Sunday, August 8, 2010


Let me segue from my last post by quoting my art teacher, Lisa Forster Beach, from Stowe, Vermont: "Expectations, whether your own, or another's for you, are burdening..."

When I first saw the drawing of my house at the Cambridge Historical Commission showing my house had a front porch, I began to visualize how it might look if I were to rebuild it. It might have a vintage swing with inviting canvas cushions and a few potted plants on its shiny new deck....

...or maybe a few old rocking chairs
in front of the shutters
and barley twist plant stand
with a potted caladium.

I think these

would be

reasonable expactations.

But when I got home from work on Friday,

this was the sight.

Expectations... [insert sound of screeching brakes]...crushed.

Maybe it's a mistake.

So I ran into the house and grabbed the measuring tape.


3' 10" just like it should be; in fact, the finished size should be 3' 10"
so it will be a little bigger than it was originally.

I was expecting a friend to stop by so we could go out dinner and I was still outside when he drove up. Now, let me preface this by saying this is a friend who asked me last week if I'm going to be siding the house with "those long strips or the little squares." (Translation: clapboards or shingles) He gets out of the car, looks at the house and asks, "Where's the rest of your porch?"

There's really nothing I can do about it at this point but it makes me start to wonder, is this going to look ridiculous?

So I made a trip down the street to take another look at the Greek Revivals down on the next block.
This one looks the same as mine.

So does this one.

Why did I never notice how narrow the porches were?

Oh, I guess it was those "expectations" that clouded my vision.

So what were these porches for? I know people were smaller in 1842 but a porch this size would barely allow for someone to sit in a chair without their feet hanging off the front of the porch. It's almost like it's just for decoration. A fancy brooch on the front of its new dress.

That's okay.

No swing with inviting canvas cushions.

No old rocking chairs.

Maybe a barley twist plant stand with a potted caladium.

All is good. Or should I not have that expectation?


  1. steve, i'm laughing so hard right now. not at you but with you. do you know how tiny our porch is? well it adds 32 sq ft to our house. too small for a table to eat on really. i think your porch is going to be fine but yeah, drop the expectations. i've heard they kill relationships.


  2. I'm laughing too because I was right there with you...envisioning morning coffee at the table, lounging on the swing talking with neighbors...
    but now that the expectations have been changed, here's a chance to be really creative to still get what you were hoping for.
    It's still going to add so much charm to the front of your house and you'll just have to be on the look out for one perfect little chair instead of a big swing! :)


  3. At least you still have the back porches to lounge on! You could maybe hang a hammock sideways and wave to your neighbors. Nice to see your let down met with humor. It's going to look fabulous - you'll be the envy of the block.

  4. I just assumed the front porch would be wider too. Are you too terribly disappointed? How are you going to do my papp. work for me???

  5. Hi Steve,

    Too funny! You're so wise to look at other examples in the neighborhood and although it is smaller than you imagined, I'm positive that the end result is going to be BETTER than you imagined considering what that sweet little porch will offer to the overall character of the house.

    The porch is going to be GORGEOUS!


  6. Oh Steve. It may not be the grand veranda with the swinging porch - but it will be a charming, historically accurate entrance to your charming home. Yes - expectations can be dangerous.

  7. With your sense of humor, you will do just fine with your porch! It is large enough to have a very narrow bench to sit packages and grocery bags on...or a Chinese ceramic garden stool...or that plant stand...or... Anyway you look at it, my cat would like it!

  8. oh poo.... I hate when things like that happen. I ran down to measure my front porch thinking it was the same, but turns out it's 75" in depth... which I used to thing was small... my opinion changed! I'm thinking it's all going to be about scale for you and your porch. I agree that a narrow bench might be your best bet? You'll make it work I'm sure!!
    Oh, and question- will your front steps come up directly to your front door or will they come off of the side as the two neighboring house photos? My front steps go directly up towards the front door with the front porch off to the left. Because it isn't a passing porch, but a destination it allows for bigger chairs. Meaning if it was a walkway I would have had to used smaller scale chairs to get by.

    p.s. love your art teacher... sooooo true.