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Planning a Porch Rehabilitation Project

Begin with the end in mind…

That’s what the productivity gurus tell us. While sometimes it’s okay to get on your bike and just start riding, if we actually want to get to a specific destination in a certain amount of time, it really helps to have a roadmap. Then, when obstacles and worthwhile detour opportunities inevitably present themselves along the way, we can navigate them with confidence. Instead of stress, we get to have fun.

Is a porch rehabilitation project anyone else’s idea of “fun”? Yes, I thought so!

The silver lining of the skilled trades shortage is that it’s hard to rush into construction projects. In order to get on the waiting list for the best contractors, it’s critical to have a solid plan that provides detailed information about project goals, priorities and scope, giving everyone clarity on budget, timeline and who else might need to be on the team.

When a homeowner asks me to help them with a historic rehabilitation project – whether it’s a whole house or a special feature like a front porch – I create a plan, starting with a site visit, documentation, research, conceptual strategy, design development and then a “final” scheme and budget (see Our Services).

Below are some screen shots from a plan I put together for a relatively straightforward project to make sure the preservation carpenter and I were on the same page.


A plan doesn’t need to be complicated. It needs to be thoughtful and clear. In some cases, it has to get more into the weeds of code and permitting issues, material specifications and phasing, for example. There’s lots of great advice out there – the key is thinking it through, writing it down, and sharing it with your team before anyone picks up a hammer!

 KATE WOOD grew up criss-crossing the country in the family’s Volkswagen Bus, visiting house museums, battlefields, Main Streets, and national parks. Today, she is an award-winning preservationist, real estate broker and principal of the full-service historic rehabilitation consulting firm, Worth Preserving. Kate believes in the essential value of old-building stewardship to sustain community character. For her, each property is a cause and each client a fellow advocate. She specializes in matching people with properties, skilled contractors, historic tax credits and other benefits to support top-tier rehabilitation projects. For advice and solutions to help unlock the potential of your old house join My Newsletter.