Porches are supposed to be on the front of houses, right?
The word "porch" itself comes from the Italian word "portico," which describes the walkways and entryways to buildings held up by pillars and having no walls. Porticos were frequently used in Greek and Roman architecture and were customarily at the front of a building.
But one porch, at least, attached to the home of the Howe family of Alan Lane, New Canaan, is in the back.
When the Howes bought the house 21 years ago, there was no porch at all. After a 2002 family vacation at Groton Long Point, near Mystic, the family realized the allure of the porch. Carol Howe recalled the house the family rented there.
"It had a front porch, which overlooked Fishers Island and the (Long Island) Sound and you could see cute little Mouse Island," Howe said. "That was our view and we'd sit out there every night and watch the planes going from New York to Boston."
The family had been thinking of moving for some time, but decided instead to renovate their home. As part of the renovation, which took two years, the family added on a porch -- to the back of the house.
"It's obviously not for people watching, it's for listening to the birds and reading," Howe said.
It is her favorite place to read and occasionally nap. A lot of the backyard of the 4-acre property can be seen, including the swimming pool that her 17-year-old daughter Lauren and 15-year-old son Austin use with their friends during the summer.
One might say this sounds like a deck, a feature more commonly found at the backs of houses, but it really is a porch. The floor is stone, and there is a white banister and around the porch. Simple Doric columns hold the structure up. There are two ceiling fans over the wicker furniture. Howe rests her books and two lanterns holding candles on a coffee table her husband bought on a business trip in Santa Fe, N.M.
It may be unorthodox to have a porch on the rear of the house, but Howe wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think it sort of completes the house. If you stand up there and look at the house, it seems like it was meant to be," she said.
Do you have a great porch? We'd love to hear from you! As we head into autumn we're looking to extend the series to include wine cellars and fireplaces. Do you have a killer wine collection? An custom or historical fireplace? Contact reporter Tyler Woods to tell us about it.
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