The Big Back Porch
A four-porch addition breathes new life into a compact bungalow.
Synopsis: As senior editor Charles Miller writes, homeowners Laura Hartman and Paul Duguid lived in a cozy Berkeley bungalow, but their house didn’t interact very well with its backyard. Through the design efforts of Hartman, an architect, and builder Gene DeSmidt, however, the back of the bungalow now sports a collection of porches that connect the house to the backyard. The four porches provide a variety of spaces that interact with both interior and exterior. On the lower level, they added a cleanup porch, used for prepping garden vegetables and cleaning up after outdoor activities; and a studio porch, Hartman’s painting space, which was made to appear as if it had evolved from porch to room over time. Above those porches, a dining porch invites alfresco meals, and a sleeping porch enclosed with bronze screening offers an opportunity to rest in fresh air. As part of the renovation, Hartman and DeSmidt transformed a jumble of closets and mechanical spaces into a library that connects to the studio porch.
Stand on the sidewalk in the old parts of New Orleans or Charleston, S.C., and you’re likely to see row after row of two-story houses that are all porch. These two-tiered galleries with delicate railings are too deep to be balconies and too shallow to be decks, but they’re deep enough to be abundantly useful for all manner of hanging out, not to mention totally charming. With that in mind, and wishing to forge a connection with their diamondin-the-rough backyard, architect Laura Hartman and her husband, Paul Duguid, transformed their Berkeley bungalow by adding an 8-ft.-deep, 29-ft.-wide two-story addition to the back of their house. This West Coast riff on Bourbon Street verandas is a federation of four porches, two on each floor, and each with a different function. The…