Coming Soon: Our New Front Porch!

I never thought the day would come, nearly ONE YEAR after we first started making plans to build a new front porch on our house. We had redone our landscaping, thanks to Kathleen Litchfield of Petro Design Build, so the azaleas would be moved out of the way for the construction. See? The front is all naked and ready for the add-on:




Case Design Build was all ready with the blueprint:


But then Arlington County put a screeching halt on everything. They denied our permit application, saying that we needed a “use permit” for the porch, because the majority of homes on our street were like ours — the single portico over the door. We would be different with a full porch. I think it was a little more technical than that, but that’s my takeaway.

So we applied for the use permit, and approached all of our neighbors back in November to ask for their support. They generously wrote letters on our behalf, so we were able to turn in 11 endorsements along with our application. A week before the hearing last week, these flyers went up on every telephone pole within two blocks of our house:



And letters were mailed to all our neighbors, just to let them know what was afoot. Thank goodness, we had already told them!

At any rate, we showed up at the hearing last Tuesday, on Mardis Gras, after some panicking as to whether we would find parking amidst the Courthouse/Clarendon parade starting at the same time. Our case was called after the Arlington Board of Zoning Appeals deferred another case, scolding the applicant for not offering a single letter from any of his neighbors supporting what he wanted to do.

Then our case, V-10754-13-UP-1, was up: I explained that we were trying to beautify our property with this porch and with a major upgrade in our landscaping. Board members praised us for getting so much neighborhood support, and approved our permit!

As I write this, Case Design is on the job, filing for the official building permit so construction can begin. In the meantime, we are trying to decide which colors we want for the flagstone walkway, which will also be the “floor” of the porch. Small stone walls will rise from it, concealing storage and built-in seating. I love the colors in this combination at a house we found nearby:



The combination of blues, greens and browns, I think, is so interesting. I can even see some red and purple in there, too.



Once we choose that combination, I’ve called on Jean Kee of The Painted Room to help us select the paint color for the rest of the house. It’s so nice to be able to plan again now that the county has approved our plans! More inspiration to come soon…

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  1. Eamon Seidel says:

    Thanks for posting this, it will be very cool to follow you blog about the project. It has been a long process for you and Jim but we are finally there. I am looking forward to this project and cant wait to see the transformation.

    -Eamon Seidel
    Case Design/Remodeling

  2. Congrats – It’s going to look great!! When we got our variance years ago, we also had letters from the neighbors. IMO Arlington is inconsistently a pain in the neck, bothering you about a tasteful, well proportioned front porch while they allow monstrosities to be built all over the place. Country Club Hills is now a disaster of cheap infill on steroids. (sorry for the rant!)
    Can’t wait to see what color you paint your home – it’s going to be stunning! (Two summers ago I painted our brick Galveston Gray, made such a huge different.)

  3. @citizenfrederick, Case has been great. It’s the third company we interviewed, and they have been wonderful. Everything on time, and wonderful customer service. Their estimate was right in the middle/ not the low bid, not the high one. I think we landed in the right place.

  4. Good luck on the front porch, looking forward to seeing pictures of the finished product. We have a cape cod I’d like to add a porch to as well. I’m currently obsessing on proportions and whether to make it blend in with the current feel of the house or completely modernize the exterior. How has Case D/B been to work with?

  5. Great bones! My favorite kind of project. Looking forward to helping you ~ Yes, spring is just around the corner!