There are still a lot of projects to finish inside the house, but once we moved in (and got silly things done like … doorknobs), Ryan turned his sights on one of our favorite features of the new house.
Outdoor. Living. Space.
This back porch was something Ryan and I were both excited about – our property is such a huge part of why we built our house, and the views are incredible. We knew we wanted a large screened-in porch on the back – which gives us a wonderful place to relax in warm weather and truly extends our living space.
Last year before the snow rolled in, we finished the porch floors, but we had no railings or screens as we turned our attention to finishing the inside. The outdoor space remained virtually unusable because of the bugs, wind and safety concerns. (There was no way Henry was allowed to go out on the porch with no railings and a 15 foot drop.)
We desperately wanted to use this space before it gets to cold, so we bumped it to the top of the list. (Yep. Still no cabinet doors in the kitchen. Priorities, my friends.)
This was not a super or cheap quick DIY project. I think we spent about $800 in materials and a few weeks of work. But it was worth it. (Says the woman who didn’t do any of the work.)
Ryan started with the railings and posts – which were all wrapped in cedar. The railings were created from cedar and hog panels we picked up at the farm store, which gives us needed safety and doesn’t block any of the views.
All the cedar wood got a few coats of tung oil, which brought out their beautiful colors and protects the wood from the elements.
Next up was the screens – which we purchased from Home Depot. We splurged on a “better” screen (this one) that is designed to let the views shine through. And truly, you barely even notice the screen at all.
Once the screen was stapled up, he trimmed the OUTSIDE of the porch with cedar to finish it. We’ll eventually trim out below the deck as well, but not now.
I was a little worried about how the cedar would look against the house – but I think it fits in nicely.
Next Ryan added the screen door, barn wood ceilings and light fixtures. (Still waiting on the ceiling fan, but we also have two recessed lights.)
I love the barn wood ceilings – he planed all the boards and installed them with the existing tongue and groove. They are gorgeous! And he pulled out all the remaining boards with writing. My favorite – the board with the hastily painted year “1937.” I’m sure that farmer never expected his artwork would be a key feature on our Illinois porch.
After a few weeks of sweaty days and hard work, Ryan completed the back porch. And it’s seriously become our favorite space.
I immediately drug over the outdoor furniture and cleaned everything really well. There were birds nesting in the light fixtures, so once they were gone, we closed everything up and scrubbed the floors and walls.
It’s so nice to have a spot to spend time without getting eaten alive by bugs or burned in the sunshine.
In the late afternoon, it gets some pretty intense sun, so I’m on the lookout for some sort of screen or curtain on the far wall. I’m also on the lookout for a way to store the hose next to the sofa. No rush.
I brought over my patio plants and they are so happy here. Just like us, they like their new home.
On the opposite end of the porch (the enclosed part is about 10×20), we have a door that goes out to a 6-foot uncovered deck intended for the grill.
The jury’s still out on whether the grill can stay here – the charcoal gets a little too hot and smoky for our comfort. We originally planned to add a stairway to the outside – and we still might once we bring in dirt and grade the backyard more. But I’m kind of liking this the way it is – and it’s really easy to get outside from the inside, so I’m not sure it’s necessary.
We were quoted $650 for a standard cedar door, so Ryan clearly decided to build one himself instead with cedar.
The cedar and barnwood play well together, don’t they?
Remember the star I got for our mantel? It found a more permanent home right on the porch.
This sucker is really heavy and looks great above the sofa.
I also added a second barn star to the other side of the sliding door – this was a gift from Ryan’s aunt.
So, that’s the story and tour of our new screened-in porch.
It’s my favorite spot to sit and drink coffee in the morning and the best spot to unwind at the end of the day.
Who’s coming over?
Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After party.