Has To Get Worse Before It Gets Better

That woman you see, the one walking around muttering and looking distracted…yeah, that’s me. I know it has to get worse before it gets better but I still don’t especially like it.

The porch that normally looks like this…

Screened Porch with Sheer Curtains and White Wicker Furniture


…currently looks like this. I just keep reminding myself, chaos is a sign progress is being made. The porch has weathered well for the past six years despite being surrounded by so many trees and going through the torrential downpours we’ve had in recent years. But it’s time for a freshening-up.

The sheers are down and in the wash, the screens have been removed and the furniture is all clustered together in the center of the porch.

Screened-in Porch Prepared For Painting_wm


The speakers above the doors on both sides have also been removed, too. The company I’m using for the pressure washing and painting is taking such great care, very impressed so far.

Screened Porch Prepared For Pressure Washing & Painting_wm


The exterior of the house and the outside part of the porch and decks have been pressure washed. Either today or tomorrow, they will be hand-washing the inside walls of the porch with a mild bleach solution. Even though the flooring on the porch is “porch flooring” they didn’t feel comfortable using their big pressure washer inside which would create a tremendous amount of water on the floor. Again, so impressed with the care they are taking.

Screened Porch Prepared For Painting_wm


The fabric covers over the swing chains were partially covered yesterday for the exterior washing. I think they will be fully covered before the actually painting inside begins.

Swing Covers Covered In Plastic_wm


Just went down to grab a quick photo and noticed the swing is now fully covered.

Swing covered for Painting


Fans, too. It’s quite a production to paint a porch, isn’t it?

Fans Covered For Painting


One thing I’m having done while the guys are here is I’m having these end/side pieces removed from the pergola. See how they are starting to pull away. One has already fallen off. The guys who built my pergola had never built one before and they thought these decorative end pieces would look great there.



They have always looked a little odd sticking out on the right side of the pergola, pretending to be the ends of cross pieces that didn’t exist. Since one has fallen off of its own accord and the others are fast headed that way, they are all being removed.

Screened in Porch with Two Decks


Remember the woodpecker damage to the chimney shared in a recent post?

Woodpecker Damage to Chimney



They have started removing the corner pieces and the four corners are being replaced with Hardieplank which is the kind of siding on the rest of the chimney. More signs of worse before it gets better. (Progress, progress, progress, she mutters.)

Chimney Corner Pieces Being Replaced with Hardieplank


Recognize those copper things on the table? Those are the solar post lights, all removed for the work that’s being done.

Solar Post Caps Removed For Pressure Washing of Deck_wm


I never did a follow-up post on how those have worked out.Let the record show, I like ’em!

Solar Cap Light for Deck Posts


I love seeing them aglow at night. The only ones I’ve had problems with are the ones you see all the way over there under the end of the pergola near the bird feeders. The reason I’ve had issues with those is because the raccoons who sometimes visit at night, track all through my planters getting to the bird feeders. In the process they also track  stuff onto the lights, at least I think that’s how they get so dirty. The dirt blocks the sunlight getting to the sensors so they don’t come on a night now like they once did.

Also, the bird poop I find on them isn’t helping much. The others have done fine. The copper finish doesn’t weather that great under the trees and bird poop. Wish I could find the exact same solar lanterns but in an industrial, heavy-duty, bird-poop resistant finish. HA! If you come across something like that, let me know.

You’ll find more information about the solar post lanterns in this previous post: Solar Post Caps For The Decks

Solar Deck Lights


Remember the tree-form Tardiva Hydrangeas I purchased recently for the deck?

Tree Form Tardiva Hydrangea


They are just beginning to bloom! Ironic to see their beauty amidst all the craziness!

Tree Form Tardiva Hydrangea_wm


I’ll share a better picture of the Tardiva Hydrangeas when they are further along.

So got any chaos, progress and getting worse-before-it-gets-better, going on at your house?

Tardiva Hydrangea Blooming_wm

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  1. Peggy Thal says

    Nice start already! The prep work takes so much time. Relax have a cup of tea. Looks like you have some great workmen. I USED to believe it was better to do it myself, but have changed my mind. People who do this everyday can can make the project go so much quicker. Plus saves a lot of muscle aches and aspirin. Good luck– it will all be so beautiful again but like new.

