Saturday, July 11, 2015

Porches & hospitality doors

Ahhhhh, the Charleston piazza!

The  piazzas are one of the wonderful, yet unique features of many Charleston, SC homes. 

Charleston single houses, being only one room wide,are most often within inches of the city sidewalks. The best place for an outdoor living space is along one side of the home. Instead of being open on all three sides, many of these piazzas includes a wall on the street end that includes a door which looks like a front door of a home.

These doors possibly serve other purposes, but mainly to provide some sort of privacy for those enjoying the porch. Since the homes are raised above ground level, if these doors weren't there, one might find that sitting on such a porch would be like enjoying peace and quiet on a stage in front of the neighborhood, everyone strolling on the sidewalks, plus the street traffic.

These wonderful porches/piazzas allow a perfect view of the often-times quaint, narrow side yards.

Glimpses of Charleston has a great photo of a three story piazza that adds incredible beauty and living space to the already wonderful home. About Travel shares:
Most Charleston piazzas are located on one of the long sides of the house, almost always facing either south or west.
 This placement provides maximum shade from the sun and ventilation from prevailing breezes. A defining architectural element of historic Charleston homes, piazzas often feature decorative columns, balusters and railings in an array of styles. 

Charleston row, in my new neighborhood, uses this same concept with deep, narrow homes and a side porch. Upon entering many of the front gates, a visitor comes to an exterior door that opens onto the piazza instead of being the front door to the house. I've never lived in a home with this type of hospitality door so am not certain what the etiquette is when encountering a door such as this if visiting one of these homes.

Rumor has it that in Charleston, when the family is ready to accept guests, they simply leave the door to the piazza open. That sends a welcome to passing friends and neighbors to join the family for a chat and possibly light refreshments.

Delightful stories:

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