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  #1  
Old 05-09-2011, 05:00 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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The Boxed-In Front porch-Why?

Where I live (New England), there are lots of old houses (I'm talking 100-150 years). Most of them have a strange feature-the front porch has usually been closed in with windows and a storm door. Why do people do this? The front porch is an arifact of the 19th century-in the days before airconditioning and TV, folks wold sit out on the porch after dinner, enjoying the cool evening air, and chatting.
Now, all of this isn't done..so what people did was to close in the porch with windows and a door. Now you have a pretty seless room-unheated, and small. Plus, doing this makes the livingroom dark, and the window facing the porch gets less light.
Our house has this..these "mud rooms" seem to attract a lot of junk.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:14 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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I can't speak for New England, but what you describe sounds a lot like similar porches in the Midwest. Sometimes the porches were originally screened-in, for summer use only, then were more enclosed to make them useful for 3 or 4 seasons.

But there's a trend of making a "sunroom" on a new construction that's very similar to an enclosed porch. It is a room, often open on 3 sides with copious windowage, and sometimes thrust out of the house profile. It may have a skylight. The whole idea is to "let the sunshine in," and may not be intended to be used year-round, but practical for at least all seasons except winter (because heating it to room temperature may be costly). Such a sunroom is a welcome selling point for a house.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:18 PM
fumster fumster is offline
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It helps keep out the cold when you open the door (like an airlock). It also serves as a mudroom so you can take off your shoes.

Last edited by fumster; 05-09-2011 at 06:19 PM..
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:18 PM
doreen doreen is offline
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My house has a porch that was enclosed sometime after the house was built. I'm not certain why it was enclosed, as it was done before I bought the house, but I can think of a couple of possible reasons.

1 It provides a buffer zone between the outside and the living room , which might lower heating and a/c costs, since the heated/cooled part of the house is not right up against the outside. Even if doesn't lower costs, it does get rid of the cold air rushing into the living room every time the front door is opened - that's what happens in the houses that either haven't enclosed the porch or the ones which removed the wall between the living room and the porch.

2 It provides a place to put coats, boots,snow shovels etc. We don't have garages, so everyone goes in and out through the front door. Imagine Archie Bunker's house without the closet. That's what I would have if the porch hadn't been enclosed. Houses where it hasn't been enclosed tend to have an area for wet shoes and boots on the living room floor and coats are either kept in a closet further into the house or on a rack or hooks in the living room.

I've found a couple of other uses- it 's a good place to store items like soda, that I want to serve cold but don't actually need refrigeration between Thanksgiving and New Years, when I don't have extra room in the refrigerator. And I'm planning to put my fig tree on the porch in the winter because although it's unheated, it's much warmer than outside.

They do accumulate a lot of junk, though.

Last edited by doreen; 05-09-2011 at 06:19 PM..
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:57 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I built an enclosed patio in the back, off my living room. I had baseboard heaters installed and a ceiling fan. I use it as an all-season greenhouse . . . and the kitties love going out there, since they're not allowed outside. If I had an enclosed front porch, I'd probably use it the same way.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:49 PM
conurepete conurepete is offline
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I boxed mine in because the basement is bigger then the house and extended out as far as the porch. So the floor of the porch was a roof to the basement. We could never get it water-tight enough, especially since it is flat. Closing in the porch to keep out the snow and rain was the only option. It is still a perfectly good porch, and now I can sleep out there in the summer. It does not make the house warmer in the summer, which is good because I don't have A/C. In a northern place like Detroit or New England, the winter airlock effect is nice.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:56 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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There is a common perception that indoor square footage is more valuable than porch space. I think the truth is more the reverse, once you've got the indoor space you really need.

This
is a great book about the history and culture of porches. If you have an enclosed porch, you'll tear it open again.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:35 PM
conurepete conurepete is offline
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No I won't, it keeps the rain out.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:02 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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If your porch was getting much rain in, I imagine it was either poorly situated (facing into prevailing winds) or its eaves not nearly deep enough. I've stood at the outside edge of really good open porches in driving rainstorms and felt only the odd droplet.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:21 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
My house has a porch that was enclosed sometime after the house was built. I'm not certain why it was enclosed, as it was done before I bought the house, but I can think of a couple of possible reasons.

