The Campbell House porch, Main St. Bennington, VT

 This is a look at a beautifully designed porch.

I included commentary about how a porch was used in a time before the automobile, when seeing and being seen was a art form with etiquette and rules.


 How to design the perfect porch for the month of August.


The Campbell House, built in 1896, Bennington, Vt., was designed by  William Bull, Bennington's premier Late Victorian architect.


 1 - Make one side (on the left here) ample so family and friends can gather, admire the owner’s factory across the road, and observe the community passing by. 

Set your house back from the street. This allows gentile lounging and discrete watching, without engagement with the public.

Originally a small porch (with an awning!) was in the middle of the 2nd floor, between the windows.

 In the attic another porch - now glassed in - had a view north to the mountains. 


2 - Always put a tower above your porch so it’s clear where the action is.

Add a great finial!
The plaster ornaments around the frieze anchoring the turret were the latest fashion. 
 Weatherproof plaster that could hold ornate shapes was newly invented. These patterns are still available  and made from the original molds.
3 -  Include a wide stair which curves outward.
The house is set more than 6 ft above the street which could a  daunting height.
If a stair were narrow it would be forbidding. 
Those wide, curved, shallow steps solve the problem. One can climb them leisurely; be seen, pause, and be welcomed (or not). 

 4 - Curve your porch! Curve your railing! Add double columns too. William Bull was a master at using curves. They make spaces slightly larger. But visually, physically, circles draw the eye; they are dramatic. They also soften the character of, and welcome you into, the space.
5 - Add as many patterns as you can. You do not want bored companions. 
Choose sensibly: stone for bases, fretwork for airing the porch, solid pedestals for those columns, sturdy railings and balusters for young gentlemen to carelessly lounge on.
6 - Double columns are good. More is always better. Ionic capitals represent 'grace and beauty', the right ideas for a summer porch. 
Set the curved horns on angle, with 2 faces each, not 2 per end as in the Classic design. Add some acanthus leaves as a flourish.
Your family and friends will visit whether or not your cook can provide excellent lemonade and ginger snaps.


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