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Peekaboo — I Don’t See You! (Porch Steps REVEAL)

“Hey, Handy Smurf…

Where ya smurfing with all that wood?”

“Just gonna smurf some peekaboo facings on the front porch steps of my mushroom house, Smurfette. La-la-lalalala-la-lala-la-laaaaa!”

“Ooh! Handy Smurf, you’re so smurfy! Why don’t you smurf over to my mushroom house later and I’ll show you MY peekaboo facings!”

(What? You guys didn’t know I’m weird yet?)

Anyway, I’m thrilled to announce that our front steps no longer look like the portal to Middle Earth!!

EEEEEKK!!!!!!

What manner of troll lives under there?!?!?!?

Ahhhh…. much better!

So, how’d we do it?

Elementary, my dear reader.

First, we took measurements of the steps & the spaces in between…

Which helped us realize that we couldn’t possibly create a completely flush look, because each step was a slightly different height & had a different lean. (I don’t even know how the original contractors accomplished that…)

So, rather than allow shoddy craftmanship to derail our plans — I mean, if that was our style, none of us would be here together now, would we? — we instead chose to go with a “peekaboo” facing.

A peekaboo facing is a piece of wood or other material that partially obscures an empty space. (At least that’s my definition. I don’t honestly know if I heard the term somewhere, or simply made it up in my own little head. Makes sense though, right?) While it does not provide complete coverage, it draws the eye to the “full” spaces, thereby detracting from the “open” spaces.

As our space to be covered was at least 6 inches in all areas, and the steps are 5-foot in length, we just headed to the big box and picked up five 6x4x1 pine planks. (6-foot long, 4-inches wide, 1-inch thick)

We knew we could cut them at home, but if you don’t have a power saw…

Tip: Sometimes the big box lumber department will cut wood for you. But they are kind of jerky about cheap wood and/or lots of cuts. But don’t fret. They likely have a hand-cutting station all set up, complete with tools, and you’re allowed to use it at no charge 🙂

In our case, Dan just made his cut marks (for a total 5-foot length) and sawed away!

In the interest of full disclosure, most circular saws (including ours) come with a handy-dandy measure & cut guide to spare users all that marking, but Sonia had wandered off with ours… happens a lot…

Then Dan just drilled pilot holes & used flat-head screws to mount the planks on the existing steps’ framework. One long screw per support bar was plenty, as these are cosmetic, not load-bearing, planks.

He also more-or-less (we’re not sticklers for perfection — a good thing considering what we’ve got to work with) centered the planks between the steps for an even look & the most effective blockage of what’s behind them. That’s why we’re calling them “peekaboo” — you can see through a little, but mostly the holes are covered.

BTW — See how well the sand is staying on our steps from our slip-proofing project? (here) Rad!

Once all the planks were installed, all I had to do was hit them with a quick double-coat of paint…

Because the top facing was already in place, and I’d chosen to paint it Renter’s Orange back when I conquered the whole paint-the-porch project (here and here), I continued forth with the same color, using my leftover paint.

Even after just one step was done, I could tell how much better our steps — and by extension, our whole house — were going to look once this project was finished.

Which I think just goes to show that spiffing up small, commonly neglected details of your rental can make it look like your respectable home, instead of somebody else’s burdensome investment property.

And, after a quick painting session, we was bona fide!

Do they look perfect? No. But so much better. Like we care.

And it was SO easy. And only cost about $20. (For the planks/screws. We already had the paint/tools.) And only took us about 30 minutes of low-impact effort each.

Hip, hip, hoooray!

NEXT POST: LIGHTING! 

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