It’s the transition time of year as we surpass the equinox for warmer days filled with more minutes of sunshine. This week, I am focusing on porches and their functions as transitions to and from the home and some of the design considerations that make these spaces better serve families and increase the connectivity of neighborhoods. In the opening shot of a Park Meadows home in an established Park City neighborhood, porches wrap around two sides. The entry side is on the right, and the minimal windows offer a sense of privacy. The depth makes it an easy place to furnish and a welcoming place for conversation and for enjoying the mountain views. The glass doors at the rear of the home disappear to form one large entertainment space united by the linear fireplace that extends outside.

All photos by Scot Zimmerman

porch design
Architecture by Steve Stanton, Park City

As many of you with an interest in planning and architecture are already familiar, Seaside Florida marked a major change in planned communities with the introduction of Form-Based codes developed by Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. The architectural code encourages creative designs while introducing unity and harmony through requirements for a fixed slope of the principal roof, white picket fences, and front porches. Architect Richard Gibbs of Louisiana relied on the traditional forms of Southern plantation home for this design in Seaside with porches running the full length of both levels. Developed for the Southern climate centuries ago, the porches provide a place to sit during the pleasant mornings and evening temperatures, and the French doors open to maximize cross-ventilation. Mandating front porches, a continuing hallmark of New Urbanism, is intended to inspire more connections among people in the neighborhood. We featured this home and some others in this blog in our book, The Coastal Cottage, published by Gibbs Smith.

porch design

This cottage home is also in Seaside, but in contrast to the location of the previous home along a gridded street near the town center, this home is across the highway on the beach. Architects Merrill, Pastor & Colgan, Vero Beach, Florida, revived Thomas Jefferson’s design for “Honeymoon Cottage.” The cottage is designed for two people with a bedroom and porch below and a kitchen and small living area above that is complemented by this large and somewhat formal attached outdoor living area situated to look out to the Gulf with unobstructed views. The colonnade stays true to the reference of Jefferson’s classically inspired design. It is a large entertainment space for gatherings guests that couldn’t be well accommodated by the small home.

porch design
Designed by Ross Chapin Architects, Langley, WA

The cheerful porch serves the same function as the one above but on a smaller more intimate scale. Located just off the kitchen, it’s a convenient place for a morning coffee or a glass of wine at sunset. Situated on Whidbey Island, Washington, it looks out to the northern end of the Puget Sound.

porch design

This is another home on Whidbey Island, shaded by an ancient tree. The broad front porch looks out to the Sound. It is an updated summer vacation home. For a century, an extended family had similar cottage homes along the strand and would vacation together, and this large porch allowed the families to gather for meals. Again, the porch allows residents in small cottages to entertain larger groups. 

porch design
Design by Imagineered Homes, Manasquan, NJ

The New Jersey shore is home to a surfer’s cottage on a small lot near the water. The porch spans the front with a porch swing and chairs with wooden chairs on the shell beach in front. When making the photos, everyone passing by stopped to talk, and several sat with me on the porch, reinforcing the New Urbanists’ opinion that porches inspire connections.

porch design

Architect Dallas Davis framed the front windows with a tasty porch for a gracious and friendly street presence. The home is in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. 

porch design
Design by The Fox Group

Outdoor living is sometimes overlooked in traditional and classic designs, but not so in this newly built Holladay home.

Sitting outside, one can better mark the changing seasons. Decorating porches provides yet another reminder of the seasons, as in this Tuhaye (greater Park City) home by Christopher homes

porch design
Design-Build Bluff

The sense of a traditional ramada is created in the porch shade structure for a home in the Navajo Nation.

I’m looking forward to the warmth of the sun drawing me outside to sit on the porch this week. As I have mentioned before, our home is over 140-years old. It has a covered porch across the front where anyone passing usually calls out a friendly hello. Porches do connect you to your neighbors. 

Find more Photo Friday’s at our archives.

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