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The Sleeping Porches of Highland Park

July 16, 2010

"Heatspell." –Children sleep on a fire escape in the Lower East Side of New York City during the summer of 1941. Photo by Weegee.

Here we are in the dog days of Summer. It is Midnight and 81ºF in Highland Park, with three more days of the same weather expected. Luckily for us most of our homes were built in a time before there was air conditioning.

With much of Highland Park being built before the 1950’s,  most homes were built with large attics, vented basements, and many windows that keep the homes from getting too hot in the summer. In the 100 years since, nearly everyone has attached an air conditioner to their home. But before the proliferation of aircon to help us sleep through the night, the clever Highland Parker had the option to move out into the cool night air of their upstairs Sleeping Porch.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. Janelle permalink
    July 16, 2010 7:36 am

    Thanks for featuring our house! We’re in the “Craftsman sleeping porch”. Our back bedroom also has an enclosed sleeping porch. It was always enclosed, but has a huge window that can be opened to let in the evening breeze. We use that space to store all the extra stuff we’ve accumulated, but you’re inspiring me to consider using it for it’s original purpose.

  2. Michelle permalink
    July 16, 2010 8:38 am

    Thats what those are! very cool, thanks for teaching me some interesting history of our neighborhood !

  3. July 16, 2010 12:32 pm

    We used to rent the top floor of an old mansion in the Oaks section of Los Feliz. Each floor of the home had been converted into a separate flat. Our flat consisted of the original his and hers master bedrooms (like 2 halves of a walnut, with the stairwell in between them). The two very large bedrooms were connected in the front by a hallway and a huge, uncovered terrace that overlooked Griffith Park (the terrace was on the roof of the grand living room of the original house) and on the back side of the house they were connected by a huge, elaborately tiled jack and jill bathroom, each side with it’s own entry, vanity and dressing area. Finally, on the back side of the house, each of the master bedrooms had its own sleeping porch, which were much smaller than the bedrooms, but still very large for what they were. We used one of them as our regular bedroom and it was like sleeping in a tree house since it was 3 stories up. Three of the walls were almost floor to ceiling windows that all opened and let through an amazing breeze. The lot was huge and we were screened from the neighbors by trees and space. The other sleeping porch had been converted into the kitchen for the flat. It had 2 remaining walls of almost floor to ceiling windows that all opened over the expansive backyard (the 3rd wall of windows was closed in to hold the silk / counter and cupboards). What were once the original bedrooms we used for a living room and a dining rm / office combo. It was an amazing place to live and we stayed there for many years before moving to HP.

    Thanks for all of you photos. It’s amazing to see the variety.

  4. Jones Foyer permalink
    July 16, 2010 2:31 pm

    Great post. I remember during the Gamble house tour, they pointed out the sleeping porch there, but I never really noticed or looked for sleeping porches on other local houses from around the same era.

  5. July 16, 2010 6:16 pm

    Great idea and timely too. My grandmother’s home in a nearby hamlet, had a sleeping porch with a beat up couch whose cushions were filled with down. I loved that room.

  6. July 16, 2010 11:46 pm

    Beautiful! The ones that are still intact, that is. It is such a shame that so many of these homes have been altered by short-sited “modernizations” and “renovations.”

  7. July 17, 2010 12:55 am

    Sad that my sleeping porch was not featured!! I have a lovely one outside my window on Ave 54.

  8. K. Alexy permalink
    July 19, 2010 5:24 pm

    Our porch made the cut! yep, that’s us on Abbott Place and we DO sleep on that porch and out on the lawn too. It was fun to see all the different types of porches here in grand HP! Keep up the good work. -Alexy

  9. July 22, 2010 9:19 am

    Hey, just want to let you know I enjoy the site. Keep it up.

  10. Here in Van Nuys permalink
    July 28, 2010 6:34 am

    Great piece. Southern California should go back to sleeping porches but our barking dogs and helicopter city would make it very unpleasant.

  11. caroline permalink
    July 28, 2010 12:58 pm

    i used to live in the green looking farmhouse “sleeping porch today means bedroom” the upstairs back unit, there was a huge sleeping porch that was the bedroom, it was completely surrounded with windows. The old fashioned kind with ropes and pulleys. awww ave 52 memories…

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