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Sleeping Porches: Romantic and Practical

I just spotted a delightful post about sleeping porches on the Apartment Therapy blog. These screened-in porches, often on the second floor near the bedrooms, were common back in the days before anyone had an air conditioner, when the only hope for a night's sleep was to get outside of the sunbaked oven that was the house.

In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, these porches did double-duty in the winter. Clotheslines strung across the porch allowed mothers (and it was almost always mothers then) to hang laundry without having to set foot in snow. And a table on the second-story porch always served as an auxiliary refrigerator at Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least if the temps hadn't dropped much below 32 degrees, which would have turned leftovers into turkey-sicles.

Why don't all homes have such versatile, beloved spaces now?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 21, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Home features  
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My grandmother had a 'summer kitchen' on her house. It was a screened porch in the back attached to the regular kitchen and she could prepare meals out there instead of inside. She also used it to can and preserve fruits and vegetables during the summer when crops were coming in. We had home=grown fruits and vegetables all year. It had a table and chairs and the family sat out in the summer kitchen. A big tree shaded the back of the house and most summer evenings found us out there catching fireflies, looking for shooting stars and listening to crickets and tree frogs. And she did have a clothes line strung across the summer kitchen so she could dry clothes in rainy weather and snow.

I now have a screened front porch on my own house (bought the house specifically because it has a screened porch, fireplace, huge kitchen) and spend many nights all year 'round sitting out there. I wouldn't own a house without a porch. Too bad brick McMansions have taken over the landscape and none have a porch.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | July 21, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

My last house and a breezeway that functioned as my summer bedroom.

Now I have a wonderful 1920's home with a big front porch. It is the summer living room, dining room, reading room... Hope to find an end of season, recession priced outdoor sofa to add to this living room so I can make it a comfortable nap space too.

Posted by: PrinceGeorges | July 21, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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