Plan, Plan, Plan
Elizabeth and I started discussing the addition of a front porch just a few weeks after purchasing the Hardaway Cottage. Our negotiations started with a 200 square foot deck and ended with a 713 square foot accessible front porch that can accomodate 60 people seated for a small wedding. This challenge but fantastic project would transform the look of the imposing entrance into a warm and inviting comfortable place to spend time with friends.
The Hardaway is an example of Georgian Architecture. These homes were designed to have an imposing entrance that states to the world “we have arrived.” It is also a part of why the Hardaway gained the local reputation of “creepy white house on the hill.” Elizabeth knew that a well designed front porch would soften the look of the entrance and also give a needed and valuable space to enjoy the house.
Starting with the look and feel we were able to design a deck that gives access from the front door and both Sunroom Windows once they were opened. A wheelchair ramp runs along the side wall of the Sunroom with an almost flat access from the driveway. The image above was created in Sketch-Up. This is the same program used in many HDTV house remodeling shows. It has a steep learning curve and is more like CAD software than graphic design programs. I wrestled with it but eventually got a good rendering to make base decisions.
Next was the budgeting. Every nail, joist hanger, post, beam, joist, and deck board had to be selected and purchased. That meant support to finishing structures had to be designed to meet the 2014 Georgia Prescriptive Deck Building Codes. Had help with that from Rachel and Doug Butler. Thanks guys. The code describes how each portion of the deck is built to sustain the anticipated stress of weight and usage. It gives sizes of footers, support posts, beams, joists, decking, railings, and steps. It also prescibes current codes for how to attach all of the pieces with the proper hardware and fasteners. It still involves way too many choices. Budget, oh yes. The small porch from our original design had material costs of $2,500. The final design with the wrougt iron railing stands at $5,500. However, Elizabeth has designed a stunning porch. It will clearly be a statement piece the home really needed.
The fun begins as we break ground for the footers. Same deck time…same deck channel.