1 It provides a buffer zone between the outside and the living room , which might lower heating and a/c costs, since the heated/cooled part of the house is not right up against the outside. Even if doesn't lower costs, it does get rid of the cold air rushing into the living room every time the front door is opened - that's what happens in the houses that either haven't enclosed the porch or the ones which removed the wall between the living room and the porch.

2 It provides a place to put coats, boots,snow shovels etc. We don't have garages, so everyone goes in and out through the front door. Imagine Archie Bunker's house without the closet. That's what I would have if the porch hadn't been enclosed. Houses where it hasn't been enclosed tend to have an area for wet shoes and boots on the living room floor and coats are either kept in a closet further into the house or on a rack or hooks in the living room.

I've found a couple of other uses- it 's a good place to store items like soda, that I want to serve cold but don't actually need refrigeration between Thanksgiving and New Years, when I don't have extra room in the refrigerator. And I'm planning to put my fig tree on the porch in the winter because although it's unheated, it's much warmer than outside.

They do accumulate a lot of junk, though.
My father's childhood home had this feature, and Grandma Bodoni said that it was because the unheated front room kept the warmth mostly in the house and the cold mostly on the outside. We only went up there in the summers. I think that the family MIGHT have taken off their coats and boots in this room, but I don't know.

A mud room, as I've always heard it, is a tiny bathroom with a sink and toilet, which is usually located by the back door. This bathroom is used when one is gardening, and going through the house to the main bathroom would track mud through the house, and also used to wash up after gardening or working on the car or whatever.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:12 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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I know that porches are screened in to keep bugs out, but I don't know anything about the ones who are fitted with windows. I've heard the theory that it makes them useful in all seasons, but I can't ever recall seeing someone use a porch in the traditional fashion (to sit in and enjoy "the outdoors") once it's been windowed, so it seems to rob it of function rather than increase it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
A mud room, as I've always heard it, is a tiny bathroom with a sink and toilet, which is usually located by the back door.
Weird. That's definitely not what people around here mean by a mud room: it's an entryway room, often the windowed in porch that is the subject of this thread, at the front of the house where you abandon muddy things/winter clothes.

Last edited by elfkin477; 05-09-2011 at 10:15 PM..
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2011, 02:15 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
I know that porches are screened in to keep bugs out, but I don't know anything about the ones who are fitted with windows. I've heard the theory that it makes them useful in all seasons, but I can't ever recall seeing someone use a porch in the traditional fashion (to sit in and enjoy "the outdoors") once it's been windowed, so it seems to rob it of function rather than increase it.
As a real estate agent, I have to tell you that sunrooms, which are essentially windowed porches, are all the rage. Step into a sunroom and the interior ambiance changes to near-exterior. It's a little like a gazebo without leaving the house, and gazebos are common in upscale homes in the country.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:59 AM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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porches are very nice. in northern climes they don't get used for quite a few months of the year, so boxing them in does make a bit of sense.

rocking on a front porch is lovely, due to allergies and having a thing about creepy crawlys, enclosed is better.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:03 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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My mother's parents (as opposed to my father's parents) had a porch with a roof and screened sides. This is in Texas, where our mosquitoes need to file flight plans because they are so big. They used to sit out on the porch in the evening, enjoying the cooler temp, and it was a good place to eat or entertain without the skeeters and flies bothering everyone. Also, it would have been an excellent place to barbecue, had Grandpa ever felt like doing so. Due to the Texas climate, this area was usable for about nine or ten months out of the year, and of course before they had AC, it was about the only way to beat the heat.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:43 AM
fiddlesticks fiddlesticks is offline
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The house my grandfather grew up in (probably built around 1900) and my great-aunt lived in until she died in Wisconsin had this feature too. The house is gone now, but on the same street neighborhood there are a number of houses with a similar porch, though some houses have been remodeled to bring the space into the interior of the house. I'm willing to bet the porch was used for sleeping on hot summer nights in the days before A/C, as well as being a place for the family to gather in the evenings before the advent of radio and TV.

