The Porch: Not a Place, But a State of Mind

One of my objectives in building a home is to create spaces where families can interact, not only within the family but also with friends and neighbors.  Such interactions are what build a community.

The porch is perhaps the best example of a space that can build relationships and community.  In the warmer months my wife and I enjoy retreating to the porch for a glass of wine after the kids are in bed, and throughout the year we gather on our porch or the neighbors for conversation or neighborhood parties.

Porches, debate and democracy go together. And it’s no surprise the tradition of gracing an American home with a front porch goes back to the early days of the country’s history.*

Porches were a necessity before air conditioning, whether it was the screened sleeping porch or the broad, columned veranda where iced tea — and gossip — were plentiful.*

In the mid-1800s, a well-known landscape gardener named Andrew Jackson Downing began writing about his vision of the American home — and how it could stand apart from English architecture. The porch was key.*

It functions as an important “transitional space between the private world of the family and the public realm of the street,” notes David Schuyler, author of a biography of Dowling.*

Many people come to us from homes with little or no front porch, typically situated on a large lot, oftentimes on a cul-de-sac.   Such arrangements are community killers for they force the homeowner to either stay in their house or on the deck on the rear of the house.

Come try a house with a welcoming space on the front.  You’ll be amazed at the friendships you can build on your front porch.

*these paragraphs as well as the title of the post were taken from

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