Monday, April 27, 2009

A Porch With Screens:My Personal Shangrila


I moved into my house almost eight years ago to the month. It was a 40 year old home, in complete disrepair. It took one full year to design on paper and another to build; a complete rehab, down to the studs and drywall. During those two years, I was attending graduate school full time and was the mother to a five and a six year-old, and I had one full-on anxiety attack to show for my efforts. It was, and still is a labor of love, but that's a story for another day. Today I want to tell you about my screened in porch.

The house already had a screened in porch off the back, complete with fake, green astro-turf, turned black and moldy. I remember the conversation with my architect vividly. He was explaining to me how the existing porch was to be elongated, from the addition and reconfiguration of that area of the house. The floor, walls and screens all to be replaced and a new, bigger and better screened in porch would be the result.

"I'll never use it," I said. "It will be a waste of time and resources."

"There's already an existing foundation there, so rather than waste time and resources digging that up, we will make it better and more functional, " he said. "You'll love it."

That was an understatement, for the unwanted step-child of a screened in porch, quickly became my favorite spot in my home. Having just returned from my vacation to beautiful 85 degree weather, my first order of business was to get my porch in perfect working order. As you can see from the photo above, I wasted no time "pimping out" my space. Every year it gets better and better. This year, I bought a new coffee table, seat cushions and my favorite element, multiple lanterns for the candlelit twilight hours. I sit here now, typing these words for you, overlooking my lush green landscape and listening to a symphony of birds, welcoming me to their daily concert. I shudder at the prospect of my blase, youthful inexperience somehow convincing my architect to nix the plans for the porch, for I relish the time spent here.

We eat dinners as a family here. We share cocktails and stories with friends and relatives into the wee hours of the night here. We sit and read magazines, novels, newspapers and blogs here, never needing to talk; the heat bugs and Mother Nature's soundtrack consistently provided in the background. We do have important, deep, sometimes silly and trusted conversations here, and we create lasting memories here.

I welcome the inspiration that may come from sitting on my porch, lap-top in tow, dogs at my feet, creating Dandy's daily and commenting on yours. I will utilize the time my porch and I have, for it is fast and fleeting. After all, I live in New England, but for now I am content to sit and type and enjoy.

And for today, all is right with the world.

19 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Yes, a very nice porch ... you are very fortunate.

The Dental Maven said...

Looks great, I'm on my way over...

wigsf said...

I've got something similar in my home. I've got a concrete balcony/patio behind my kitchen. Beneath, the walkout basement that walks into an enclosed area. Underneath the balcony, I enclosed the space with sliding doors with screens and shades. The floor of this new room is just interlocking stone. No proper floor was placed down. Off to one side on the exterior is the concrete stairs leading up from the backyard to the balcony/patio behind the kitchen. Underneath the stairs, I dug down about five/six feet. I finished the base and sides of the hole with a waterproof-membrane and tiles. Filled the hole with water then added fish. I know have a sort-of indoor koi pond. It's really cool, but the heat in there, also because I have to heat the water a bit to prevent from freezing in the winter (The Canada, brrr), it really, really stinks. I then enclosed the hole with a large window so that I can keep the air from circulating out of the pond space into the rest of the enclosed patio area. It helps a bit. But it still smells like fish.

I can't keep plants in there as it just doesn't get enough sunlight so I filled the room with fake plants that look really close to real. I think it came out really well considering the ceiling leaks a bit (concrete guy was an absolute idiot). I've even got an LCD TV hanging from the ceiling so I can watch the game in there.

But I've also got a cat, a cat that loves to climb up the screen doors. She's gone so far as to rip a hole through one of them.

SkylersDad said...

It looks great, when is dinner? ;^)

Scandalous Housewife said...

Awwwww, just heaven! Lovin' it...

Meghan said...

That's a gorgeous porch. I want to be sitting on it playing cards games and chatting right now.

Candi said...

Love it! I really miss our screened in porch that we had at our Texas house. It was our favorite place to hang out. Here we have a small balcony off of the master bedroom, but it is just not the same. ;-)

Cora said...

Awwww, gorgeous!!

Welcome back, Candy! Blog World just wasn't the same without you! *sniffle*

Pop and Ice said...

I'm so envious. We have a small patio off the back of our house that is just begging to be remade into a screened porch. I so want to know how much it would cost to frame around the foundation, but I'm laid off *sniff* and I have to be very careful with money. Still, it couldn't hurt to get a quote, could it? :D

Ookami Snow said...

I would really like to have a screened in porch. The only problem I have with them is the noise they make when it gets windy.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Now you see.. if you had told me earlier I might well have popped across with a few of the lads and saved you a shilling or two on the construction.

It looks great.. I hope you find the peace to continue to write so well.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Wow, that's awesome. All you need is an air conditioner...

Heff said...

You really kicked ass getting your home in order in that short time frame. I've been living in my house for 15 years, and I STILL find myself doing things to it. I guess it never really ends.

Vodka Mom said...

i adore porches- especially ones that bathe me in sun- and allow the warm summer breezes to blow through the house.

i'm coming over for a cocktail. I hope you have vodka on hand.

mike said...

Wow... that is an awesome porch! I hope you get more than 5 months of use out of it, living up here.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~E said...

Just wanted to stop by and say I am in on the fantasy football whenever you decide to start it.

And I totally get you on the porch thing. I have one but its not screened in. I lose myself in there for hours at a time in the summer

Dave Morris said...

Candy, Mary and I loved your story about the screen porch. We have a web site (http://www.front-porch-ideas-and-more.com/screen-porches.html) and would love permission to place your story on our site along with the picture. We would credit you and have a link directly to your blog. We are receiving over 27,000 page views thus far this month -we started the site in Jan.
Sincerely,
Dave and Mary Morris

Furtheron said...

Nice - is that what I'd call a conservatory? We thought about one some years back but never built it, now my son is at uni we don't really need the extra space anyhow