Enclosed entry way- keep or tear open?

EricWwwNovember 18, 2011

I'm new here and I really like this forum. I need some advice, and I hope I put this in the right forum.

Some background, my house is old 1955 and small (1000 sq ft), but it's my first house I bought from the original owner's last year. It needs some updating. I've been slowly doing some projects but am planning for spring time when the weather warms up for some exterior stuff.

There used to be a flimsy screen door that swings in of the enclosed porch, I hated it so I took it off. The previous owners also painted the trim etc this really ugly yellow color, presumably to match the mortar in the brick. I plan on painting it all white and try to match the downspouts to the color of the brick to better hide them.

For my enclosed 5'x8' porch/entry, I'm a little torn on keeping it, painting the siding white and adding a heavy storm door to the front OR tearing it out, but leaving the roof as a portico and putting in 2 columns and railing.

My thoughts for tearing it out- it's too small to be useful, I can't exactly put chairs there. The ceiling is low and it just feels clausterphobic in there (although the burnt orange paint inside doesn't help that). With the siding it looks like it's obviously added on, as the rest of the house is brick.

On the flip side- keeping it the same would be a less labor intensive project (I am an avid DIYer). I'd repaint the siding white, and the inside as well and redo the floor.

I read this thread and this other thread about the porches where one owner opened his and the other closed hers in, and can see + and - to both.

But I'd like to get your thoughts. Below is the house (yes the bushes are overgrowing):

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Gotta tell you to check out this thread for SURE. It could be your entry porch's TWIN. And it started life as an open porch with just the roof.

After you think about it for a while, be sure to let us know if you get any ideas. It was one of the projects which really helped the homeowner (Idietolive) expand and improve the way she lives in her house.

No no no, do not get rid of it. Do something nice for it.
And instead of a white trim, do something a bit beigy-taupe. with a cream (instead of pure white) for the window trims.

Anyway, below is the link to Idietolive's project.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front porch entry

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:37PM
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If you like all white you might like this. One of my favorite cottage porches. Click on link for more pictures of this house.

Here is a link that might be useful: Country Living cottage

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:40PM
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I like that cottage entry, Caligal. It is a very welcoming spot. So symmetrical too.

One thing which helps it along, is the double wide brick steps. If the original poster here can manage bricks to match his/her house, great. And the columns. Note the house HAS A NAME....one of my pet likes is to name your cottage or bungalow. Then there is a french door, and really fine classic lights, again symmetrical. The mailbox on the house is not practical where it is put in a box at the street, but the red is pretty. And the symmetrical topiaries.

However, I think this "cottage" is pretty big, judging from the rest of the visible house. Where there is a need for an enclosed entry -- and space is at a premium as in a small cottage having the enclosed front porch added on -- I'd think twice before losing any square footage at all.

It just might be the exact size of the enclosed porch though.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:27PM
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I actually did see Loretta's thread, which I must not have linked properly in the original post since the links are dead :(

You're right this does look similar to mine:

Her entry is bigger than mine, at 11 x 5.5, where mine is 5x8. I also have no intention of sitting out in the enclosed porch. To me it feels small and clausterphobic. I'd rather have it open. The siding with the brick just seems like such an obvious add on.

At least to me for my house, an open porch with wide steps would seem more inviting, than this closed in box. Also, if the enclosed porch was pushed that far forwards, if it's raining, I or a visitor would be standing in the rain, uncovered. Where keeping the front door where it currently is allows for the existing roof to act as a weather shield.

My current steps the bricks dont match anyway, those are "sewer brick" and a more reddish tone than the house bricks. I'd demolish those (falling apart anyway) and have new, wider steps constructed.

Here is a link to a thread where somebody tore open his enclosed entry- similar to what I plan on doing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Opening enclosed porch

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:54PM
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wait Eric, did you like the white one I posted above? I know the rest of the house is much different, but the porch size seemed similar.

mlanding, I love when houses are named too!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:36PM
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It all depends on how you use that entry, I think. If you use it every day, then I KNOW what a pain it is to stand in the rain without a cover!
We use our side door almost exclusively and so do our friends, so that was not an issue for me.

It turned out to be a real plus for me. I have a recliner and a small flat screen tv out there. It's been the perfect place for me and my dog to spend our day.

But................... with the door closed it can feel closed in. So, even when it colder I leave the door open.

