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Verandas were a popular element of colonial architecture in the late-nineteenth century throughout Australia, India and the United States; in some cases every room would open onto one. It was an incredibly distinctive part of design in warm countries and became an important additional space for any family home.
The veranda became an important social area where homeowners could sit outside and watch the world go by, relax on their own or gather with family and friends. Although they were designed to provide shelter from the heat of the sun – as well as shade the internal rooms – they are also a great way to enjoy the outdoors while being protected from the rain.
We have plenty of downpours in the UK and I like to sit outside and watch even the harshest of wet weather, so I’ve never understood why verandas aren’t a common aspect of British homes. Consequently, I designed our last project for George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, the woodland hut, with a large canopy running around three sides of the structure. It provides guests with shade during the warmer months and acts as an umbrella from the rain.
Some popular features of contemporary architecture can create the feeling of a veranda without the colonial look. Fullheight glazing when opened around a corner (above right) creates a roofed indoor-outdoor space. A more technically complicated idea is based on a garage door (right) – the wall of glass lifts up to open the dining space to the terrace and becomes a canopy at the same time. And, of course, the easiest way to make better use of your garden in all seasons is with a simple awning that attaches to the side of your home and is stretched over a patio.
This excerpt is taken from George's column in the Grand Design Magazine.