Summer’s Cure: A Great Front Porch

Having lived in Florida at different times in my life, and the rest of it in DC, I know what a hot, sweaty summer is all about. But despite the heat and humidity, we’ve never found as much pleasure sitting outside as we have over the past year with our new front porch.

We bought our house in 1998, and have made many updates to the inside, but not much out front beyond a coat of paint. Here’s our “before:”


Not bad, right? But those flowers you see around the lamp post and in the foreground are annuals. Here’s what it looked like in the winter:


This picture makes the falling-apart shutters and the awful wrought iron portico columns stand out a little better. Not to mention the cracked concrete walk, which I’ve hated since the day we moved in.

But as with all house projects, you gotta save up. Last year, we finally had the resources to revamp the outside of the house and the landscaping all around it. After driving around endlessly, looking at other people’s porches, my husband finally came up with a sketch for what we wanted: a porch with stone walls, built-in storage benches, and a standing-seam metal roof:


We hired Case Design to execute it—and now, here’s where we sit almost every morning, with our coffee and newspaper:

Photograph by Kate Warren,

Photo by Kate Warren,

Our main goal, besides getting rid of that concrete walk, was to create a space where we could store all the boy’s sports equipment, so we wouldn’t have to go into the garage every time they needed a basketball or baseball bat.


We are LOVING these built-in benches.

Photo by Kate Warren

Photo by Kate Warren


Photo by Kate Warren

Photo by Kate Warren

To give the front door a little more presence, we bought some trim to go around the door and painted it all white. We also found some fabulous copper lanterns online from New Orleans Gas & Electric Lights. I adore them.


We also love that we can come right in through the side from the driveway, and not have to walk around.

Photo by Kate Warren

Photo by Kate Warren. Stone and slate from Charles Luck Stone Center. Paint color consultation by Jean Molesworth Kee of The Painted Room. Chairs and table by Brown Jordan.

We’ve discovered—only after living in our house for 15 years—that there’s actually a breeze that comes across the front every morning, even in the wretched heat. It’s great for cooling off after a long run.

The front porch has also given us new appreciation for our other outdoor spaces — our side porch, which is original to the house,


And the rear deck.


I think we’re truly spoiled now—our house nearly doubles in size during the warm weather months. And also, after two years of going in phases with the amazing Kathleen Litchfield of Petro Design Build, we actually have a landscape worth looking at:






The saying that your house is never “done” couldn’t be more true, as we are still working down a never-ending list! With our bedroom and the landscape done, we’re now setting our sights on the family room, which we did 10 years ago when our addition was first built—updates to come later in this space.


  1. Hi Jen,
    The new front porch changes the entire look of your home. Great job. The metal roof probably has a nice sound during a summer rain. By the way, great idea with the storage in the built-in benches. Keep those dirty baseball cleats outside!

  2. Oh my gosh what a transformation! And great inspiration to hire a landscape designer…we need some serious work in our yard and on our curb appeal. Beautiful!

  3. That rear deck is the perfect place for Sunday brunch!

  4. Love all your outdoor spaces Jennifer! Looks wonderful!

  5. Yeah! It has really come together. Worth the wait! Especially love the copper lanterns.


  1. […] the years, I’ve chronicled our updates, including the master bedroom, and the new front porch. And most recently, I wrote about our grand plans for a kitchen renovation, which would have […]

  2. […] doing anything to the house itself! We put a front porch on our own house last year (see it here), so I know how a great entry can enhance its look and feel, but in this case, the great entry […]