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Two Story Porches: Build a Porch Way Up High

 

My love for a two-story porch started the day I was on a home tour in Grant Park (Atlanta) and I walked out onto the top porch of this home.  I know the trees kind of look like they are obstructing the view but it didn’t feel or look that way on the porch.  Instead, it felt as if we were in this magical place, high above the world.  We could see all the way down the street both ways, as well as across the street. The porch felt private and secluded, yet open.

Remember when you were a kid and you climbed up in a tree.  You sat there on your perch watching as everyone walked by underneath, totally unaware you were up there looking down. Yeah, just like that, only a lot more comfortable. :)

It left a huge impression on me that day and I’ve never looked at two-story porches quite the same since.

Historic Home with Double Porches in Grant Park

Right across the street was this beauty with multiple two-story porches.  Porches were big during the era these homes were being built in Grant Park.  Air conditioning kind of killed the porch but thankfully it’s making a comeback.

Historic Victorian Home in Grant Park

My fave two-story porch on this home was the one on the side.  It was on the tour a few years later so we got to see all the porches up close.  Again, when we walked out onto the porch it felt secluded and magical, a hidden spot far away from the rest of the world.  I seem to keep wanting to escape this world, don’t I?

Historic Victorian Home with Side Porch in Grant Park

Recently, I posted this amazing makeover for a Metamorphosis Monday.  This was the “before” picture.

Adding a Double Porch to Home

And this was the beautiful “After.”  (If you missed that post, you’ll find it here: Beautiful Porch & Deck Additions

Seeing this wonderful transformation and that delicious way-up-high porch reignited my passion for two-story porches.

Adding a Double Porch to Home

I’ve snapped a lot of pictures of double-porches over the years.  Remember this Greek Revival we toured in Cave Springs, Georgia here: Tour this 1840 Greek Revival

Historic Greek Revival Home in Rome Georgia

Loved the double-porches on all four sides of Houmas House.

Houmas Plantation where Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte was Filmed

Really pretty when it’s all lit up at night.  You’ll find more pics of Houmas House Plantation here: Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Houmas Plantation House Lit up at Night

I haven’t shared this picture before.  It’s a beautiful home I came across on one of my trips down to Macon, Georgia.  I pulled over on the side of a busy road just long enough to snap this pic.  Look at those French doors on both levels!  Imagine throwing them all open for the fresh summer breezes.

Historic Home in Macon Georgia

One of my fave houses in Marietta, Mockingbird Hill, has a double porch.  Isn’t that the cutest name for a house?  We saw it on Marietta’s Pilgrimage Home Tour in this post: Christmas Historic Home Tour in Marietta, Georgia

Mockingbird Hill, Historic Home in Marietta Georgia

We saw this house with its big double porch on the Savannah tour of homes here: Historic Home Tour, Savannah Georgia  Love how they painted the ceiling “haint blue.”

Historic Home in Savannah Georgia

There are lots of homes with two-story porches in the Isle of Hope just outside Savannah, Georgia.  The next four homes are all from that tour.

Isle of Hope

 

 

Isle of Hope Home with Double Porch

 

Isle of Hope Home with Double Porch

This house has 4 porches and all are on the front where they can catch the breezes from the Isle of Hope harbor across the street.  There’s an open-air porch, a 2-story porch and a screened in porch below for those days when the bugs are biting.  There’s an open porch or sundeck area for sunbathing.  And there’s a front porch where guests can stand out of the rain when visiting.  What a great design!  You can satisfy all your porch desires with this design.

Isle of Hope  Home with Double Porch

Remember the movie house tour we took of the movie, The Burbs starring Tom Hanks and Carrie Fischer.  This was the house where the main character, Ray (played by Tom) lived.  Whenever I see houses with sun decks like the one above in Isle of Hope, I think of Ray’s house in The Burbs.  Why?

Mayfield Place in movie, The Burbs

This scene.  It would be kind of neat to have a porch like that although I doubt this one meets code with that super low railing.

Carol and Ray's House in the Movie, The Burbs

When I replaced my yucky, old, seen-better-days deck with a screened in porch 5 years ago, I really wanted to create a double screened porch.  I don’t think it would have cost that much more but I never did pursue that notion.  Later, I came across a home on a Georgia Trust ramble that kind of resembled what I had in mind.

Building a Screened in Porch_wm

It was on the back of this home, Colonial Heights, a Plantation home in Cave Springs, Georgia.  (Tour can be found here: The Georgia Trust Historic Home Tour and Ramble)

Historic Home in Cave Spring, Georgia_wm

This is the back of Colonial Heights.  Neither the lower nor upper porch are screened, but I do love the double porches.

Historic Home

I especially liked the no-maintenance, carefree, brick floor on the lower porch.  This is kind of what I had in mind for the lower level of my home, if I had finished out that area.  Not sure if I would have screened-in the lower level or not, but it would have been nice for throwing open the French doors on the terrace level.

