Shelter from the swelter, it all started with a covered entry
• Photograhy by Gillian Jackson
In ancient times, the Greeks adorned entrances to buildings with formal roof structures supported by tall columns. Called a portico, it was seen as a sign of authority and wealth. It also raised the home’s stature and offered much needed shelter from the heat.
Since then, the portico has shed its elitist signifier and has become a staple for homes the world over. A porch, loggia, veranda, or balcony offers us protection from the elements but more than that, it’s a place to catch a breeze and chill out.
Who can resist the charm of a wraparound porch?
We still romanticize the wraparound porch where you might find a southern gentleman sipping sweet tea and gossiping with a neighbour. But, with the rise in popularity of outdoor living, we’re seeing more covered structures that offer a variety of open-air options for relaxation and entertainment.
Moving the inside – out
We want our outdoor structures (or rooms), to be multi-functional. Not only are we moving our dining rooms from the inside – out, we’re also setting up living rooms, kitchens and bars so we can enjoy as much time outside as possible. By creating these outdoor rooms, we’re not just increasing the function of the home and how we use it, we are doing it in style. Our backyards and porches are an extension of our style from within the home.
Increase your property’s value
But it’s not just an excuse to spend money. These structures also add value, especially as we see property values rise. We want to squeeze the most use out of our property, so permanent structures like cabanas, tiki bars, sheds and pergolas are not only a great way to enjoy the yard, they’re a good investment, too.
Functional and desirable, the loggia or porch is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Some newly built homes are featuring covered porches at the back of the home. Many clients are asking for high-quality installations such as built-in heaters radiating down from the ceiling. These three season “rooms” may also feature large stone fireplaces, TVs, wet bars, and dining and lounge areas — multiple uses in one space.
Luckily, the building and manufacturing industries are seeing this surge of interest in outdoor furnishings, accessories, fixtures and technology and are bringing new ideas and styles to the market.
Cope with a cabana
Is it a bar? A change room? Pool storage? It can be all of that and more. You don’t have to have a pool to create a unique, covered space for liquid refreshments. Electricity and plumbing added (safely, by professionals) can make even a tight space a fun, entertaining oasis.
Once the sun goes down
Adding a firepit, pizza oven, or outdoor fireplace is a great idea if your municipality allows it. By adding an open-air pergola overhead and some comfy seating, you’ll have a perfect outdoor room to enjoy the evening stars by firelight, or cook that perfect pizza.
Is it a shed or a she-shed?
You almost have to look twice these days to see if a garden shed is being used for garden tools. Today, it’s quite on trend to convert an existing shed into a little garden retreat. In line with the small home movement, clever placement of furniture, storage solutions, and running electricity and water elevate any small space into a fully functional mini-home.
Whether it’s used as a studio, workshop, retreat or just a shed, upgrading an existing structure or building something new from scratch that will keep you outside longer is a good investment, both financially and for your health. So get outside and don’t come in until the street lights come on.
Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com