Media & Starting Point.

Media. Sit a spell.

What better book to read while you’re lolling on your log-home porch (or wishing you were) than a book about porches? Here’s a starter selection to inspire your enjoyment of this great American institution.

Porch Living (Gibbs Smith, 144 pages, $30) by James T. Farmer III. This photographic celebration of porches breaks them into five categories: classic country and rustic porches, casually elegant porches, sleeping and lazing porches, porches for entertaining and garden porches. Nostalgic yet modernly apropos, Porch Living grasps how porches, whether grand outdoor salon or cozy sleeping nook, represent how we live and how to gloriously live hinged to and romantically suspended in the home and garden.

The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place (The Lyons Press, 346 pages, $24. 95) by Michael Dolan. The book relates the colorful and surprising history of the porch, from ancient Greece to modern day, as depicted in architecture, literature, film, photography and pop culture. It also reveals how the porch vanished from American homes after World War II, only to regain favor as the place where public life meets private.

Perfect Porches: Designing Welcoming Spaces for Outdoor Living

(Potter Style, 224 pages, $35) by Paula S. Wallace. More than 250 photographs of 40 homes illustrate how varied these iconic American spaces can be. This book also reveals a host of practical ways to bring privacy to urban porches, chic accents to old-fashioned verandas and coziness to modern environments. Homeowners share colorful stories about using their porches as communal stages for magical and sometimes mythological events, telling of ghosts encountered, arias sung and families reunited.

Starting Point. What’s the biggest challenge to furnishing a log home?

Probably scale. People grow accustomed to defining interiors in terms of square feet and rooms. Log-home interiors typically have more interior openness, resulting in spaces flowing into each other, and overhead volume, which can be exaggerated by floor-to-ceiling fireplaces and roof trusses. In addition, wall logs, especially big round ones, impose themselves visually and physically inside rooms, especially in homes that use logs for partition walls. These traits are difficult for someone unaccustomed to log homes to deal with when it comes to furniture. Also, many homeowners figure since they just spent all their money on the building, they’ll furnish it with their old pieces and worry about new furniture down the road. The result is the furniture seems dwarfed by the volume and can look anywhere from merely misplaced to downright preposterous. Plus, face it, you’re moving into your dream home and expecting the same furniture you’ve had for the past 15 to 25 years to fit in and look as exciting as you feel.

If you don’t allow a portion of your budget for new furniture that matches the large scale of your new home, at least buy three new pieces to anchor your look: a big sofa and big easy chair (matching or complementary) for the great room and a big new bed for your master suite. With these new foundation items able to stand up to the scale of the living room and bedroom, even with smaller items in supporting roles, you’ll set the stage for a home that looks genuinely new throughout.

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