Porch: Stage For Everyday Life | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Through history of the home and society customs, porches have been the stage from which people watched their neighbors and kept updated with everybody’s businesses.
“Porticus” Latin word for porch was an idea widely used in Ancient Greece and their love for style. Adopted by Romans the “portico” became the building’s entrance supported by columns with a roof structure over a walkway, which would protect people walking even if it was raining. Pantheon in Rome is the best example. This idea, celebrating high aesthetic and style, influenced many cultures since then.

By early medieval times, British people built stone or timber projecting porches for churches to give cover to worshippers. At a baptism, the priest would receive the parents with the infant and the service began in the porch. Buckingham Palace and the White House are two best examples.

(Photo: Giano at English Wikipedia)
In Europe, I love to admire the “porte-cochère” (coach gate) a porch-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which horse and carriage (today a motor vehicle) could park and pick up the travels who would be protected from the weather, while  doing their operations of getting in or out of the carriage/vehicle.

Victorian Architecture, or the Queen Anne style, proliferates with examples of homes with a sitting porch in both the front and the back of the home.

Porches cannot be propped up as one needs without unifying the roof lines and the architectural details of the house. Covered porches, also called verandahs, provide protection from sun or rain and insects providing an extra exterior living room that one can arrange with chairs, tables or even a cozy fireplace.

Today they are built mostly for the backyard, encompassing an entire side of the house. Open porches in the front of the house existed when people were friendly with their neighbors or casual passerby and a natural trust existed with each other. It was an opportunity to get to know the postman and the milkman. If people went on vacation, the neighbors watched the temporarily vacant home without even asking. It was a place to listen to the radio al fresco, share a drink, share some family news, gossip with next-door neighbor or enjoy the rain in silence.

(Photo Source: Porches from BH&G)

New homes don’t come with open porches anymore. No one sits in the front of the house and no one trusts anyone. No longer we care to know the postman, the neighbors and the milkman doesn’t even exist anymore. T.V. and computers have occupied our time. We need unpaid volunteers to watch our neighborhood, which the society can lynch at own satisfaction when and if one of them gets in trouble with the law for being overzealous protective of our homes. Those who want to understand, please feel free.

Which porch in my gallery do you like? Ciao,

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola is a trained
 Interior Designer
 in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and timeless style. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. . Find Valentina’s three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. theamberlight
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 00:41:20

    I love a nice porch. I grew up on my grandparents’ porch out in the country in Indiana. We do not really have much of a porch in front at my house now, but we do have a covered back porch that frames our pool. Love this post and th pictures!



  2. Green Door Hospitality
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 16:43:45

    We love porches. Our next house will have a front porch (it is very high on the “musts” list). Great options shown. Love the use of wood and stone/brick. The natural elements do such a great job of transitioning the person from inside to outside.



    • Valentina
      Aug 20, 2013 @ 16:48:37

      kudos on your decision to have a front porch in your next home. Yes, on natural material, stones, woods, plants, water features, I am all for the natural look. Thanks for the visit.



  3. Design Secrets
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 18:56:21

    Reblogged this on Design Secrets and commented:
    These porches are fantastic! I love using mine as an excuse to watch thunderstorms… sitting on a beautiful porch and watching the skies is better than paying $11 for a movie, that’s for sure!



    • Valentina
      Aug 19, 2013 @ 19:07:36

      Thank you Nancy for reblogging. I must say that growing up in Europe, I was only used to see public porches, the historical “porte-cochère” under important buildings, but when I came to the US I learned all about the function of home porches. Like you, I love to watch the world going by. Thanks again.



  4. TBM
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:47:11

    I still remember the postman from my childhood. He was a smoker and I could smell his cigarette before I saw him every day.



    • Valentina
      Aug 19, 2013 @ 14:51:12

      Growing up in Italy, I didn’t have a porch, but I have seen enough American films to learn about it and then my interior design studies gave me the technical knowledge on how porches should be made and decorated. I must say that I like the social aspect of what it used to be. Thanks for coming over.



  5. Amy
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 14:15:47

    The last one is so beautiful, I like the yellow seating and the orange carpet design, too. No one sits in the front of the house and no one trusts anyone — is so true and so sad… Beautiful post, Valentina!



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