Watercolor portrait of a welcoming porch. . .
One of the things I love most when I create watercolor paintings of homes, is to include welcoming front porches. I always take the time to add the unique details of each porch: the furniture, the bird feeder, wind chimes and more. From time to time, I am also asked to create commissioned watercolor porch paintings.
If you investigate the past, front porches were the most welcoming feature of homes for more than 150 years – whether grand wrap-around verandas, second-floor balconies or simple covered sitting and resting spaces. They were also the treasured gathering place for families and friends.
Way back in the early 1800’s, Andrew Jackson Downing – who was thought to be one of the founders of American landscape design – popularized the front porch and developed a whole new porch culture. He believed that interacting with nature had a healing effect on mankind, and that front porches brought us closer to nature’s influence and made us more social.
Downing advocated that the porch got us out of the house and closer to the garden, made us visible to the neighbors, and connected us to the community. Furthermore, Downing also promoted that every American deserved a “good home” and planned residences – with porches – for people in every walk of life.
Around the 1950’s, the popularity of America’s front porch experienced a decline, but this important feature of homes is finding its way back into our lifestyles across the country.
Today, more and more Americans are once again enjoying the pleasures of “porch sitting.” By adding a front porch to our homes, we are also gaining additional living space – not to mention significant curb appeal.
I would like to introduce you to a Nashville couple who are good friends of ours who emulate those principles that Jackson Downing was passionate about. Not surprisingly, they also have a lovely porch, as you can see here. We met up with them a couple of months ago one of our cross-country trips.
In 2008, Mary and Dave Morris created the Front Porch Ideas and More website.
Since then they have continued to inspire and give creative ideas to their large following as to how to make one’s porch a vibrant, welcoming, yet practical space in your home. I can attest that this website is a treasure of information regarding any and everything about porches.
I thought you might light to know more about Front Porch Ideas and More so I asked Mary to answer a few questions as to how they came to start this front porch movement and what it means to them.
How would you describe Front Porch Ideas and More?
Front Porch Ideas and More is a portal of ideas for porch lovers. We created this site to give you inspirational and educational ideas for planning, designing, building and decorating your porch. We feature all kinds of porches and outdoor spaces: front porches, back porches, screen porches, patios and more. We would love to have you stop by to browse thousands of pictures, explore our DIY tutorials and gain helpful tips for creating your best porch!
What compelled you to create this online resource for all those who love porches?
The two of us have been porch lovers since we were kids. Having grown up with porches, we are still like kids when we drive down a pretty street with inviting porches. We often turn our car around so that we can get a second look. Our hope is that our readers find helpful and inspiring ideas on our site. Dave enjoys writing about the construction / design topics and we both enjoy sharing ideas for making wonderful amenities on your porch.
Why do you feel porches are so important to any home?
Probably at the top of our list is the tremendous curb appeal and social space a porch offers. Not only can families and neighbors connect on their porches for conversation and dining, but porches are also a soulful place to relax and unwind. Porches are extensions of our home, but with the extra advantage of being in nature and enjoying the changing seasons. Nothing like a neighborhood where homeowners take pride and joy in their porches! The importance of porches cannot be understated – for all these reasons plus the investment value and architectural appeal they historically lend.
Any other final thoughts you would like to impart?
We love when homeowners embrace their porches, no matter their size. A porch provides countless opportunities for adding charm and personality to your home. We are grateful when our readers share their porch pictures with us and we welcome new readers with open arms. I welcome anyone who enjoys porches to browse our site and be inspired by our content.
I hope you enjoyed that little interview.
The website Wolf Home Products lays out the four most important points as to why a front porch is important and why you should add a front porch to your home, if you don’t already have one. As you will see, the house portraits I included below each have stunning front porches. Here are the four points:
A front porch improves curb appeal:
Stand out on the block with an attached porch designed using colors and materials that will enhance the curb appeal of your home. A front porch is a predominant feature on the face of a home. When guests come to visit, this space can make a great first impression.
A front porch increases property value:
A porch is a significant feature on a home and, with the right design, it can generate interest and drive buyer demand. Does a front porch add value to a house? It certainly can. Whether you plan on selling this season or putting the home up for sale years from now, adding a porch made of modern composite materials can lead to a higher closing price.
A front porch allows one to spend more time outdoors:
When you install a new porch, you’ll have the freedom to create the space you want, with features like built-in seating, lighting and much more. You’ll create a custom outdoor covered area — the perfect space for hosting social gatherings or enjoying the outdoors in private.
A front porch is practical and provides protection from the elements:
Whether you’re walking out the front door or returning home from a trip outside, you’ll find that a front porch offers protection from the elements while you get your bearings. Find your keys, set your groceries down, fix your child’s jacket and more while shielded from the sun, snow, rain and anything else mother nature throws your way.
So there you have it. Feel free to get in touch with me to commission a painting of your porch, just as I did with the painting above. Don’t you feel like sitting down in that rocking chair with a coffee and a good book? I certainly do.