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Fine Homebuilding
 (May 2019)
The Particulars of Porch Design

The Particulars of Porch Design

by Sandra L. Mahoney, James M. Crisp
Published in Fine Homebuilding Issue #282, May 2019
Reprinted with permission © 2019, The Taunton Press, Inc.

Synopsis: Using three case studies, two architects explain how to design a porch that will fit with the layout and design of a particular home. The article includes a checklist of questions to answer when considering porch design, as well as details on siting, proportions, style, roofs, foundations, posts, and railings. Section drawings give guidance for the connections between the roof and sill and the columns and beams, and the decking surface and drainage.

It’s been said that there is no architectural element more nostalgic than the American porch. We agree. There’s a soft spot in our hearts for porches—so much so that we co-authored a book on the subject, On the Porch: Creating Your Place to Watch the World Go By (The Taunton Press, 2007). Porches play a unique role as a transitional space between the outdoors and private interiors. Our firm has projects in upstate New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, which means we are surrounded by rural settings and historic homes, many of which include porches. They provide a deep well of inspiration. There are very few homes that we have designed in the last 20 years that don’t include a porch. No matter the region, house style (or lack thereof), or budget, we believe there’s a porch to fit. Whether modest or grand in scale or function, a porch is sure to enhance your home—experientially and monetarily. Of course, the success of any porch lies in good design and proper detailing.

(end of excerpt)

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What Our Clients Say

I have been working with Jimmy Crisp and his firm for over 10 years. He has transformed our 240 year old home and property and we continue to work with him on multiple projects. His sense of style, creativity and attention to detail is unparalleled. We renovated and expanded our main house, built a large barn and guest house, a wine cellar, pool area and our current projects include a pergola, stone house addition with a game room, pool house and gym. I trust Jimmy implicitly and depend on him as I live in a different state than my weekend home. He is a wonderful collaborator, always respectful and truly takes the time to get to know you, your lifestyle and your taste. Our home has been featured in "O Oprah" magazine and is also home to many events. I hope we can keep working with them for the next 20 years!

- Mindy Grossman

We had a wonderful experience with Crisp Architects. We wanted a pool house the reflection our love of Italy and food and we totally achieved this. I would highly recommend Crisp Architects. They were wonderful to deal with and we love our pool house. Would love to use them again for a future project.

- Piedmont1

Jimmy designed our home, from the ground up, and he and Lin Chamberlain built it. We could not be happier. It was a wonderful and easy experience working with them, and the result is a great, comfortable, and charming home. Jimmy and his staff were at all times helpful and responsive, and Lin and his crew were the same. The house was built on time, in spite of difficult conditions (unseasonable ice, and cold) and it is solid, warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and easy to live in. Jimmy was and is flexible and responsive in his approach to our needs, while maintaining a wonderful design aesthetic that is garnered many complements. I highly recommend Jimmy for any project.

- SZ Kronovet

I found Crisp Architects' website many years ago, forging our dream of hiring Jimmy Crisp to design our hypothetical addition to our small house built in 1785. Ten years later, with a comparatively small budget than their norm, located across the river, in Orange County, New York, I wrote an email to ask if we were worthy. Almost immediately, I was treated to a personal phone call from Jimmy Crisp, and began to feel the kind, white glove treatment they naturally provide. From that first conversation, to where we are today at mid-construction of an incredible addition and renovation that Crisp Architects designed, I cannot say enough about the entire team and level of expertise. They are not only the sweetest people, but they are true experts in their trade, and particularly with historic architecture.
Communication with Crisp Architects is immediate, reaction to your ideas is open minded and responded to with honest, valuable feedback, usually adding a new way of thinking to consider. My husband appreciates how Crisp successfully blended our old house architecture with the addition so beautifully, and how the team remains engaged with you and the project until its completion. We could not be more thrilled and we only hope to be able to hire them again for additional building on the property!
Never once did I feel like we had the small project across the river, and they have kept us in our modest budget. We love Crisp Architects!

- Laura Bryson

Crisp Architects are a wonderful team headed by James Crisp. They listen well and then go off and create a beautiful plan. Remodeling can be very stressful but with Crisp Architects as your partner you can be sure all the details are taken care of. We could not be more pleased with results.

- Margaret Van Sicklen

Jimmy Crisp and his team did an outstanding job designing our screened in porch, expanding family room, and new kitchen. Jimmy's plan provided us with an improved indoor and outdoor living space that better accommodates the way in which we live, and in addition, allows us to maximize the use of our home. Jimmy and his team could not have been nicer and more professional as we progressed from the early stages of this project through the construction phase. I will not hesitate to use Crisp Architects in the future.

- Louis A Parks

We hired Crisp Architects to design and oversee the renovation of our 100 year old barn and carriage house home. Their design was respectful of the historic nature of the house while bringing it up to date with all the necessary modern conveniences. I have nothing but positive things to say about our experience with Crisp Architects from the level of service of every employee to the beautiful end product. In fact, since our renovation, we have been asked several times to include our home in the Historic Homes Tour in our area.

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