Sunday, December 1, 2013

Handmade Home #13: Our Front Porch

There are so many changes going on at our house. We were given 2, 5-year loans from a friend and a family member. One we have 3 years left and the other wanted us to wait to start making payments. The payments come out of our housing allowance, which is a little less than if we were paying rent somewhere. So with the difference we finish the rest of the stuff that we didn't finish before we moved in, a little at a time. I am so thankful for our new house. I love the clean water, I love my hot water heater, I love that there is no mold on the ceilings and I love all of my closets (clothes closets, pantry, curriculum closet). 

This past month a church sent us money specifically designated for our house. I was very surprised. Since construction costs here are so low, that money went a long way. We used it to have kitchen drawers built, our front porch poured and our guest room finished (floors poured and walls stuccoed) in time for my parents visit on the 19th of December! 

I will do a separate post about our kitchen and guest room, but today I wanted to share our front porch! I thought it would be another year before we finished this.
These are the before pictures:
This is a photo from this time last year:
These temporary steps were horrible, that's why everyone used the side door. Here is where they laid the foundation for the floors and posts:
The sheet of metal was covering the boys' room window which will one day be Jimmy's office. Without the porch there rain blew in real bad and would flood it. 
This was a day or two after the team left, so Jimmy still had the cement mixer that he had borrowed. It made the floor go really fast! Our kids enjoyed the whole process... especially filling the buckets with water!
Jimmy hired a couple guys and then Juan came and helped too! 
Silas liked the shoveling of the rocks part!
Jonah liked the huge cement mixer!
And Eden really wanted to push the wheelbarrow!
They were done in about 2 hours!
It looked pretty! 
Lico finished the front stairs and eventually we will add some side stairs as well. 
All the wood is off the institute land, so it was free. It came from trees poachers had chainsawed down and left to come back at night to haul away. Better on my porch than stolen, but still irritating. Jimmy hasn't finished sealing all of them, but the sealer really brings out the beauty in the wood. 
We haven't finished all the stucco yet and the floor has to dry for several weeks before you can seal it too, so that is why it looks chalky and muddy. 
Once you seal a concrete floor and wax it, it makes it so much easier to clean. Most of the plants came from other parts of our yard, like that Pony plant in the large stump. We just keep moving plants around. Lots of them you can just cut a twig and stick it in the ground and it takes root. It is really hard to be bad at gardening in this climate. 
Lico made these beautiful benches, also with wood from the institute land. 
I haven't ever really taken advantage of the beautiful fabrics hand woven here. They are pretty delicate, so you have to do a lot to make sure they don't unravel. Lots of fabric here is dyed after it is finished too, and bleeds real bad. I bought a couple blankets in the artisan shops on Flores. I tried to stick with primary colors which weren't tinted afterwards. I really hope they hold up. I'm keeping a close eye on them so that at the first sign of mold I can douse them with vinegar. 
I've seen lots of Guatemalan textiles for sale online and they are pretty expensive. I can see why, they are beautiful!
You can see the size of the looms they used and how they join strips together to make larger pieces. I love handmade! I still might add more stuffing, I used all I had on hand. Jimmy bought me 5 inch foam from the hardware store for the blue seat cushions. I am also really tempted to make some tassels/pompoms for the pillow behind Silas. Other parts of Guatemala use pompom tassels in their indigenous dress and I think it is beautiful. Anyway, I was just trying to get our front porch presentable for Thanksgiving, so I will keep messing with things as time goes by. 
Jimmy hung a planter he got for me in zone 1 back when Eden was born. 
He also took the boys' canoe that we had made for their nursery and filled it full of plants from our yard. 
It's cool because it had bugs in the wood, so I didn't want it inside anymore, but on the porch, it's perfect!

So this is what you would find if you ever came over! I'll post another picture in a couple months when all of our vines and plants take off. 
Thank you so much Friendship Baptist Church for your generous personal gift to our family! We have already thoroughly enjoyed our new front porch! 

Our porch has a metal roof, which sounds really relaxing when it rains. We debated on wether to buy the plain metal sheets or spend a little more for the orange metal that looks like the Terracotta tile. It's just a little area, so we figure we would go ahead and get the orange since it is what you see right when you enter our yard. Well... as you can see in this picture, due to the angle you CAN'T see any of the orange side from ANY part of our yard!  It is still better in that it does not rust like the normal sheet metal here, and it stays much cooler, but the only aesthetic addition is the orange reflective hue you can see on the overhang of our house!


  1. Those benches and cushions are both SO BEAUTIFUL! :)


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