Front Porch Enclosure

Front Porch Enclosure

Let us discuss the art of the front porch enclosure. East Bay friends, you have seen these home renovations everywhere. It’s possibly the easiest way to add a room to your existing home — simply put walls where you already have a roof and foundation. This can be a great way to give you more front entry storage as lots of these old houses have no coat closet. It can also add a bit of an airlock to keep out the typically cool night air.

What is going on here?

This particular enclosure was added after the fact. Pictured below, one can see the inconsistencies in the porch. The roof and columns are original, as well as the low wall between. The siding is different — shakes as opposed to the original horizontal wood.

What is wrong?

The addition appears to want to blend in with the original, creating several inconsistencies:
The windows are haphazard, with so much variation in their head heights (read: top of window) and residual space (the in-between), the eye is not sure where to look.

The walls of the new enclosure are offset different amounts from the roof.
The language of the shakes is dissonant with the window style. The original house has punched windows with horizontal siding. Since the newer enclosure also uses punched windows, it begs the question, why change the siding? (Case Study: punched windows vs. window wall, check out the Dune House.)

What I would have done?

The #1 skill a designer brings to the table is the ability to draw. I would have started by drawing all of these walls in elevation so that the homeowner and I are both able to see the layout from an objective perspective. I would then choose a language: window wall. This does away with the siding problem altogether.

While it is possible to copy an original style so as not to be able to delineate from old and new, it is both difficult and dishonest.