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That Ol’ Front Porch Zing

June 20, 2014Architecture

By Jen Hinesman

After a long, hard winter there is a new level of excitement for Summer this year. A feeling of “We earned it!” is abundant around Ann Arbor. This is the time of year where Ann Arbor celebrates with festivities like Top of the Park and low-key drinks at “Bill’s Beer Garden” behind Downtown Home and Garden. It’s also the time we think more about the exterior of our homes — and start to pine for a well-designed front porch. The history of the front porch is interesting, as documented in an MLIve article entitled “The History of the Uniquely American Front Porch.” The front porch is a archetype in classic American home design and is notable in many homes around the 1900s. For example, many of the historic Sears Home Kits feature front porches in their floor plans (check out the price of the kits — just for kicks!). These front porches connected the homeowner with the neighborhood as well as created a covered extension of living space. Architecturally speaking, the front porch was the first step in the procession of spaces that welcomed a visitor from the exterior to the interior — or public space to private space. The front porch fell out of fashion in the mid-1900s when the desire for decks and more privacy became the mode. As in fashion, ideas are recycled, and we are experiencing a renaissance of the front porch. Below are several examples of Meadowlark front porches… LUCAS_EXTERIOR_FINAL_4_sm Deep Green Remodel This porch is contained to the side footprint of the home, i.e. it does not wrap around. Note the cedar tongue and groove ceiling and fun front door color. Ext BER62007_sm Green Home Ann Arbor Note that this porch begins to wrap the home slightly and become it’s own form, adding living space at the exterior. And…a porch swing never hurts! _DSC5662_sm Custom Home The porch here runs along the linear facade of the one-story home. Instead of wood, this porch features exposed aggregate concrete floor as well as a porch swing.

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