It is natural for owners to want to improve and extend their properties, but the porch needs to be carefully designed. Where a porch is on the front elevation, it can spoil the appearance of the property and street as well as the outlook of neighbouring houses.
Porches are an effective way to highlight the entrance to a house and provide extra lobby space, but their natural size and location mean that upon completion they can automatically become a home’s most prominent external feature.
As a result of impacting so heavily both on the façade of any given property and on the street as a whole, porches are a home improvement that is easy to get wrong. With the best of intentions, a conscientious home owner can easily spoil the appearance of a house by adding items of poor quality which bear no relation to the original design of the property.
The negative visual impression left in these cases can affect the value of the property. Home-owners interested in installing a porch therefore, need to carefully consider the design implications of this substantial addition before proceeding.
The design of a porch should be carefully related to the existing elevation and look as if it is an integral part of the building. Make sure the size of the porch is in proportion with the existing house.
Installing a UPVC porch may also have a negative visual impact on the appearance of the property if the window frames on the rest of the house’s façade are of a different material. The same principle applies to the glass itself – for example, if contemplating a porch with Elizabethan lead-effect glass, serious consideration needs to be given to whether that is an appropriate design solution if the rest of the windows in the property are un-patterned.
On flat-fronted houses a porch or canopy can still reflect the character of the house, even without bay windows to provide a basis for its design.
The porch roof should reflect the roof style of the existing house. Where appropriate, a sloping or pitched roof should be used with the angle of pitch reflecting the main house roof.
Depending on the style of the house a visual break between the top of the porch roof and the bottom of the first floor window should be retained. The actual distance between the two will be governed by the depth and angle of the porch and its roof.
All new brickwork should match the existing house using the same bond and mortar wherever possible. Detailing around doors, window openings, soldier courses and eaves, should be reflected or duplicated in the design of the new porch. You should match the shape and style of existing doors and windows to create an overall balance to the design.
It is best to avoid features in your porch design that bear no resemblance to the original house. For example, it would be unsuitable to construct ornate columns on the front of a 1930’s style property.
The door you propose to use should be in proportion to the size of the porch. For example, the use of double doors may be unsuitable in many porch designs. Wherever possible try to re-use the original front door.
If you are infilling a recessed doorway, you should set the infill back from the front of the building, even if this is only a few centimetres.