We still don't know what to do.
So far we've talked with contractors about tearing out the front steps ($600, even without replacing them), pouring new concrete (a problem because of the crawlspace access), building a wood deck around the existing steps (the contractor spent nearly an hour here, then I never heard back) and, finally, cladding the existing steps in flagstone and tearing out the walkway to also create a flagstone path. Whew.
And it's all expensive.
On top of that, we determined that we indeed have lead paint so the cost just to prep the house properly (requiring removal with an infrared heater) is as much as I thought it would be to do the whole job. We have opted to let the professionals prep the house and remove the lead paint, and we will get to paint it. Yay! (feigned enthusiasm)
Back to the porch though. I think we have to live with it as is for a while. We can move the crawlspace access for $500, which will allow us to landscape the small plot next to the stairs more easily and wait another year or so to build a porch :( I guess there's no rush, but still....
Here's the mockup:
Upcoming: we are almost finished selecting paint colors!