Most Aussies love a verandah, whether or not they have one! If they don’t have one, they usually yearn for one, so it’s a shame that many new homes don’t even pay lip service to verandahs with developers thinking that a patio or a small balcony is good enough! After all, verandahs are part of our national heritage, even a part of the Aussie psyche!
So what is it about the good old Aussie verandah that makes it so iconic?
Verandahs add a sense of peace and tranquillity to a home
Walking into a home with a beautiful wide wrap around verandah seems to make our hearts sing! Wide verandahs were a necessity in days gone by, because they were a place people could sit in the shade and enjoy the breeze, even watch the storms as they rolled in. A verandah gives you somewhere to rest, relax and put your feel up, instilling a sense of tranquillity and peace into our lives.
Kids used to play on the verandah where they could be watched by adults, dogs would laze around in the shade on hot summer days, fresh homemade lemonade and beer would be brought out and everyone would simply relax, chat and spend quality time together on the verandah. It’s the original Aussie alfresco dining area, so where has it gone?
Why has the veranda disappeared?
The Aussie verandah always has been and always will be the epitome of outdoor living and should celebrated, not designed out of existence! High rise blocks are fast doing away with this Aussie icon, which is a shame, as these wide elevated spaces are perfect for outdoor entertaining or simply chatting with neighbours as they wander by with their dogs.
Maybe it’s something to do with air-conditioning? Maybe it’s something to do with people living in their backyards with a patio, pool and outdoor kitchen? Maybe it’s because we have lost our sense of community and no longer socialise with our neighbours? Whatever the cause, it’s time we reinvested in the Aussie verandah and started to breathe new life into our verandas.
Verandahs were a place where you could watch the world go by, chatting to neighbours, welcoming friends and just sitting around enjoying a few hours with friends or on your own reading a good book. The lack of verandahs in our homes means that we have become more insular and less communal. Yet most of us who live in houses without verandahs, instantly fall in love the moment we step into an old Queenslander home with it’s wide open verandahs!
Restoring your old verandah
If your home has an old verandah that has seen better days, don’t pull it down – restore it! Maybe you have just purchased an older home with a rickety old verandah? Well, why not bring it back to life and enjoy living on your very own Aussie verandah? They aren’t that difficult to restore, you just need a bit of elbow grease, a hammer, nails and a few pieces of timber! Or you could get an woodturning expert to create custom verandah posts that look exactly like the original.
If you have a heritage style home, then keep to the same style for your verandah replacing the white posts, brackets and decorative balustrades with new. Think about gables, louvres, lattices, coloured glass and transoms and make your home live again. Opening up and restoring your verandah will give your family a whole new outlook on life, providing numerous memories for your children.