Porch, gazebo give new look to Pilsen home


Staff writer

Terry and Kathy (Winter) Silhan have lived in their house at 2739 Remington in Pilsen for all of their married life. Terry lived in it a year or two before that, for a total of more than 35 years.

The couple has made major improvements to their home throughout the years, the latest being the addition of an attractive front porch and connecting gazebo.

Years ago, they added a back patio and put a basement under the house that accommodates two bedrooms, a large family room, bathroom, and storage. A fireplace also was installed.

Five years ago, the kitchen was remodeled and incorporates a large picture window overlooking the backyard from the kitchen table.

The latest project, which was completed in 2007, included replacement of siding and windows. Black shutters were added to the front windows to provide a stunning accent to the gleaming white siding.

Kathy's brother Earl designed the full-length porch and gazebo.

"I've always loved gazebos and always wanted one in the backyard," she said, "but this is more practical."

The screened, lighted gazebo provides a bug-free, pleasant environment in which to relax at any time of the day or night.

Preparing the site

The Silhans used local area businesses to do all the work involved in preparing the site and completing the project.

To open up the front yard and make way for the new frontal addition, a large deciduous tree was removed. All of the top growth was removed except six or eight feet of the trunk. Then a machine was used to slice through the roots around the trunk so that it could be pushed over, roots and all, and hauled off.

A pine tree near the corner of the house was removed in much the same way.

Before the porch was added, the front lawn was re-graded in a gentle slope from the house to the street to provide better drainage and prevent water from seeping into the basement.

The full-length porch provides a walkway to vehicles parked in the driveway in front of the attached garage. Two broad steps were installed to provide easy access with a walker. A ramp can be installed easily to make the porch handicap accessible, if needed.

The floor of the porch and gazebo is made of a carefree composite material.

"The whole thing was designed to be low- or no-maintenance," Kathy said. "There is very little exposed wood. No more painting!"

After the project was finished, Terry seeded a new front lawn. According to Kathy, more landscaping is in the works.

Terry is an oil pumper and Kathy is a physical therapist at Herington Municipal Hospital.

They have two children. Daughter Meggan and her husband, Daniel Geoff, have two children and live in Bentonville, Ark. Son Fred and his wife, Staci, live in Hutchinson.