I remember when I was young my parents would drive my sister and I to Albany to visit our grandmother. As we came upon her beautiful brick home, there she would be, sitting on the front porch in a white rocking chair surrounded by beautifully colored ceramic pots with wonderful flowers cascading down them.
Our home in Buffalo, New York I lived in until I was 12 years old, had a lovely covered front porch. My family would always gather there after dinner and sit in the naturally colored wicker chairs with lively colored pillows in them. My friends would see me out and run over – off we went to play.
Whatever happened to gatherings on beautifully decorated front porches. Now a days even when a new home is built with a lovely front porch do you ever see anyone sitting on it? Centering ourselves to the back of our homes has become the new norm.
What’s disheartening to me is how unfortunate it is that some people have an entrancing front porch but do nothing to enhance it.
Although I don’t have much of a front porch I have an Adirondack chair, bamboo bench , a potted bush and flowers on it. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’ve made my front courtyard into a “room” thereby enhancing the entrance to my home. It captivates the senses before you enter into my home. I enjoy going out on my small front porch and sitting amongst my “secret garden” with a cup of tea and book in hand.
Architect and Author, Sarah Susanka was quoted in a Chicago Tribune News interview as saying, “I really like the character of a Cape Cod in large part because I really enjoy the front porch…the house sort of welcomes you before you enter the front door.”
Last summer my husband and I were invited to a friends summer lake home. Sitting on their beautifully enhanced lake front, front porch, neighbor upon neighbor stopped by for a drink, conversation and some advice. It made me think that at home no one every stops by unannounced anymore. But then I realized the difference at a lake house. The lake view is considered to be the front of the house and so you are visible to all the neighbors around the lake. They see you and hop in their boats to come and visit. If we are focused on the back of our homes, no one can see you. Could it be our lives have gotten so busy and full we prefer to be in the back where no one can see us? If you sit out front think of it this way, it’s a way to socialize without having to actually clean your house!
Bed and Breakfasts are very good at playing on your senses. They provide an instant clue to what is inside. They do it right by enhancing your first impression of their place. A porch with comfy chairs, plants and signs of life with people conversing draws you in.
Even though our days of gathering on the front porch seems to have slowly drifted away could we not rethink the possibility of what I call “gathering of the senses?” As summer approaches start thinking about a makeover for your front porch by adding pieces of furniture, a wall sculpture, potted plants and trees, an outdoor rug or even a new beautiful light on the ceiling of the porch. Porches provide a creative way for a staging area for holiday decorations. Let’s not neglect what is a person’s first impression. You might find you will even enjoy going out the front to sit instead of the back.
I shall leave you with a poem I adore by Garrison Keiller, “The porch promotes good conversation simply by virtue of the fact that on a front porch there is no need for it.”