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Porch Eave Decoration
for The Third Dimension
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Of all the decorations used on a porch, Eave
Decorations may create the most dramatic effect
because they introduce The Third Dimension.
(Eave Decorations are blue/green in the drawing below.)
Understanding The Third Dimension
We live in three dimensions, but tend to plan in only two. Case in point: we sometimes have customers call to explain that their new Vintage Woodworks porch decorative trim are wonderful, but somehow don’t have the same “feel” as the older porches they admire. We frequently find these customers have forgotten The Third Dimension! What exactly is this The Third Dimension, and how does one create it? Read on, my friend... read on...
There’s no mystery, actually. The Third Dimension, whether for porch or house eave, is created with Post Face Brackets and Cornice Brackets. Installed to project out, away from the post, beam or wall behind, one could say these Brackets are turned “on edge.”
The fact is, your porch or house eave is seldom viewed “straight on.” Thus, the addition of Third Dimension Brackets provides the sense of depth so necessary to avoid a flat, modern effect. Indeed, for porch and house eaves, often the difference between merely okay and something truly great lies in The Third Dimension.
Planning for Greatness!
Unfortunately, Porch Eave Decorations are the most overlooked decorative porch components. Equally tragic (well, maybe not tragic) it is often impossible (or at least much more difficult) to add The Third Dimension if it is not planned for in advance.
For example, it is common practice to frame modern porches without a visible Beam. This is problematic on several levels:
Decorative Trim at the top of your porch can be hidden in the shadow of the eave.
There is no Beam for Repeating Cornice or Post Face Brackets to mount to.
It looks too modern and sterile.
The Beam should be the same width as your Posts, with its finished front face flush with the face of the Porch Posts. This will make installation of Post Face Brackets easier. (Fortunately, Post Face Brackets can usually be notched to accommodate Beams whose front face is offset from the plane of the Post face.)
Adding a False Beam
If you are working with an existing porch that doesn’t have a visible Beam, it may be possible to add a false Beam between the Porch Posts. Ideally, whether structural or false, the Beam should be the same width as your Posts. If headroom permits, eight inches is a good Beam height, as this will accommodate medium-sized Repeating Cornice (Eave) Brackets.
If the budget doesn't permit adding a full width false Beam between Posts, a 2x10 (or shorter 2x8 or 2x6, if headroom is a problem) can be centered between your Posts to accept Post Face and Repeating Cornince Brackets. This is what the artist is depicting in the drawing at the top of this page (notice how the Post continues all the way to the Soffit). As you can see, this is very effective, providing the unturned portion of the tops of your Posts are sufficiently long to accommodate the false Beam and still leave adequate room for Post Top Trim between the Posts.
Often, during our free consultation sessions, we find that the Soffit (underside of eave - see drawing above) is not deep enough to accommodate Eave Brackets. A shallow Soffit also lessens the overall Third Dimension effect. Additionally, it is easier to install effective Third Dimension Decoration if the Soffit is perpendicular to the face of the Beam. Otherwise, the tops of your Eave Brackets will need to be cut at an angle to fit the slope of the Soffit.
Post Face Brackets
As their name implies, Post Face Brackets are installed on the flat faces of Porch Posts and extend up across the face of the Beam, if present, to the Soffit (horizontal board in front of the Beam). It's best if they also extend down the Posts to the same point as your other decorative trim items. We can make many of our Post Face Brackets to the exact length your project requires. Please inquire.
They should be centered on each Post and are typically long relative to their width. Post Face Brackets are normally unframed and 1-1/2" thick. Post Face Bracket selection.
Post Face Brackets provide a dramatic
Third Dimension for your porch!
A good example of Post Face Brackets is shown in these photos.
Repeating Cornice Brackets (Eave Brackets)
Repeating Cornice Brackets should be uniformly spaced along the eave of the porch (between Post Face Brackets, if these are present) on the face of the Beam. Repeating Cornice Brackets are typically less ornate than other Brackets and should be at least 1-1/2" thick to be really effective.
Repeating Cornice Brackets also enhance The Third Dimension.
It is also very effective to use Repeating Cornice Brackets in pairs, as shown below. This is particularly appropriate when the Posts are
spaced farther apart or when a slightly more formal arrangement is
Repeating Cornice Brackets are often used in pairs.
For a more substantial eave decoration, you can use Corbels (thicker
Brackets) in place of standard Repeating Cornice Brackets. The drawing below shows this approach.
Small Corbels work well as Eave Brackets.
You can see a really good example of the impact of Repeating Brackets in these photos. Please note how they extend almost to the bottom of the beam in the first photo. This is more effective than the back porch (2nd photo), where the Repeating Cornice Brackets are quite a bit shorter than the beam.
Beaded Rail is an important feature of the well-appointed porch. It is traditionally placed below Spandrels and above Brackets and/or Running Trims, as represented by the dark band in the main drawing at the top of the page and as seen in the photo immediately below. Beaded Rail's extra depth assists more than you might imagine in creating The Third Dimension. Simultaneously, the linear nature of Beaded Rail unifies the various decorative components of your porch.
Running Trim is often used between Porch Post. It can run between Brackets and under Spandrels, as shown in the photo immediately above, or it can be installed only with Brackets or only by itself.
Running Trims as Appliques
These can be applied directly to the exposed, outside face of the
Beam. They can be used in conjunction with the Repeating Cornice Brackets (placed between Repeating Cornice Brackets) as shown here.
For extra effect, add Running Trim as an applique to the Beam.
Or, applied Running Trims can be used instead of Repeating Cornice Brackets, as shown below. While this treatment is very decorative, the absence of Repeating Cornice Brackets diminishes The Third Dimensional effect we feel is so important!
Running Trim used instead of Repeating Cornice Brackets.
Appliques used on the face of the Beam
As with Running Trims, Appliques can be applied directly to the exposed, outside face of the Beam. Again, they can be used in conjunction with Repeating Cornice Brackets (placed between the Repeating Cornice Brackets), or they can be used instead of Repeating Cornice Brackets, but at the risk of diminishing The Third Dimension effect. See photos.
Appliques installed between Repeating Cornice Brackets.
Appliques installed instead of Repeating Cornice Brackets.
We Can Help!
Is your porch living in only two dimensions? If so, we have just the remedy! Our selection of Post Face Brackets, Repeating Cornice/Frieze Brackets, and Beaded Rail will create the important Third Dimension for your home and you’ll be seen as a Third Dimension Expert ... which, of course, you now are!
Questions? Give us a call.
We are available by phone or email for free personalized consultation.
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