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A Renovated Sunny Porch at Clark Park

Location: West Philadelphia

Building type: Rowhome

Renovation style: Arts & Crafts

When she purchased her house, our client intended to renovate her front porch as a gathering space for her growing family. She imagined that she would have fresh new floors and windows but couldn't decide how much of the old materials to remove or if she should just tear it down completely and start construction from the ground up.

Design-Build Benefits: Planning Ahead and Buying-In

The porch could have used a total replacement but our client liked some of the features and wanted to keep a budget. In contrast to our typical renovations and additions, new construction projects generally don't demand the same design-build thoughtfulness. Renovation projects like this porch project are less expensive than starting from scratch but renovations do benefit from a slightly longer pre-construction planning and design input. Remodeling using a design-build method allows the design team to discuss realistic options with the production team and then to check in with the estimator to confirm cost assumptions. Getting buy-in from the builder meant that the porch that was designed is closer to the porch that gets built, which made for a happier client. Even more helpful - we were able to have our production team make exploratory holes to determine existing conditions before work began.

This helped to identify decisions needed for scope and design options instead of starting and stopping work while discoveries are contemplated and solved under pressure. It goes without saying that design-build helps to identify costs by reducing mid-project change orders and sets more realistic budget expectations. 

We temporarily supported the roof, then demolished the porch walls, cleaned up the porch beam holding the roof and replaced the joists to prepare for a rigid tile floor. We worked up from the existing foundation with new framing for the door and framed for the new windows on top of the brick half wall. We insulated the walls and installed the Owner's selection of energy-efficient windows and transoms, as well as a durable tile floor. 

The final touch was a no-brainer. With all of the porch opened up, she asked for a new oak custom front door with rubbed-bronze hardware which gave a nod to Arts & Crafts, her preferred architectural style.

We also wrote a blog article for the same project with more before photos and progress shots at Adding Value to Sunrooms and Porches with Design-Build

For more on design-build planning approach, read this article on design-build additions



  • New energy-efficient windows, transoms, and exterior doors
  • Faux-wood floor tile
  • Beadboard ceiling