Why is the balcony the southernmost spot in any home?

In the South, porch living is just a way of life. While the architectural design and details of a porch can vary depending on the style of your home, a porch is defined as “a covered area adjacent to the entrance to a building, usually with a separate roof.” It’s an element of the home that was created out of necessity to escape the hot sun before air conditioning, but now it’s a detail that comes in all shapes and sizes. We can’t imagine a world without our beloved porches, and in the South, they’re more than just a home’s first impression or a way to enhance curb appeal.

For Southerners, a porch is about hospitality and a reflection of what lies beyond the front door. It is an extension of one’s home and truly functions as an outdoor living room. No matter if it’s a deep front porch, a feature wraparound porch, or a covered back porch, each serves the same purpose — a space where we sit and talk for hours on end, sipping sweet tea, sheltering from the summer sun or afternoon rainstorms, and hosting family. and friends, whether planned or impromptu. It is a place to slow down, gather and relax.

When it comes to dreamy porches, our 2023 Idea House does it all with a welcoming front porch and (optional) screened back porch with fireplace with cozy seating, plus an attached outdoor dining area and kitchen setup. “In general, the house has deeper, exaggerated arches on the front and back porches, which allows you to enjoy those spaces a little longer when (the day) hits the hot parts of the sun, but it also helps protect you from the sun,” says architect Luke Sippel of Lake. Land Studio: “The many rainy days we deal with.” It has all the traditional elements of a south porch – an expansive roofline, warm materials, recessed lighting, ample seating and large planters with beautiful plantings. A fireplace, outdoor dining area and screens to keep out annoying insects are an added bonus to the standards.

Lori W. Glenn; Designer: Matthew Gleeson

Extended roof line

The first floor extends seamlessly into the outdoor living spaces thanks to exaggerated overhangs that allow you to reach the edge of the balcony on a rainy day without getting wet. “Having a wide front porch and a deep, expansive back porch essentially doubles your shared living space,” says Siebel.

“The deeper the porch overhangs, the closer you are to hearing the rain hitting the metal roof,” says Seibel. “I think that’s one of the more southerly things on this plan (Dogwood Acres, SL-0928).”

Warm materials and comfortable lighting

Just as you think about interior choices, from flooring to paint, attractive textures and colors set the tone for outdoor spaces. “Porchs should be comfortable, especially ones that are screened in and have a fireplace,” says Hodges. Chestnut wood floors that can withstand rainwater continue the natural feel from the front porch to the back. The front porch welcomes you with a simple gas lantern above the front door and pendant lighting above each seating area. The same simplicity is carried over to the back porch with glass and brass pendant lights blending into both spaces. Moving hurricanes add an extra layer for a warm glow when entertaining.

Error protection screens

Although you rarely find screens on a front porch, it is more common to find a screened side or back porch on the south. This allows homeowners to create an outdoor living atmosphere to enjoy year-round without unwanted critters joining the party. Built-in screens are most common, but here, the team used retractable screens that lower to create a covered porch as needed.

Lori W. Glenn; Designer: Matthew Gleeson

Comfortable seats

Hodges stresses the importance of rest. “I still wanted the porches to feel comfortable, just as comfortable and intentional as the interior,” says the designer. “Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you’re ready to sit on any chair-style furniture.” To achieve this, Hodges selected Havana from the Summer Classics collection for outdoor furniture that is as comfortable as it is aesthetically pleasing. The woven cane also adds a classic Southern touch.

“The porch is an indoor-outdoor space that can be used all year round and should be an extension of the interior,” says designer Laura Hodges.

Full containers

You’ll rarely find a front porch in the South without some sort of large planting or container garden surrounding the front door. Fill your pots with evergreens like ferns, boxwoods and potted trees, or greet each season with colorful, newly planted blooms.

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