Porchtastic: Living in Season

Living in season asks us to “entice people outside, where they get more acclimated to the local environment, needing less heating or cooling when they return indoors,” according to Steve Mouzon via treehugger.

Howard Blackson dares us to live outdoors where “we can again connect with our climate and place — another step towards unsealing ourselves from our hermetic suburban environments.”

I always think of these two when the hot summer days roll around, and I busily open windows at night and close them in the morning to acclimate un-air conditioned space. And yes, it gets hot in Winnipeg. Winnipeg may be the second coldest city of its size on earth, but it’s also one of the sunniest.

What makes it tenable are a couple of things: old, shady trees and plenty of porches. Most houses in our neighbourhood have at least two porches and many have three or four. Designers of these century homes often alternated porch location, so that our largest porch is in the sideyard, while our two neighbors are each on the front. Large trees and shrubs provide some privacy.

Just like the measure of livability for a public space, a well-used porch usually turns out to be a place where you can live, work and play. Or eat, read and write. Or talk, sip, and listen. Or sleep, paint, and dream.

Having a variety of porch sizes tends to provide a number of solitary or convivial options, always welcoming the family out of doors. A few years ago when we lived in full body refrigeration in the summer, I would sometimes get the “It’s too hot” excuse from our son when a walk or bike ride was offered up. Now the breeze of the outdoors is welcome.

So on the back of your design envelope, make sure to jot yourself a note to remember the porch. Even if you’re in a winter city like Winnipeg. They’ll be thanking you for generations to come.

Eat, work, talk. Porch redesign by Susan Henderson and Steve Mouzon.

Eat, work, talk. Porch redesign by Susan Henderson and Steve Mouzon.

Read, sleep, listen.

Read, sleep, listen.

Eat, sip, play.

Eat, sip, play.

Paint, dream, read.

Paint, dream, read.

Hazel Borys

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Comments

  1. Winnipeg? I live in Dallas, where it’s over 105 F for about 6 weeks in the summer, and just humid enough that shade only drops it to about 100 F. Sun doesn’t matter when the air is hot, and the only way to get a break is inside, where crazy elec bills get you a cool 80 degrees. So I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that porches are awesome, acclimate you to the environment, and are an urban necessity… but we generally don’t have them here. People do have back decks, with some kind of cover next to their suburban pools. Not quite the same, though.

  2. Great article on porches. I’m in Chicago. Aside from crime & mosquitoes problems, I’d prefer to sleep outside most nights. I’ve visited Winnipeg, and liked it. Daniel in Dallas reminded me of the picnic tables in the main campground in Badlands NP in South Dakota. They all have a slatted sun shade facing west, without which the tables would rarely be used. Dallas needs more homes built with reinforced concrete with insulation (several types available), which would reduce A/C bills.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] often talk about living in season, and I used my own porches in the city as examples in Porch-tastic. However, the woods gives the city a lesson or two in how it’s [...]

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