Porticoes and Awnings

So much progress was made on my studio yesterday! They got the ceiling all vaulted and reframed, and I would show pictures except that by the time I realized I hadn’t taken pictures of the finished framing, they had already boarded up the doorways and window cutouts for the evening, and there’s no electricity in there right now. So it’s way too dark in there to take pictures.

But in addition to the ceiling, they also made big progress on the side exterior of the studio. The two layers of siding were removed (the vinyl siding and the original wood siding under it)…

side of studio with old vinyl and wood siding

…and they resheathed the side with new OSB.

side of studio with new OSB sheathng

So as soon as the door and windows are installed, it’s ready for house wrap and new Hardiplank siding.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with that doorway. It’ll eventually have steps with a handrail down to the driveway, but I’d also like a little something above the door. My initial plan was to do a small portico. My favorites tend to be the ones that peak over the door with all of the supports attached to the house (i.e., they aren’t held up by columns sitting on a porch).

portico over side door from Bungalow Restorevia Bungalow Restoration

portico over door from Sixty Fifth Avenuevia Sixty-Fifth Avenue

portico over door via Tara Dillardvia Tara Dillard

The one over my side door would need to be a bit smaller than the second and third one above, but I think that design would look great over the door.

But there’s another option that always stops me in my tracks when I see it — a fabric awning. My taste in fabric awnings is very narrow. I like either solid black trimmed in white, or black and white stripes. That’s it. Nothing else. And while awnings come in about twenty standard shapes, there are only about two or three shapes that I like. My favorite is this shape…

black and white strip awnings on Liz Caan studiovia Liz Caan Interiors

…but it has to have the gentle swoop exactly like the ones above rather than a triangle shape with straight sides. In fact, the ones above are perfect in every way, from the shape, to the scalloped design around the bottom edge.

If I go with this the awning option instead of the portico, that’s pretty much the exact shape I want. And if I use it on the side door, I’d also add one over the back door(s) once the new addition is done, and I’d want to use one over the breakfast room windows on the front.

From a design/style standpoint, I actually prefer the awnings. The one drawback to my very limited taste in awnings is that I can’t envision black and white stripes on anything other than a white house.

black and white stripe awning over door from Hunted Interiorvia Hunted Interior

black and white stripe awnings over doors via Baldridge Landscapevia Baldridge Landscape

So those are the two options I’m considering right now. The portico would allow me more options as far as house color goes. The black and white stripe awnings would limit me, but I think I might be okay with a white house with lots of black and wood accents, a colorful front door, possibly reddish brown brick used on areas like the porch, sidewalk, etc. I think it could be a whole chic vintage-meets-modern look that I would love, but I might also need some help putting it all together. Interiors are my domain. Exteriors leave me feeling a bit like a fish out of water. I have the general idea of what I want, but I get hung up on the details and pulling it all together. But I do love dreaming about it!

I do need to make a decision within the next couple of weeks, though. If I go with a portico design, I’m pretty sure it needs to be built prior to the siding being installed. Right? That seems to make sense to me.



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  1. I’m loving everything about this! I think awnings are so charming… Of course we just put an enormous one on the back of our house and we’re living out there this summer (and thanks, it’s black with white scalloped trim 👍🏻)

    We think we’re going to put them over a few windows next year.

    I love the swoop style you’ve shown for a portico… Really really pretty. One question: does the swoop make it loose, i.e. will it be affected more by wind?

  2. Your Love of black and white stripes is unwavering! If you want to see how it would look …….grab your curtains, your staple gun, and some dowels, and play around!
    I like the porticos..but the awnings are sweet.

    1. What a great idea! I do still have that black and white striped fabric, too. And while the stripes are thinner than they are on black and white outdoor canvas, it would give me a good idea of how it would look. I’ll try it!

  3. I love the porticos you’ve shown and think those would look great on your house. I like the awnings, too, and am there with you completely concerning style and colours 🙂 but I find the look of awnings above a door as shown above a bit weird. To me they either cover outside patio areas or are used as above in the example with the shop windows (and I agree: those are just perfect!).

    Whatever you do, I’ll look forward to seeing it develop, though! (but I do find the idea of a coloured house rather than a white one appealing, too, another point for the portico in my opinion…)
    anyways, you’ve given me a lot of ideas just now to consider on my home, so thanks for the input – I’ll discuss it with my hubby later 🙂

  4. Both are beautiful. My question would be, how long the would the awning last in the sun? How often would the cloth part have to be replaced?

