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.




  1. I loved your "I don't judge" comment on the carport. That was so great. This was a great post, very informative, I can't believe you found all those images on flickr. Beautiful.

    Also further to my post about what I've learned about blogging. The other thing I did was pick a bigger template. I changed mine to "mimosa stretch" I think that's what it was called, this way you get bigger images. Better to do it sooner than later, otherwise your current photos aren't formated right when you switch.

    Love your fresh blog header!

  2. Thanks for the tip you just left on my blog! I remember someone telling me about that probably 5 years ago and I forgot about it!

    I love these photos! I live in an apartment so I have that dreaded carport. I can dream though!!!

  3. Oh, I enjoyed that...there was one on the Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC... I can not remember if it is still usable since the Renovation. It was my favorite thing about the hotel during my honeymoon trip...we are planning a trip in August I will check.
    Anyway, I enjoyed your pictures etc very much.
    Have a great day, Carol Ann

  4. I agree this is a wonderful design feature. And the image of the metal freestanding carport cracks me up...late 70's Lincoln and all!

  5. Beautiful photos. I am reading Julie Andrews memoir "Home" and page 13 mentions new family home had a porte cochrre. I choose your site as it said photos..much better than just a definition. Where i lived, near Pasadena CA, there a few houses with this feature and more in Pasadena. What a great convenience.,to have a dry area in which to unload groceries! (oops, could'nt correct cochrre to cochere)


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