Unfortunate Porch Enclosures

Some porch enclosures are surprisingly successful, but most are not.  When done in a manner that does not acknowledge the prevailing style of the rest of the house, or in a way that emphasizes mass over void, such enclosures can have not only a deadening effect on the facade, but a loss of architectural integrity often results as well.

Here are seven porch enclosures that fail to enhance the the appearance of the houses they impact:


This mid-20th century porch enclosure feautres disproportionately small windows and a coating of a Formstone-like material which is at odds with the rest of the house.


The surviving triangular brackets beneath the roof are all that remain of the Craftsman styling this former porch once possessed.



Not only was the porch enclosed with stained wood siding, but the material was placed on the lower slope of what had once been a Mansard roof! The flat portion of the roof has had a low-pitched roof with eaves place upon it like a cap.


This rather crude enclosure does not mesh well with the more sophisticated styling it is attached to.


A common type of porch enclosure which completely alters the character of a small house.


Each end of this wrap-around porch was enclosed resulting in two blocky appendages with under-scaled windows. Fortunately, the recessed center area offers some visual relief from what otherwise would have looked like a box car.


Looking a bit like a tiny ranch house, this mid-century enclosure fails to hide the modest Italianate origins of the main house.


5 Responses to Unfortunate Porch Enclosures

  1. Yes, in the majority of cases, houses built with open porches look much worse when they are enclosed. In a well-designed house with an open porch, it’s so much a part of the presentation and massing of the exterior, that removing or enclosing it disrupts the overall composition quite badly.

    Our house in Omaha was a basic Foursquare, that had the porch enclosed. Shortly before we sold it, we completed the exterior restoration, which included opening up the porch and re-creating railing (of the historically-accurate 24″ height). It was remarkable how much it changed the appearance of the entire house: https://photos.app.goo.gl/L12xyxJnzBNfjS383

    • Wow! We were practically neighbors… just 40 years apart! I had no idea your house was in my old stomping grounds… of course it looks much better after your restoration than it did decades ago. Opening up the porch did wonders for your house. Stripping the paint off of the concrete columns made a huge difference! I hope the new owners keep it that way. How could you part with it after all that work? Are you renovating another old house now? Any old house in Omaha would be lucky to have you and your wife as stewards! Those are some great old photos of the ‘hood you have… thanks for sharing!

      • Wow, how cool! Where about did you live? We were at 2966 Harris, as you may have guessed. We loved the neighborhood, and there are other new residents restoring houses there now. The buyers of our house were a young couple who wanted a historically-authentic restoration, but didn’t have the skills to do the work themselves. They were a perfect fit for our place.

        We are now back in Illinois to be closer to our families. We bought a 1926 Italian Rennaisance Revival in Aurora. It’s brick with clay tile roof, s no wood exterior to restore (I actually quite enjoyed that on our last house), but there is some paint to strip inside, and a ton of original windows and other details to restore. It’s not our first choice of styles (I have always lusted after a Queen Anne or Stick Style Victorian), but the degree of intact original features won us over (windows, doors, most of the hardware, etc).

        • Didn’t know you had moved! Will you be blogging about your new house? Italian Rennaisance Revival is a great option for an old house aficionado… they’re typically well-built and the exteriors less maintenance-intensive than many other styles.

          My parents owned three contiguous townhouses on Pacific Street back in the 1970’s. The three had been turned into 10-unit apartment building during the depression. We were in the process of reducing the number of units and restoring some of the original layout. When they bought them, these and the other three matching houses all had white trim. I introduced the dark brown and off-white scheme to pick out some of the detailing. Not sure how it was painted originally, but I am happy to see that not only has the color scheme been maintained over the decades, but that the neighbors have followed suit! My folks sold them after I graduated from high school. The interiors were quite nice with beautiful woodwork. Here is a Streetview of them… you will undoubtedly recognize them!

  2. Those row houses are great! Seth, you did a great job on the exterior of your old place as well.

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