New England Porches (and Front Stoops)

New England porch

Our winters last so long that we New Englanders want to make the most of every warm day. Maybe that is why we love our porches. Porches are a great way to extend living space into the outdoors. In the case of front porches, they do double duty as a place to relax in the summer while working year-round to keep rain and snow off your guests’ heads when they come to the front door.

A porch adds style and function to a house for relatively short money. Particularly if an exterior is a little plain, a porch can make the house look more appealing. When I can, I always incorporate a porch into renovation plans!

Most porches that I add fall into two categories: entry porches or screened porches. With all of our summer insects, screened porches are essential if you want to relax outside with a good book without constantly swatting black flies or mosquitoes. Here are a few things to think about:

Entry Porches:
Entry porches are a visually appealing way to provide cover over the entry door for protection from bad weather. When done in the correct scale, an entry porch also gives a visitor the clear message of where they’re supposed to go when arriving to a home.

Wolfeboro NH front entrance before renovation


Wolfeboro NH front entry remodeled fron


If you have the space, don’t skimp on the size! The most welcoming entries have space for a few chairs and pots of greens and flowers. If a true covered porch doesn’t work, still keep that front stoop concept in mind. A larger area to stand on at the front door is more inviting than a small landing that makes you feel as if you might fall off with one wrong step.

Screened Porches:
If you’re like me, a screened porch may be your favorite “room” in the house. To make the best use of the space, plan the screened porch as if it were a regular room. Think about how you and your family will use the space. Be sure to map out furniture layouts, lighting, locations for electrical outlets, ceiling finishes, and access to both the indoors and the outdoors.

New England screened porch

If you are building a new screened porch, consider adding an outdoor fireplace. It is a beautiful way to take the chill off. The ambiance and comfort cannot be underestimated!

Whether you are creating an entry porch or screen porch, here are three essentials to consider:
1. Make sure the size of the columns / posts are in scale! A common mistake is posts that are too small for the scale of the structure.
2. Think out the style of the railing. If you have a wonderful view, be sure not to block it with the railing!
3. What is the style of your home and porch? Rustic? Old fashioned? Cottage style?  The style will dictate the posts, ceiling style and finishes that look as if they belong.

Here are a few photos to get your creative juices flowing!


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