Sitting Pretty.

Porches boost log homes’ looks and livability.

Porches are so prominent a fixture of log homes that the only reason they aren’t the number-one option log-home buyers order (and fireplaces are) is that most people just automatically assume log homes come with a porch. Fortunately, most do.

Of course, most log homes also have decks, but don’t confuse decks with porches. Decks are attachments to a house, porches are connections to it. The connection is physical, because porches are integrated into the structure by sharing a roof, and emotional, because popular domestic imagery celebrates porches as havens of hospitality, meditation and romance. Like the rest of the log home, porches convey casualness and comfort. They make your log home look and feel more inviting. They’re also great places to witness sunsets and sunrises.

Porches are where outdoors and in-doors converge. You’re outside the home’s walls but under its roof. Porches share at least one log wall. Two or three other sides are open to the world.

Although porches have mostly a social function, they do serve practical purposes. They extend the living space beyond the walls. Porches also protect the logs from sunlight and rainfall, both of which threaten exposed wood. They make good insulators from cold winds.

There’s an interesting political connection between log homes and porches. James A. Garfield, born in a log cabin, ran for president in 1880 and campaigned almost exclusively from the front porch of his Ohio home. President Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the first log-cabin president, followed the front-porch strategy when he ran for reelection in 1892.

If you’re eager to have a porch, find a floor plan that shows the type you want: front, back, side, wraparound, screened- in, balcony, double-decker, sleeping, gallery or sunroom. The basic components, besides the roof, are posts to support it, a railing and flooring. Furnishings range from a simple swing or rocker to elaborately equipped outdoor living rooms, some with ceiling fans and fireplaces (see an example on page 35).

Meanwhile, here is a selection of our favorite sit-a-spell porches to get you in the mood, with some observations about porches from folks who’ve enjoyed theirs.

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