The Significance of Porches

posted May 18, 2012, 8:31 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Sep 21, 2012, 6:44 AM ]

When I was as teenager, my father had a handyman that he used for various projects around the house.  Jimmy was a white-haired, old southern gentleman that had worked hard all of his life. One day Dad left paint and brushes for Jimmy in the garage with instructions to paint the porch.
Upon my return home from school, Dad called home to check on Jimmy’s progress. I nearly choked on my afterschool snack when I heard Jimmy tell my father, “That weren’t no Porch, it was a BMW”.

Porches play a significant role in the functional design of southern homes. Before the advent of air-conditioning, porches provided shade and captured cooling breezes. A well-designed porch invites guests and creates an inviting space for casual socializing or relaxation. A porch can shelter the interior of the house from the hot sun and allow windows to remain open during rainy weather. Porches have influenced the design of many southern homes with great examples in towns like Key West and Apalachicola, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Charleston, South Carolina and; who can forget Tara from Gone With the Wind in Jonesboro, Georgia?

Several months each year during Spring and Fall, the weather is pleasant enough to open windows and doors to enjoy the climate and save the expense of air-conditioning. Porches, overhangs, window function and solar orientation, should all be addressed in the design a southern home. More information to come... Keith Groninger

photo courtesy