Restoring the Front Porch

Project: Elmwood Neighborhood, Episode 10, Part 1



Paul Stark and Amelia Henderson are the owners of the ninth Elmwood neighborhood project house. They plan to convert the front porch into an outdoor entertainment area.

Bob talks with architect Alan Berry about his plans for the porch, and contractor Terry Bates gets demolition underway. Carpenter Bob Ryley helps with the ceiling joists, and he and Bob talk about the new columns that have gone up. The front façade is getting a new paint job, and Randy Withers (from Withers Custom Shutters) and Bob discuss the shutters. Landscape work takes place, including the creation of a cobblestone edgeway and installation of a new sprinkler system.

Finally, Bob tours the finished porch with the homeowners. Pier 1 furniture and an outdoor sound system from Sonance are featured. Additional information is available about hydroseeding lawns and creating custom millwork.
Part 1: Restoring the Front Porch
Originally built in 1895 for executives of the Gorum Silver Company, the house has some unique features, such as a pagoda style turret and a façade with dormer. The other side of the house has an eyebrow dormer with a shed dormer just above it. Inside the house has impressive mantles, a gracious stairway, pocket doors, parquet floors, and shaped windows.

There is a great deal water damage to the porch. The roof must be removed and reframed with new ceiling joists.

Architect Alan Berry talks with Bob about the home's original architect, Howard K. Hilton, a professional known for interesting, "funky" details. They look at the plans for the new porch, which call for more traditional-looking columns.

The porch deck is demolished. It comes down with very little resistance, indicating extensive damage. Carpenter ants have infested the interior. The porch deck framing, however, is sound, and the mason gets started repairing the brick foundation.

Carpenter Bob Ryley works with contractor Terry Bates to attach the new columns and get started on the new roof. The columns hold up the new LVL beams supporting the roof.

Next, the cheek walls are framed, and the rafters of dimensional lumber are placed into the joist hangers. A new bench is installed, as well.
Part 2: Weaving Cedar Shingles and Prepping Damaged Wood Trim for Painting
Part 3: Painting Shingles and Shutters, Landscaping, and Hardscaping
Part 4: The Font Porch, Façade, and Yard
The theme of community building in the historic Elmwood neighborhood of Providence, RI, is the focus of this project. Rather than tackling one house, Bob Vila is helping 11 neighbors tackle smaller projects like porches, kitchens, bathrooms, and even a third-floor artist's studio.

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