Thinking about a porch for your house?  How about a portico?  A lanai?  Would you like a loggia?  Hey, this is America, not Italy.  Let’s use American words.

Porches in America come in several categories.

An OPEN PORCH has a roof over a deck or a patio but has no screens.  Really, it is just a roof with support columns – it is totally open to breezes, but is also open to bugs and wind-blown rain.  Its shade lowers sunny summer temperatures inside by ten or fifteen degrees.  Would you and friends enjoy an afternoon relaxing on these open porches?

Put an open porch on the front of your house, and we’ll call it a FRONT PORCH.  Although some front porches in urban areas are enclosed, most front porches are open.

The roofs of smaller PORTICOs and FRONT ENTRY Porches protect arriving guests from the weather, but the best Front Entries entice guests to your front door:

Click on any picture to enlarge.

In New England, our FARMER’S PORCHES are wide and inviting:

Grab a comfortable chair and relax with an iced tea and a good book. Watch the world go by.

Of all porches, the most popular is the SCREENED PORCH.  It is usually in the back yard and has a range of options:  kneewalls or rails;  cathedral or flat ceilings;  gable, shed or hip roofs;  skylights or not;  rustic beams or finished trim.

A Screened Porch is cool in the summer — but can you also enjoy it in late fall or early spring?  You can if you add sliding glass windows or removable acrylic panels.  Call it a 3 SEASON PORCH.  Extend its comfort even longer with insulation in the ceiling and the kneewalls.

To see more Front Porches, visit our “pictorial essay” on the subject.

To see more porches of all kinds, link to our website gallery.

We also recommend some great porches in Kansas City.

EPILOG: So what do those foreign porch words mean anyway?

  • Lanai (rhymes with “apply”)  Lanai is Hawaiian for “porch” — or it’s an open porch on the Hawaiian island of Lanai.  A lanai on Lania. (Sorry)
  • Portico is the Latin origin of our word “porch”.  In Italian it refers to “a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls.” (Wikipedia, 2010)  That’s complicated. In simple American, a portico is our familiar front entry:

    • Veranda.  The Oxford English Dictionary claims the term “veranda” originated in India, although it may instead come from the Spanish or Portuguese.  Either way, it refers to a “railing, balustrade, or balcony.” In 1873, a veranda in Macay, Australia looked like this:

  • Loggia is 18th century Italian for a “front corridor or arcade open to the air on at least one side.  A space within the body of a building but open to the air on one side, serving as an open-air room or as an entrance porch.” (From the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.)  Confused?  A photo or two may help:

Here’s an Italian loggia:

Here is Robert Loggia:

Let’s leave loggia to the Italians.  Both of them.

At Advantage Design & Construction, we offer professional design and build services for clients west and north of Boston.  Over the past 27 years we have designed and built over 1,000 projects, including more than 240 porches of various types.  We have enhanced the depth of our expertise by limiting our work to decks, porches, sunrooms, and patios.  To view some of these projects, visit our website. To learn how we treat our clients, check us on Angie’s List, under “decks and porches,” or read about us in an article in Remodeling Magazine. For a free design consultation and a relaxed and rewarding experience, contact us via e-mail, or by phone, 781-273-3500.

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