Photos by Hillary Ehlen
What do a 1970s ranch-style home and a house built in 2015 have in common? They both had feeble front stoops that offered little curb appeal and even less livable space. Now, gleaming white front porches greet guests and add character to the front of the homes while large back porches add usable outdoor square-footage. We spoke with the homeowners to find out how they were enjoying the perks of having both a front and back porch.
John and Mary Conant are only the second owners of their 1970s ranch-style home. The exterior was dark and dated when they first moved in and overgrown shrubs disguised the stoop that stood at their main entrance. Then, the Conants gradually lightened up the exterior by adding new shingles, white window trim, a new garage door and a front porch.
On the back of their house, the Conants upgraded from a patio to a composite porch. “We used to have a patio and you had to step down. It’s so nice now. We can just walk out from the kitchen onto the deck,” Mary Conant said. Deckmasters built the front porch in 2008 and were able to closely match the materials when constructing the back porch in 2016.
Both John and Mary Conant are English teachers, so they really get to utilize their porches during the summer months. “She has the goal of reading for one hour every day on the deck,” John Conant gestured toward his wife. Mary Conant also explained that she likes to have breakfast and read the newspaper on the front porch almost every day after she gets back from her morning run.
Michelle and Paul Breen are also the second owners of their home, which was built in 2012. When the Breens first moved in three years ago, the house had a porch that was already in disrepair. “It was just an untreated wood porch and even in the few years it had been out there, it was already in really bad shape,” Michelle Breen said.
In 2016, the Breens asked Deckmasters to construct a new front porch and to add a back porch onto the home. “There was no deck at all on the back of the house, not even a set of steps, so I went to visit with Josh at Deckmasters and he helped us design exactly what we wanted,” Michelle Breen said.
The projects were completed just in time for winter. Now, the Breens and their two pups can fully take advantage of their outdoor views. “We spend a lot of time on the front porch in the summer because we can watch baseball games in the shade. In the back, we can watch softball,” Michelle Breen said. Although their home is adjacent to these baseball diamonds, players have yet to hit a home run into the Breens’ backyard.
5507 53rd Ave. S, Fargo