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Design Solutions for My Porch Addition, Pt 2

Porches can be wonderful additions to any home, but they take some work. The porch addition on my own home took careful planning and a thoughtful design, as I discussed in part one of this two-part blog.

Keep reading to learn more about the design solutions for my porch, which has become the family’s favorite hang-out spot and the perfect outdoor living room!

The Elevations

If I was going to design a porch for the back of our house, it ought to be something to love, and the classic temple-like form worked well for this home addition. Doric columns, which are round with appealing entasis, were a must. The hammered metal aluminum railings with tempered glass do not impede garden views. A classic entablature capped with crown molding provides an elegant elevation. Success is shown with a limited number of architectural components working together to mark a special place (the porch).

porch-addition-before

 Before

porch-addition-after

After

The Ceiling

A good porch has a high ceiling that allows hot air to rise and a breeze to stir. Two Casablanca ceiling fans also help the airflow. Plus, keeping the ceiling height in proportion to the old house made sense with a 9-foot ceiling. Framing the ceiling is a classic beam detail that sits on the columns and wraps four sides of the porch.

The porch’s location could easily have blocked the sunlight from the dining room so a custom skylight by Renaissance Conservatories was installed to admit light. To accentuate the skylight’s sunlight penetration, the ceiling design tapers up on four sides of the skylight, in a hopper-like shape, that minimizes the depth of the skylight well and adds aesthetic interest.

A ceiling is not a traditional porch ceiling without wood beadboard, which accommodates the unobtrusive recessed lighting. We chose to paint the porch ceiling a classic white instead of the traditional robin’s egg blue because we liked its cleanness, and blue seemed a bit too serious for our space.

The Roof & Skylight

A big concern was the dilemma of maximizing the porch’s ceiling height and minimizing the height of the new roof so as not to conflict with the master bedroom window above it that offers the only garden view from the second floor. On top of that, a projecting second floor box-bay (oriel) window needed to be harmonized into the design of the rear façade. It was a complicated convergence of architectural forms and requirements.

The roof solution was to create a slightly sloped roof with built-in concealed gutters. A low hip shaped skylight, custom fabricated by Renaissance Conservatories, is flashed and trimmed in copper to unobtrusively occupy its location. Flat-seam copper roofing was specified to make the roof watertight—and for aesthetic purposes. Built-in copper gutters, concealed behind an entablature, eliminate the staining caused by runoff seen on many porch roofs. A bit of whimsy was introduced with two custom spun-copper torch flame finials. Fashioned after a finial design I had seen years ago, the new copper finials were mounted on the roof upon ziggurat-like plinths.

House Love

We don’t always get our dream house, and perhaps the house we have is not quite what we want. But I do know this: If a person invests enough of himself or herself into a home, both financially and emotionally, to make it the best it can be, then the home will become a part of them…and it will be enough. You will fall in love with your old house. It may take a while, but it will happen and you will enjoy it for many years to come.

About Bruce

Wentworth, Inc. was founded by Bruce Wentworth, AIA, a noted remodeling architect who has worked in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for over twenty years. He has built hundreds of his own designs, ranging from modest bungalows to large-scale luxury residences.

“ Wentworth Studios turned our boring box into a beautiful, functional living space. They listened to our needs and ideas and gave us graceful solutions that far exceeded our expectations. Wentworth's cost was told to me upfront and there was never a deviation from that cost. It is a joy every day to live within the practical and elegant spaces Wentworth designed and built for us. I would strongly recommend Wentworth. ”

Mary D., Alexandria, VA
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