. One day it will rise to the top of my list.

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