Monday, February 2, 2009

Une Porte-Cochere for me, s'il vous plait

The Samuel Morse House via flickr

Ever since we bought our little bungalow with the detached garage, I’ve been enamored of the porte-cochere. Now, we don’t have one, but we should. It’s just one more project on a very long list of jobs I’ve yet to inflict upon my poor husband.

more gorgeousness from flickr

A porte-cochere, literally "coach door", sometimes called a carriage porch, is the architectural term for a porch or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building, through which it is possible for a horse and carriage or motor vehicle to pass. Said vehicles may park momentarily under the cover, allowing the occupants to alight protected from the weather.

image via flickr

The porte-cochere was a feature of many late 18th and 19th-century mansions and public buildings. Well-known examples are at Buckingham Palace in London and the White House in Washington D.C. . Porte-cochères should not be confused with carports in which vehicles are parked; at a porte-cochère the vehicle merely passes through, stopping only for a passenger to disembark.

carport from the web
{I don't judge}

As I’ve mentioned, we have a detached garage, which was the feature that hooked my husband when we purchased the house. However, this means that the garage is really not conveniently located for unloading the weekly Costco haul. And truthfully, the reality is that the collections have taken over the garage and there’s no way I’m getting a car in there anyways. So the logical solution would be a port-cochere over the driveway connecting to the front porch and entry door.

Something akin to this:

image via flickr

Or these:

Love the little lantern here.

image via flickr


Sans minivan for me, please....
{again, I don't judge}

Here's and excerpt from a book of house plans for the "Shadow Lawn". The Swiss Chalet style bungalow featuring a porte-cochere became a popular subtype during the late 'teens and into the 1920s.

This gorgeous image of the porte-cochere at the Butterworth Center comes via one of my very favorite blogs

via Cote de Texas

Do you think there are big Costco hauls passing through this porte-cochere for all the game day parties happening here?


This must be the aforementioned secondary entrance.


Designer Stephen Block designed this porte-cochere for the Greystone Designer Showhouse. The floors are a checkered marble, with a polished concrete table anchoring the space between two palms in 1950's slag pots. Definitely no Yugo's rolling on that drive!
image via Veranda March 2009

This beautiful Beaux-Arts porte-cochere is at the Ruthmere Mansion in New York.


This medieval style New York mansion belonged to socialite Helen Miller Gould, wife of robber barron Jay Gould and features an impressive Tudor style porte-cochere. Very well suited to impress 19th century society matrons.


This fabulous Eastlake Victorian is the Wilderstein mansion in Rutherford New York. The porte-cochere blends seamlessly with the architecture.


Another Victorian, this one clad in tastefully painted shingle siding.


And, if you happen to be in the market for a lantern for your porte-cochere, here's a lovely Belle Epoque style beauty, circa 1920. Available here .

So, for those of us, for whom the word garage means storage, the port-cochere may be the answer to graciously traversing the route between car and front door.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Patio Cover Thing-ys

The unseasonably warm weather here in the foothills has had me itching to start spring planting. Unfortunately, the chores that go with winter gardening still needed to be done. Beyond the normal rose pruning, dead heading and raking, we had to clean up the overgrowth (total understatement) of jasmine that had consumed the back fence. This was backbreaking and exhausting, but it's done and it's as if we have a new yard entirely. So now my design juices are all revved up and I'm planning the spring makeover for our back yard and patio.

Summers here regularly have about a month's worth of day's over 100 degrees. Right now it's beautiful, but by July, the concrete patio is unbearable. So I'm trying to come up with a budget friendly yet stylish cover for the patio. We already have a number of small pergolas throughout the yard and I really don't want another one. We tried the shade sails a couple of years ago, but lacking the mathematical skills required to figure out the proper triangulation needed to mount those things, we gave up. So I think I've come up with the perfect solution--a patio cover thingy!

Okay, I know there must be a better name for them, and if I don't find out what it is, I'm going to make up my own. But after a couple of hours google-imaging every term I could think up, I gave up. I did find a few examples, though.

I really like the simplicity of the one pictured above. And I want to do some sort of retractable fabric panel cover. This one is a good start. We probably will mount ours to the detached garage that borders the patio area--similar to the picture below.

This photo is from a great book I found at Goodwill by Judith and Martin Miller called International Country {find it here }. It is also simple, understated and could easily be fitted with fabric panels.

Here is a knockdown build it yourself version from Home Depot.

And another with what looks to be automatic shades....

So, if anyone knows what these retractable shade panels are called, please let me know. Like most things, I don't anticipate getting it finished anytime real soon, but hopefully before the thermometer hits 100!
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