What style of decorative trim do you want?
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Even more than the basic structure, the Posts (both Porch and Newel), Balustrade (Rails & Balusters), Decorative Post Top Items, and Porch Eave Decorations will determine the style, balance, and visual effectiveness of your porch. It's important these four categories of decorative trim work together, as you want your finished porch to make a complete "statement."
A Moderate Approach
Decorative items can cover quite a range, from simple and sparse to
intricate and plentiful. A moderate approach, somewhere between the
two ends of this scale, is typically the most appropriate. Consider
for a moment the overall style of the home this porch will belong to.
If a three story Queen Anne Victorian, with high roof lines, soaring
gables, and perhaps even a circular tower is involved, your
decorative items will appear inadequate unless they are both intricate in detail and quite abundant! Conversely, a very modest home, with simple lines and shallow roof, may seem overdone if its porch appears to have been transplanted from one of the High Victorians described above.
However, most homes fall between these two extremes. If your home is
in this middle area, your decorating is actually easier, because you
can properly decorate your porch within a broad range, from fairly
minimal to rather involved. Which degree (and style) of decoration
you choose under such circumstances depends upon the direction in
which you may wish to change your home's overall style.
Don't Be Too Conservative
Nevertheless, it has been our observation over the years that, when
choosing decorative items for one's home, the tendency is to be too
conservative! More often than not, one's concern for overdoing it
limits the truly effective use of decorative trim items. Obviously,
it is possible to overdo it, but all too often we see people
reordering more decoration because they were not quite satisfied with
the initial results. Remember, all items will seem much smaller
when viewed from the distance of the street. And, if properly
selected and installed, the various decorative items will blend
together into one whole.
We will later cover specific ways you can test for these matters
before you order, but the point we are trying to stress here is that
often just a little more (or larger) trim could make a big difference
in the overall impact. Don't be afraid to trust your own decorating
judgement. After all, it is your home!
As you will discover, we are very eager to maintain the cost
effectiveness of your Porch Decorations. We will never advise additional (or more expensive) items unless we sincerely believe they will add more to the value of your home than what they cost. We firmly believe the purchase of any decorative porch trim can and should be viewed as an investment. (Although admittedly, one of the few investments that can also be enjoyed for its non-monetary aspects.)
Of course, budget constraints are often a very real factor. We feel
strongly, however, that it is better to do part of the project well,
and come back later when the budget allows, rather than to spread the
pocketbook too thin, and have the entire project displease you! For
example, we would favor a structurally sound porch with no decoration
at first, rather than a poorly constructed porch that may require a
redo at a later date.
Ways to Stretch Your Dollars
There are many ways to make the initial budget go farther:
A. Build your porch to the depth you want, but limit its length. Add more length later.
B. Purchase the correctly sized Posts, and in adequate
quantity, but wait until later to add the decorative items. It's very
important, of course, to determine initially that your Posts will
accommodate this later decoration. Please see the Porch Post section for more details.
C. Install Balustrade now if required for safety considerations, but wait until later to add the remaining decorations.
D. If you want Spandrels with Brackets beneath, but the
budget is tight, install only the Brackets (using easily
removable screws). If you allow room now for the Spandrels to be
added, it will be a simple matter to later remove the Brackets,
install the Spandrels, and then reinstall the Brackets below the
E. In our discussion of Porch Eave Decorations we strongly recommend the use of Post Face Brackets and Porch Eave Brackets (Repeating Cornice Brackets) to provide an important third dimension for your porch ... but these are easily added later IF you have planned for them in advance.
In other words, begin with a plan, know from the start
that your design will properly accommodate the various elements you
ultimately want, then install the decorative items in stages. In fact, this approach will give you something to look forward to and can answer the question of what to give each other for Christmas,
Birthdays, Anniversaries, and surprises!
We are available by phone or email for free personalized consultation.
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