Enhancing Your Home from the Outside In

In the middle of the winter, enjoying your home’s outdoor spaces might be the furthest thing from your mind. But before you know it, the weather will warm up and you’ll have plenty of time to do just that.

If it’s time to rebuild or add a porch, deck or other exterior element, remember this: It takes highly experienced carpenters to do the job right. So when evaluating potential contractors, make sure you choose one with plenty of exterior projects in their portfolio. They should also have a thorough understanding of setbacks and other code requirements that could affect the project’s viability.

Of course, Custom meets those standards. Here’s a look at some of our favorite exterior projects from recent years.


New England porches come in a variety of flavors. Let’s start with Victorian style porches — a favorite in this region — commonly seen in the front of homes or as a wraparound. We often get called on to replace aging Victorian porches that are in disrepair.

Porch - BeforePorch - After








A night and day transformation of this wrap-around porch. 

A farmer’s porch, also known as an open porch, is big and deep, with plenty of space for a table and chairs. We’ve built a number of these onto newer-style capes and colonials, adding an interesting visual element to the front of the home and a more welcoming feel.

Moving to the back or side of the home, screened porches are a nice way to strike a balance between indoor and outdoor living. Screened porches have evolved and can have features — e.g. wood ceilings, ceiling fans, glass panels for the colder weather — that improve both aesthetics and comfort.


Porch - Changable Windows
In the summer, the windows pop out and are replaced by screens.
Farmers Porch
This farmer’s porch adds outdoor living space to this colonial home.










The addition of a portico adds interest and practicality to the front of this colonial.




Porticos, typically built over the front entrance, consist of a roof supported by columns or enclosed by walls. These are a nice way to keep the snow or rain off your head while fumbling for your house keys and also look great (especially with touches like a rounded ceiling or attractive light fixture).







A deck can be built off the ground level of a home, off a higher level (as with the project featured in this issue’s Client Spotlight) or detached from the home (e.g. around a pool). Since they’re not covered, decks won’t protect you from the elements. But they are generally less expensive to install than porches — and allow you to add a hot tub or fire pit.


New Deck
This deck has transformed the backyard.
Deck - Carport
This newly-built deck also serves as a car port. It was constructed on screw-pile footings.











A Note on Hardscaping

Many homeowners like to complement a new porch, portico or deck with hardscaping, such as walkways, retaining walls or fountains. While we don’t handle this work ourselves, we can account for it in our designs and refer you to skilled professionals who can perform the installation.


Money Well-Spent

One last thing to keep in mind about outdoor projects: They’re almost always less expensive on a per-square-foot basis than indoor renovations. So you get a lot of bang for your buck.

If you are considering an exterior project and would like to discuss the possibilities, please contact Custom today.

Custom Contracting, Inc.
1267A Massachusetts Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476

Phone: 781-648-2835
Fax: 781-648-0907
Email: cci@custom-contracting.com