Help with porch design

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Old 12-16-15, 03:06 AM
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Help with porch design

Hi all,

Please see the image below and give your opinions. We are building a new house and trying to decide the porch design. Please ignore the unfinished nature of some of the features. The windows will be a colonial design with grids and exterior shutters. The facade will be brick.

What I am asking for help specifically is the column spacing and alignment with the balustrade (railing on the porch roof) above it.

My initial drawing of the porch featured equally spaced porch columns. In my head, that made sense to have everything equal. However, doing so means that the center columns crowd the front door slightly and some of the molding on the outside of the sidelights are blocked. Therefore, I drew up this design moving the center columns further apart a few feet. I'm not sure if this is architecturally "correct" however.

Next, when placing the balustrades, I waffled on where the newel posts (the large posts) should go. Should they line up over the columns or should they be evenly spaced? Again, my first guess would be that it is architecturally correct to place the newel posts in line with the columns, but I'm not sure that will look right. For this drawing, I placed them evenly along the roof, but that means they don't line up with the columns.

Can you folks give you opinions?

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Old 12-16-15, 03:23 AM
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Are you designing the house yourself? Are the plans subjected to approval by the building dept? It looks good to me but structural questions need to be considered too.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 03:51 AM
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What are the over all dimensions of the porch? Is the balcony functional and a usable space or is it purely decorative?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 04:03 AM
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ETA: Yes, I am designing the house myself, along with my builder. The floorplan has been approved. Yes, structurally I'll have to defer to the builder.

Thanks for the reply. The overall dimensions of the porch are going to be approximately 29' wide and approximately 8 feet deep. The height from the porch floor to porch ceiling is supposed to be 9', but I think I have it drawn a little too tall. 9' is actually the top of the doorway entablature, so I probably need to lower the porch roof approximately 1 foot.

The balcony will be strictly decorative.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 04:28 AM
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Spacing between Newels will probably be limited to no more than 8 feet between them, so you will most likely have to add an additional one to your design. That would put them approx. 6 ft apart. I don't think it will change the look too much as the effect is still beautiful. Spacing similarly will be limited depending on the size structural members your builder can use for the roof system. Issue is not the span from building to columns, but from column to column. Probably less of an issue. Only you will be the final arbiter as to whether the unevenly spaced columns will bother you. I would think balanced would be better, but I'm the type of guy who will straighten a crooked picture in someone else's house when I am visiting.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 05:13 AM
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The balcony will be strictly decorative.
Since you are building from scratch, why don't you make the balcony usable? It will be enjoyable & improve the price if you should sell. What direction is it facing?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for the reply czizzi. I'm kinda like that myself (wants to straighten a crooked picture). I've banned my wife from hanging anything on the walls because she is fine to eyeball things, and her eyeball is way off level! However, I don't know enough about classical architecture to know what is acceptable or not. It looks OK to me, but someone who knows what they are talking about may say that this is incorrect. I don't think it will be a problem to add another newel post. It could go right in the center, which would move the other newel posts closer to overhead the columns. I'll work up another drawing.

Since you are building from scratch, why don't you make the balcony usable? It will be enjoyable & improve the price if you should sell. What direction is it facing?
Thanks for the reply. The front of the house faces SouthEast. We thought about double porches when we were designing things and figured it wouldn't get enough use. I assume that if it was functional, code would require the railing to be a certain height. Not certain what that height would be and whether that would alter the look of what we are going for.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 06:18 AM
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The front of the house faces SouthEast. We thought about double porches when we were designing things and figured it wouldn't get enough use. I assume that if it was functional, code would require the railing to be a certain height. Not certain what that height would be and whether that would alter the look of what we are going for.
SouthWest would be better but that's okay. You might not use it a lot but having the option is worth it. Here in NY, the required height is 3'. I remember building a second story deck which survived Sandy BTW. The owner was a tall guy. For some reason, he didn't like the architect. He thought that the railing was too low. He said that, if I have a couple of beers, I might take a dive, over the railing. At least he was honest.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 06:24 AM
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Regarding the structural support, that's a good point. I hadn't considered the whether the span between the center columns was too much for the load. I'll have to defer to the builder on that. However, the way it is currently drawn, i have 18" for the cross beam (not sure what you call it). I would guess that would get the job done?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 01:37 PM
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I don't understand what you mean by the 18 inches? What about making the balcony usable?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 02:05 PM
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Sorry for not being clear. In my drawing, the beam that sits directly on top of the columns is 18" tall.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 02:15 PM
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The fact that the rim joist is 18" wide really doesn't mean anything, by itself. Don't bother to post all the measurements here since you & the builder are designing the structure. If for some reason you don't trust his judgement, then hire an architect. You'll go nuts, if you try to design the house online.
 
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