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A popular add-on
AMEK recently designed a home in Prior Lake where the front porch has a see-through, inside/outside fireplace. But Schmidt said much of AMEK’s recent work with front porches has been adding them to existing homes.
About three years ago, the firm added a large front porch on the Woodbury home of Theresa Corcoran as part of a renovation of the house’s exterior.
“When my kids were little I just had a stoop where I could sit and watch them play,” Corcoran said. “We didn’t really have a place where people could come together.”
Corcoran said her family’s use of the porch has evolved. “We like it as a place to sit as our kids come and go with their friends and for neighbors to stop by,” she said. She and her husband, Mike, have coffee out there on weekend mornings.
Family members still use the pool and the deck out back, but they spend more time than they used to out front, she said.
Giving homeowners choices about where to spend their time outdoors may be one of the most important features of a front porch, Chaska’s Ringwald said. People can still use back decks or patios for private dinners, but use the front porch to connect with their community, he said.
“It also allows you to engage with people in a way that’s comfortable for you. You’re out there, but you’re still on your private property,” he said. Besides the social benefits, front porches also can contribute to public safety — “putting more eyes on the street,” he said.
Maves said she and her husband, Brandon, hope to add a deck or a porch in back of their Chanhassen home eventually. For now, they are happy to hang out on their front porch, which she has decorated with potted plants, a small table and a couple of comfortable wicker rocking chairs.
“We like to sit out there in the evening, sip a glass of wine and watch our kids play with the neighbor kids,” Maves said. “It gives us a spot right out front where people can gather.”
Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282