The Blog by Ellen Wags

a lifestyle blog for real mamas. featuring family-friendly home decor, casual mama style, and stuff to keep your kids entertained. 

One Room Challenge – Week Two

One Room Challenge, week two! This is where it all gets real – let’s demo this space!

Welcome to week two of the One Room Challenge – ORC for short. In case you missed last week’s post, are updating our outdoor living space over the next eight weeks. The One Room Challenge is a bi-annual design challenge where anyone – new-DIY’er to pro designer – can join in and be encouraged to complete a single-room project over the course of eight weeks with a really fun design community.

The ORC is a great motivator to actually get your project done. It is really easy to start a project. It is even easier to get caught up living your life and not actually complete said project until much later than your initial deadline. The “pressure” of weekly blogging and the support of the ORC community make it a lot of fun and really encourage project completion!

Before we can get to the fun part – well, the ‘fun for me‘ part – we’ve got to reconfigure the layout. Let’s break down the layout changes!

Check the Rulebook

See that teeny bit of space below the posts? Big problem – gotta fix that.

“Let’s screen-in the porch!”

*runs to buy screen*

“It ain’t that easy, boo.”

In case y’all needed reminding, I am not in charge of the construction portion of this project. If I was, well. This project would have come to a screeching halt before it even started.

Matt took a deep dive into building codes and the requirements of screened-in porches, some of which he is already familiar with because of his existing engineering and construction knowledge. In case you didn’t know, there are a lot of building requirements to keep in mind when doing a DIY home project. (PS – building codes are a set of rules and regulations set by your city/county/state to ensure the safety of constructed structures.)

Don’t skip this step! Failing to follow the building code can mean fines or project re-do’s. You also could have potential safety issues. With any project, you want to make sure you’re doing things right the first time, and consulting building codes can help get that done.

The Outdoor Fireplace Dilemma

The outdoor fireplace is covered in a textured stone veneer from the ground to the chimney top. Neither Matt nor I love the stone, but re-facing the fireplace exceeds our project budget. We’ve got to make it work!

The surface of the fireplace is uneven. We need it to be a flat, even surface to place a baluster on either side.

Matt ended up chiseling out a small portion of the veneer to create a flat surface to mount the balusters against the fireplace.

Layout Adjustment

To make sure we can make the most of the porch’s square footage, we decided to relocate the stairs. This will allow the entire roofed portion of the porch to be used as a livable space. By closing up this five-foot wide walkway, we will be able to place furniture in a more ideal location.

Railing Overhaul

Unfortunately, that little gap down at the porch floor is a problem. In order to keep all the biting Alabama bugs out, the guardrail and pickets need to extend to the deck flooring. As a result, all the existing pickets and guardrails needed to be removed and replaced.

After removing the pickets, Matt utilized the existing posts to create a new guardrail with longer pickets.

That was a single sentence, but I think y’all need to know that this was a very intensive process. Matt measured and made each cut by hand. The porch flooring is just a smidge uneven (as a result of the house ‘settling’ over the years), so each piece of wood needed to be custom cut to match perfectly.

Matt also removed the pergola to help create a more open feel on the open side of the porch.

Week Two Wrapup

Yay! I can’t wait to share some design details next week! I’m also hoping the screen will go in sometime in the next week, so be sure you’re checking out my Instagram stories for all the behind-the-scenes content.

Be sure to check out the week two posts for all the ORC design challenge participants here.

comments +

  1. Beth says:

    That is a lot of work! This will be such a great lounge space, kudos to you for doing the hard stuff (like moving the stairs) to make the space more functional. Can’t wait to see this come together.

    • Ellen says:

      It is a good bit of work, but I’m so excited about it! And yep, initially, I thought let’s just do whatever is easier and get it done, but then we decided…if we are going to do the work, let’s do it once and do it right!

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