Screens keep the mosquitoes and biting flies as well as local annoying but non-biting lake & riverflies out.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:50 AM
Scumpup Scumpup is offline
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Such porches are a pleasant place to sit on cool but sunny days in spring and fall. Passivew solar heating through the windows brings the temperature up to a comfortable level. In the summer, they make a nice bug-free place to sit if you replace the windows with screens.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:17 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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in cold winter climates an enclosed porch is an airlock for the entry door, a buffer to prevent cold and air infiltration into the living room (which would have long hours of occupancy after dark). also it is very cheap weather tight storage that might also be used to store food in the winter.

it may have had removable storm/screen windows and doors. screens don't last as long as windows. the screens might have deteriorated and never replaced.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:19 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
I know that porches are screened in to keep bugs out, but I don't know anything about the ones who are fitted with windows. I've heard the theory that it makes them useful in all seasons, but I can't ever recall seeing someone use a porch in the traditional fashion (to sit in and enjoy "the outdoors") once it's been windowed, so it seems to rob it of function rather than increase it.
Yep. Our house once had an open porch -- the bases of the pillars are still there -- but the previous owner enclosed it and used it for extra storage.

He not only enclosed it, he built a wall across the shorter portion (with a door) so now there's sort of an enclosed entry (mud room, I guess) and a slightly larger room behind it.

Sometimes I think I'd like to make it an open porch again but (1) we don't have the money and (2) there's no view anyway.

The only time we use that room is when there's a storm to watch.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:36 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by sh1bu1 View Post
It helps keep out the cold when you open the door (like an airlock). It also serves as a mudroom so you can take off your shoes.
Similarly, I imagine it provides an extra layer of insulation during the winter.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:47 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
...But there's a trend of making a "sunroom" on a new construction that's very similar to an enclosed porch. It is a room, often open on 3 sides with copious windowage, and sometimes thrust out of the house profile. It may have a skylight. The whole idea is to "let the sunshine in," and may not be intended to be used year-round, but practical for at least all seasons except winter (because heating it to room temperature may be costly). Such a sunroom is a welcome selling point for a house.
My sister's house has exactly this, with an exit that leads to an outdoor deck in the back yard. The two spaces together are her summertime party space, as she has a grill out next to the deck.

And for the (indoor) cats she had a little shelf installed just beneath the windows around all three walls, so they can watch the wildlife and follow around the little critters who are scampering through the yard.

It's a terrific space.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:13 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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My grandmother has an enclosed front porch, on her house in a small Midwest town.

It contains a coat closet, a place to leave wet/muddy shoes, and a cafe table with 2 chairs. In spring through fall, it's a great place to eat your breakfast while reading the news paper and watching people. Depending on the temperature, the windows may be open (to screens) or closed. In the winter, it serves as a buffer between the winds blowing across the prairies and the living room. It's a very informal area (Grandma was born about 1910 and things were a bit more formal), and it seems that she feels more comfortable sitting and chatting while in say grubby gardening cloths, than she would be sitting in the living room.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:26 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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I have a small enclosed back porch I just built last year. It has the dog door allowing the dogs outside without letting all the warm air out in the winter. It's a space to store dogfood, wood pellets and ladders. My covered front porch is open, 24' X 6', with a porch swing, a rocker and a trellis, and it's a great place to sit on a rainy day and read.

StG
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:24 PM
FeAudrey FeAudrey is offline
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My ideal house would have two porches -- an enclosed, windowed one facing south for cold weather use, and an open, screened one facing north for hot weather use.

