Big transformations don’t always require a big budget or weeks of work. Good thing, too: By the time Megan and Ross Bray of Racine, Wisconsin, got around to overhauling the dingy entry porch of the 1949 bungalow they’d been renovating for seven years, money was tight.
Because the dated wrought-iron posts were structural, they couldn’t easily get rid of them, and when the couple pulled back the carpet (yes, carpet!), they found a mess of glue and crumbling concrete. After removing the carpet, they took out the railings with a Sawzall, leaving the L-shaped posts in place. Inspired by Craftsman-style porch columns, they reimagined theirs as square pillars, cladding the ironwork with 1x12s and using 1x6s and crown molding to make a capital and base for each one. To fix the deteriorating concrete underfoot, they mixed up and poured on a resurfacer and smoothed it out with a sponge. Megan fashioned a plaque stenciled with oversize house numbers, added a rug over the now clean white floor, set down a pair of chairs they already owned, and bought potted plants to liven up the space. The transformation took a single weekend. Megan can’t believe they waited so long to fix up the entry. “We love it,” she says. “Instead of covering up an eyesore, we’ve made it a cute space we can enjoy.”
The Project Tally
• Boxed out existing columns with 1x12s and trimmed the top and base of each one with 1x6s and crown molding $136
• Caulked seams, then primed and painted the columns with white exterior latex $45
• Ripped up the carpet; cleaned the dirty, crumbling concrete underneath and smoothed it with a resurfacer $96
• Made a house-number plaque with on-hand scrap wood and spray paint $0
• Repurposed chairs they already owned, adding throw pillows, an outdoor rug, and planters $90