“Nobody thought much about the front porch when most Americans had them and used them. The great American front porch was just there, open and sociable, an unassigned part of the house that belonged to everyone and no one, a place for family and friends to pass the time.” –Rochlin, The Front Porch, in Home, Sweet Home
A Brief History
The word “porch” originally derives from the latin word porticus, or the greek word portico, both of which signify the columned entry to a Classical temple. As history unfolded and the Middle Ages arrived, the porch came to represent a cathedral’s vestibule, where worshippers could gather to socialize before and after the service. By Victorian times, the word “porch” became interchangeably used with the words “veranda,” “piazza,” “loggia,” and “portico,” each of which could connote individual meanings. From this period until the second half of the nineteenth century, the word “porch” itself most often described a small, enclosed vestibule or covered rear entrance. Byt the end of the nineteenth century, the word “porch” began to represent its present meaning – a roofed, but incompletely walled living area contiguously attached to the frame of a house. Generally, in America, this area would be found attached to the front of a house, offering a covered and shaded area for an array of uses.
Having grown up in the South both Crystal and I are familiar with the front porch as a means of community, family, and social integration. While we often take it for granted we tend to favor houses that prominently feature a porch. And now when planning our Tiny House we find ourselves wondering how we will create such a porch on a trailer-based home. If we build a home that has a bit of an entry like the Fencl then we are sacrificing much needed square feet. However, if we don’t have a porch we are sacrificing a place to stand out of the weather when opening the door or, even worse, an obvious point of entry.
For a time we considered a porch that would run the length of the house and fold up when in transit. But the drag created by such and the difficulty of securing such an appendage is an obvious concern. Now granted when we are parked for our 365 day experiment in the Tiny House we can build a porch around the structure and even a lean-to style roof. But when in transit we are without such comfort and sacrificing something we feel is quite important to our everyday life.
Our Tiny House – no matter the design – will have to have a minimum of three standard size steps to enter so we will at least have to have some sort of staircase entry. But we are still left without a proper porch. Granted we can put lawn chairs or camping chairs in front of the house we are then left subject to the weather. That would negate our notion of living out of doors 65% of the time.
So, I ask, “what would you do? How would you handle such a dilemma? Am I making too much for the porch?”