Double Porch on Back of Historic Home in Cave Spring, Georgia_wm

 

What do you think about double porches or two story porches?  Have a memory of being on one that you especially loved?

Porches shown in this post are from the following home tours:

Isle of Hope, Part I

Isle of Hope, Part II

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Christmas Historic Home in Marietta, Georgia

Historic Home Tour in Savannah, Georgia

The Georgia Trust Historic Home Tour and Ramble

The Burbs: A Movie House Tour




Comments

  1. We have double porches. It’s a great way to give directions—“we’re the house with white columns and double porches.” I love the look of them, but you can only use one porch at a time. Unfortunately, here in Tennessee, it gets hot and humid really quick. We take advantage of the spring and fall with “happy hour” as often as possible. I used to read to my grandbabies in the porch swing, but, sadly, they’ve grow up way too fast— they’re teens now, so it’s been awhile since that happened. Still there’s nothing I like more than sitting on the swing with my tea, a good book and Pandora.

    • Barbara, that sounds wonderful, great memories. When you have parties or larger groups over, do both porches get used then? I noticed a lot of folks going out and sitting down on the double porches at Colonial Heights during the Georgia Trust Spring Ramble. Double porches would be an abundance of riches, for sure. :)

      • If the weather is mild enough, we will open all of the French doors across the front of the house and use the lower porch when we entertain. I’ve only entertained on the upper porch twice—in 18 years. It just seems a little awkward to me to haul everything up there and then have people walk upstairs and go through either a bedroom or office to get out there. We have a sunroom in the back that we use more often in the heat of summer since it is air-conditioned. You feel like you are outside without the heat and mosquitoes!!

        • Oh, that makes sense. I can see why you would use the top that much since you have to go through a bedroom. Nice for the folks who stay in those rooms, though. :)

  2. I owned my double porch/French door dream house in Spanish Fort, Al. until a corporate move took it away. I was a transplanted Connecticut Yankee when my husband and I bought it and it satisfied my dreams of Southern living! My daughter and her friends used it as the backdrop for prom pictures. The lower porch was ideal for neighbors to stop by for a drink. The upper porch was our sanctuary off the master bedroom. Thirteen years later I still miss that house. I have been happy in all the homes we have owned, but the double porch will always be my favorite.

  3. pam ~ crumpety cottage says:

    I have an idea. (yikes, you say) ;) Let’s start a porch nappers lotto fund. We can all put in a dollar each week, and Susan, you can buy the tickets. When we win the lotto, we split it and build ourselves beautiful homes with french doors, fancy mouldings, window seats, Mario Buatta furnishings, breakfast rooms, kitchens with hearths and fireplaces and big pantries. Hee :D Oh … what fun to think of beautiful homes with lots of glass and windows.

  4. Wow Susan what beautiful porches.I have never seen those around here!Hmm what do I think.Well I think they are beautiful !What a dream to not only have one but too!
    xx
    Anne

  5. There is truly no better place to be in the summer…I would love to have a sleeping porch on the second floor…I heard once yrs ago that a second floor is good because bugs don’t fly that high…I don’t where that person lived…but the bugs certainly get to my second floor…no problem….heard the same about a blue porch ceiling…they think it’s the sky…I suppose maybe stay at the top…not sure about that one……….hope you have a great weekend !!

  6. Susan; I just noticed that if your kitchen opens up to your porch, does that mean it’s on the second floor? What do those french doors on the lower level lead to – the paneled family room? I have never lived in a two story house and in Miami no one has basements, so I’m confused about where your kitchen is when you enter your house- do you go up your stairs and the kitchen is on the same level as the bedrooms? I’m really curious…

    • Hi Elena,
      I should make video and walk through the house one day. I know it can be confusing figuring where rooms are. The front yard is flat but the lot slopes to allow for a daylight basement. So when you come in the front door, the living room (future library), kitchen, dining room and family room are all on the main level. The family room (which is the room with Judge’s paneling) and the kitchen both have doors leading out to the porch. You can see that better in this post: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/a-fall-mantel-for-the-family-room/ It makes for a nice flow since you can walk out the kitchen door onto the porch and then walk in through the family room and circle back to the kitchen.
      To reach the basement, there’s a doorway in the hallway between the kitchen and family room. It leads to the basement/terrace level and that’s where you see the French doors. The basement is a daylight basement and is the same size as the main floor of the house. 2/3rds of it was finished when we moved in, but we ripped it out because it was done very poorly with cheap fake paneling and bad, warping, hung ceilings. I had it professionally finished in with sheetrock walls, tray ceilings, etc… when I added on the screened porch and the front porch. All it needs is carpeting and painting to be completely finished. I don’t use it so I haven’t done that, yet. Hope that all makes sense. :)

      • Now that you explained how your lot slopes in the back – I got it! It must be great to have all that room in a finished basement – I would have it all filled with racks of dishes and seasonal decor! My home has no basement, and the attic has no easy access, so all my stuff has to be stored “creatively” in every available crook and cranny…but we do have a covered patio, not a porch. In Miami, the weather turns insanely hot and humid as early as May, and the mosquitoes start feasting on us, so everyone takes cover inside with the AC. I envy all the bloggers stories of sitting on their porches in the summer – here we wouldn’t last 5 minutes without sweating to death!!