Plants and wicker furniture for both! And garden views ....
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:54 AM
ethelbert ethelbert is offline
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I have always viewed front porches as a social element of a neighborhood. It is the interface through which the inhabitants of a house communicate with their neighbors. Covering it up is like gagging a house. If I were king, all houses would have front porches and when the king walked by you would have to come out and chat with him, except when he was in a bad mood you would just wave to him.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:36 PM
BoraBora555 BoraBora555 is offline
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Architectual Beauty

It is a sad sad state of the times to see all the porches enclosed on older homes. The reasons given existed at the time they were built as well- heat loss, weather issues, etc. But the porch was still left open. It had a curb appeal quality as well as a social gathering space.
I bought a cute little reverse cape in Maine that has the open covered porch. It keeps the rain off the front door and allows me to unlock the door when arriving home in a rain or snow storm without becoming drenched. I do enjoy all the season with it. In the fall a heavy sweater is enough. In the winter I decorate it for the holidays. In the spring the sun hits it at such an angle in the early morning that bundled up I can enjoy my coffee while basking in the sun. In May the Lilacs bloom and the perfume of the flowers is potent only when sitting on the porch.
If you just assume it is too cold and too wet or too.......you are short changing yourself. There is much to be missed by not experiencing all that your porch can be.
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:47 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I can't speak for New England, but what you describe sounds a lot like similar porches in the Midwest. Sometimes the porches were originally screened-in, for summer use only, then were more enclosed to make them useful for 3 or 4 seasons.
This.
  1. No porch or small porch -> large covered porch;
  2. Large covered porch -> screened porch for summer use;
  3. Screened porch -> glassed/semi-sealed porch for year-round use, including weather isolation and mudroom.
We have a porchless colonial that was always supposed to grow a full wraparound porch. Didn't. Next owner can do it. Of course, it will need to be heated and airconditioned to make it at all useful.
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Old 05-14-2017, 02:53 PM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
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Originally Posted by BoraBora555 View Post
It is a sad sad state of the times to see all the porches enclosed on older homes. The reasons given existed at the time they were built as well- heat loss, weather issues, etc. But the porch was still left open. It had a curb appeal quality as well as a social gathering space.
I bought a cute little reverse cape in Maine that has the open covered porch. It keeps the rain off the front door and allows me to unlock the door when arriving home in a rain or snow storm without becoming drenched. I do enjoy all the season with it. In the fall a heavy sweater is enough. In the winter I decorate it for the holidays. In the spring the sun hits it at such an angle in the early morning that bundled up I can enjoy my coffee while basking in the sun. In May the Lilacs bloom and the perfume of the flowers is potent only when sitting on the porch.
If you just assume it is too cold and too wet or too.......you are short changing yourself. There is much to be missed by not experiencing all that your porch can be.
I fully agree. Thank you.
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:03 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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As a real estate agent, I have to tell you that sunrooms, which are essentially windowed porches, are all the rage. Step into a sunroom and the interior ambiance changes to near-exterior. It's a little like a gazebo without leaving the house, and gazebos are common in upscale homes in the country.
I know this is a zombie but this sold me on the idea of a sunroom.
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:14 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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The back deck has replaced the front porch in functionality in modern homes. An enclosed porch needs less maintenance since it's not exposed to the weather, the energy efficiency and providing an airlock have been covered, and in many homes front porches were 'boxed in' and heated to provide additional living space, sometimes with a front porch added in front of the old one. It's a lovely feature on a house here in New England for the 3-4 months out of the year with tolerable weather to use an unenclosed front porch but I guess that's not enough to keep them that way.
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:46 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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It's a lovely feature on a house here in New England for the 3-4 months out of the year with tolerable weather to use an unenclosed front porch...
Huh. We have a nice rear deck that's largely screened from the sun, and I think we've eaten out there three times in six years. I won't say there haven't been pleasant evenings, but on every evening we are prepared to set up and eat outside, it's cold, windy, raining (or worse)... or too humid and muggy to set foot outside.

I guess if you're prepared to make sitting outside an activity driven by the availability of good weather for it, it's okay, but I've always found it hard to change family plans (and inertia) on short notice.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:59 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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It may not have been to code, but in college, I slept in an enclosed front porch. It had been turned into an additional bedroom. I joked that I was sleeping in a bowling alley, because it was as long as the front of the house, and just wide enough to fit a bed crosswise. An electric wall heater had been added to the room.

