See you at the porch

Porches are no longer just transition areas to our living rooms. New homeowners want them to double up as inviting spaces for socialising. Experts are harnessing the versatility of porches by incorporating greenery and flexible seating.
Last Updated : 02 March 2024, 02:50 IST

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Porches are no longer just transition areas to our living rooms. New homeowners want them to double up as inviting spaces for socialising. Experts are harnessing the versatility of porches by incorporating greenery and flexible seating. They shed light on the growing trend.

Go natural

Pavithra Ravichandran designed a ‘social porch’ in Erode, Tamil Nadu, where her Studio Pa.Ra is based out of. The principal architect and founder says they made sure the design was climate-responsive.

Her studio built an open-to-sky circular aperture in the ceiling and added creeper plants along the circumference of the opening. These ‘curtain creepers’ aren’t just there to charm — they are strategically placed to muffle the noise from the nearby railway station. “We wanted to create a space where people could gather to chat, work, or unwind. The circular cut-out has been designed in such a way that you can enjoy the natural vibes without getting drenched. We’ve incorporated drainage outlets to ensure that water drains out consistently,”
she explains.

One must ensure their porch furniture is weather-appropriate. Rattan, cane or wicker furniture are both tough and stylish, says Zafar Masud Chaudhary, CEO and founder, and principal architect, Habitat Architects, Punjab.

In terms of materials, Pavithra favours stone or concrete over tiles. The latter traps heat. Additionally, natural stones like granite or sandstone work well for the flooring for a ‘social porch’ or paving. These are durable and remain cool during summers, explains Chaudhary.

Cosy but private

Bamboo screens or blinds can be added to the porch to maintain privacy and ensure airflow at the same time.” Our country is warm. So it’s smart to have some shade under pergolas or awnings. You can further add wood, like teak or cedar, to your pergola for a cosy vibe,” advises Chaudhary.

Mind the placement

Your porch should exude a relaxed vibe where conversations can flow naturally, whether people are facing each other or moving around. Avoid rigid seating arrangements that may limit interactions, Pavithra advises.

Movable and diverse seating can lend flexibility, says Zafar. He recommends going for a mix of traditional floor seating, modern chairs, chaises, and loungers to cater to everyone’s tastes.

Care should also be taken while planning pillars at porches. Zafar advises, “Position them to maximise open space. Placing pillars at corners or edges creates an inviting atmosphere, allowing seamless communication among guests.” He further suggests opting for slender or decorative pillars.

Create the ambience

Building a relaxed ambience requires a good mix of overhead lighting, wall sconces, and accent lights, says Zafar. “Don’t forget to add greenery — whether it is potted plants, hanging baskets, or a vertical garden. These add a touch of freshness (to the porch),” he adds.

For a home he designed in Delhi, Zafar positioned the porch overlooking a manicured garden and adorned the space with potted plants, wall lamps, and artefacts. These elements should be planned right from the beginning and not added as an afterthought, he emphasised.

Sandeep Umapathy, associate architect at Mistry Architects, Bengaluru, speaks of two porches he designed for a plantation villa project in Kodagu. He styled one of the porches, right at the entrance of the villa, with Mangaluru tiles. It is a versatile space. Or, as he puts it, “a cosy spot for morning tea, a space for small gatherings, or an outdoor barbecue area”. It offers a sweeping view of the surrounding coffee estate.

The other porch, which is in front of the clubhouse, also lends a view of the surroundings. It overlooks a pond, and a swimming pool. It serves as a visitor’s lounge, and a walkway connecting to the dining room, library, and indoor sports area. “Even during rains, the partially covered porch will let you enjoy a gentle splash of water,” he details.

In order to prioritise the natural beauty, he used understated colours and carried out subtle architectural interventions. “We worked towards letting in light and water reflections,” he shares.

In Sandeep’s ongoing projects in Bengaluru, he is incorporating sensory gardens, plunge pools, and jacuzzis to the porch. Hardesh Chawla of Essentia Environments, Gurugram, added a waterfall element to a porch he designed for a residence in Uttar Pradesh. The water falls from the roof of the porch into the pool in the porch area. “The dynamic movement of water is central to the design. Our goal was to create a space that encourages gatherings and leisure time,” explains Hardesh.

He says they took care to hide the plumbing fixtures within the structure so it doesn’t distract the guests from the natural beauty of the porch.

Wallet Factor

Set aside a budget between Rs 15 and 20 lakh.

Published 02 March 2024, 02:50 IST

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