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The Summer Living Room: 15 Airy Screened-In Porches

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The Summer Living Room: 15 Airy Screened-In Porches

July 15, 2020

Screened-in porches are making a comeback, a trend we applaud. After years of dwindling popularity, porches are back on young homebuyers’ lists of “Most Wanted” features, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. Among Millenials, a front porch is more prized than hardwood floors, a master bath with both a shower and tub, or a dining room.  And with good reason.

A screened-in porch is your summer living room. It’s a neighborly space, inviting breezes and greetings from passersby. And it’s an iconically American architectural feature. Before the 1860s, “there was no hint (or probably dream of) making a house flyproof,” writes Russell Lynes in The Domesticated Americans. Then, during the Civil War a manufacturer of wire mesh sieves miscalculated demand; the surplus was repurposed and sold as window covering. By the 1880s, screened-in porches were a trend.

In support of the screened-in porch, we’ve rounded up 15 of our favorites from around the country, from Maine to Maui:

Featured photograph by Dustin Aksland and Eric Striffler, courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts, from Elizabeth Roberts at Home: The Architect’s Own Beach House in Bellport, NY.

Bellport, New York

The sun porch of architect Elizabeth Roberts&#8
Above: The sun porch of architect Elizabeth Roberts’ Bellport summer home opens into the pool and backyard. Photograph by Dustin Aksland and Eric Striffler, courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts, from Elizabeth Roberts at Home: The Architect’s Own Beach House in Bellport, NY.

Charleston, South Carolina

The screened-in porch in this Workstead-designed project opens to the rear of the house and is outfitted with a vintage rattan porch furniture set, an Emerson Black Industrial Ceiling Fan, and the Harford Pendant by Steven Gambrel for Urban Electric. Photograph by Matthew Williams, courtesy of Workstead, from Southern Modern in Charleston: A Fresh Take on the Old South from Workstead.
Above: The screened-in porch in this Workstead-designed project opens to the rear of the house and is outfitted with a vintage rattan porch furniture set, an Emerson Black Industrial Ceiling Fan, and the Harford Pendant by Steven Gambrel for Urban Electric. Photograph by Matthew Williams, courtesy of Workstead, from Southern Modern in Charleston: A Fresh Take on the Old South from Workstead.

Healdsburg, California

A screened dining porch by architect Malcolm Davis overlooks the pool. Both the decking and screen frame are made of rot-resistant ipe wood, while the building’s framing lumber is Douglas fir. Photograph courtesy of Malcolm Davis, from Swimming Pool of the Week: A Rustic Family Campground—with a Lap Pool.
Above: A screened dining porch by architect Malcolm Davis overlooks the pool. Both the decking and screen frame are made of rot-resistant ipe wood, while the building’s framing lumber is Douglas fir. Photograph courtesy of Malcolm Davis, from Swimming Pool of the Week: A Rustic Family Campground—with a Lap Pool.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

A simple timber frame screened porch is an homage to a nearby Cape Cod house built by homeowner Miranda Heller&#8
Above: A simple timber frame screened porch is an homage to a nearby Cape Cod house built by homeowner Miranda Heller’s grandfather, the self-taught modernist architect Jack Phillips. Heller’s porch is an addition to a 19th-century barn that was moved uphill to its current site a century or so after it was built. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista, from Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces.

San Antonio, Texas

A breeze-capturing screened pavilion from San Antonio, Texas-based Poteet Architects has a rough-hewn timber frame and a covered entry platform for shade and rain protection. Photograph by Chris Cooper, from Architect Visit: Screened Porch by Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas.
Above: A breeze-capturing screened pavilion from San Antonio, Texas-based Poteet Architects has a rough-hewn timber frame and a covered entry platform for shade and rain protection. Photograph by Chris Cooper, from Architect Visit: Screened Porch by Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas.

Nashville, Tennessee

This screened porch is one of four porches in this home. “It is a bit unusual to build so many porches on a new residence as budget constraints and modern air conditioning usually rule out all but the most modest examples,” says the architect. “However, the desire to live indoors/outdoors made them essential.” Photography by Ruth and Marcus Di Pietro, from The Architect Is In: Romancing the Country in Nashville, Music and Porches Included.
Above: This screened porch is one of four porches in this home. “It is a bit unusual to build so many porches on a new residence as budget constraints and modern air conditioning usually rule out all but the most modest examples,” says the architect. “However, the desire to live indoors/outdoors made them essential.” Photography by Ruth and Marcus Di Pietro, from The Architect Is In: Romancing the Country in Nashville, Music and Porches Included.

Montana

In western Montana, on the southern shore of the biggest freshwater water lake west of the Mississippi River Texas-based architects Andersson-Wise designed a cabin on stilts with a living room that doubles as screened porch. Photograph courtesy of Andersson-Wise, from Into the Woods: A Cabin on Flathead Lake.
Above: In western Montana, on the southern shore of the biggest freshwater water lake west of the Mississippi River Texas-based architects Andersson-Wise designed a cabin on stilts with a living room that doubles as screened porch. Photograph courtesy of Andersson-Wise, from Into the Woods: A Cabin on Flathead Lake.