    1. I actually have no idea. My only experience with outdoor canvas was the two pillows I made for the patio at the condo. I had those outside year-round for three years (I think) and they held up perfectly for that long without fading. But again, that’s my only personal experience with it

      1. No experience in house awnings but in RV’s they last about 10-12 years. Of course we roll them in at the first sign of wind or rain to protect them from destruction. Pricey little devil’s!!

      2. I ADORE black and white awnings, they feel so French-y yet beachy to me at the same time! There was a shop in Corona del Mar, California that I loved that years ago had those types of awnings. So lovely, and I can see why you prefer them! Sunbrella Shade fabrics in black/white stripe: https://www.sunbrella.com/en-us/fabrics/item/23/4982-0000/Beaufort-Classic has 10 year limited warranty.

        All that said about the awnings, I must also say I love those porticos as well, and especially that particular design. I’d not be able to choose if it were up to me, other than to say that the portico would be more permanent/long-lasting than the awnings.

        The studio is coming along so nicely! CanNOT wait to see more progress!

  5. Cleaning awnings can be a bear, especially if the fabric is not taut. The swoop design is very pretty but will also collect leaves. Plus you would have to replace the fabric periodically due to sun and rain exposure.

  6. you did save some of the wood siding when they tore it off didn’t you?????? I work at a grain elevator and we tore down the original elevator building in 2012 and I saved some of the wood that was under the tin and made a huge picture frame out of it. We recently built a new fertilizer shed and I did the same thing…..nice to have the memories of what we had.

    1. No, they took it all away. My house is getting way too stuffed with things I can’t seem to part with because I might, possibly, perhaps one day, may think about using it. I don’t need more stuff to store. 🙂

      1. Hear, hear! I live in fear of becoming a hoarder! (Not that I am calling Kristi or Tammy a hoarder, but when you keep stuff just in case, it just sounds like a justification to start stockpiling)

  7. My neighborhood has a lot of awnings (all solid colors it seems!) and one thing I have noticed is they do not hold up to the weather well. All it takes is one windstorm or hail storm and they are damaged or need to be fixed in some way. I want my exterior to be low maintenance so I would avoid them personally!

  8. I’m smitten with the portico. I love the extra architecture that the corbels bring to the façade. I also love when they have a copper roof instead of asphalt. Not sure how that would look on your house, but thought I’d suggest it just in case.

  9. I feel like awnings just get gross. In the spring, they turn all yellow with pollen, and then in the winter all green/black with mildew when it’s cool and rainy. Maybe some fabrics are better at resisting that than others, but it seems like they require regular pressure washing to keep looking clean. Plus, you really loved the idea of a yellow house not too long ago. I would hate to see you commit to the awnings and then feel boxed in by them when choosing your house color. To me, the portico feels like it makes an entrance grand and formal, while the awning feels great for a casual backyard or a patio cafe in Paris. If you envision maybe someday having clients come in through the door, I think the portico provides a more professional look.

  10. Kristi,
    I agree about the black and white awnings, that is what I am getting for my front porch. I have a small side porch and was going to get a small roof like you showed, but my builder felt it would be better to have it held up with pillars. I would love to send you a picture because it is very cute but I don’t know how to do it lol

  11. Love it all so far! I’d go with portico, which I find charming. What stops me with awnings is that, especially with the ones that “swoop” a bit, it seems to me that they tend to collect dust/dirt/debris – it all just doesn’t flow/get blown off, so while they are amazing when new, I’m not as charmed later when they show a bit of use. If you have nearby trees, debris from them will compound the issue. But that’s just my two cents.

    1. I totally agree with……go with the portico, love it. We have an awning over our patio, but it is retractable so we don’t have the issues with debris that a permanent awning has.

  12. Oh tough decision. Personally I love both options, and black & white striped awnings are my favorite too, but I think the portico on the side would look very classic and stylish and like it was meant to be there.

  13. I love the architectural interest the portico adds and would go for that! I also like the look of the awnings, but you have so many changes coming to the outside of your house, it seems that you would not want to limit all your other design options by deciding to go with the awnings now. It’s kinda like picking out an expensive throw pillow before you decide on your couch. It could be a great inspiration piece, but it will also limit your options!

  14. The portico design seems to go more with those renderings that you’ve shared that show what you want the outside of your house to look like. The awnings are just a completely different style, you’d have to get some new renderings done I think to see what it would really look like. I’m not really a fan, but it’s your house, so you have to do what you like!

  15. Portico over a door. Consider awnings for a patio and/or windows later. I know you’ll use a good Sunbrella option. Get to know someone who “softwashes” houses because your awnings will need it now and again. Also use Wet and Forget on them to try to keep them clean. I have had a big Sunbrella awning for 6 years and have been keeping it clean.

