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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Tuesday May 21st 2024


Kudos Homes and Gardens

By Harvey Winje

The Alley occasionally features aproject in the Community that has accomplished an improvement project that adds to the view on the street, is pleasing to the occupants, and deserves special attention so that everyone knows that others care and appreciate it. The Kudos this month go to the work on 2704 16th Avenue by Tahoe Holdings and SafeHaven Development.

If you know of a small or large project you enjoy seeing, let us know so we can feature it here.

An Ode to Porches

Porches are more than an amenity. Porches have historic and architecture value that adds to the livability of a house, complementing the house as they beautify the streetscape. Some suburbs have begun building porches on new developments calling them one feature of a “New Urbanism” referring back to the folksiness of people enjoying a summer”'s evening on the porch in plain enough view to greet the neighbors and passersby.

Porches in this area usually didn”'t have frost footings—a stone or concrete pad beneath the supporting members deep enough at a minimum of 42” locally to withstand the heaving of the earth during freeze/thaw cycles. Because of the lack of such footings as houses usually (but not always on older houses) have, porches would start to lean away from the houses from the changes and also from deterioration of lumber underground.

The City of Mpls. went through a phase about a decade ago of forcing owner”'s to improve those conditions. Some novice inspectors mistook porch floors that were purposefully sloped for rain run-off to be structurally unsound. The end result was that many porches were removed completely and not replaced since that was more cost effective.

The result often damaged the streetscape aesthetic. Those houses lost this identifying, welcoming structure on the front of houses that visually brought the closed-in walls of the house “down to the street.” Without the porches, the houses are lacking a key architectural feature identifying the entrance and beckoning to the passerby to come out of the rain, sit a spell to talk, or, at least, wave at the occupants who could sit at the front of the house partially sheltered and identified by this canopy. Try to envision the four-plex in this photo without its large magnificent front porch.

The Alley invited this houses”'s owner, Michael Simms, to describe their approach to renovation work generally, its effect on the economy and work on this fine old four-plex specifically.

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