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Since 1995

Porch Impressions

How to welcome your guests before they even step inside

This time of year with guests, family and even just the delivery guy ringing your doorbell and coming to visit, your front porch is probably getting a little bit more attention than usual. The front porch is a staple of the southern lifestyle. It’s a place we were meant to sit to both greet people and meet new people. This tradition may not be as strong as it once was, but we have a few tips on how to make your porch a more welcoming place and maybe even a spot where you would want to spend some time. Who knows – you might even learn your neighbor’s name!

Take a seat

If your porch has the space, the best way to make it inviting is to create a sitting area. This is the spot where you would sit in the afternoons or evenings and speak to your neighbors as they walked their dogs or the kids played in the yards. And if the seating area is gracious enough, you might even invite them up for a glass of iced tea.

Porch seating area

On this porch, our clients created an intimate seating area within a much larger porch by anchoring the space with an outdoor rug. Small stools double as tables or extra seating. Console tables flank the couch, offering the perfect spot to set out a pitcher of lemonade, iced tea or margaritas – your porch, your choice!

Don’t forget the floor

The material of your porch flooring is likely an overlooked aspect of the space – it may be concrete, brick or wood. But if you’re renovating your porch, now is the time to give it some extra attention. In this client’s whole home renovation, the porch got a bit of the spotlight with the installation of  natural stone pavers that continued out into a walkway from the porch to the driveway.

bluestone paver walkway

These pavers were able to make a big impression since the porch was a large, traditional farmhouse wrap-around. They kept the other design decisions clean and simple with minimalist iron railings and understated white columns. These touches upgrade the historic home while still making it feel age appropriate.

Gather round the fire

For some, a few rocking chairs on the porch just doesn’t cut it. If you really want to embrace outdoor living, then installing a stone fireplace on your porch, complete with an outdoor flat screen TV mounted on it, is the way to go.

People naturally gather around a fire, so creating a space to enjoy one right on your porch is sure to welcome your guests into the space and allow them to linger a little bit longer.

Ipe flooring on front porch

These clients also opted for Ipe decking on the floors, one of the only hardwood decking products that has 40+ year lifespan, ensuring they’ll be able to enjoy this space for a long time to come.

Greet them before they get there

In Virginia, Colonial style houses are so popular that many homeowners have a “stoop” rather than a front porch. This small space can still make a big impact and be welcoming. If you don’t have space for a seating area on the actual porch, consider a bench or chairs on the path from the driveway to the door.

bench leading up to Virginia Colonial home

Large planters bursting with bright flowers flank this client’s teak bench, and cozy outdoor pillows beckon you to slow down, sit down and enjoy the view or to welcome your guests before they even make it to the door. Speaking of which . . .

Don’t forget the door

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to spruce up your front porch is to consider the door. A beautiful front door can attract the eye, compliment the house and even show off a little bit of your own style.

Carolina blue front door

On this Virginia Colonial, a Carolina blue on both the storm door and interior door pulls people into a small, but beautiful front porch. Seasonal decor like pumpkins and fall planters beckon you up the stairs, while all of the other subtle design decisions like the iron railings, columns, lighting and even the metal roofing on the overhang work together to create an architecturally accurate and very welcoming space.

A southern tradition

It’s a tradition in the south to paint your porch ceiling “haint blue.” There are a lot of explanations for this including that the color was meant to ward off evil spirits (ie – “haints”), or that the color can fool wasps and other insects into thinking it’s the sky and leaving to make their nests elsewhere. Whether or not you’re concerned about haints or wasps, a sky blue ceiling is also just a great way to add visual interest to a porch.

hait blue porch ceiling

On this client’s porch, the sky blue ceilings play perfectly off the variegated bluestone flooring, which also pulls in the soft, warm brown of the home’s exterior.

bluestone porch with haint blue ceiling

The bluestone extends off the porch and down the stone-front stairs and walkway, pulling your eye up to the front door, and inevitably – that haint blue ceiling.

It’s time to attend to our porches again. It’s time to make our way out of our houses and the isolation that busy lives can create. It’s time to sit with a glass of tea and talk to our neighbors. It’s time to welcome people to our door and into our lives. Happy Holidays!

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