Porches Have Skirts, and People Hate Lattice

“I hate lattice.” My husband says to me.

“Wait, what? Is that a thing? Do people even have feelings about lattice?”

Apparently, yes. And he hates it.

There are some things that my husband hates that I get – he hates broccoli. I, however, love broccoli so much. But I GET why he hates it. It’s a pretty distinct flavor. When I found out he hated watermelon, though, that was a doozy. WHO HATES WATERMELON? There is absolutely nothing offensive about watermelon – it’s actually incredibly delightful. To this day, I don’t understand this.

“The lattice, under the porch. I hate it. Do something else.”

2 Porch Blog01

Ummm…. OK. Lattice is what people do. Are there other things? I don’t even know what you call that part under the porch.

After googling many, probably ridiculous, things, I learned it’s called a “Porch Skirt.” Since I’m quite a fan of skirts and fashion, this seemed a good thing.

Doug lets me pretty much do whatever I want. He trusts me, and knows that he will love whatever I design. So, he never really offers an opinion on anything aesthetic. So, if he offers an opinion on something like this, and uses the word “hate,” I really don’t have a choice but to figure something else out.


I started to research Victorian porch skirts, and stumbled onto this fantastic and VERY educational page:  http://www.oldhouseguy.com/porches/

On it, I found this, from a 1903 Builders’ Catalog, just one year after our house was built :

2 Porch Blog02

I fell in love immediately, especially since I keep wanting to enhance the circles that are EVERYWHERE in this house.


I let the idea simmer, and decided I wanted to do a simple twist. I drew it out, and took it to Doug, and asked if he could build it.

2 Porch Blog03

He loved it, and said that it would take forever, but it was worth it.

The old lattice was rotted, and had to be ripped out, which exposed the wonderment of the area under the porch.

2 Porch Blog05 2 Porch Blog06

We sent out a plea to our friends for another set of hands, and Edgar and Veronica once again answered the call. Which is good, because Veronica was mad that we hadn’t weeded, and Edgar liked the puzzle of the math of the circles. Win for everyone (except the weeds).

Step one : cut the boards to length.

2 Porch Blog04 2 Porch Blog07 2 Porch Blog09

Step two : decide where the circles are going to be.

2 Porch Blog08 2 Porch Blog10

Step three : Make sure I approve. Like V, I give it a thumbs up.

2 Porch Blog11

Next, the hole saw blades went onto the drill press, and Doug and Edgar set up a fence to do each hole systematically. This took a long time, but it was a perfect plan.

2 Porch Blog12 2 Porch Blog13

I didn’t let them have all the fun, but they did almost all of the holes.

2 Porch Blog14

We drilled A LOT of holes. For A LOT of boards.

2 Porch Blog15 2 Porch Blog16 2 Porch Blog17

We put up the first pair of boards, and used a 1/2 inch piece of wood as a spacer in between each board.

2 Porch Blog18 2 Porch Blog19

Success! I was really, really pleased with how it all came out. Next up with the porch skirt is building the frames to go in front!

2 Porch Blog21 2 Porch Blog22

Also, since cutting the holes for hours and hours wasn’t really a four-person job at all times, Veronica and I decided to take down the archway, and paint the fence. WHAT a difference this small project made!

2 Porch Blog24

I was really not sure about losing it, but once it was gone, it just opened up the focus on the house so much more! And since we knew it was added in the 90’s, it wasn’t a heart-breaking loss.

2 Porch Blog25

The fence, if you remember was a reddish / brown color, and a seafoam green. I just wanted it to go black, like basic ironwork. I thought this decision would made the fence sort of fade into the distance, but it actually made it stand out – in a very good way.

2 Porch Blog26

We used large plastic sheeting to protect the garden and the sidewalk, and sprayed away! Since there was some rust, we used a wire brush to scrape away anything that was loose, and chose a Rustoleum paint.

2 Porch Blog27 2 Porch Blog28 2 Porch Blog29

Good decision, right?

2 Porch Blog30 2 Porch Blog31

It’s fun to see a before and after without actually using two pictures!

2 Porch Blog33

Sometimes, it’s the simplest of projects that makes all the difference!

2 Porch Blog34 2 Porch Blog35 2 Porch Blog36


  1. Genius on the skirt, extreme labor involved, and color of the fence. I really like the archway,maybe you could do something with it in your backyard. But can I say that your flower beds need abundance! Plant more than you need and then some. Your flowers look lonely……

    1. Hi Judy! Thank you so much – and I totally agree! The front garden we started from scratch, and we were purposeful to plant sparsely for year one. Since we were re-building the porch, we wanted to have enough room for access, and also not invite too much trampling of the new plants as materials were brought in, and the building process happened Many of the things we planted this year should reseed themselves and become fuller, and we are planning to plant a lot of bulbs in the fall. I’m excited to see what it looks like next spring!

  2. Hi, Amy! Alisa here. It’s funny that you went through the same process as we did looking for the right term and pattern for porch skirting. In fact, Zach said I should send you the link to that awesome article on old porches. Glad you found it. Sadly, no circles for our skirting since it’s not going to work with our house but I think we settled on diamonds/squares. Are you guys coming to Ann Arbor soon? We would love to have you!

    1. Hello, lovely! That’s so funny about the parallels! (And I LOVE YOUR ROOF!). Diamonds and squares are going to looks so great on your house. We REALLY want to come and visit, and I hope it’s soon. I told Zach weekends are tough until we get the rental house finished – but hopefully coming to see you will push us even faster. We miss you both, and would love to be back in Ann Arbor for a few days. It’s been too long.

      1. Amy, I wish you good luck finishing and renting out the cottage. I know there isn’t enough time for everything but please know that you are very welcome here any time. The Ann Arbor Art Fair will be going from July 16 to July 19 this year. If you can’t make it to the fair, there is always plenty of things to do in the area any time of the year.
        Your porch looks spectacular and I can’t wait to see the final look!

  3. I, too, am not fan of lattice. Although, I much prefer lattice whose lath runs perpendicular and parallel to the ground (a custom job I’m sure) instead of the diagonal stuff that one normally sees. Your skirt is a one-of-a-kind. Love it. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  4. Great work! It’s another seemingly-small detail that makes a tremendous difference in the overall architectural composition. I see so many poor lattice installations that just make me cringe. I’m surprised at how many people don’t even bother to build a frame, and just slap it up with the raw edges showing. It looks horrible!

    Our house (1912 Foursquare) had small-opening vertical lattice when originally built (I have a photo), which I’ll be replicating when I restore the porch. For those interested, vertical lattice is currently available, but to get appropriate proportions, you may have to make it yourself anyway.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: