Verandas and porches


Verandas were typically open to the front with a decking of 1” (25 mm) T&G timber laid to a fall to the outside.

Decking was fixed over 3 x 2” (75 x 50 mm) framing that was fixed to the 4 x 2” (100 x 50 mm) joists installed to the fall.

4 x 4” (100 x 100 mm) planed or gauged posts holding up the roof were supported directly on the deck surface. The underside of the roofing was left exposed.

Other features included:

  • chamfering of the edges of posts – there are some examples remaining of round posts being used (Figure 1)
  • spacing to define entry points to the veranda – there was usually posts lining up with one or both sides of the entry door
  • a wide variety of fretwork and decoration 
  • turned balusters
  • decorative  mouldings at the junction with corner brackets and/or timber or cast iron fretwork
  • boxed-out bases to give solidity
  • the use of sparrow or baby iron profiles to the veranda or bay window roof
  • closed-in veranda ends with coloured or textured glazing.

Back to top

Veranda roofs

Roofs over the verandas could be:

  • concave (Figure 2)
  • convex or rounded edge (Figure 3)
  • straight (Figure 4).

Where the villa veranda continued around an external corner of the building, the corner of the veranda was occasionally embellished with a turret either in the veranda itself or as part of an elaborate bay window with an ogee or concave roof structure.


A common alteration has been the closing-in of verandas to create additional living spaces – usually this has been done with windows and cladding that is not sympathetic to the original house. 

sometimes, a garage or carport has been added at the front of the section, in a way that intrudes into or blocks daylight to the veranda.

Back to top


Porches over the main front entry door were more common than verandas in parts of the country such as Wellington and Dunedin. The form of the porch varied. Examples include:

  • being recessed behind the line of the front wall of the house and contained under the roof form (for example the valley between the two gable roofs over the bay) 
  • being recessed behind the line of the front wall of the house with a first floor room or balcony over in two-storeyed villas
  • having a small lean-to roof, sometimes hipped as well – this was common on Wellington half villas
  • a small gabled roof centred on the entry door.

The floor was constructed as for the veranda with 1” (25 mm) T&G timber laid to a fall to the outside. 

Back to top


Early and lower cost villas could be without fretwork, but many became highly decorative with fretwork to verandas and posts, as well as gable ends. 

These decorations varied with fashion over time and generally reflected the wealth of the original owner. 

Suppliers of fretwork had an extensive range of standard designs cut from timber or formed from cast iron – both imported and locally cast material was available (Figures 5 to 9).