Rising to a height of 22 ft., this two-story "back porch" is a simple but distinctive complement to the main house. The lower level is off the family room, and the smaller upper level porch serves the master bedroom.
Double the Pleasure
John Hopke, an architect in Williamsburg, Virginia, says almost every new home built in his area includes an outdoor deck, but because of the insects, they're rarely used. "People know the mosquitoes are bad, and that they won't be using the deck until it's screened in," says Hopke. In fact, he laughs, "Around here, another word for 'deck' is 'future screened porch.'"
Hopke decided to skip the deck stage when he designed a 2,350-sq.-ft. home for his own family. Drawing inspiration from the area's many Victorian houses, Hopke created what he calls a "transitional" style, "traditional enough for the market but contemporary enough to suit me." Tradition is evident in the four 22-ft. columns on the south side of the home. The columns provide the framework for a two-story screen enclosure that protects porches on both the ground and second floors. The enclosure is an integral part of the design, not an afterthought.
The porches, off the master bedroom on the upper level and the family room/living room on the ground floor, catch the sun that falls on the south side of the home. "They provide effective shading when it's hot," says Hopke, "and during the winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky, you still get good sunlight through them. They cast nice shadows in the wintertime."
Because the upper porch is used almost exclusively by Hopke and his wife, it's smaller and more intimate, occupying only the center third of the space above the
300-sq.-ft. lower porch. On either side is open space that stretches 17 ft. from the lower floor to the ceiling. That meant the furniture for the upper porch didn't have to be carried through the house; instead, it was hoisted up through the openings. The partial porch upstairs also eases communication between floors. "We can yell at the kids if we need to," Hopke laughs.