How my first home-buying experience was made complete by a porch swing
I bought my first house in November. Mounted to the ceiling of its front porch was an old wooden swing dangling by rusted chains. My wife was ecstatic at its discovery- despite the age the swing showed. Her morning love for reading her books and drinking her coffee would be complete with a gentle rocking. To our surprise and dismay, the previous owners took the porch swing with them before we moved in. My wife was devastated.
The house needed work and winter was coming, so the swing was not our most pressing issue. As our tasks were checked off, one by one, we found ourselves swingless closer and closer to spring.
April showers soon rained down on our covered porch and like a tireless itch we began looking for porch furniture. Dozens of emails were sent back and forth suggesting possible replacements for the rickety old porch swing. As our last paint job dried- the final home improvement project- it became time to scratch the itch.
Lots of porch swings left a lot to discover
Neither of us anticipated the remarkable diversity of porch swings offered to us by the internet and local sellers. Should the new swing be mounted to the ceiling, like its predecessor? Should it glide, resting on the ground? Cushions? Wood? Plastic? We struggled to answer these questions as we were more likely to be met with sponsored content or reviews rather than an informative voice telling us what to look for. Prices varied from a hundred dollars to a thousand yet we found little help in understanding the range of value. We wanted quality. Buying a swing only for a low price felt like we would receive a cheap, low-quality product, but we didn’t know any better.
Quality: what we looked for and how we found it
We compared wooden and plastic swings and found that high-quality, properly-treated wood swings like oak or cedar were just as capable of surviving the elements as plastic ones. Wood swings, however, offered a more authentic look, while plastic ones would appear more modern. Cedar swings, for instance, show their age by greying in a very natural way while still maintaining their sturdiness.
We decided we wanted a glider. We could get a very sturdy recycled plastic glider that matched the color scheme on our front porch at a price comparable to a wooden one. We avoided mounted swings because we didn’t trust the mounts installed by the previous owners and weren’t comfortable installing our own. It also meant there was no setup or installation- only delivery. We bought it and finally scratched the itch.
Our life with the porch swing
Getting a porch swing was more than just satisfying our nostalgia- it was granting us a new way to love our home. Inundated with technology, it’s easy to be distracted from seeing the full value of your own home. Sitting on our new porch swing with no phones or laptops redirected our focus to our local neighborhood, full of houses like ours. It captivated us. We had a new room on the ground floor, free of distractions. It offered a front row seat to enjoy a rainy day. A place to relax and read. And for that, it made my first home-buying experience complete.
- Jordan Van Maanen