I know of a couple of houses today that look like the same thing has been done.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:26 AM
kiz kiz is offline
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Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
It may not have been to code, but in college, I slept in an enclosed front porch. It had been turned into an additional bedroom. I joked that I was sleeping in a bowling alley, because it was as long as the front of the house, and just wide enough to fit a bed crosswise. An electric wall heater had been added to the room.

I know of a couple of houses today that look like the same thing has been done.
The people who bought my godmother's house did exactly this. The house originally had 2BR and they had 3 kids. Only difference was that they had theirs insulated and added a heat register.

The next owner knocked out the wall separating it from the living room, thereby extending the living room. They added a bay window.

Speaking of which, front doors around my (New England) way are seldom used (except for mail delivery) because of the potential heat loss: You go in and out of the side door, which usually has stairs going up to the kitchen and down to the basement. The area right inside the door is the mud room.

One of my exes grew up in a big old rambling Victorian "clunker" which still has its original screened in side porch. When he and his siblings were kids they slept out there during the summer.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:24 AM
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I have just such a porch on my house!

It's not original to this 135yr old cottage, as the transom window was discovered fully intact beneath the dry wall. Almost all the houses on my street have porches, some larger and grander. But ours is the only enclosed one.

We love it and get tons of use out of it. During really spectacular weather, summer or winter, it's amazing to sit and watch it. The neighbours come out and watch for a moment only to retreat indoors quickly. I take my tea and cuddle up with my dog and watch the snow pile up or the rain pour down. It's awesome.

We don't use it as a mud room, to BBQ, or for coats, instead I've converted into a sort of library with a long shelf running the entire length of the porch, above door and windows. It holds a lot of books, plus there is additional book shelving below the windows as well. (Pretty sure all the books add insulation during the cold, cold winter!) A deacon style bench where you come in and a high window seat, to lay on, at the other end. It also holds my rock collections, deer antler and various artifacts of our travels.

Brought a lovely hammock back from Cambodia, kept under the seat of the bench, and with the mounts in place so it's a breeze to hook up and take down. I spend time in it most every afternoon!

We get a lot of use from the porch, even in winter as we have a heated throw. In the autumn I can extend the flowering of my summer pots by several weeks by bringing them into my porch, which is wonderful. In the fading winter, the sunshine creates enough solar gain to make it warm enough for hammocking by late afternoon. A lifesaver when you're bone tired of winters chill! Warm enough to add heat to the house even though there is still snow on the ground.

It was unused space, no shelves or seats, of little utility when we bought the house. But now it sees lots of use and is one of our favourite spaces. Every day when my hubby gets home, after dropping his gear, he heads to the window seat with our dog. Just to relax and chill, watch the world go by, enjoy the view and shake off that work feeling. I get in the hammock and we chatter while watching the the neighbour kids play. Pretty sure that's how porches have always been used, and ours still is, almost daily, - even though it's enclosed!
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Old 05-15-2017, 07:11 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Similarly, closed-off balconies were very popular here in Israel, although closing them off is now illegal. I'm sitting in one now. It's a narrow, Bauhaus-style balcony in a 1930's building, about 4 by 15 feet long, with a waist-high wall around the edge, closed off with large glass windows. It's a bit of a hothouse during the summer - although the cypress trees outside help a lot - but other than that, it's a great work space.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:53 AM
PoppaSan PoppaSan is offline
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My grandparents house in a small midwestern town had a window enclosed front porch. Except for the coldest weather, that was where the kid table was at family events. It was a tight space though, perfect usage for 4-10 yos. I also slept in it a few times. Their house had been converted to two family and that was the access to the second story, so we had to go through the porch to get to the storage space or bedrooms upstairs. Since their passing, the current owners re-opened the inner access to the second story, tore off the enclosed porch and put on a small deck in place of it.
Interesting that many of my dreams take place in that house even though we visited maybe 3-4 times per year.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:03 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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My grandparents enclosed off the porch to make a library, so that my great uncle could have a bedroom where the old library was. It also was where all the toys were stored.

