Porch Love: June 2017 Edition

Written by Stephanie Roach; Photos by Mrs. 007 Photography

There is nothing like a porch to conjure up a Southern summer. No retreat like it on this side of paradise. It is the reprieve on the war against humidity and perspiration. It is the showcase of modern man’s greatest invention or gift to this latitude: the fan. It is sunset with friends who cheat at UNO while plying you with sweet tea or more cerebral Faulkner-esque libations. It is the place to see and be seen in our fair state from May to September.

The Memphian inside me takes pride in a formal porch, the porches of our forefathers. Deeply set, swing swaying, flower boxes displayed for the envy of all neighbors and to the glory or folly of the household matron. And by golly, a beadboarded ceiling. In our first house on Linden St. in Central Gardens, the home was the oldest on the block of bungalows dating back to 1900. By Memphis standards, that’s new money construction. Our neighbors called the house ‘ The Flesh and Blood’, so named for its pink exterior and blood red trim.

This would eventually be corrected, but we were asked to maintain the blue paint on the porch ceiling. Our local block historian explained that in Victorian times it was very much in vogue to paint beadboarded ceilings blue to reflect the color of the sky for a more pleasant sit. Our newborn son, would spend many hours on that porch craning his tiny neck back to gaze on this facsimile of the atmosphere at large. They say yellow makes you hungry, orange irate, but blue is calming. I am ready to believe. I feel confident that color alone shut down many would-be tantrums.

Regardless of your sentiments towards blue, see here how Dayton refurbishes this porch to glory days by incorporating the beadboard ceiling, creating the same vintage look right here in Murfreesboro. The Stewart’s home is a turn of the century gem on Church St maintaining all the charm of Victorian days gone by. I should purchase my first cotton sundress of the season, don my mom’s old ‘Destined for Destin’ beach hat, and see if I can weasel my way into some serious loitering time with those fine folks on that very porch!

                                       

 

Another fine example of vintage porch a la perfection, the Cottle’s home on Lytle. Here the stately columns and refinished flooring give polish and prominence to the face of the home and a visual treat for would-be downtown bikers and passers-by. I want to be invited to languish on this porch and read romance novels in peace and speak Scarlett O’Hara to anyone who will listen.

 

 

Porch life has evolved as well. The pergola creates oasis where beating sun once defied patio or deck patrons. I love the simplicity of the pattern the lattice shade offers. I admire the strength that an organic element, those beams of wood carefully wrought together as one, bring to organize an outdoor space. A pergola’s clean lines suggest sophistication among the backyard’s unruliness. Note how Hedgewood Builders have modernized and refreshed this area with the construction of a pergola. Now that is summer ready for entertaining!

 

Happy June! Take some time to SIT and enjoy it!

 

-Stephanie

Stephanie Roach is a consultant/writer/His Girl Friday for Hedgewood Builders.  She works her magic behind the scenes and makes sure every i is dotted and t is crossed.  Her love for home design, creative marketing, and knack for making things happen makes her an invaluable asset to the Hedgewood team.

6 Comments
  1. Very beautiful works!! No surprise as I know Daytons talents!

  2. This is beautiful! Porches invite people and bring folks together. We live down from the East Lytle Street house as my husband and I purchased his multigenerational family American Foursquare home, in the 300 block, in 1982. For the love of Southern front porches! Perhaps inspired by the Memphian in me admiring homes over on Peabody, Central, McLemore and such, we have thoroughly enjoyed our porches including ceiling fans. (Generations before us and before air conditioning did too! In the afternoon and for certain after dinner, families gathered on the porch to wind down the day in the coolest breeze visiting —sometimes with neighbors and friends.) That includes front, back and also side “secret garden” space, as extended living spaces, 3 out of 4 seasons, minimum, for us. Further inspired by the love of my husband’s Aunt Sarah Randolph Jones’s always inviting, beautiful porch—we even added springs to our treasured porch swing, accompanied by multiple rocking chairs. We have admired the beautiful transformation of this East Lytle Street property–especially the addition of shutters. This beauty is now dressed like a proper Southern lady. She is most inviting, and appears to say, “Please do, come sit a spell!”

    • Thanks for the response! You are speaking my language. I just returned from Memphis this past week and made sure my old friends and hosts drove me all throughout Central Gardens. It’s an architectural feast for the eyes. I will keep an eye out for your porch–it sounds heavenly all dressed up to cotillion nines (sorry that’s so something my Nana would say!) – Stephanie

  3. This is exquisite work! It’s a dream porch! I could spend countless hours on a porch like this and never grow unhappy! Great work!

    • Thanks, Mr. Brian! Porches are our favorite places to spend countless hours!

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