  2. Hi…….OH my..I am such a procrastinator..that the only good thing about getting started..is that makes me HAVE to finish..when it’s me..myself & I..sometimes it’s hard to get some projects going..guess the bright side is..it will be maybe 6 yrs before you go through it again..it is a Beautiful porch and veranda..nothing like a porch on a Beautiful cool day or a nice quite..rain day…

    • I hope so…can live with every six years! πŸ™‚ lol I know what you mean about getting started just so it forces you to finish it…best not to think too far ahead sometimes and just get started…sometimes that’s the hardest part.

  3. It looks like a lot of chaos but just close your eyes and picture the finish. Your porch is going to be nice, new and ever so dreamy! I sure wish it were mine! God bless you honey and hang in there!

  4. Susan,
    My screened in porch is a lot like yours. A few weeks ago (I had to wait for the yellow pollen to stop) I washed the floor, walls, and all the furniture and accessories. It was a day and a half job, but boy when it was done, it is such a pleasure sitting out there. You just want to sit and look around and enjoy all the clean!
    I also got my husband to help with our front porch last weekend. We power washed it and the siding. I washed down the wicker. What a job! We were worn out. Our sidewalk and wrap around porch are concrete and you would not believe how clean it looks! At least I can cross those chores of my list! It will be nice when your job is all done. A real sense of accomplishment!


  5. Linda Page says

    Susan, I feel your pain. I feel like I live in a war zone. I spent 2 hours last night scrubbing the wood floor with 00 steel wool to get off the stuck on padding and stain. The hall is crammed with a dresser and chest of drawers so we have to squeeze by. But this chaos isn’t forever and we both will love our finished projects! Grab a glass of wine and look through your New Orleans/River Road pictures and relax. Sounds like you are in good hands.

    • You are in the thick of it right now, reminds me of when I was creating my home office. A glass of wine and a good book sounds like a great prescription for a Friday night, Linda. You do the same this evening! πŸ™‚

  6. Wow, they really are being careful and looks like they are going to do a great job. I love, love, love your porch.

  7. I am not one for the ‘mess of it all’. I know…. in order to have perfection , you must have chaos. It drives me batty!!! But I know the end result will be stupendous! Next year, this will be me. We are scheduling work on our exterior … sigh. Might book a cruise while the work is being done πŸ™‚
    Hang in…
    Hugs, Gee

  8. Last week must have been on everyone’s calendar as power washing week. I personally cranked up my huge 2700 psi power washer and cleaned my brick patios, then decided to clean my swing and gazebo and then my cleaned my grandchildren’s swings and pergola. Needless to say, I rested a day before repainting the swings. Looking good around here, finally!!!

  9. Christy Keyton says

    Our HUGE screened porch that runs across the back of our house needs rescreening, but the chaos of having the entire interior of our house repainted earlier this year has me waiting. I don’t think I can do two major projects in one year…except that we just had a plan drawn to revamp our backyard including putting in a kitchen garden. I reminded myself today that there will ALWAYS be something that needs doing!

    • It’s never ending, isn’t it? Seems like as soon as one thing is done, something else needs replacing or painting or something. The joys of home ownership. πŸ™‚

  10. Donnamae says

    Just think how wonderful it’s all going to be when it’s completed! Then you’ll be humming instead of muttering! Yesterday I saw some tree hydrangeas that were Wisconsin hardy at Home Depot….don’t remember the Tardina name on them….but they looked like a smaller version of yours. Very pretty. Enjoy your day…it’ll be gorgeous very soon! πŸ˜‰

  11. Yes…a kitchen remodel, so I feel your pain. Like you I know it will be worth it in the end.
    Love your solar lights…

  12. I’ve had chaos reining at my house since February starting with a new metal roof, then solar panels, then new insulated windows. Just finished painting the house including the brick stripes and had my front yard relandscaped and I love it. Now to just get the Endless Pool finished so I can make the back deck pretty and clean everything off my back porch that’s being stored there. Then I want to put a little front seating area in the front. I’m getting tired of the chaos but the end result is so worth it!

  13. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA says

    I’m very impressed with the care taken too. Susan, I am fascinated by your mentioning that the SCREENS WERE REMOVED for cleaning. I’ve never heard of removable screening on screened porches. Can you tell me more — such as, how is it affixed and how is it removed?
    Thank you and warm wishes, Marilyn

  14. It is going to be so beautiful. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  15. I know what you mean Susan..the chaos would make me crazy. But when all the cleanups & repairs are finished everything will be fresh & even more amazing! Hang in there!!