  16. For the awning:
    Full sun or morning sun?
    TX sun bleaches everything in July and August. (Noticed our year-old grill cover is turning white from dark brown.)
    Had hail lately? Hail will shred that very quickly. Then, you wait while insurance and the awning maker get ducks in a row. The awning framework isn’t so pretty without the awning.

    I could see this holding up far longer than the awning.
    Paint touch ups, and new shingles whenever the roof needs it.

  17. The awnings are very cute but personally I would go the portico route. See the photo you posted with all that green crap on the side of your house? That’s what will be all over your cute little awning. I just wouldn’t want to have to deal with the mess. And, look how cute all those pendants are hanging up inside the porticos! PS-the person that mentioned a copper roof on the little portico-LOVE!

  18. Hey Kristi!
    Awnings ALL THE WAY! I’ve been spending the last several weeks making decisions about house exterior color (have settled on white-on-white) and now I’m figuring out awnings. Been sketching up possible designs all morning and getting bids. Anyway, I love the idea, obviously, but you always make great design choices and I can’t wait to see what you do. 🙂

  19. Portico is my vote! The awning would be pretty, but wind, weather and sun would kill the pretty look. The portico is classic and would look really nice on the side of your house. Plus, I think it will add value that an awning won’t. Definitely install before the siding for much less of a hassle. This portico is a much larger one than you’re talking about building, but I thought it might help you envision the process a little better.

  20. I hope you are planning to put a ramp instead of steps coming out this door. You will need access for both your husband and customers as well as for bringing materials and supplies in and out of this workroom. Even though you will probably have access out the back door, it’s much cheaper and easier to add a ramp now rather than later.

    1. Was thinking the same thing. Definitely need some extra decking at top. Perhaps decking and steps directly in front of the door and a ramp toward the window. Could take the portico to the whole ‘deck’ area.

      I am coveting your workshop!

  21. Two thoughts: 1. Would you consider a ramp rather than steps so Matt could use this entrance? and 2. I think you are getting ahead of yourself here. I would wait until you have a more complete picture of the entire outside of your home before deciding on this aspect.

  22. You are only limited by you, when it comes to house color…plenty of example of yellow, coral, red, etc houses with black/white strip awnings. I like the idea for your windows, but prefer the portico for your side door. Back door might make sense as it can be more temporary until you do your carport and such.

    1. On 2nd glance at your roof line you may be limited to what you can do…an awning may be your best option.

  23. I’d go with the portico bc awnings will need to be replaced periodically! Ugh. A classic white house with lots of black, brick and boxwoods(😘) and use the striped canvas as a patio umbrella!!!

  24. Love both looks but a portico will stand the test of time. As charming as the awning would be (love the b&w stripe!) it will get dirty, mildewed, faded and never mind torn to shreds in severe weather. So while the awning looks lovely, I like to plan for longevity- do it once and right the first time and you can forget about it for awhile. Slightly boring but just as charming. Portico. Portico.Portico.

  25. Portico is my vote. It is neat and organized, just the way you like things. There are a lot of issues with canvas, some that have been mentioned above, and I agree with them all. We have a large gazebo with a Sunbrella canvas top and here are my issues:
    1. After just 2 summers material is showing signs of bleaching by the sun and small pin holes.
    2. During high winds, threats of hail, or snow we remove the top to keep the structure holding it from being compromised.
    3. Mildew and pollen wreak havoc on the material if not cleaned.
    4. Replacement is a given. I will be looking into permanent structure next go around.

  26. I’m going with the portico. Having a light there will be appreciated. We have an awning on my patio which measure roughly 14 X 30′. What I can tell you from experience is: the canvas will eventually stretch….to the point that water will collect and make it droop. It can tear, and will definitely fade. We only put ours up seasonally, from May to September. You should expect to replace it, as it won’t last forever. Good luck!

  27. I have a cape cod home – white siding, black shutters, bright yellow front door. Last year I had black and white striped fabric awnings made for the two bedroom windows on second floor that face the street. The awning company that made them puts them up in mid-May and takes them down end of October (minimal fee). I store them in my attic covered with an old bedspread. I cannot tell you how many people (that I don’t even know) have commented on these awnings! I absolutely love them, and they were more affordable than I thought they’d be. They make my house really stand out, as all I see awning-wise around the area are those icky aluminum ones. I’m very pleased with the look.

    1. That sounds charming! However, awnings over a window in hot weather serve a different purpose than an awning or portico above a door. Your seasonal awnings are to keep out the hot sun. Something above the door is meant to allow someone a dry place to stand while awaiting entry. A portico would serve this purpose better.

