Outdoor living spaces are one of the most popular design trends of the past few years in both new home construction and remodeling, and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to be around for many years to come. Judges for the 2012 Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders competition, noted outdoor spaces as an essential design trend that has expanded to homes nationwide and is at the top of many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists.
Whether you’re remodeling to make your home better-suited to your family’s current lifestyle or to spruce it up to be more attractive to potential buyers, adding a front porch can be a great option. Here are some considerations you should think about when planning your new front porch, whether you plan to construct it yourself or hire an experienced contractor:
The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought.
Think about what you want to use your porch for. If you envision dining al fresco with your family during the warm weather months, you’ll want a porch that’s at least eight to 10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. Six feet or so should be sufficient if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs outside.
If your home has the flexibility, what side of your home your porch is on can also be an important factor. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but could also get uncomfortable during the summer in hot climates. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with eastern exposure.
Don’t forget about accessing the porch from the home, and what design impact that may have on the interior rooms. For example, you may want to install French or sliding glass doors from the living room or kitchen create an entrance to the porch.
In order to ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home, especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so that your new porch integrates smoothly with the rest of your home.
Also take into account other factors that could affect your enjoyment of your new porch. Consider installing screens if you live in an insect-friendly area, or glass windows so you can extend the days of the year you can use the porch in cooler climates. If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.
Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch—or have an attractive feature to offer to would-be buyers.
To find the professional for your porch project, look to an RHBA member. www.rochesterhomebuilders.com