15 years ago country singer Tracy Lawrence wrote a song titled “If the World Had a Front Porch”. It begins,

It was where my mama sat on that old swing with her crochet / It was where grandaddy taught me how to cuss and how to pray /

It goes on to frame the front porch as a tool for building understanding and community.

If the world had a front porch like we did back then / We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends / Treatin’ your neighbor like he’s your next of kin / Wouldn’t be gone with the wind / If the world had a front porch like we did back then

Perhaps that notion of creating an inviting space at the front of your house in order to build friendships and enjoy conversation is exactly the reason why almost 200 years earlier, in the mid-1800s, a well-known landscape gardener named Andrew Jackson Downing began writing about his vision of the American home and how it could stand apart from English architecture. The porch was key. Downing saw the porch as the link from the house to nature. It served perhaps as a sort of transitional space between the privacy of one’s family and the public realm of the street and a place in which to escape the predictability of the house’s interior and enjoy the cool breeze of the shaded outdoor spot.

Whatever the case, countless homeowners have found the porch – as described by Ernest Pickering in his book The Homes of America – to be an outdoor living room and an extension of the main house including many homeowners in communities by Simple Life. From a 4-season sunroom to a zen meditation and yoga space, the additional 120 sq.ft. – 240 sq. ft. that a cottage home porch can provide can be an oasis all your own! Here are 5 ways you can turn the porch of your small cottage home into one of your favorite spaces:

EXTRA LIVING SPACE. Small cottage homes in Simple Life communities come with open-air porches in a myriad of layouts (depending on the house model you select) or you can have the home screened in for multi-season living or even enclose them with one of the popular EZ Breeze enclosure systems. With a number of options including colored vinyl, unbreakable screen, and opaque windows, an EZ Breeze room can make for a great place to eat meals, read a book, or even watch TV.

Click to see this EZ Breeze porch on a Quick-Move In Home at The Village at Flat Rock, NC by Simple Life

MEDITATION ROOM. Self-care is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and one a number of people practice. Well-being, however, extends beyond a relaxing bubble bath, a pre-made breakfast smoothie, or a hot-yoga class. It’s important to make a space that allows you to satiate your soul and meditate. The porch – be it in front or on the side – of a small cottage home can make a great space for a yoga mat, a seiza (a Japanese sitting bench), a few tapestries of meaning, perhaps a soothing water feature, and appropriate lighting. Because Simple Life communities are the quiet, gated type, a meditation porch oftentimes doesn’t need music as the sounds of nature are all around!

UTILITY SPACE. While not quite as glamorous as the first two options, a porch turned utility space can offer a function that frees up every square inch of the cottage home for more enjoyable living. Why squeeze a stacking washer/dryer unit into a hallway cubby when you can have a more robust set of appliances on your utility porch. You can even add a folding table, a bit of cabinetry, and depending on the location of your porch in regard to your front door, you can make the space a mudroom. Add a work bench to create a great space for accomplishing projects!

ART STUDIO. Imagine a gentle breeze blowing through your screens as you sit perched on a stool, bringing the trees, water, or, greenspace adjacent to your home to life on the canvas. What better use for a porch than an art studio or craft space? You can paint and sculpt by natural light and be inspired by the sights and sounds of your Simple Life neighborhood.

PET PLAZA. Neighbors and friends at Simple Life come in all shapes and sizes. Some even have fur and whiskers! A number of residents live with their 4-legged friends and nothing integrates your life with your pet’s the way a screened-in “Pet Plaza” porch can. So much more than a dog crate in the living room or a tuft of blankets at the foot of your bed, a pet plaza can provide hours of exercise and entertainment for your pet. Consider how much fun it would be to see your cat navigate through an obstacle course of platforms and tunnels or see your dog lounge about on his king-size dog bed getting up on occasion to chase after a favorite chew toy.

Whatever you may choose to do with the porch of your small cottage home in a Simple Life community, allow it to be a space unique to you and your life. After all, it is a part of your home and a connection to the outside world and beyond!

Our team at Simple Life is ready to help you find the home that’s perfect for you and a front porch to suit your individual desires. We are now open for home showings and guided community tours by appointment. Please call in advance so we can share our safety procedures with you and do our best to accommodate you while we are only able to accept a few appointments a day.

Call us in North Carolina at 828-707-0969 or in Florida at 352-561-8114 or LIKE us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or follow us on Houzz.