        • That’s why so many folks have covered pools in Florida, I guess? I was reading something about that recently, about the bugs in Florida. Our bugs kick in when it gets really hot, too. I’ve been tempted to create some dish storage in the basement but I just don’t want to carry dishes up and down all those steps. I know I’d end up dropping/breaking them. What I need to do is gut my laundry room which is fairly decent size and reconfigure it into a laundry area/butlers pantry. I just need to win the lottery so I can do that and the other gazillion things on my “to do” list. :)

  7. Morning Susan,
    Yes, I love double porches too, and I lived in a Bohemian style house in Key West, Florida that had double porches from the time I was s 8 yrs. old till I married at 18 1/2. I loved sitting on the top level, what we called the Balcony, and it is sooo magical to be able to see all over the place. Stunningly beautiful.
    Thanks for bringing back these great memories, haven’t thought of that in years.

    Love all these houses you have shared……..they are all so wonderful
    thanks for the time you put into that………..

    Blessings, Nellie

  8. ~Susan~
    Happy June ! my gosh where does time go ??!!
    We don’t have many double porches here in this northern area of Indiana! My mom had a friend that lived in an old brick house built in the 1800s and it had the double porches on both sides.

    Thank you for sharing these lovely homes! Boy I wish I would have known about Isle of Hope, when we visited Savannah last May! hopefully next time !!

  9. This really brings bAck memories
    Of my grandparent’s home with the
    Double storied porches in the rear of
    Their home and very long porch in the
    Front. My grandmother would enjoy
    Sitting on her glider on her sun porch
    After doing her cleaning. We enjoyed it!

  10. My grandmother had two screened in porches
    In the rear of the house, with a long open
    Porch in the front. She enjoyed sitting in her
    Glider after a day of household chores and
    Bumming along Gratiot Ave. It was so
    Sunny and warm on that porch. Also
    Brings back so many fond and loving memories

    • Ann, I remember seeing pics of my Mom sitting on a glider. Can you imagine when those first came out, must have been the must have for the porch. :) Thanks for sharing your memories.

  11. Susan, your writing of the “tree house effect” reminded me of the first double porches I remember.
    In the 1950’s our local hospital had double porches on a large front area of the building. The patients could often be seen sitting in wheelchairs enjoying the fresh air and watching the main street below. I’d look up there and wish I could go up there too, but children under twelve were not allowed above the ground floor and it was strictly enforced in those days. Alas, a new hospital was built in the sixties with no porches at all. The old one was torn down and replaced with a bank.

  12. Susan: My maternal grandmother had a two story with a wrap around porch, but I was too young to remember much about it, just have pictures. My aunt had a front porch that came off the master bedroom and looked out, way out, to the highway, and on the other side from this porch a screened in porch that came off the living room. They were both in front. Her house was in the country and they were cotton farmers and the house was about 1/2 mile from the highway. A small front yard with cotton all around. My sister and I would spend about 2 weeks with her every summer and sleep on the screened in porch. Wonderful memories.

  13. The porches from my childhood are my favorites. Fortunately, I lived in a very small town with both sets of Grandparents just 3 blocks away in 2 different directions. My maternal Grandparents’ porch wound around the side of the porch. Such wonderful times were spent on that front porch swinging in the porch swing with my Granddad, or playing in the front yard on summer nights with tons of cousins.

    The porch at my paternal Grandparents’ house was across the street from a church, and behind the church ran were railroad tracks. I spent many hours on that front porch reading, talking to my Grandma & Pappaw, having a Coke on a hot summer day, and then excitedly waiting for the train of the day to come by. The engineer must have known there would be kids waiting to wave at them as they always signaled they saw us as they passed by.

    The porch of my childhood home was where I got my first real kiss from my boyfriend, and also where I had tea parties as a pre-school kid. Fun times on the porches of my past, and one day soon, I’d love to have a porch again to create more memories. Thanks, Susan, for always having WONDERFUL pictures & posts! I love your porch that resides in my computer that you so lovingly share with all of us. :)

  14. Susan Jovanovich says:

    Good Morning!
    We just added a screened porch a few years ago and love it. I came across your blog thru Pinterest. So enjoyed what you have done with your porch. It is a true extension of the home and should be inviting as your is. I love the pillows on your swing and settee. I wonder if you could tell me where you found them or where did you get the quilted fabric to make them.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts and I so enjoyed Mr. Max’s story.

    Look forward to hearing from you

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