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Marissa Ponikowski

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Marissa Ponikowski

Marissa Stapley-Ponikowski’s work has appeared in numerous outlets including The Toronto Sun, The Globe & Mail, TV Guide and Today’s Parent. A mother of two, Marissa strives to make the world a better place through writing on lifestyle and green living, as well as completing a novel, Saving the World (In Sensible Shoes).

Front Porch Makeover, Part 1: Stroller Parking Lot to Turn Outdoor Oasis

Posted by Marissa Ponikowski Tuesday, June 19, 2012 3:16 PM EDT

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When spring arrived this year and my husband and I started to spend time outdoors, we realized our front porch had become a disaster. Bad enough, the dingy, peeling paint — but we were making matters worse by letting the area become a parking lot for strollers, various bikes and bins, and clutter we didn’t even know we owned. What message were we sending to our neighbours, our visitors, even to ourselves? (That's the porch, pictured above; we cleaned it up for the shot but it's still decrepit and uninviting.)

Now, to be fair, we've been living in a state of constant household upgrade/reno since moving into our fixer-upper 1920s semi-detached in Toronto’s west end nearly five years ago. Until this wake-up call, though, the main focus has always been on practical matters: electrical work, flooring, redoing the kitchen and main living areas, etc. In other words, the dialogue has been what you might call internal.

Time to send out a new message — and get into some real outdoor living! We resolved to give the exterior of our house as much attention as we’d been giving the interior, with a top-to-bottom front porch makeover.

I found inspiration in home and décor magazines I love, as well as various articles on HGTV.ca, in particular How to Upgrade Your Home’s Exterior. After one full month of weekends (supplemented by weekday prep, shopping, consulting with designers, etc.), we now have a porch fit that encourages community. It’s a place where can sit and socialize — and finally feel like we really belong on this street. Why didn’t we do it sooner?

Well, why don’t you do it sooner, as in, right now? Join me for a new six-part series that will show you, top to bottom, how we redid our porch.

Dingy, peeling paint, and a parking lot for strollers and bikes — don't let this happen to your porch!

The front porch makeover will entail:

  • Repainting the porch floor, railings and stairs
  • Rebuilding the staircase, and painting it
  • Buying new furniture and accessories that will make the porch feel like an outdoor room
  • Adding plants and window boxes, and improving our front garden
  • Replacing the exterior light, mailbox and house number


If this gut job pleased our neighbours half as much as it pleased us, then we’re gold. Not to give anything away, as it's too early to share the "After" pictures, but trust me — we are definitely gold.

Next Up: Front Porch Makeover, Part 2: The Fun Begins! We Replace the Stairs

Topics: Summer, Porch, Stairs, Steps, DIY & Small Projects

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