auto coverage

April 10th 2014 Comments: 6 Topics:

Most of us who were raised in warmer climates during the golden era of the ranch house know exactly what a “carport” is.
2014-04-08_0008For those unaware of this unsightly, but useful appendage, it’s basically a structure that allowed a car and its inhabitants to pull under cover, leave the confines of the vehicle and enter the house protected from inclement weather. Think garage with no walls. In the South, these often doubled as sitting porches when the car was away, further adding to their sophisticated appearance.

These gaping car maws (usually located on the front of the house) were handy but not much to look at. Oddly enough, these auto deposits actually have an historical source. Porte cocheres (just the French translation makes it sound classier) were porch-like features of late 18th and 19th century mansions which permitted a carriage to pass under allowing the occupants to alight under cover. Using a salad dressing analogy, something obviously went wrong on the road from French to Ranch.

The automobile still tries to dominate the design of houses nowadays. As a matter of fact, the three car garage has become de rigueur. These annexes, however, tend to be elephantine in size and often dwarf the mass of the house itself. To overcome this, we often delegate one car to a porte cochere, allowing a more appealing and proportional two bay carriage house.

Most of our on-the-move clients really come to enjoy this casual auto drop-off device. It tends to create a breezeway at the front of the house and lends an air of open friendliness to the proceedings.

Following are some examples of our “carports” – a far cry from their suburban ranch roots.


Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Jean Alexander says:

    Reminds me of when our family built a new home in the fifties and we had
    a nifty carport like all the other homes on the development. It was great.

  2. Jennifer Smith says:

    I much prefer your version to the ranches! Lovely work!

  3. Courtney Czarnecki says:

    We are all absolutely guaranteed a big smile every Thursday afternoon, Greg, with your always warm, charming and original posts…….. a bigger one than usual today with “…from French to Ranch.” Who else would be able to toss salad dressing and garages together?! Ahh, you do amuse us so well.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Wonderful! If I may be so bold as to ask, in the next-to-last photo with the pergola version, what kind of material do you top it with to keep the rain/snow out? I’m thinking of having something like this built and I need it with a cover. Something translucent would be ideal.

  5. Jan says:

    So many of us baby boomers grew up in a ranch with a carport, just like this one.

    Even as a kid I dreamed of living in the two-story “Leave it to Beaver” house, complete with a real garage.

    Guess what? Dreams DO come true! Am I any happier with a garage? Probably not!

  6. Mary Martin says:

    I look forward to your posts and always learn something! Today I had a great chuckle as I read “something obviously went wrong from French to Ranch!” Thanks for your great blog.

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