There are just certain elements that make the South inherently Southern like grits, fried green tomatoes and Southern hospitality. Along with our Southern mannerisms and eating habits, there are also certain outdoor living styles that are specific to the South. From the charm of the classic rocking chair front porch to the porch swings and painted porch ceilings a soothing shade of Carolina blue, there are wonderful and unique customs and styles original to the south.
Here are just a few very southern porch styles and traditions.
A sleeping porch consists of a long porch with deep overhangs for providing shade. The porch is screened and furnished for sleeping during the warmer months. Sleeping porches can be on ground level, or built onto the second story of either the front, side or back of a home. The concept of the sleeping porch dates back over a hundred years as being used to escape the heat of the summer evenings in the South before the birth of air conditioning. These unique spaces take us back to a by- gone era when people would sleep on a screened-in porch to take advantage of the cool night air and breeze. Sleeping porches were also believed to provide a preventative measure to treat certain disease. In the early 1900’s Tuberculosis was the number one cause of death in the US and fresh air was considered some of the best treatment for people suffering from this lung ailment. The population in the Southern states discovered that by building a screened, private porch they could enjoy the cooler summer nights rather than sleeping in a stuffy and warm bedroom which was believed to perpetuate the effects of Tuberculosis. The use of sleeping porches was also evident in hospitals which made use of fresh air by placing patient’s beds on porches which were screened.
The concept of the sleeping porch is not a new one, but less common in recent years. Recently, we have begun to see this old time favorite begin to make a comeback. Don’t worry, sleeping porches aren’t making a comeback because of illness but instead they are a novel way to enhance outdoor living.
Sleeping porches come in as many styles as the homes they inhabit, but there are some common characteristics among them. First, a true sleeping porch is not the same as a front porch and encompasses a longer expanse than a traditional screen porch. A sleeping porch is a secluded and private room meant to be used only by the home’s inhabitants whereas a front porch or screen porch is more public. Sleeping porches are commonly screened in on two or three sides and placed on the side of the house more likely to catch the evening breezes. Sleeping porches contain a deep overhang for providing shelter from creeping moisture from rain that can be blown into the space via wind or storms.
We are amidst an era of eco-friendly building and this is the reason the sleeping porch is making a comeback. The hustle and bustle of the modern world seems to float away on a sleeping porch as the crickets song sings you to sleep taking you back to a simpler time. We are even seeing a trend of outdoor swings built using twin mattresses made especially for snoozing outdoors. After all, who can resist a private porch where you can get back in touch with nature, take a much needed nap on or unwind with a good book, even if it is on your Ipad?
If you are interested in learning more about creating a custom sleeping porch that is steeped in true Southern style, contact Archadeck of the Piedmont Triad. We can design a unique outdoor living space that takes you back to a time when summertime was all about livin’ easy. Call us today for a free consultation (336) 664 – 1332 email@example.com