Happy Place

I’m lucky to have a like-minded husband. When it comes to music, food, child rearing and politics—you know, the important stuff—Christian and I are on the same page. Sure, we may clash over how hoppy a beer should be or how late you can sleep in before your spouse starts unloading the dishwasher as loudly as possible. But in terms of big, meaningful things, we’re singing from the same hymnal.

Among our many points of agreement, Christian and I have always wanted a house with a big front porch. A place for lounging, reading, drinking tasty beverages and spying on the neighbors. Kansas City is full of such houses, but unfortunately, most are either wildly expensive or in less-than-savory neighborhoods. Nevertheless, Christian and I have spent years driving around, gazing at bungalows and vowing to own one someday.

Exhibit A: Our house circa 2011. Truly hideous.

Exhibit A: Our house circa 2011. Truly hideous.

In the meantime, we’ve set up a happy home in south Kansas City on a nice half-acre property. When we bought our house back in 2011, it was seeeeeeeriously lacking in curb appeal. Or really any appeal at all, other than a big backyard where our kids can run around like the wild animals they are. We’ve done major rehab on the inside: kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, you name it. But for the last five years, the outside has remained entirely blah. (See Exhibit A.)

Until…a wild idea entered our minds. A wild and crazy idea. Why not keep the house we like and add the porch we want? It would certainly be easier and cheaper than moving, right?

This past spring, we called up our favorite craftsman, Ben Glasco. I showed him a rough sketch and a handful of Pinterest pics, gave him a much-too-small budget, and asked him to put his mind to the task. Pretty soon thereafter, he showed up with a jackhammer to rip out our crusty old concrete stairs, and we were on our way! A few weeks (OK months) later, our house was transformed. We had the front porch we’d always wanted—a structure more excellent than we could have imagined.

This porch has become our happy place. It’s a perfect spot for early morning reading and coffee consumption. It’s a gathering place for old friends and chatty neighbors. It’s the ultimate vantage point from which to observe the crazy people who just moved in down the street. (Think “runaway U-Haul” and “KCPD paddy wagon.”) What more could we want?

Mr. Wilson, who lives across the way, keeps telling us that we’re too young to sit on our porch as much as we do. We’re not entitled to that much relaxation until we retire, he says. Perhaps he’s right, but I intend to break the rules. I plan to sit and swing and sip to my heart’s content. I intend to wake up early just to enjoy the first light of day in my happy place. This is fine living, folks. 

— Sarah