(Patricia Emmons is an architect at Curtis & Emmons Architects. She has lived in Wallingford for 36 years, and Pat has been an architect in Wallingford for 28 years. If you have questions on architecture, please e-mail her at pat@CurtisAndEmmons.com, and she’ll try to answer them here. Welcome, Pat!)
Reader: I have a small bungalow with a front porch that spans the entire width of the house. If I enclosed the porch, I could add 50% more space to my living room. Wouldn’t this be a great idea?
Please, please, in the name of holy Wallingford bungalows don’t do it! Porches are not just the place the kid throws the newspaper. Aesthetically, porches add texture, depth, and character to a front elevation. Pragmatically, porches not only graciously protect guests waiting at your door, they also save the front surface of the house from sun and rain. Socially, porches really earn their keep. Use your porch as a gathering area, a reading space, or a covered al fresco dining room. You will not only enjoy fresh air (out of the drizzle or hot sun), but you will also benefit from getting to know your wonderful Wallingford neighbors!
Make the porch an inviting outdoor room. Give it a swing, furnish it with a table and comfortable chairs, enhance it with lovely lighting, and decorate it with art and plants, maybe a heat lamp! Perhaps you can make one part of your porch private and another segment public. Can the railing be used as seating? There are many, many ways to develop a terrific space!
As for your small living room, often spaces are not used to their fullest advantage. The placement and/or size of the furnishings may be wrong. Perhaps the front door is in the wrong place. The first thing that my husband and I did when we moved into our bungalow 27 years ago, was move the centered door to the far side of the living room. We simply switched a door and a window. Without the entry door splitting the room in half, we gained twice as much useable space. Of course, your situation may be quite different, but there is always an alternative design solution that does not require extra square footage.