Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Old Porch

Shortly after I moved into my house, a couple stopped by to welcome me to the neighborhood. They had just become empty nesters and they had considered buying my house to downsize and they had a lot of renovation ideas. Their plan was enclose this porch to make a huge new kitchen downstairs and master bedroom suite upstairs..

Cambridge has some pretty strict building restrictions but one little loophole--if you could call it that--is that any porch with a roof over it already is considered indoor space; therefore, it could be enclosed and used and indoor space.

I'm really indifferent for a few reason. I love having the downstairs porch on weekend mornings and when friends come over for weekend barbeques but it has a mainly southern exposure and the sun is unbearable most of the day. I never use the upstairs porch at all. Also, as we know from the 1876 survey of my house...

...there was no porch there at all. So I haven't reconciled restoring it to its original condition vs. updating it for modern use. These porches were added to the house in 1940 according to the former owner's daughter and, in my opinion, they look a little tenement-like.

If you'll notice in the 1876 drawing the real el of the house was 37 feet long. The present day kitchen and bathroom only take up about 17 feet.
It seems, according to an 1885 map, that there was an attached structure, probably some kind of barn or wood shed. Maybe that el could look a little like a barn.
But maybe with a lot more glass so it would look like this....
...and maybe opens all the way up if I want it to...
...but set up like this inside for three-season use.
And then maybe have some french glass door from the kitchen so it brings in lots of light and expands the living space part of the year.

I've asked The Architects to consider how I might use this space and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.


  1. Great inspiration pictures! I know what I'd vote for but I can't wait to hear what the architects say first! :)
    Interesting fact about the building restrictions - is this just for historical properties or houses of any age?

  2. Hi Steve, I absolutely love the porch with all the windows. I had a friend in Maine with a porch like that but the windows opened up so during the summer months, the room could be 'open.' It was a wonderful space. Trina

  3. Hi Steve,

    It will be interesting to see what the pros say.

    I'm jealous of all your plans. I'm just hoping to be able to replace the old wrought iron wobbly stair rail on my porch this summer!