Three Welcoming Front Porches

February 17, 2017 | South Tampa Magazine | Categories: Home | Tags: home decor, Neighborhoods, porches

Whether it’s used for entertaining guests or simply relaxing with a cold drink, a South Tampa porch is an extension of the home. While the area is known for historic bungalows, here are three different kinds of South Tampa homes with beautiful front porches.

Written By: Mckenna Kelley | Photography By: Gabriel Burgos

porches 1Family Friendly

On Jen and Derek Iavarone’s porch and adjacent driveway, their young family gathers to laugh and play after a long day at work and school. Declan, 5, and Malin, almost 2, take turns driving their red toy Land Rover, while their parents, who own Malio’s Prime Steakhouse in Downtown Tampa, spend adult time enjoying a glass of wine on the porch greeting their neighbors on Villa Rosa Park. Jen enjoys buying and flipping houses, so the family moves every few years, but she said they have fallen in love with their neighborhood. “I grew up always knowing the people on Villa Rosa were very family-oriented and super friendly,” she said. “There are a lot of good people on this street. The next house we buy just might have to be on Villa Rosa again.”

porches 1 product

Find It

Foo Dog Statues
The statues that flank the front door were originally purchased at the now-closed South Tampa boutique Five Palms and are always prominently displayed at the family’s home.

For similar pieces:
Bali Bay Trading Company
4222 N. Florida Ave.
(813) 238-3295


porches 2Cozy and Chic

Though Maria and Rick Whitney certainly enjoy spending time on their front porch, it is really the favorite spot of their 9-year-old Chihuahua mix, Radar, who usually claims a perch in the center of the porch’s sofa.

“He’s always looking for a spot in the sun,” Maria Whitney said.

She and her husband bought the house new in 2012. Located on Oregon Avenue, the Whitneys’ home is an approximately one-minute walk from Hyde Park Village. Easy access to the area’s shops and restaurants – like On Swann, which is visible from the porch – is one of the main reasons they chose this home.

“We’ve lived in South Tampa most of our adult lives, and we wanted to stay near the village,” Maria said. “We didn’t want to miss anything.”

Their porch, which has an inlaid brick floor, is deeper than most, giving them more space to relax and more shady cover from the Florida sun.

“We said the next time we bought a house we wanted a front porch, so we specifically looked for a house with one,” Maria said about their current home.

She and her husband, who is the former president and CEO and current sales and estimating coordinator of their family-owned hauling company Trans-Phos, spend weekend mornings on their porch drinking coffee in their pajamas. During the week, they’ll catch up over a glass of wine in the late afternoon with Radar by their sides.

In a time when people seem to be ultra-connected to each other through their electronic devices, Maria said being out on the front porch is a way to interact with the community without the help of a digital device.

“It’s a way to monitor what’s going on in your neighborhood, and it’s a way to say hi to your neighbors in real life,” she said.

porches 2 productFind it

Chatham Sofa and Armchairs
These pieces are built from mahogany and eucalyptus and can be customized with cushions and pillows to match your style.

Pottery Barn
802 S. Village Circle
(813) 253-0904



porches 3

Bayshore Beauty

For the Friedman family, there’s no better way to start the day than with breakfast on their expansive front porch, watching the world roll by from their Bayshore Boulevard home.

“I’ll sit out here with a bowl of cereal or plate of eggs and just take in the view,” Nick Friedman, the co-founder of College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk & Moving, said.

Other times, Friedman and his wife, Jen, will relax on their white wooden rocking chairs, left by the home’s previous owner, while their almost-2-year-old daughter, Alena, runs up and down the porch with her baby doll’s stroller. From here, they have a prime viewing location for the Gasparilla parade and other events on Bayshore.

As part of the Friedmans’ renovation of the home in 2015-16, the front porch was completely rebuilt in the same footprint as the original. An additional room was constructed to the right of the porch to give the family a little more privacy on that side.

Jen Friedman said the house’s history and location on the corner of Newport Avenue played a huge role in their decision to purchase the home.

“I love the character of old homes, like the pocket doors and the inlaid floors,” she said. “The location is so close to Hyde Park Village and downtown, and Newport is the most beautiful street.”

Her husband said spending time on Bayshore reminds him of his big city upbringing.

“I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, and I always say that Tampa feels like a small town with big city amenities,” Nick Friedman said. “Bayshore feels like the city.”

porches 3 product

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Snap AV Episode 550 Series Thin Bezel Speakers
The Friedmans installed built-in speakers when they renovated their porch. They said playing music through them helps reduce the traffic noise from Bayshore Boulevard.

Tampa Bay Electronic Systems
5008 W. Linebaugh Ave., Suite 10
(813) 340-4037