Front porch pictures

Discovering great old porches is like finding a buried treasure, says Paul Denys, the designer and builder who renews them.

A lot of people donít realize they have a diamond in the rough, he says. These porches are one of a kind. Theyíre not mass-produced.

The Victorian house which contains three units, was built about 1900. At that time, a wooden porch was the focus of a great deal of creative energy. Styles were exuberant and ornamental. The carpenterís heart was really in it. This is where he had a chance to show his craft and skill.

The porches feature columns, rosettes, flower petals, arches, coves and crowns. Itís meant to be a showcase, says Stuart Lazear, co-ordinator of heritage planning.

In the past, porches and woodwork were an excuse to use colour. Porches would highlight their rich details in shades of light and dark green, cream and gold.

A porch does many things. It creates a point of entry to a house and provides a threshold between public street and private life. Porches appeal on a gut level because they are tactile and in proportion with the human body. You can touch the handrails and columns, lean against the balustrade.

New houses are once again being built with porches. Itís part of an urban design movement to banish garages from the front and create some semblance of street life.

Curb Appeal

Front porches should be understood as places where civic life happens, a delightful place to hang out. They should be big enough for furniture.

A front porch is a big part of "curb appeal", the term real estate agents use to sell the first impression of a house to prospective buyers. When a house is attractive and interesting from the curb, it is welcoming and warm.

There's no reason why a front porch can't be an all-seasons attraction.