See more of the story

Created by: Mitch and Emily Hallan, Maple Grove.

The back story: Since they moved into their 1991 home three years ago, the porch became a storage space for unpacked moving boxes. "The water-stained tongue-and-groove wood paneling and musty, teal carpet made it an unappealing room," said Mitch. "The subfloor was rotted."

After seeing television shows on porch transformations, the Hallans were inspired to turn theirs into usable living space.

"One Saturday morning at 5:30 I woke up and Emily came down shortly after and we just started working on it," Mitch said.

How it was created: The couple sanded the walls, then stained three walls with a clear polyurethane sealant and made the fourth into an accent wall by brushing it with a white water-based stain.

They also updated the electrical. Mitch enlisted his dad to help when it came to swap out the carpet for new luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Finishing touches: For decorating, Mitch and Emily went with a contemporary cabin theme. They found a couch and coffee table at Pottery Barn and scored a floor lamp at Costco. They replaced the ceiling fan with a chandelier and added lights that they ordered online from Arteriors. They decorated the accent wall with paddles from an artist out of Ottawa. Cape Cod-themed pillowcases, sourced from Etsy, added to the cabin vibe.

"My wife is from the west metro and her family had a lake place in Alexandria. And I grew up in Pequot Lakes," Mitch said. "Hopefully we can one day have a cabin if life is good to us."

Total cost: $8,750 ($3,500 construction; $5,250 furniture and decor).

"You can certainly do it for way less depending on what direction you want to go," Mitch said, noting that they splurged on things like the couch, coffee table and lights.

The new favorite room: Three months later, the Hallans' DIY project turned a once unusable porch into a space where Mitch, Emily and their boys, Ari, 8 months, Simon, 3, and Calvin, 5, get plenty of hang time.

"Our young boys wake up in the morning and they want to head to the porch, our youngest kid with his juice cup," Mitch said. "It's where we like to read books and the paper in the mornings or watch a show in the evenings. … It just really separates us from other rooms in the house."

My Favorite Room is an occasional series showcasing improved home spaces submitted by readers. If you have a favorite room, we'd love to hear about it.

Just send a few snapshots, along with a brief description of what makes your room special, to We'll showcase readers' favorite rooms in upcoming issues.