Finally Finally!!! Our porch has been done for almost a month but trying to get photos of it and posted has been a process, actually the whole project was a process and what started off as a quick 2-3 week makeover turned into a whole front of the house re-do. If you want to see how we started, this post
is where we started our planning.
We experienced a lot of problems when we took the original porch down, the roof was broken in many places, the joists had been reinforced with hockey sticks! (no that’s not a joke). We found that our pillars were no longer supportive and I could easily push them from side to side with just my hand. Aesthetics aside, the porch was no longer safe. So we decided to remove everything old and broken and fix it along with creating a new space.
From a design perspective it was a collaborative effort between myself, Michael and our build and engineering crew at Saldan Construction. Since I’m not a designer by trade I relied on the team to tell us what could be done and what couldn’t from a safety and build perspective.
We had the engineers draft plans which we submitted to the city for a permit. We decided to move the porch out to the edge of our home and extend the roof line. It made a lot more sense visually and from a space perspective. We also decided to include two sky lights in the roof that would let more light into our living room. Being a semi-detatched house we only have small windows at the front and back of our home, which makes the main floor especially dark. The skylights were a way to fix this.
Since we were presented with the opportunity of rebuilding the ceiling of the porch we also opted for a sloped ceiling instead of the traditional straight one that we had before, we thought it would open up the space and also work better with our sky lights. So we went with the “French Roof” which was a suggestion from our build crew, and we are so glad we did it this way! The space feels a lot bigger plus the slanted sky lights point the light directly into our home, making it that much brighter.
For our materials we opted for a harder wood than the traditional cedar most often used. Although cedar was a lot more economical, and smelled so good, its a soft wood that doesn’t weather very well. We would likely have to redo it again in a few years since it would move and shift with the extreme changing temperatures in Toronto. So we opted for Ipe instead which had a gorgeous color but is ultimately going to last us many many years. We took the approach of spending more up front to save down the line in rework and rebuilds.
Michael’s biggest ask for the porch was a covered garbage enclosure so that squirrels, rats and racoons wouldn’t get in and rummage….aka make a huge mess every night. He wanted to have sliding side doors for easy in and out, and a lift up hatch from the porch so we could easily toss the garbage inside without having to go around the house. We use the bench as seating and its been one of the most useful features for us thus far. To do this we had to close up a window to the basement but we don’t mind.
Lastly we decided to go with glass for our railings so we could keep the space open and airy. My biggest fear when building an entirely wooden porch was that it would feel cramped and dark…kind of like a giant boat. So a lot of the decisions I made were based around this. We also felt since we had completely destroyed the grass in our porch build, that we should landscape everything. We went with a simple stone and greenery. Our build team was the one who suggested this look, and we loved the idea so they get all the credit!
We worked with the most amazing crew, and they were sorely missed when they were finished the work. I spend most days alone at home so having this project and these guys here on a daily basis made me feel a little more useful. I would 150% recommend Saldan Construction as the crew to hire in Toronto and the GTA, they’re amazing and they don’t cut corners. You know what you’re getting with them and I loved that.
The last thing I will mention is this. We live in a semi-detached. That means we have a neighbour that we share our walls with, and she is not an easy person to live next to. So we made sure to do everything by the book. We got permits out, had a survey done to make sure we weren’t encroaching on her space. We even had conversations with her in advance of the build hoping to compromise in a way that would make both our spaces look good, but in the end it was still a pain to work with. So having our ducks in a row, making sure did everything by the book with permits and approvals in place, engineering drawings etc, though a bit more expensive saved us a great deal of hassle during the build. So I cannot stress that point enough.
We love how it all came together and now cannot wait with to start on our home renovation aka gut job! The Saldan team is already working on our first draft of the plans, but this will likely be about two years out since we will need city permits that take a long time. Still, I can’t help but get excited about the future.