First of all, let me wish you a very Happy New Year from our little corner of the world. I hope you've all had a fantastic set of holidays! Ours had some highs and lows--one of the lows being a late-night trip to the ER and a diagnosis of croup for Johnnie (who is thankfully feeling 100% better now), and one of the highs being the long-awaited completion of our front porch railing.
This railing was such a challenge. (Ez requested that if anyone asks how long this project took us, I should tell them anything but the embarrassing truth.) The brick, selected to match the house's original chimneys, is quite soft, and finding a way to firmly anchor the newel posts without cracking the brick proved difficult. Our first attempt, using the standard black metal newel posts (shown here) that matched the railings, failed because it required sinking four screws for each post, and a few of the bricks cracked during the drilling. As a result, we had to have the brick man come and replace six bricks--this time with one big hole pre-cut into each one. This new method necessitated a different type of post that could be anchored with one long threaded rod sunk a couple bricks deep. Our only option was a chunky pressure treated newel, which we happen to like exponentially more than the metal newels.
Hooray for Plan B being better than Plan A in every way! Once the wood newels are stained to match the logs, I think it will look just right. In addition to being the far sturdier solution, the wood newels make a more substantial statement visually than the dinkier metal ones. I'm so glad Plan A didn't pan out. Plus, the house looks almost done now, right? So much improvement with one project! (Also, SAFETY! WOOHOO!)
FYI, all the railing parts were off-the-shelf from Lowe's. Note #1: because this seems to matter more and more to blog readers nowadays, this post was not sponsored and we purchased everything ourselves. Note #2, and a tip: for a project like this one, you really need two people. One person can do it, but two people can do it three times faster.
Finally, for those interested, my Christmas/winter decorating took about 15 minutes (including screwing in the hooks for the door garland). Since our only evergreen tree (i.e. my source of free holiday decor) fell in a tornado last year, these decorations cost me between $25 and $30 in pine from the local market--$18 of which was just for the pre-made wreath. It's definitely not the fanciest house on the lane, but I think it works and looks like we at least made an effort this year. :)
Pardon the in-progress mess and oversized light bulb (it's dark way out here in the sticks)...
I especially love the window boxes. I was going to just take them down until spring, but instead I chopped up two $4 pine swags and jammed the branches into the soil. Boom. Done. This is not the best photo, but it's my favorite thing.
So that's the railing. Can you believe we finished something? It's been awhile since we've gotten to cross a project off the list. Let me tell you, it feels WAY better than falling down the steps.