Creating the Perfect Back Porch


It’s not often you get to sit and talk with a talented interior designer.

Last week I was talking with Laura Sullivan, owner and interior designer at Asheville’s ID.ology Interior & Design, about back porches. I was curious about the rhyme and reason for certain designs. As Southerners, we enjoy our back porches, probably more than most. Whether it’s early spring or late fall, you’ll usually find us there.

So, my question to her was, I thought, fairly simple: What is the ideal back porch set up? Well, I can say this, I’ll never look at my back porch the same way again.

Biophillic Design

When she first mentioned it, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. The word was not even in my vocabulary. However, the more I listened, the more it made complete sense.

“Biophilic design is an innovative way to harness this affinity in order to create natural environments for us to live, work and learn,” says Sullivan. “By consciously including nature in interior or architectural design, we are unconsciously reconnecting, bringing the great outdoors into our constructed world.”

The concept is something I’ve noticed in her other design projects across Asheville. Along with her husband, Sean Sullivan of Living Stone Design + Build, they’ve taken green, healthy living to a new level.

“In considering the health and wellbeing of one in their home we strive to create that ‘indoor/out’ connection between the interior and exterior spaces of a home,” says Sullivan. “A growing body of research highlights the positive benefits of connecting with nature, which is now known as Ecotherapy. This is an applied practice based on the idea that people are connected to and impacted by the natural environment.”

The Back Porch

I realized why she had walked me through the theory. The big picture needed to be clear before she got to the question about the back porch. And it really did give me a greater understanding once she started going over the finer points of a perfect back porch.

“An ideal back porch set up is one that has a great expanse of glass that connects the two, and comfortable and inviting seating arrangement as well as either some form of fire or water. Most commonly we’ll pull in fire by way of incorporating either a fireplace, fire pit or fire feature. Having an option to be under cover provides a protected area that gives you more “unencumbered” use of the space throughout the year.”

As September closes in, give your back porch a once over and see where you can apply Biophillic Design to your space.

You may be surprised.