“In the evenings, as the outdoor air provided a cool alternative to the stuffy indoor temperatures, the entire family would move to the front porch.” The children might play in the front yard or the friendly confines of the neighborhood, while the parents rocked in their chairs, dismissing the arduous labors and tasks of the day into relaxation and comfort. Stories might be told, advice garnered, or songs sung. Whatever the traditions and manners of the family might be could be offered in this setting. What the family room or TV room of post-World War II America would become, existed first as the front porch.” (excerpt from “Out on the Porch” by Reynolds Price)
Ah, the porch…my favorite spot to perch on lazy summer days. When I build a house the first “must-have” on my list is a screened in porch. I love the outdoors, really hate air conditioning, except when absolutely necessary but also really hate bugs. I also want to be able to stay outside when it’s too hot, not hot enough, too rainy, or too sunny. A screened in porch solves all of these dilemmas. Yes, I was the kid who ran around barefoot all summer and never wanted to come inside.
And as we celebrate the beginning of a new summer season, I’ve been really thinking about and dreaming about porches of all shapes, sizes and styles: screened in porches, front porches, back porches, formal porches and more casual ones. Porches you can sleep on, eat on. Porches that invite socializing (so happy that we can do this again) or ones that are private little backyard getaways. With all this thinking about porches, it seemed like the obvious topic for my first real summertime blog. So, hope you enjoy this roundup of porches I love: perfect perches for relaxing, daydreaming, eating, even sleeping.
As I said earlier, a screened in porch is one of the must haves on my dream house list. Imagine sitting in one of these lovely spaces sipping iced tea, reading a book, listening to the rain fall. Nice, huh? No place for an actual screened in porch? Any covered porch will do. Add ceiling fans to ward off the bugs and curtain panels for privacy. And voilá! A summertime haven.
Porches can be formal with interesting architecture, amazing floors (check out the tiles on a few of these), and beautiful lighting.
Or they can be casual, kick back places that give off all the feel good, nostalgic vibes.
DID YOU KNOW? Once just an old southern tradition, the blue porch ceiling has made its way up north and is popping up on porches all across the country. Haint blue, a collection of blue/green shades are the most popular. Originally, haint blue was thought to ward haints, or ghosts, away from the home. The tactic was intended either to mimic the appearance of the sky, tricking the ghost into passing through, or to mimic the appearance of water, which ghosts traditionally could not cross.
Adding a fireplace and/or a swing takes your porch, whether it’s formal or casual, to a whole new level of awesomeness.
And a sleeping porch…now there’s the ultimate luxury. I once toured a stately home in Kirkwood that had one, and I fell in love. Blurring the lines between indoors and out, inviting cool night breezes and the sounds of chirping crickets, sleeping porches, enclosed decks or balconies on the second or third floors with screened windows were popular in the Victorian age but virtually forgotten after World War II when air conditioning became more common.
“Particularly prevalent in the southern states where the mild winters and sweltering summers necessitated a different approach in the pre air-conditioning days. The summer sun could be brutal in the south and while homes of the time were well designed to be self-cooling, it would take a while for the house to cool down from the heat of the day. Thus was born the sleeping porch.” (The Craftsmen’s blog)
Porches are as American as apple pie, and recently their charm is making a comeback. Perhaps it’s the feeling of nostalgia that draws us to the porch. But whatever the reason, porches remain in the hearts of many. What do you think? Do you love a porch? Is it part of your dream home wish list?
Until next week,
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