  16. My painter is asleep today. He bought the paint for our two porches and was going to get right on it. I was so excited. He woke up with bad sinus and allergies. But at least he got the paint so eventually we can get it done!

  17. Bertie DeWane says

    Your post today alm0st made me laugh out loud (but I’m at the office so I couldn’t). Wish I had a picture I could post with this comment to show you MY version of “worse before it gets better” because I would win, hands down!!! On March 15th, my husband and I moved out of our 800 sq. ft. home to have 800 sq. ft. added and the original house totally renovated. Today is July 11th and we’re still not back home yet. We lived 3 months in one room at Extended Stay America and are now living with our daughter. Hopefully, we’ll be back home by Labor Day but if someone had told me in March that it would take that long, I wouldn’t have believed them. I love your porch!!!!

  18. Selma Kessler says

    Susan, breathe in…breathe out. There’s just no way to avoid disruption when going through home improvements. We just had our Great 80’s oak kitchen cabinets painted and that involved clearing out Every. Single. Cabinet. And drawer. And the laundry room cabinets. And furniture. And the microwave, dishwasher and oven all came out because they were being replaced, so we lived with the kitchen table in the great room with the microwave sitting on top of it. It was inconvenient, but the result was so worth it, plus it gave us the opportunity to clear out things we really just don’t use, so everything is really orderly now! Win-win! You’ll LOVE it when your project is done and we’ll all get to see more fabulous Porch Posts! πŸ™‚

  19. You are right…the chaos is a sure sign of progress! The most difficult thing is GETTING STARTED. Now see what you have done…I am reminded of the huge list of similar chores I so need to get STARTED with! Thanks! [No, really-thanks]

  20. Today we both wish we could be out on the porch. In a couple of days you will be, but since I have no outdoor spaces, I will still be wishing. Does that help you? Any? πŸ™‚

  21. Pat Cobb says

    When all is said and done it will be worth it. I love your home. Keep us updated. I enjoy everything you do.

  22. Girl, I feel your pain. And prepping is absolutely my least favorite thing to do. Last year we tore out the bar that separated our dining room from the kitchen, tore out the kitchen cabinets, removed 5 layers of wallpaper, reinstalled refinished cabinets, added an island topped with recycled granite and put up wallpaper that looks like beadboard, no kidding it really, really does. There are still some minor things that need touching up, but I have not been able to do them.

    Sometime between that and falling twice around Thanksgiving, I injured two discs in my back. Today I went and had an epidural done. I had been misdiagnosed as having hip bursitis and the treatments weren’t working, duh. I sent my kids and husband out to a restaurant for Christmas dinner (I HATED THAT!) and have been surviving on pain pills and muscle relaxers. I’m praying that this allows me to get better and continue with fixing up our house. The hubs pulled up the cheesy carpet outta the living room and put down Pergo laminate, which amazingly looks very much similar to the heart pine paneling that is original to the house, which is not quite antique, but definitely ‘vintage’. The coffee table and side table are out in the barn, waiting for me to refinish them. ACK! I hate all the time I have lost to this physical limitation! I know I’m gonna have to go slow and take it easy, and that’s hard for someone who is all “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” This is the last remodel we’ll probably do (ourselves anyway)and I want to do it right.

  23. Susan, it will all be worth it. Over the years, have been in many renos and building houses. Have made tea on camping stoves, cleaned a million floors only to be dirtied the next work day, but the final finish is worth while.
    You seem to have a good crew there, I look forward to sitting on your nice clean porch with you!!!

  24. Oh, wow, Susan, it looks like you’ve got yourself some GREAT workers. Put those guys on speed dial if the rest of your job goes so well! I would’ve never bet they’d take so much care in the prep work. When we refinished our floors 3 yrs ago, I spent over 40 hrs and more than $100 in tape and plastic, wrapping things myself. It’s worth every penny and dollar you’re spending, seeing what a good job they’re doing. It’s gonna be fabulous!

  25. Just relax and have a cup of tea and think about how nice and fresh it will all be when done!!! Looks like they are doing a top notch job, and thank your lucky stars you don’t have to do it yourself…..that’s heavy duty work!!
    I’m having a work free summer this year after last year’s major overhauls. Just trying to keep up with the flower beds and general maintenance. And it is a relief to me……getting much too old for major DIY events!!!

  26. Thank you for showing these pics. As one who’s house more often looks like your ‘chaos’, it’s comforting to see.

  27. I know the prep work takes time but in the long run nothing is ruined. Everything will look so good and you will be happy. Sounds like this company does a great job. Just think how beautiful everything will be when they finish.

