Someday: Front Steps

by Josh on December 22, 2008 · 4 comments

in Ideas,Journal


My recent post about the trouble with the downspout and pavement at the front of the house reminded me of another topic I haven’t posted on yet: the front steps.

Although I don’t have a picture to prove it, I’m certain my house originally had street-facing front steps with brick wing walls on the sides.  This isn’t a big stretch to imagine– lots of bungalows have steps like that.  Currently, the steps point to the side and have a landing area outside the porch door.  The landing and steps are just  a big concrete block topped with an iron railing.  The hedge in front of the steps conceals their ugliness but also puts an unwelcoming  barrier between the street and the front door.

I’m convinced about how the front steps used to look because the original  rear steps (now covered by a deck and trellis) have brick wing walls.  Here are the old back steps when they were temporarily exposed during last summer’s trellis project:

Back Steps No Fence

At the front of the house, there is also some evidence of where the stone or concrete cap for one of the wing walls used to be:

Missing Front Steps 

On a walk through the neighborhood this summer, I noticed a very nice bungalow nearby that has had it’s front steps and wing walls replaced.  Although they did an excellent job matching the brick for the wing walls, you can see a slight difference in brick wear and mortar appearance at the intersection between the old and new work.

Brick Front Steps

I suspect these replacement steps may also have included an unoriginal stoop outisde the front door– the wing walls look a little taller than usual where they meet the house.  

Compared to my sideways, hedge-hidden steps, these restored  front steps with their wing walls and planters are a dramatic improvement in friendliness and historicity.  That’s the look I’d like to restore to my house someday.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacy December 23, 2008 at 10:32 pm

i tried getting a contractor to bid on replacing my front steps with my stucco wing wall (the other side is the sunroom/porch). The steps are wide like the photo above and the contractor said that in order to replace the concrete they’d have to place handrails on both sides against the wing wall and the sunporch to meet code. Ugh. It was too wide to just have handrails on the sunroom side. Of course these days it’s more likely I’d be mending my own concrete but still …


Josh December 29, 2008 at 11:49 am

Good point about the code issues, Stacy. Any new steps would certainly require a handrail or two.


Dawn December 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

yay! I’m not the only one who uses the term “stoop!” My Oregonian contractor laughs at me every time I say it. It must be a midwestern thang!


Josh December 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

You betcha, I say stoop. What “midwestern thang?”


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