Happy Halloween everyone! With the thought of getting lots of visitors to your front porches tonight, I figured that this was the perfect time to talk more about what people see when they first walk up to your home – your front porch! It’s really your chance to make a first impression for anyone coming to your home, or in some cases for people driving by. For me, it was always an exciting part of the house to think about decorating! Especially for seasons like fall. How fun is it to make a trip to the pumpkin patch and bring back goodies for your porch?! I know so many people who have to hold back their urge to decorate for the fall season in August when some of us are still in full summer mode! Here’s the rundown on front porches and how to make sure that yours is only scary when it’s supposed to be… on Halloween!
When you’re designing your home, one thing to consider is whether or not you want your front porch to be usable. Is it somewhere that you’d like to be big enough to have chairs or a porch swing sitting? What direction does your home face? Maybe you love to sit out on the front porch and watch the cars go by? However you envision it, sharing this with your builder from the beginning is the best way to make sure that your house plans take this into consideration. The overall “look” of your front porch also adds some personality to your house. Personally, I love the look of a house that is almost centered around the front entrance. We chose to have a gable on the front of our home that is centered over the front door. The very tidy and organized side of my brain loves this symmetry. However, depending on the layout of your house, this doesn’t always need to be the case – and your front porch doesn’t always have to be a space large enough for sitting either.
Let’s start by talking about the front door. At Sockness Builders, we almost always do insulated fiberglass doors. These days there are SO many options to customize the look of your front door, and because of this, this category can really range in price. My front door is textured fiberglass, made to look like wood. I’m a fan of the rich, dark color that you can achieve with this look. There are two main factors that people think about in front doors… natural light and privacy, and it’s a matter of finding a balance between the two. Most people love that the front door can be a source of good lighting for inside, but they don’t really want someone coming up to the door to be able to look right inside the house either. That’s why you can even customize the glass on your front door too. In my case, we chose to keep the glass clear because our windows in the door are so high. But, many doors with full-glass or glass lower to the ground are done in an obscure glass option. This means that the glass is patterned or frosted in a way that makes it harder to just look right into the house. Front doors can also be accompanied by sidelights – these are the panels next to a front door. These are mainly for looks, but the added windows do create the opportunity to bring even more natural light into your space. It’s also most typical that we do front doors with aluminum clad frames around the exterior because it makes this part totally maintenance free! If you’re looking at the picture of my front porch, this is the white frame that goes around my door and sidelights.
The finishes of your front porch can also vary to create a look that you love. My home’s front porch is pretty typical and budget-friendly with a concrete floor, aluminum soffit (this is the ceiling of the front porch), and two squared columns wrapped in Azek material with a stone base to match the masonry on the house. We also have can lights right in the soffits on the front porch which make the area very well-lit at night. But there are so many other fun ideas to jazz up this space. Check out these images of recent front porches that we’ve completed here at Sockness Builders.
On this photo example you’ll notice that the ceiling of the front porch is done in bead board soffit (also made out of Azek material) but it’s a barreled ceiling which is rounded to match other arched features throughout the home, like the arched transom windows over top of the front door itself. The columns in this case are tapered, and the flooring of this porch is Azek decking (as opposed to concrete), which totally adds to the cozy, craft-style of this house. Besides standard concrete or decking, like this example, doing stamped concrete on your front porch is also a way to make it unique. This means that the concrete is patterned or textured to create the look of another material like flagstone, slate, etc.
Another example of a unique front entry is this home. Notice the double front doors, sidelights, and large windows above. This home is flooded with amazing natural light coming from this area. The glass is obscured, with the exception of the large windows above, so you can’t see right into the house when standing at the front door. This home has LP SmartSide® Siding and Soffit, which is kind of the “new thing” lately in the building industry. It’s engineered wood which has superior durability against weather conditions and it holds up great over time. But the best part is the it’s practically maintenance free siding. Who doesn’t love that, right? The combination of can lights in the soffit and a hanging light fixture really add style to this home too. The last thing to note here is the zero-step entry. If you’ve been following along with the blog, then you already know that this means that there is no step to get into the house.
Whichever way you decide to create your front porch, make sure to build it around your lifestyle. Make it a space that you love to be in, a space that you love to welcome guests into, and if you’re like me… a space that you can totally decorate for every season!
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