This was also how my great aunt on the other side of the family did things, except it was just a toy room. As a kid, I always marveled at how it could be as messy as you wanted, but you'd always have a clean bedroom. It just seemed a perfect idea to avoid having to clean your room.

The front porch was never completely walled off, though. Though grandma's had two open walls with a railing, because you would not want to fall basically an entire story to the ground otherwise. They even kept a cellar under that porch.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:29 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Huh. We have a nice rear deck that's largely screened from the sun, and I think we've eaten out there three times in six years. I won't say there haven't been pleasant evenings, but on every evening we are prepared to set up and eat outside, it's cold, windy, raining (or worse)... or too humid and muggy to set foot outside.

I guess if you're prepared to make sitting outside an activity driven by the availability of good weather for it, it's okay, but I've always found it hard to change family plans (and inertia) on short notice.
When I lived in St. Louis, a place with four very distinct seasons, I had a screened porch area off the kitchen. Which we equipped with an outdoor dining table and chairs. We ate out there as often as we could. Which was most meals in spring and fall, early breakfasts or late dinners in the dog days of summer, and almost never in winter.

It's mostly a matter of establishing the mental habit that outdoors is the default and you only retreat inside if it won't be pleasant. Our neighbors with the more typical Midwestern habits substantially never used their screen porches even on beautiful 75 degree days filled with blooming trees and singing birds. Because their mental default was eating inside.

Give it a try; you might like it.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-17-2017 at 09:31 AM..
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:38 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Give it a try; you might like it.
We ate outside at least twice a week for around half the year in California. Here, surrounded by woods, we expected to make the most of the non-precipitative months, and brought a huge market umbrella with us to cope with light weather.

As I said, the evenings that are pleasant enough to sit outside are so rare we simply lost the habit. Not just cold, but cold and windy. Not just rain, but wind-blown downpours. Then not warm, but hot and 100% humidity, without a break at night time. The occasional evening that was calm and warm managed to fall on nights we couldn't relocate outside, and the outside table and chairs weren't kept clean enough for dining, so a long cleanup step had to be factored in. Easier to just open the big slider, with the screen closed (did I mention the bugs here in the woods?) and pretend.

A covered porch might have helped, but we never built one. I am pleased to be moving somewhere with much better weather, because outdoor coffee in the morning and dinner in the evening are two free and priceless things.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 05-17-2017 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:46 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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Long ago my Dad came home from the hardware/lumber store with an odd assortment of windows and plans to enclose his front porch as described in the OP. To me it seemed really dumb but I still went along and helped him do it all. That winter I stayed over there a couple times to go hunting and -------- even without heat it was warm enough out there to sit in comfort until me buddy arrived to pick me up. And we're talking PA in January 4am. It was situated just right to get the best sun and it usually stayed about 30 degrees or more warmed than "outside". In the summer it was screens and it really caught a nice breeze making it cooler than the living room inside the door of the house. Dad just called it the Sun Room and it became almost like a den for him. It gave me a new appreciation for the idea and the Old Man.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:01 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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ETA: @AB.

Yeah. Makes sense. My pre-STL heritage was always places with much better than average weather. As you had in CA. So it was easy to bring the "eat outside" habit with us and force it to persevere into the less than ideal weather of St. Louis shoulder seasons. We still got good regular use about 7 months per year albeit not every meal every day. Plus partial use for another month or so. We ate many an outside meal during a warm mild rain or drizzle. Thunderstorms chased us inside more than once.

If your part of New England is blistering summer, frozen winter, or sodden in-between then the "good" days are so few and far between as to not be worth it. Trying to make do with an unscreened umbrella vs a covered screened room trebles the chances for failure.

Agree completely about the value of living where the weather is usually nice not nasty. Growing up in coastal SoCal one of my sayings was "Anyplace you can't survive outdoors naked for 24 hours is no place a human should live." I still think so.

Here in FL we use our covered screened porch for most meals. Lunch in August is a bit too hot and sticky. Pre-dawn in Feb is a bit chilly for leisurely coffee on some days. Otherwise it's pretty darn awesome.

