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Shady-Style Sleeping Porches Are Back!

bed on porch

Photograph by Helen Norman from "Porch Living" by James T. Farmer III; reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith

As a kid, I loved going to my Aunt Norma and Uncle Bob’s big four-story home in Independence, Kansas.  They restored the house themselves and it was loaded with design elements we kids loved for mostly all the wrong reasons.   Chuck and Mitch would jump from the wrought-iron “cage” elevator when it got stuck a few feet above the first floor.  We tiptoed down the secret staircase to the kitchen to escape our parents and snack late at night.  But the one thing we embraced for all the right reasons was the big sleeping porch that my aunt filled with twin-sized beds. On warm summer nights, the porch was the most popular place around as we kids cued up to sleep under the stars (but in a comfy bed).  Even on rainy nights, the lure of the porch prevailed as my cousins John and Ron slumbered with umbrellas over their heads.

What’s not to love about the sleeping porch above with a full-sized bed dressed in crisp white linens and dappled sunlight peeking through the vines?

Sleeping porches popped up at the turn of the 20th century before homes were air conditioned.  These screened in spaces were cooler to sleep in at night and they were believed to improve health (all that fresh air!).  As air conditioning grew in popularity, sleeping porches began to disappear.

1911 Sleeping Porch

1911 sleeping porch from Ladies Home Journal, www.lhj.com

However, like all sound design ideas, sleeping porches are back in vogue and “Porch Living” by James T. Farmer III, features some terrific ones that are easy to recreate in your own home. Each are made for how we live today and are perfect for sleeping, a quick nap or as a quiet getaway.

This sleeping porch is filled with warm hues and lots of texture. There’s even a sofa for guests to relax on and enjoy during waking hours.

Photo of Porch Living

Photograph by Helen Norman from "Porch Living" by James T. Farmer III; reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith

Who needs a porch? Kids and kids-at-heart will love this swinging bed that’s suspended beneath a deck.

Kids porch living

Photograph by Helen Norman from "Porch Living" by James T. Farmer III; reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith

Hooker Furniture Harbour Point bed

Hooker Furniture Harbour Point bed

With its dramatic sweeping lines, rich dark finish and textural inset panels, the Harbour Pointe bed conjures up the romance of British Colonial days (think “Out of Africa”) and will lure you to lounge tucked between shady potted palms and exotic plants.

Hooker Furniture Canterbury arm chair

Hooker Furniture Canterbury arm chair

Sleeping porches are also about hanging out, so comfy armchairs like the Canterbury are a must. This chair also adds a touch of the unexpected (grand shape, classic nailhead trim) and is sheathed in a neutral fabric that doesn’t compete with the view but can easily be punched up by adding a colorful pillow or throw.

Sam Moore Holland round storage ottoman

Sam Moore Holland round storage ottoman

If your sleeping porch lacks built-in storage, no worries.  Just wheel the Holland round storage Bench into place, then lift its lid (with built-in handle!)  and store away.  Sam Moore offers over 700 fabrics to choose from, which makes this cubbie-in-the-round a design lover’s dream.

Hooker Furniture Melange Mollie accent table

Hooker Furniture Melange Mollie accent table

Perch the Melange Mollie accent table by the bed, between chairs, in the corner or front and center (group a trio of them) as high-rise cocktail tables. The shape of this little pretty also reminds me of Victorian gingerbread trim, an architectural element that framed sleeping porch perimeters of earlier eras in picture-perfect style.

Clearly, these are not our grandma’s (or aunt’s) simple sleeping porches. They are even better!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Janet Sparks June 26, 2013, 12:51 am

    I love Carla’s writing. I wish I had a sleeping porch!!!. Beautiful bed.

    • Kim Shaver June 28, 2013, 12:34 pm

      Yes, a sleeping porch is a wonderful summer dream! And we love Carla’s writing, too!

    • Kim Shaver June 28, 2013, 12:34 pm

      Yes, a sleeping porch is a wonderful summer dream! And we love Carla’s writing, too!

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