Rhinebeck, NY

 Architects Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown’s screened porch at their weekend place in Rhinebeck, New York has  pleasing blend of green walls (so dark they border on Gothic) and midcentury Danish antiques. Photograph by Richard Powers for Tsao & McKown Architects, from Steal This Look: The Perfect Screened Porch.
Above: Architects Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown’s screened porch at their weekend place in Rhinebeck, New York has  pleasing blend of green walls (so dark they border on Gothic) and midcentury Danish antiques. Photograph by Richard Powers for Tsao & McKown Architects, from Steal This Look: The Perfect Screened Porch.

Hudson Valley, NY

A three-story screened porch has a swing on the top level and a table and chairs for dining on the middle level. The sauna is at ground level at the bottom of a slope. Photograph by Reto Guntli, courtesy of BarlisWedlick Architects, from  Architect Visit: A Natural Pool and Passive House in New York&#8
Above: A three-story screened porch has a swing on the top level and a table and chairs for dining on the middle level. The sauna is at ground level at the bottom of a slope. Photograph by Reto Guntli, courtesy of BarlisWedlick Architects, from  Architect Visit: A Natural Pool and Passive House in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Lamoine, Maine

A screened porch is oriented toward the water views and has a perimeter French drain, in a garden designed by Massachusetts-based landscape architect Matthew Cunningham. Photograph by Matthew Cunningham, from Landscape Architect Visit: Clamshell Alley on the Coast of Maine.
Above: A screened porch is oriented toward the water views and has a perimeter French drain, in a garden designed by Massachusetts-based landscape architect Matthew Cunningham. Photograph by Matthew Cunningham, from Landscape Architect Visit: Clamshell Alley on the Coast of Maine.

Connecticut

The screened porch can become a glazed porch and becomes usable for three seasons; sometimes even in the winter when the weather is mild, which gives the family more space during the winter and yet retaining its airiness in the summer. Photograph by Michael Moran, from The Architect Is In: Porch Appreciation in Connecticut.
Above: The screened porch can become a glazed porch and becomes usable for three seasons; sometimes even in the winter when the weather is mild, which gives the family more space during the winter and yet retaining its airiness in the summer. Photograph by Michael Moran, from The Architect Is In: Porch Appreciation in Connecticut.

The Catskills, NY

 Design team Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. rescued a nondescript and unloved screened porch in the Catskills–and made it magical. Photograph courtesy of Jersey Ice Cream Co., from Before & After: A Summer Porch Rehab in Upstate New York.
Above: Design team Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. rescued a nondescript and unloved screened porch in the Catskills–and made it magical. Photograph courtesy of Jersey Ice Cream Co., from Before & After: A Summer Porch Rehab in Upstate New York.

Connecticut

“The decision to screen the porch was pretty obvious,” says architect Rafe Churchill. “Not only can it get pretty buggy after sunset but also the screening of the porch really adds to the intimacy of the space and allows for sleeping in the open air.” Photograph by John Gruen, from The Architect Is In: The New Connecticut Farm, Sustainable Edition.
Above: “The decision to screen the porch was pretty obvious,” says architect Rafe Churchill. “Not only can it get pretty buggy after sunset but also the screening of the porch really adds to the intimacy of the space and allows for sleeping in the open air.” Photograph by John Gruen, from The Architect Is In: The New Connecticut Farm, Sustainable Edition.

Llano River, Texas

 Austin-based interior designer Ann Edgerton designed a screened porch with a soft bohemian look using vintage rattan furniture, Moroccan accents, and bright textiles. “I wanted to create a place you can grow into with new textiles and plants,” she says. Photograph by Molly Winters courtesy of Ann Edgerton, from Steal This Look: A Bohemian Screened Porch in Texas.
Above: Austin-based interior designer Ann Edgerton designed a screened porch with a soft bohemian look using vintage rattan furniture, Moroccan accents, and bright textiles. “I wanted to create a place you can grow into with new textiles and plants,” she says. Photograph by Molly Winters courtesy of Ann Edgerton, from Steal This Look: A Bohemian Screened Porch in Texas.

Maui, Hawaii

A a traditional plantation cottage, recently restored to its laid-back Hawaiian charm by Brooklyn-based architect Roberto Sosa, has a screened porch with a mahogany door. Photograph by Kate Holstein, from Vacation Rental: Maui Beach Cottage with a Tropical Garden.
Above: A a traditional plantation cottage, recently restored to its laid-back Hawaiian charm by Brooklyn-based architect Roberto Sosa, has a screened porch with a mahogany door. Photograph by Kate Holstein, from Vacation Rental: Maui Beach Cottage with a Tropical Garden.

N.B.: See more of our favorite summery living spaces:

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