SalvageStyle: The House of Nancy Ranchel – Rebuilding my Porch

It’s October and my front porch is rotting. It’s the worst time of year, plus the porch needs to be replaced. What fresh hell is this? Autumn. I’m already over it and it’s just begun.

The porch is wood, so that’s a problem in Oregon. On the plus side, rodents are super happy living under the rotting wood, in the dark and the damp. So cozy! It’s only a matter of time before someone falls through the porch into a rodent habitat. Statistically speaking, that someone will be me. I discovered the deck was rotting by falling through it (pogo-ing through it, to be exact), so I brace myself every time I walk to the front door. I’m not built for this kind of stress.

Since it needs to be replaced, there’s only one thing to do, and I’m betting you know what that is. Do it up. Have some fun, baby! Luckily, the plans for this porch have been percolating for quite a while. And the inventory is in place. Actually, it’s very much in place, as in it’s sitting right in my very front yard.


Late in 2012 I bought the walkway in Pics 1 and 2 above from the dismantled pulp and paper mill in Albany. It’s been sitting in the front yard by the porch ever since. Where else would it go? It’s too heavy to move around on a whim. But now it’s time for it to fulfill its special purpose as a front porch walkway.


It will replace the current walkway in Pic 3, and we’ll put big ol’ river rock below it. The front of my driveway and house makes for a superb water collection area. Water flows down the driveway to collect in the pit (of despair) by the front door. While I’ve already built in actual, intentional, helpful water collection next to and under the house, it’s now time for the last big step. When we add this walkway, we’ll dig up the bottom of the driveway and add drainage. (Can you see the dry riverbed at the bottom of the driveway in Pic 4 below?) We’ll also rebuild the pit so the water moves toward sump pumps under the house.


Yep, it’s all about water routing in Oregon. And coffee. With those two things, we can get through the winters. Barely. But the water routing is really critical. (The coffee probably is, too.)


The porch itself will be cement. I wanted perforated metal, but Anne from Arciform talked me into cement as it’s easier and therefore cheaper. She said I could decorate the cement, which was the big draw for me. There’s just a tad bit of metal inventory (this is sarcasm, or a bald-faced lie – your pick) hanging out in my yard. Check out Pic 5. This is just a small sample of the metal the guys can make patterns with in my cement porch. So cool! What kind of pattern should it be? Some obvious design perhaps? My initials? A big sunshine made out of metal? Ah, the possibilities! Sure, it might be a little trite, but maybe I’m a little trite. Maybe trite and sunshines and initials make up my dream porch.

You’ll just have to wait and see.