Residential Design Guidelines

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Residential Design Guidelines


Avoid removing or enclosing porches, especially those which face the public street.

Retain and repair original posts, rails, and trim, including lattice apron, wherever possible. Where replication is necessary, new elements should match the historic as closely as possible.

Rebuild steps with materials appropriate to the facade, matching the historic precedent as closely as possible.

porch guide
porch replacement

Porches are an exterior living space and mark the transition between the private house and the public street. While many porches extend the full length of the facade, some wrap around the building or only cover the entry.

Original porch in need of repair and trim replacement.

Porch after rehabilitation and some trim simplification.

Badly deteriorated wooden porches can be rebuilt and elaborate millwork features can be simplified, if necessary. If total replication is too costly, a simplified design should be of compatible size and scale, and new millwork should be fully scaled.

porch posts

Replacement porch posts, columns, and rails should match the originals as closely as possible. Wrought iron posts and rails should be avoided except where they were part of the historic design.

enclosed porch

Avoid enclosing porches, especially at the front.
Good answers to questions about porch conservation can be found in Preserving Porches, by Renee Kahn and Ellen Meager. (New York: Henry Holt and Co. 1990).

Porch Terms

A vertical member that supports a stair rail.

Spindle Frieze
A horizontal band of decoration composed of turned spindles and other ornamental work.

A railing made up of balusters attached to a top rail and used along stairs, landings, porches and balconies.

A flat, floor-like roof or platform generally built for storage or outdoor living.

One of various cylindrically shaped objects produced on a lathe. Spindles and balusters are often turned.

Residential Design Guidelines: Facade   Doors   Windows   Trim   Porches   Roof   Additions