  28. Kathy B. says

    Chaos? All my beloved furniture just went into climate controlled storage for the next who knows how long! An opportunity came up to sell our main home and we could not pass it up……we have a lake home that we will be living in. This has been incredibly stressful. I almost can’t believe we have actually done this. Never, EVER had to put my things in storage before. Chaos and craziness abounds!!!

  29. Susan,
    What an amazingly brave woman you are, dear friend!!!
    I find with every birthday, taking on a project of any size is so~o~o unnerving!!!
    But, yes. . .we have estimates to replace the original ceramic tile in the Entry Hall
    and replace it with new, fresh, Made In Italy ceramic floor tiles with mosiac inlay.
    Nervous and filled with anticipation!!!
    “Mr. Ed” & I have been looking, talking and considering putting a new porch
    on our 1970’s Ranch Style Home. It had a concrete stoop when we moved here.
    We covered that with a deck and railings, but time has taken its toll and it’s
    time for something fresh. . .something more classic to our entrance.
    Then, there’s the mailbox. . .it never ends, does it???
    I’ve been taking several “before” photos and will take progress and “after’s” ,also!!!
    Hang in there. . .it’s going to look marvelous, darling!!!

  30. Is the paint company near the Atlanta area? They are doing a great job with the prep.
    It will be so worth it when they are finished.

  31. Susan, can relate but it will be so worth it in the long run as your deck is even going to look more amazing with a fresh new coat of paint. Prepping IMHO is most important and it appears it is being done correctly. Am currently stripping wallpaper throughout my home and as you know the prepping definitely is the most painstaking step of the whole process. ☺ i.e: Strip, wash down, repair, sand, wipe down, two coats of primer …. then hallelujah finally ‘the paint’! As for exterior work regardless that ‘the spirit is willing; the body just isn’t’ so I just let the professionals do it. ☺ -Brenda-

  32. P.S: Have you ever considered going with a ‘haint blue’ ceiling for the porch? -Brenda-

  33. Susan, yours is one of my FAVORITE blogs — I follow faithfully as I just your style and flair.
    Been wanting to ask — where did you purchase the chain covers for your swing ??

  34. In one shot of your porch I noticed the pretty bottle tree…..nice shape and unusual with the gazing globe on the top. Can you tell me where you found it? Wondering if it’s still available….I really like it. Good luck on your clean up…..it will be wonderful!

    • Thanks, Linda! The bottle tree came from Ballard Designs Outlet in Atlanta several years ago. I don’t know if they have ever gotten those in again since I rarely make it down there. Hope you can locate one, though.

  35. Just think of how fresh and new it’s going to look when it’s done. Looking forward to it and thanks for taking us along for the ride.

  36. Melissa Blakely says

    Hi Susan,
    I love your screened porch! And your website – it is amazing πŸ™‚ My husband and I are thinking about building our dream screened porch (modeled after yours) and I was wondering (sorry if you’ve already mentioned this) about the maintenance involved with your design/materials.. You are obviously painting/pressure washing now, but is this the first time in 6 years? How easy are your (beautiful) floors to clean? Do you have any tips for pollen season? Are you glad you painted everything white? Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I’ve had the house and porch and decks pressure washed 2-3 times over the years, mainly because all the trees in the backyard make a mess of the decks but this is the first time I decided to go ahead and freshen the decks and house up with a new coat of paint. If you don’t have trees hanging over your decks/porch and constant rain like we’ve been having the last couple of years, it will stay clean longer. I just vacuum the flooring which is porch flooring and damp mop it once in a blue moon, mostly that happens when pollen season is over and I damp mop to get rid of the thick pollen. The rest of the time a quick sweep or vacuum is all it needs…and I do that maybe once every 4-6 weeks…takes about 5-10 min to sweep or vacuum. Yes, I love the white. I may one day paint the deck rails brown just because they stain so badly from the trees but I love the white deck rails and white porch. You’ll find a lot more info about the porch here under the FAQ section: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/faq/

  37. What color and brand of paint did you use on the porch and rails? And has it held up well? I cant decide bt solid stain or exterior latex

    • The painters used the same paint that they painted the house with which is Sherwin Williams Duration. The house has never been repainted and that was 10 years ago, so it has held up well. I had the porch refreshed a few years back. The white part of the rails is SW Duration and the brown deck rains is their Lodge Brown stain that’s designed for decks.

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