Chapter 67: I Want To Whisper Sweet Nothings To The Porch

July 12, 2012 • Written by Christina Berry

Well, I’ve teased you with tale of this “porch” thing for two pages now, I guess it’s time I deliver. So here you have it. The story of how our porch went from the last part of the house to be demolished, to the first part of the house to take your breath away.

Regarding demolition. Remember how we completely rebuilt our entire house from the ground up? Well, that wasn’t exactly true, because the porch remained mostly untouched, at least the ceiling had. Sure, we’d jackhammered out the old cement porch floor and replaced it with a bouncy plywood floor, but the ceiling, well that was completely untouched. Emphasis on *was*!

Oh look, Errek’s totally touching it!

Ouch, I think that was a bad touch, Errek.

Oh, as an aside, Errek was in the middle of a six-month beard-growing competition at this point, so ignore the mountain man look, it’s temp.

Now, back to the porch. So here you can see why we had to tear the porch down. The whole thing was held up by just five 2x4s which where cut on a diagonal line and held together by rusty nails. You get a hefty fella up there walking on our porch ceiling, and kaboom, that baby was gonna come down.

So we cleared out the old wood and started from scratch.

Then we put in long 2x8s that we screwed to the roof rafters.

My dad came to town to help. Thanks dad, we couldn’t have done it without ya!

With the new and improved porch ceiling joists in, it was finally time to work on permanentifing the porch floor. Let’s do this! I’m excited, are you?

But first, here’s a glimpse of the old “temp” porch:

And now, a little bit about what we went with. For our porch, we decided that we wanted something hardy and beautiful. The thinking was:

  1. We don’t ever want it to rot or get all eaten up by bugs
  2. We don’t want to constantly have to paint it
  3. We want people to flip their lid before they even set foot in the house

Turns out, there’s really only one option for people like us with demanding and expensive taste – Ipé. Ipé is an extremely hard, hardy, and beautiful hardwood. Funny thing is, as we were researching what wood to use, googling “beautiful wood” and stuff, we found out that we were not the only people on our street using this amazing Ipé. Check it out, this is the Ipé fence that surrounds the house and hedge maze of NFL cornerback Cedric Griffin who is, I kid you not, our neighbor.

Never, in a million years, did I ever think I’d live on the same street as an NFL player. The football-loving, Longhorn-alumni side of me completely flipped out at the thought. And then to find that he, too, is using Ipé. Well, that’s just plain neat. Not that we’re trying to play “Keeping up with the Joneses” or the Griffins, as the case may be. But, yeah, I never get tired of bragging that this badass dude lives on our street.

But, you’re not here to learn about what our neighbors are up to, you’re here to learn about all the crazy stuff going on at “the ranch,” so, let’s get back to it.

First, we removed the temp railing, and then we removed the temp plywood floor, and then we…well…Errek started putting the boards down one by one.

Look ma, now I’m outstanding on the porch. Hehe! I love being punny.

Now here’s something you maybe didn’t know. See how the boards extend way beyond the end of the actual porch? That’s how you build a porch. You let the board “run wild” and then cut them all to length at once so they are exactly the same length.

This is actually harder than it looks. Literally. Ipé is so hard that you can’t screw into it without breaking the screw heads off, so you have to pre-drill the holes first. It’s a whole big thing.

Wow. What a view! So there we were with a porch gone wild. It was time to make that big, fat all important final cut.

For this cut, we called on our friend Brian to help. Brian is a carpenter by day, and a badass mofo 24x7x365. He’s worked on many floors so he lent us his assist with a steady pair of hands and an awesome saw. Thanks, Brian.

Wow! Gorgeous!

And that’s just the beginning. We decided to cap the porch off with some trim that would tie it in with the rest of the house’s ledgerboard and also give the Ipé a nice finished edge. Brian helped there, too, working with Errek to cut the tongues off of some of our boards to give them a nice smooth top.

Then Errek and I put up the big fat white stripe along the bottom, an exaggerated ledgerboard to draw your attention to the porch. Essentially, saying, “Welcome,” or, “Hey you, I see you checking out my foundation. Eyes up here!”

And finally, the finish trim for the Ipé.

Pretty, eh? I’m kind of completely in love.

But wait, we’re not done yet. While we were putting our time and money into the porch we decided to go ahead and switch out the temp front door for the permanent one. Have I mentioned how much I love swapping out the temp stuff with the perm stuff? And this perm door is L.O.V.E.L.Y, lovely.

Priming the door. We’re big on the priming. Oh by the way, we’re painting everything with oil-based paints, because you should never go just half-crazy. It’s all-you-can-eat at the crazy buffet!

Then we hired the two dudes who put in our back door to put this baby in.

It turns out the door knob we bought (a reproduction of an old style mortise lock) is the most complicated door lock ever in the world, or so the two dudes told us over and over again. The guys were supposed to be here for three hours. Six hours later they were basically telling us that we’re on our own for the other interior doors that are the same model. Heh heh. K. Thanks. Bye.

So, yeah, it may be hard to install, but look — pretty crystal knob!

But wait, we’re not even done yet. Porch has more pretty yet to behold. Cuz see, this floor is so pretty that you don’t need to paint it or even stain it. You just need to oil it once, maybe twice EVER and it will be gorgeous forever. So we oiled that sucker up good. Then I did a little dance with towels on my feet to wipe the excess oil off. Funz!

And wow. Behold! What a gorgeous porch.

It nearly brings a tear to my eye. It makes me want to sing sappy love songs to it. Like this one.

“Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in,
I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you, baby
And everything’s alright,
Everything’s alright!

When I see you smile
I can face the world, oh oh,
You know I can do anything”

Sing it for me, John Waite!

And now, for the other “win” that makes me want to bust out into song…