Maybe you can just paint and dress it up inside a little with a couple of prints and a rug. The do your other projects and the come back to it after you've lived with it a while.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:50PM
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If that is your main entry, and it's not big enough to put a chair there, I'd open it up. It will have more street appeal, and like Loretta said, it will keep you and guests from standing in the rain when trying to get into the house.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:19AM
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I agree to open it up to. If it were larger and there was enough room for porch type furniture than that would be another story.
I agree that a porch will look more welcoming.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 8:09AM
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Caligal, yes that cottage looks great. It is actually smaller than my house, listed at 900 sq ft. Here's another shot of it:

Another thought is my neighbors turned the entire front of their house into an open porch, but they kept the enclosed area. However that's another project for another day (year?)...

Loretta, I think your porch looks great especially since you use it regularly. In fact, I actually considered doing something similar- transforming my porch into part of my living room. But then I decided it was just too small to be worth the effort/expense.

Marti8a & ellendi, yes that is the main entry way. I have a back door but I don't use it unless I'm going to the back yard :lol: I think I am going to open it up. Put some columns at the corners. Another note too- my front door I don't think I'll be able to replace it without tearing open the porch anyway. With the side lights it's too wide to fit through!

Add this project to my to do list- tearing it open should be fun! Hopefully it won't cost too much or take too long to do (famous last words...)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:18AM
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To me, a lot depends on where you live and what the climate is like. If you live in an area where winters are cold and heating bills are an issue, I'd keep the enclosed porch because it would help a lot in keeping the cold air out and the warm air in. You could store snow boots and coats and mittens and hats in the enclosed porch.

If, on the other hand, you live in a milder climate, then you might get more use out of an open porch.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:16PM
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Camlan, that's a good point. I'm in the mid-Atlantic. Right now it's mid/high 40s by day, 30s at night. The original front door is leaky and warped and the single pane side lights don't help. Currently the enclosed porch does close to zero to keep out the elements. It's not insulated and with no storm door it won't stop it from getting cold, but it does keep driving wind out. My thought is- when I replace the front door, it will be much more sealed than the one it's replacing. Ah well, I'm going to have at least 4 months to think about this more before I undertake this project in the spring :lol:

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Another point, if you open up the porch, it will bring more light into your home. But like camlan says above, climate does play a role too.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Yes, climate is important. I guess I was thinking about using it as a mudroom because of my present location here in MA, and the week we just spent without any power.

I like that little cottage and it sure did look much bigger from the side view, not the narrow long shot. I also like the shed dormer above the front porch/stoop. It is a much easier style dormer to roof, and gives much more space with higher ceilings inside the dormer itself. I've seen such shed dormers go the full length of one side of a house. Really a neat way to increase upstairs living space where you have a higher roofline and that would mean in an older home.

So pleased to see Idietolive chiming in on this subject. Loretta, I knew you were there. The bait has to be just right, though, doesn't it? :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 8:00PM
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If you can't replace your front door with the current porch in place, you're probably better off taking off the enclosure. You can join the rest of us who undo something a previous owner did and wonder "what were they thinking" when they did it. I just wonder how much of what dh & I are doing will be undone with much griping by the next owner. lol

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:35PM
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Good stuff everyone. Moccasinlanding- yup the shed dormer is a great idea. I actually do have a higher roofline and there's windows at the gable ends of the attic. It's currently not finished but I thought I could use the space if I ever have kids, they could use it for a playroom. But for now the house is more than enough space for me (I live alone and it has a full basement).

marti8a- As for previous abominations- yes there's been a few of those too. Previous owners had the basement all compartmented with ugly 1970s paneling. I tore it all out haha. Then again- the stuff I do now, who knows what the next buyers will think...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:17AM
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I can just picture the paneling. My dd bought a house with paneling in the basement. They even covered the windows. Red & green checkered tile on the floor, and a big bar covered with red vinyl. Sooo ugly.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:53PM
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I love the open front porch, but would be loathe to give up any square footage, especially in a smaller home.

Here's one idea: Put the front door where the screen door was. Take out (cover over) the windows on the front and on the "hinge" side of the door. Add four pilasters to the front: two flanking the front door, two at the corners, terminating at the top in a beam that stretches from eave to eave. Inside, add a closet across the side behind the "hinge" side of the door. On the opposite side, add a bench or side table, with the remaining window above it. This will still leave you a 4' wide passageway into the rest of the house, plus a welcoming entry and room for coats.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 11:20PM
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