  28. I vote for the Portico! It’s more permanent and I like the way the awnings look over windows, but doors? I have never seen a fabric awning over a door. My house has a portico with pillars and it looks pretty cute. And provides shade and protection from rain. So on another subject, can the contractor guys side your breakfast room while they are at it?

  29. Kristi

    Portico. The awnings will get soiled, damaged and wear out. I love awnings – puts me in mind of Atlantic City, NJ homes back in the 60’s – summer…..beautiful with hydranga flowers everywhere. I wouldn’t do awnings because of the upkeep. It’s a lot different with pillows – they don’t get as much soil etc dumped on them. I love the portico – it’s charming.


  30. I really like both options. They look welcoming and charming. But, what is your price point? If you’re comfortable with spending for the portico, then I would do it. Awnings do require more of your time to maintain and also I would hate for you to box yourself in with the color of the house because of fabric . I love a white house but maybe that’s not what you’ll want in the end so give yourself as much freedom to choose things as you can.

  31. I am also on team portico for two reasons. One we had an awning in our old house and the last few years we were there it looked very tired (we took it down in the winter too since snow and awnings don’t mix–not a problem for you). The other reason is that we have a large sailboat and even with high quality sunbrella fabric, the tan color has faded very badly with exposure to the sun, and we remove it as well in the winter. I wonder how long a striped fabric will hold up (probably only a couple of years) before it looks tired.

  32. I had an idea, so I did a google search of images of metal awnings. ( Not like those yucky ’50’s kind! ) They showed a few “standing seam” gorgeous awnings, some with the swoop too!!! I personally would stay away from fabric awnings – they are heavier weight fabric than we buy for outdoor sewing, but they still do not last more than at most, 10 years. While that is a fairly long time, it doesn’t compare to a more permanent fix. I love the look of the first and second photos myself, for the style of your house. And I think it would be easier for them to at least know ahead of time what you want, in case it does need to be installed soon.

  33. Portico! Besides the wind issue eventually distorting the line of the supports, there is the intense Texas sun fading the fabric. The portico is more practical, will need less upkeep, and provide more versatility as well. I see a beautiful lantern type fixture drawing the eye to a brightly colored door.

  34. I love all your portico examples and think any of them would add to the charm and architectural interest of your house. To me, awnings always have an ice-cream shop look. I see them and immediately think retail sales. I also think they look like more work: like they might fade or get dirty and require removal for cleaning. Guess I’m just not an awning person.

  35. I’m not sure that asking for our vote, but I say Portico for all the reasons everyone has given above. Besides, I like that little permanent architectural detail on a house. An awning feels businessy and temporary. Have fun making decisions on your new studio! 🙂

  36. It’s coming along great!

    For what it’s worth, I like that first example photo. I just think it matches your house the best (even though you haven’t fully defined what you want the outside to look like, yet.). I’m not a huge fan of the awnings because they just seem kind of commercial to me. But if you like it and can make it work, go for it!

    Given your mad sewing skills, I almost wonder if you could DIY the awnings with black pipe and special-ordered canvas fabric. Then again, it might not even be cost-effective to do that.

  37. I also think Portico. For all the same reasons as posted before me. My daughter “had” a big awning on her RV that half dollar size hail just ripped to shreds. There was no warnings of hail or she would have had it rolled up. Insurance will replace it, but what a pain it is.

  38. Maria Killam has some excellent material on her blog regarding exterior material and colour choices. I’m going to get a consultation from her when it comes time to redo the exterior of our house.

  39. Like you I love black and black and white stripes , I also love all white. I had the shape you like in a former home. It rained a lot where I lived and the seams started falling apart. The triangle shape sans the trimming avoids that. I love the portico ,yet I vote for the awning.

  40. Kristi, there is a house up the street that has an awning over the front door. The owners put it up about 5 years ago and between the sun, rain, pollen, wind and rare snow, that sucker is trashed. Would hate to see you put money into something that will have to be replaced every two to three years to keep looking decent. But what do I know? I know I’ll love whatever you do!

  41. The awnings are beautiful but I see so many tattered and worn ones that I wonder how long it would last before it looked like it was ready for the bin? Maybe as long as the average paint job? Not sure! I tend to veer away from the idea but I’d at least want to research how long they last, etc. before going forward if it were me.

    I love the portico photos you shared – and for some odd reason particularly because they reminded me a little of the range hood in your kitchen. Something about echoing styles inside your home that I really liked.

    I’m sure either will be pretty, though. Look forward to seeing which choice wins or if there’s a dark horse in the wings that replaces them both! LOL


  42. I’ve been considering an awning, but living in FL, I’m wondering how long it will stand up to the heat and humidity. Mildew? Fade? Short life?