Behind the Design: Before + After Porch Makeover

Posted September 3, 2020

Guest post by KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms

Looking for simple ideas to makeover your back porch? Here’s a before and after back porch with tons of ideas and inspiration.

This is the back porch of the house a long time ago in a land far away when my children were littles.

My mother and father owned this house at the time and we walked over from where we lived for a visit and I snapped this photo.

I had no idea that one day my mother would sell the house to a wonderful family.

And then?

One day they’d sell the house right back to us.

This gives you a glimpse of where the porch’s story began.

There were red bricks and a white door and molding that needed a little bit of a touch-up.

Here’s what the porch looked like when we bought the house.

It was right around Christmas time.

We added the black door and painted the molding and painted the brick and added swings. You can’t see the iron pillars that held up the porch in this picture, but they were there.

The porch is fine here.


But I always had bigger plans.

Here was my wish list for the porch:

  1. Add new landscaping
  2. Add new tile to the porch
  3. Wrap the columns with wood and trim
  4. Add urns with flowers
  5. Make the porch swings look fancier

We started by tiling the porch.

The tile is this amazing honed basalt tile from Jeffrey Court in the 3″x 6″ size.

You can see it here.

It comes in other sizes including this 4″x 16″ size and this 4″ x 12″ size.

I went with the smaller size because it fit the look and age of our house. I cannot say ENOUGH amazing things about this tile. It exceeded every expectation.


Every. Single. One.

It has the prettiest variations in color and looks like it’s been on the back porch forever and it’s seriously one of my favorite things we’ve ever remodeled in the house.

Here are the steps we took to tile the back porch:

  1. We prepped the area by cleaning and removing any debris and old mortar that was sticking up.
  2. Next, we laid a layer of thin set using a tile trowel directly over the brick. This provided the foundation for the new tile.

3. We worked in small areas at a time. Because the brick was smaller, it took longer to lay the tile on the back porch.

4. Next, we placed the tiles on the mortar and leveled them in place.

5. We used these tile spacers to keep the tile in place until it set. You can see in this picture the finished tile which is already set in place and the spacers that we used during the process.

6. After all, the tile was set in place and the mortar was dry, it was time to add the grout.

7. Grout can completely change the look of the project, so choose your grout wisely. I wrote an article with four simple tips to help choose a grout color.

8. We grouted the tile with a light gray tile and wiped the excess away.

Next, it was time to wrap the iron columns.

We wrapped them with wood and added top and bottom molding and trim to the edges.

I wanted to mimic the look of the front porch.

Next, we caulked and painted everything and added flowers and additional landscaping.

And now?

The porch looks like this.


Every time I drive into this driveway I smile.

With weather delays, this project took about three months.

But truth?

It was worth every minute of every second.

It is one of the prettiest back porches I have ever seen.

And now?

In even more amazing news?

It made the back inside cover of a book.


This amazing book.

I’m so excited to share this amazing news with you!

Jeffrey Court just published the most amazing all-new coffee table book! It’s FULL of tile and design inspiration for your next renovation project (including tile projects from my house along with so many other incredible tile designs!)

And the best part?

You can get your copy TODAY! This is a limited edition book with only one print run and it’s AMAZING. If you have a tile renovation project in your future, or if you simply just like to dream of tile? This is the book for you.

You can get your very own copy here.

Here’s to all the amazing befores and afters.

Especially porches (and long ago before photos) that make me smile.

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