Porch people

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Kym Seabolt's house

“Somewhere around 1950, builders left off the front porch to save money, and we’ve had nothing but problems ever since.”

— Philip Gulley (author) from Porch Talk

I am a porch person.

Well, to be fair, I am an “indoorsy” person. A porch is perfect for me because it sort of bridges that gap between the great outdoors and a sofa.

I have been thrown, through family ties, into being an outdoors acreage, farm and boat person. However, if left to my own devices, I love nothing more than a good book and a comfortable place to stretch out — preferably under a roof.

I am basically a bookworm born into a whole lot of lovely but exceedingly athletic people. Frankly, it is exhausting. Thank goodness I have a nice porch for reading, naps and shade.

Tradition

I grew up in a home with a covered front and back porch. My great-grandmother’s home also had a lovely porch. It was shady and deep. Thus, it was completely on brand for me to purchase a porch that just happened to come with a house attached. To be fair, I also liked the interior staircase.

Visitors and viewers of photos of our home exclaim over the porch. It’s a real stunner if I do say so myself. Because so many otherwise lovely homes no longer have them, I think people find it remarkable when they see an actual usable porch in the wild. It’s instant nostalgia: lemonade and rocking chairs and snapping beans with your grandma — if you were so blessed.

We have a wrap-around porch. It’s a key feature of this century home and hails from a time before central air conditioning when a nice porch was your only hope of enjoying summer days without heat stroke.

I have outfitted the porch with comfy gliders, wide wicker, rocking chairs and piles of pillows. I’ve basically turned it into an outdoor living room. It is amazing if I do say so. The dogs and I have lazed away many summer afternoons stretched out on a vintage glider tucked into the deep shade of the porch.

Not the same

We are not deck people. We were deck people when the deck led to a swimming pool. That was a fun decade. Miles were raced across that deck by barefoot children leaping cannonballs into the pool. It was blissful.

Then, the bare feet grew into big feet and the pool sat idle. Eventually, we removed the swimming pool. Now we just have the deck. What this means is that on any sunny day, the uncovered wood reaches a temperature best described as “surface of the sun” hot. Without a body of water to cool off in, it’s miserable.

I’m shallow with or without water, so I carefully staged it with a pretty table, glider and some side chairs. We aren’t savages. I want it to LOOK nice. But no one, absolutely NO ONE, sits there. Ever.

Lover of shade

The older I get, the more inclined I am to believe that my ancestry may, in fact, include vampires. I am not a fan of being out in the blazing sun. I am a lover of the shade. I love to sleep in complete darkness. I am also exceedingly pale. I can be biting — everything tracks.

Still, I feel like the deck area is underutilized. Frustrated with the searing heat, I dragged furniture across the yard. There is no patio there. No wood. No pavilion. Just grass and shade. I love shade.

So now there exists a random area in the backyard where I go when I want some grass underfoot and shade above. That little area of the far yard is nice enough if I’m walking the dogs around the property. I’m a fairly sedentary person so we need breaks. We stop. We sit. It’s perfectly fine.

Still, at the end of the day — and the beginning of the day as well — we are just porch dwellers.  We have spent over two decades living and playing on this porch. We have spent rainy days and overnights.

It is no secret that BoyWonder liked to live like a hobo and sleep on a porch many summer nights. The porch table has hosted lunches, board games, messy crafts, coloring books and laptops. It is well documented that it’s the place to take part in finger painting.

Proposal

Our son-in-law proposed to his wife, GirlWonder, on this porch. Our (future) daughter-in-law has spent hours chatting with us on this porch, her big dog (our grandpup!) stretched out at our feet. Wedding photos were taken here.

I don’t know for sure that the world is a better place for having porches, but I do know that in OUR world, the porch is a lifestyle — and part of the family — as much as a space to sit.

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