The front porch is often considered the quintessential element of Southern architecture — it has long been the perfect place for enjoying the view, catching a breeze or simply setting a spell, as they say in the South. Front porches were the original social networking tool, a pre-telephone way for neighbors to commune, visit and catch up without ever leaving the comfort of their own homes.
If one porch is good, two must be better — especially when an expansive view is involved. The tradition of building double front porches with columns in the United States goes back to the first settlers. But if you ask us, it’s an architecture staple worth holding onto. Here are a few things to consider when tackling the double front porch.
Any pair of porches is a great addition to the front of a home, but if they wrap around, all the better. Wraparound porches guarantee plenty of space for sitting areas, dining spots and of course, that all-important hammock for catching an afternoon nap.
is a crucial feature in the front porch, both structurally and aesthetically. Traditionally, the front porch column is large, cylindrical and features an ornate capital.
The ceilings of front porches old and new have long been painted blue for a variety of reasons. Tour guides in Charleston, South Carolina, claim that the color keeps the bugs at bay and was originally introduced to keep spirits away. Some claim it extends the daylight hours. Some simply like the color, since it reminds them of the sky.
In the South, the perfect front porch color is referred to as Haint Blue. Fortunately, most of the major paint companies have a formula for that perfect shade, making finding the right color easy.
Ceiling fans enhance the already fabulous breeze off this pair of porches. They are great on balmy summer nights.
Settlers of the South began building double front porches, mimicking the look of their Palladian ancestors. Two symmetrical floors with columns became the look of the day. The tradition has stuck, as evidenced by this 2006 Southern Living ideahouse built on Charleston’s Daniel Island.
Choosing a proper porch railing
is almost as important as picking the porch itself. Straight spindles, curved spindles or even wrought iron are all varieties of porch railings that give a home a distinctive look.
Of course the orientation of the home dictates the orientation of the porch. Before the days of air conditioning, houses were ideally built facing south, so that they could benefit from winter light to heat the house while still capitalizing on the breeze and shade that’s so necessary for summer.
For year-round enjoyment, a screen on one of the porches helps keep bugs out
and adds a bit more privacy.
About the Author: