Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

1893 Victorian: On the Porch

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

So I'm back to the land of the living but this cold is still hanging around like that unwanted house guest that just won't leave. Still coughing like crazy and tired off and on - it's not a great combination with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday.  In fact, I didn't realize that yesterday was my boss's last day so I totally didn't get his Christmas card to him before he left!  Ugh...I am so late with everything this year.  I hope you guys are doing better than I am.
I want to thank Mary Ann over at Calamity Acres for reminding me that I need to get some more pictures on here of our 1893 Victorian project.  My last post was a before and after of the outside and, since we have to cross the front porch to go inside, I thought I would start with some pictures of the porch project.
When we bought the house, the porch was in a terrible state.  From our own porch across the street, we'd watched with despair as it deteriorated for over 10 years.  Rather than repair the rotting floor boards, the owner had just put thin plywood over it.  That just served to trap leaves, water and snow on the boards, making the rot even worse. 

Watch your step!
In that picture above, the stairs were held on with only one lonely nail (and maybe alot of tradition!)  We were both surprised that someone didn't get seriously hurt while the owner was moving out.

The porch railing wasn't original and had been rebuilt at some point.  It was built too low to the porch floor and too simple for the Victorian house, but it did serve it's purpose.  At least it did while it was still attached and not rotten.  I grabbed the railing on the right and tugged and it came off in my hands.  All of it was rotten from water rot - all those leaves had gotten stuck under the railing and around the columns and, with no gutter on the porch, they were continually wet.

See that column in the above picture?  It's one of six holding up the porch roof.  There's supposed to be 3 inches of square base under it.  It's just.....gone.  Rotted away into non-existence.  Our fear was that we were going to find a termite colony somewhere in this mess, but we were fortunate.  The only critters we found were some well-fed carpenter ants in the base of this column.  To get rid of their tunnels and cut away the rot, we had to cut off almost 2 feet of the bottom of this porch column and replace it.  Luckily, we were able to find someone that could turn a 10" round out of solid wood.  Columns today are hollow!


The porch was sitting on a series of brick piers that were sitting on the ground with no footings underneath them.  Because of the column rot and piers that were sinking or falling over, the porch roof was taking a toll.  If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see where the porch was separating from the wall of the house.  We would have to figure out a creative way to pull it back in after we fixed the structural issues.
Now you've seen how bad the damage was when we started.  I couldn't wait to fix this beautiful wrap-around porch and we started pretty much right away after we bought the house.  Since this is rather pic heavy, I'm going to show you all the fun we went through during the rebuild process in my next post.
See you soon!


  1. It was in pretty bad shape! Can't wait to see the "fun" during the rebuilding process :)

  2. Thank you, thank you! You truly did save her, didn't you!

  3. Wow! I had been checking the website daily and somehow missed this post. I had no idea of how bad that front porch had been...but having seen it firsthand (can't wait to hang a swing and sit there on a warm spring evening) I can attest that it is BEAUTIFUL now!


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