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The Master’s Laboratory

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know how much we love to concept, experiment, and test. To that end, we just added an open air porch behind our showroom to do exactly that. We know concepts and experimental components have to be observed, evaluated and flushed out. And we know that concepts cannot be evaluated correctly in a vacuum. A designer’s dream is a full-sized “play” ground. While the porch below may not look like things we’re toying with, it is certainly an amalgamation of experimental new components. We’ll give you a virtual tour of our master’s laboratory below.

porch-open-air-porch-company-pvc-panel lr

Last year, we were blessed that the new Porch Store did extremely well. We shipped our railing panels, doors, and swings all across the country. As a designer, I was able to see consumer favorites and merge those insights with new concepts I’ve been mulling over. As you’ve read in our blog, form must always follow function. Some of my new ideas are aesthetic musings of how new or existing porch components could look. Other ideas include how the panels can serve new functions. That’s the case with our PVC railings.

Toward the far end of the porch above, you see a privacy wall. The wall actually incorporates an amalgamation of our railing panels. During the next 6 months, a year or some period of time; we will know if it is a great solution. If you live in Nashville and visit us for a consultation about building your porch, you may see that the wall is reconfigured with different components or may incorporate different design ideas in any number of months. We have absolutely no problem ripping the entire thing out. We have never been about the quick fix or easy solution. Every one of our porches and products has to meet the standards of what we would build for our own homes or for our best friend’s home.

new porch privacy wall with sunHere’s some more about the privacy wall. You can see that although it provides complete privacy, it does allow some sun through. While it can double as a wind wall, air can breathe through the wall or screen. Smells meander through and the indoor feel is melded with the outdoor experience which is a critical requirement of our porch designs.

There’s an interesting story to tell about the “fabric” used to back the wall. Remember the chair weave material that was used on very old lawn chairs? Well, that fabric has grown up. Because the material is synthetic, it’s strong and can hold up to the elements. But it has now grown up to include better colors and weaves making it very attractive and a great material to give a try as part of a new privacy wall concept.

newel posts and broad columns

Take a look at the newel posts on the porch. They’re huge! Aren’t they gorgeous and stately? Normal newel posts are 4×4 or 6×6 and consist of a piece of pressure-treated lumber cut to size. That doesn’t have to be the case. The beauty and majestic nature of the porch doesn’t need to stop before you step down onto the stairs. In addition to their stately manner, they also make a figurative partner to the columns which are also stately and broad.

Literally, these two components are connected with an experimental graspable rail. Here’s another porch element that doesn’t need to be that ugly. While a 4×4 piece of lumber is often the unfortunate standard for a newel post, a 2×4 piece of lumber is often the regular partner in crime. Builders will slap a 2×4 above a series of spindles and call it a railing. In that configuration, it’s unattractive, doesn’t stand the test of the elements, and may offer the promise of future splinters as it ages. The experimental stair railing above is PVC so it will go to the mat with sun and rain and come out as a tie every time. But, if you look closely, it’s also graspable. We shaped the PVC to make it easy to grasp.

There’s another small but important newly designed element of the newel posts. The posts are capped with a new PVC post cap. The caps include several PVC layers laminated together. We then used special cutters and shapers to create the profile. Post caps are another porch component that needs to go to the mat with water and sun. We can’t afford for them to twist or deform over time. These new PVC post caps are already available on the Porch Store

If you live in Nashville and you’re looking for a custom outdoor builder to build your new porch, give us a call to come for a consultation at our showroom. Take a seat on our new porch laboratory. If you live outside the Nashville market and want to utilize some of the above components into your custom porch build, they may soon be available on our porch store. So, either bookmark the porch store and enjoy some future online store visits or drop me an email with your ideas or questions – Let the innovation continue!

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