Every time Lisa Kristiansen and Steve Robinson looked out their French doors to nowhere, they knew they had work to do. An incomplete renovation had left two sets of French doors at the rear of the house. One set located on the main living level was initially planned to lead from the kitchen to a deck overlooking the pool. However, the deck was never built. The other set of doors, situated in the primary bedroom above, didn’t seem to have a clear purpose.

    Project Details

    Type: Residential exterior addition
    Year home was built:

    before the transformation


    the project plan

    Since the home already had two patios, the homeowners envisioned a two-story porch to enhance their outdoor living. A key feature of this addition would be a 3-season room on the second floor, extending their enjoyment of the outdoors for most of the year. This grand addition would create a scenic overlook of the pool area, surrounding landscape, and put those lovely French doors to good use.

    As they sought bids from contractors, one decision was crystal clear: they did not want a generic modern addition that wouldn't complement their classic country home. They envisioned an extension that seamlessly blended with the existing architecture, not a jarring contrast.

    winner of the 2022
    national NARi Coty Awards!

    We are honored that this stunning exterior renovation has been recognized for its exceptional design and craftsmanship, achieving the National CotY Awards in the $100,001 to $200,000 category presented by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for 2022.

    NARI 2022 CotY_Res Exterior $100-200k_National Winner_Color_

    the transformation


    In a stunning display of cohesive design, the seamless two-story porch addition integrates flawlessly with the home's interior.

    Descending a staircase, you arrive at the raised patio before stepping down another flight of stairs onto the pool deck and entrance to the porch addition's ground level.

    This creative approach masterfully unites what were once three separate spaces, transforming them into a single, flowing outdoor haven.



    A signature touch of Southern charm is the sky-blue ceiling that graces many porches. This cool color, often called "haint blue," adds a touch of whimsy and brightness to the outdoor space.

    “We would have never thought of this, but Kathy Gilday (one of the architectural designers on the team) brought it up, and we really love it,” Lisa (homeowner) remembers.

    keen eye for detail

    While skylights weren't part of the initial plan, the design-build team identified an opportunity to enhance natural light, particularly in the porch's dry bar area.

    This insightful collaboration resulted in the addition of skylights, which made a world of difference in the space's ambiance. 


    intentional design & functionality

    The stairway down from the porch is finished with wrought iron railings. We continued the iron railing around the perimeter of the raised patio, which had been unfinished until now.

    That theme reverberates in the “Juliet” balcony at the master bedroom level above, giving these "doors that lead nowhere" an intentional design.

    The owners were particularly happy about having the safety of that railing upstairs when their grandchildren visit.

    ground-level covered porch

    The area below the porch is finished with a polished slab floor, a thick cedar lattice ceiling, and a ceiling fan. This makes a convenient getaway for swimmers who want to catch a break from the sun.


    Overcoming Obstacles

    Unearthing Problems, Delivering Solutions

    During our initial site evaluation for the new porch foundation, we discovered a concerning issue – the existing house footings barely reached a foot deep, far below standard.

    We recommended underpinning to address this. Additionally, the existing raised patio showed signs of erosion, likely due to missing footings. To the owners' delight, we addressed both problems simultaneously by underpinning the patio alongside the home's foundation. This resolved a longstanding issue they suspected but weren't sure how to tackle.

    Fortified Connection

    We capitalized on the existing block foundation wall to ensure the utmost security of the porch connection to the house. We employed through-bolting, a robust method involving drilling through the 12-inch wall and utilizing 15-inch bolts for a complete connection. This approach surpasses standard anchoring methods, which have been known to fail in some second-story applications, causing decks or porches to pull away from the house. Rest assured, this porch is going nowhere.

    Maximizing natural light & preserving design integrity

    Achieving an eight-foot clearance for the main beams on the two-story porch addition was crucial to maximizing natural light. However, the upper porch presented a unique challenge: maintaining an ideal roof pitch while ensuring the eight-foot interior height. Our solution involved a custom copper box that recessed the roof around a second-floor laundry window, preserving both light flow and architectural integrity.

    The original design for the stairway from the second-story porch encountered a hurdle—a bathroom window directly in the path of the planned staircase landing. We shifted the landing position twelve inches further from the house to ensure the bathroom received the most natural light. This clever solution created a light well, allowing the landing to integrate seamlessly without blocking the window to the bathroom

    The final result

    Gone are the days of the Kristiansen/Robinson's French doors leading to a dead end. As homeowner Lisa says, "I can enjoy this new porch all the time! We've got the woods, the pool in the backyard, a golf course, and a walking/cycling path all nearby. And the porch is a great vantage point to take it all in." This stunning addition has transformed the previously underutilized space into a private oasis with captivating views.

    Successful renovations hinge on feeling heard and exceeding expectations. A design-build firm that prioritizes communication fosters this outcome. You'll be involved in the entire process, from brainstorming dream concepts to final construction decisions. This collaborative approach ensures the best choices are made at every step. Take the Kristiansen/Robinson porch, for example. Gone are the days of French doors leading to nowhere. Now, thanks to Kevin Gilday's thoughtful consideration of aesthetics and the surrounding landscape, they have a space to enjoy for years to come. This spirit of collaboration, with active listening and clear communication between homeowners, designers, and carpenters, permeated the entire project, ensuring the final porch perfectly matched the homeowner's vision.

    This stunning exterior addition project won the 2022 National/Regional CotY Award for residential exterior.

    after-Pro Awards Entry 2021-1-1
    after-Pro Awards Entry 2021-1-1
    NARI 2020 Awards_Res Exterior Over $200k_National Winner_Color

    Home renovation discovery session

    Our home renovation discovery sessions are organized around you: your needs, style preferences, and desire to make the home you have the best it can be.

    You can expect our staff to ask many questions, listen, and provide you with actionable information. We’ll help you prioritize, get a clear sense of the project scope, and help you gain a sense of your budget. Everything you need to know to take the next step in your home renovation.