My Naked House: Step -1

Before we could put a new screened porch on the back of our house, we had to remove the narrow, ugly porch that was already there, and as much as I wanted these beautiful renovations, this was the step that terrified me most. It was so final. Once they start ripping your house away, there’s no going back!

Now that our septic tank was in the right place, our contractor texted me: “Thursday will be demo day.” I had visions of Chip, from Fixer Upper, yelling “Demo Day!!” About halfway through Thursday, David texted me that he had left home for an appointment, and that the guys had arrived and were removing the shingles from the porch roof. Removing the shingles? We weren’t keeping the roof, so why were they being so careful with the shingles? Just remove the whole roof!


By the time I got home, it was raining, and I could see that we still had a porch floor and roof trusses. I began to worry aloud that our contractor didn’t understand the project and was going to try to use our old roof for the new project. My husband assured me that Greg knew what he was doing, and that he was being careful to remove everything by hand in order to keep our house in good shape. “It’s not like HGTV, hon, where they come in with a backhoe and rip the porch off the house.”

Oh. I thought it was.

Anyhow, the porch railings and the plywood over the trusses were gone, so when I walked out to take this picture above, raindrops were falling on my head. It took me a minute to figure that out, since I had walked out onto that porch a thousand times, and I had never been rained on before. Habits are stronger than the evidence before us, I guess.

It was still raining on Friday, so we lived with half a porch for a few days. When I came home from work the following week, there were two guys working in the back yard, and no porch! At all! They were laughing as I came into the back yard with my hand over my mouth, saying, “Oh, my gosh!” over and over, staring at my naked house.


Then I had to ask the question I’d been dreading ever since I had thought about a renovation: “Is everything alright underneath?” At first, they didn’t know what I meant, probably because they don’t watch enough renovation shows on TV. For every hour of HGTV shows like Love It or List It or Property Brothers or Fixer Upper, there are several disasters. Asbestos ceilings, termite infestations, carpenter bees, drain lines that drain under the house, black mold, or electrical systems that are so outdated it’s a wonder the house hasn’t already collapsed in a raging inferno. My realtor husband goes nuts at these plot twists, yelling, “There is no way they would have bought that house without an inspection!” I was ready for the worst.

But no. Everything was fine. Nothing infested except for a wasp’s nest that they had already taken care of. No mold, no moisture, nothing. I even asked whether birds wouldn’t fly into my house through the open bit of roof that they had had to leave over the kitchen bay window, but they said no, of course not. There was a wall behind it. I felt as if a great weight had been lifted. I had dreaded the unknown and had taken a bright flashlight to it, but there were no monsters.

Alrighty then, ready to move on.

So now, my house is naked in the back. I’ve locked the back door from the inside and hidden the key, since it’s a long drop! Good thing, as both of us have walked purposefully to the door in the living room, only to stop at the last minute and say, “Oh!” Habits, again.  I am so eager to see something in the back of my house again! But we have to go down before we go up.

Next step: Footers!

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