One of the biggest decisions we had to make was whether or not to repaint them or ditch them all together. Since the house is so small, the front porch really acts as an extra room, and since it was also the first impression people had of the house, it was important that it also look inviting. Now, it's probably one of my favorite parts of the house, and is almost definitely the most popular place to spend a cool summer evening...
How did you create it? A ton of work went into the transformation. First, we made the decision to keep the awnings but paint them a darker grey than the house. I opened up the previously closed transom window above the door and created a little grill-ish metal piece for it. Also, I replaced the front door with one that had a large window, keeping the great orange color that my husband so proudly chose for it (I made a curtain for the door in almost the exact same orange that folds down at night via magnets to make the door look completely orange). The porch was painted with a pale blue-grey marine paint. The front garden was completely roots from the two trees in front of the house, and I spent a good two days cutting them out. It was no fun at all, but very worth it, as the plants that were planted (all perennials, most evergreen) haven't needed much care at all, aside from watering and occasional trimming. The front garden was framed by little grey pavers and black mulch (which I was really torn on because it isn't good for the environment).
Recommended store, site, product or resource? We got most everything at Home Depot. The mailbox is ecco, pricey but worth it. The porch paint is Dutchlac. It is a high-gloss European marine paint that covers like a dream and lasts way longer than any other porch paint I've come across.
(Re-edited from a post originally published 06.18.09 - NM)