Where are you thinking of moving? I recall seeing you mention the idea in other threads but I'm not recalling where or when.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 05-17-2017 at 10:04 AM..
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:11 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Where are you thinking of moving? I recall seeing you mention the idea in other threads but I'm not recalling where or when.
Started with a pin in Portland (the left coast one, natch) but moved it to Denver for weather and job front reasons. I can take cold winter for the general dryness and pleasant summers.

As I've said, I did not expect the endless, hot, deadly-humid summers here in Nwingland. Especially as the pattern is for the heat and humidity to persist through the day-night cycle; humidity in Northern California, generally rare, always went away with the fall of evening.

Here, I've walked out into Amazonian conditions at 2 a.m. and expected water buffalo to trot by in the misty moonlight. Which would be odd for many reasons, yes. Shoveling snow AND hiding indoors in A/C is not a combination I can take any longer.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:20 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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My mom replaced her deck with a screen porch. It was nice in the summer (with the windows opened) and in the winter it was useful as a walk-in cooler.
This was on the back of the house (north side)

Brian
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:29 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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...
Shoveling snow AND hiding indoors in A/C is not a combination I can take any longer.
Amen, Brother!!

As you know, Denver is a very outdoor-centric place all 4 seasons. I bet you'll love at least that part of it. Good luck.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:20 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is online now
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My brother has one on his house. Mostly they use it to make sure the cats don't get outside.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:36 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I lived in an older two-story house in Oregon for a couple of years. It originally had a covered front porch that someone boxed in. It featured sliding glass doors used as windows---close the glass doors in winter and that thing stayed as warm as the interior of the house. Open the glass doors in summer and it was delightful.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:31 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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If your part of New England is blistering summer, frozen winter, or sodden in-between then the "good" days are so few and far between as to not be worth it. Trying to make do with an unscreened umbrella vs a covered screened room trebles the chances for failure.
I think this is all parts of New England. For example, every New England state's average humidity in July and August is 89-93%. The mid-Atlantic states aren't any better, except for one, who otherwise all average 90%+ too.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:42 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Similarly, closed-off balconies were very popular here in Israel, although closing them off is now illegal. I'm sitting in one now. It's a narrow, Bauhaus-style balcony in a 1930's building, about 4 by 15 feet long, with a waist-high wall around the edge, closed off with large glass windows. It's a bit of a hothouse during the summer - although the cypress trees outside help a lot - but other than that, it's a great work space.
Why was closing them off made illegal?
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:48 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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My father's childhood home had this feature, and Grandma Bodoni said that it was because the unheated front room kept the warmth mostly in the house and the cold mostly on the outside.
A similar feature, the galerķa, was very popular in Spain in 19th and 20th century buildings. In the Central Mesa, current construction often includes fake galerķas: from the street it looks like one but it's actually the end of the living room, rather than a fully-enclosed balcony.

My grandma's 1936-vintage, no heating or a/c, flat in Barcelona had one of a slightly-different type. A room that goes the whole length of the facade, with two large windows (these have blinds on the outside), and its separations from the rest of the house are windows with built-in shutters. That galerķa and the inner hallway (long and high-ceilinged, and always in the shadow) were the house's main temperature-control system. They work very well so long as one bothers to use them properly.

They also serve as sunrooms in the cold weather: the blinds are rolled up turning the room into a glasshouse of sorts, so that the galerķa is warmer than either the outside or the inside.

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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
Why was closing them off made illegal?
If (big if) Israeli laws about how to calculate a house's surface and therefore property rights and other fees, are similar to those of Spain, because enclosing the balcony rises the official surface.

Last edited by Nava; 05-19-2017 at 02:51 AM..
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:07 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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If (big if) Israeli laws about how to calculate a house's surface and therefore property rights and other fees, are similar to those of Spain, because enclosing the balcony rises the official surface.
That, and zoning issues - if, for aesthetic reasons, the city decides that the apartment buildings on a certain block should have open balconies, then that's the way it has to be.
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