Who doesn’t love a porch? Their long history dates back to ancient Greece and Rome—I suppose we needed a place to stop and catch our breath before crossing the threshold. Now, there are so many shapes and sizes (I don’t mean decks, which began to replace porches during the 70s and 80s, but honestly always seemed like an afterthought to me). The porches that I have in mind are the kind that correspond with the architecture of the house, blend in with the rhythm of the household, and more or less, steal our hearts.
Here are seven porches that caught our attention over the past year, and might inspire you as well.
There are front porch people and there are back porch people, like me. (Is this an extrovert vs. introvert kind of thing?). And some people are lucky enough to have both. But the side porch is, perhaps, the best of both worlds. The side porch above is in Edgartown, Massachusetts, and looks so inviting with its classic square-column design, wicker furniture, hydrangea bushes, and brick garden path leading one way and French doors the other.
Even a simple porch can have so much charm, like this plain brick and wood porch with its tin roof in Lexington, Virginia. It stays true to the colonial character of the house, and I love how the boxwoods in the garden (maybe a tiny nod to the French Parterre garden) add an element of chicness to the porch itself. And although it is unadorned (and I suspect it stays that way all year long), I think a Shaker Rocking Chair,or even a pair, would be very nice here.
One of the many classic front porches in our own town of Catonsville, Maryland, this porch has a relaxed, touch-of-country feel—its arched shape against the cedar shake exterior walls, and the informal windowed front door are the perfect compliments for this merging of outer and inner spaces.
This porch wraps around the side of a house that looks out over the hills and valleys and winding streets of the old mill town of Ellicott City, Maryland. The porch swing here is just right, though I might be inclined to turn it the other way.
When we are truly transported, like we are by this old brick house with its gothic-looking black iron (and its shadows) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, then we know we have found a good porch. I envision it with two peacock chairs, one on each side of the window, and a vintage table with a Ouija board and incense burning.
At first glance this enclosed front porch might seem too narrow and rather ill-dressed, but what good bones (and look at the parquet floor!). So just think of it with the windows flung open, hanging baskets of ferns, and a row of Nantucket Rocking Chairs (in Weathered Neptune, which is a lovely blue) looking out over the main street of Historic New Market, Maryland.
The slightly neglected house matches the slightly neglected porch of stone and weathered wood. But no one minds a less-than-perfect porch, especially with a view like this on Chappaquiddick Island. Either I was told (I wasn’t there when this photograph was taken, and when the photographer was taken in by the owner!) or I imagined a Bloomsbury style sitting area on the porch of old rattan chairs and sofas with well-worn floral cushions, piles of faded novels and magazines, potted palms and seashells lining the rails of the porch, drying in the sun.