Just off the kitchen and master bedroom are my back porches.
My renovation strategy since buying the house has always
been to tackle the ugliest thing. I started here.
I've ripped things off. I've added new things.
I've painted them.
And painted them again.
And it's all been lipstick on the proverbial pig.
When I was out last weekend cutting back overgrown plants
and shrubs and I discovered new problems.
The center post is rotting.
You can actually see the lower porch is sagging in the center.
The brick piers are crumbing...
...along with the porch foundation.
The time has come to replace them.
The thing that worries me most about the porches (and the kitchen)
is I don't know what is under one-third of the kitchen. There is basement
under only two-thirds of the kitchen and the rest is unknown.
Might it be on piers? It's a mystery.
Historical documents don't help.
On an 1854 map of the neighborhood, it almost appears like
there were porches, or at least one porch, on the house.
But on a drawing of the house from 1856, it's clear
there's only a small staircase leading from the kitchen.
The woman from whom I bought the house told me her father
added the porches in 1940. Whether or not there were ever porches
on the house prior than 1940, I don't know. But these porches just don't look
correct to me. I wanted to see something with more formal balance.
The porches may not be original but I want them to look
like they might have always been there,
|Old Wayland Town Hall|
Photo: Historic Buildings of Massachusetts
The closet thing I could find locally to what I think my porches
should look like is the front of the Old Wayland (suburb of Boston) Town Hall
built in 1841, just a year older than my house. I don't have the triangular
pediment above the porches, nor would I want the back porches
to compete with the front of the house but it's the symmetry
that my current back porches lack that I'd like to add.
So I've split the columns into two one-story sets that are thinner
than the columns on the front of the house and with no flutes.
This creates smaller-scaled bits that won't compete with the front of the house.
To create the symmetry so quintessential to a Greek Revival, you'll
also note I've created a center entrance.
Adding the back porches to my kitchen has consequences: the budget.
I've decided not to add a second window above the kitchen sink. The
cost of removing the old chimney, repairing and residing the house just
to add one window without an attractive view, just no longer made sense.
I also need to take a look other places where I can save money without
holding up the progress. Right now it's appliances, lighting and cabinetry.
Work should start tomorrow.