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Unique Outdoor Spaces - An Unattached Screened Porch

Does a screened porch have to be attached to the house? 

By Susan Christian

Of course not...and in many cases there are loads of good reasons why it shouldn't. We've worked with so many wonderful clients on their screened porch projects and it's really all about what makes sense for their needs and for their home.

Case in point: a screened-porch project we are currently working on in Ann Arbor. We are still wrapping up some odds and ends on the project, but it's so wonderful I couldn't wait to share the details. 

Outdoor Living Space - The Client's Goals

Loving their home and the neighborhood, our clients longed for a better outdoor experience to take advantage of their beautiful backyard. They planned on staying in the home for many years and were tired of not having a better outdoor space to use on a daily basis and when entertaining family and friends. 

STUM20055 EC CROPPED FULL VIEW LABELED

The back of the home faced west - so the existing concrete/brick paver patio reflected heat off the house making for a hot and uncomfortable space in the late afternoon and evening. The lot also backed onto a forested area which was beautiful, but also brought insects in the warmer weather. 

Screened Porch Design Considerations: Attached vs unattached

The Existing Home Design

The existing rear facade of the home had many different extensions that added to the overall aesthetic of the home. Our clients loved the way the home looked and didn't want to break up that aesthetic.  

STUM20055 EC BACK ANGLE VIEW

The Sun

The back of the house faced west and as the clients noted: "this side of the house bakes in the late afternoon and early evening." In addition the polished concrete patio also absorbed and reflected heat and created a "greenhouse" effect in the back of their home. They were looking for solutions to minimize the heat so they could enjoy the space.

Safety Concerns

Three steps needed to be navigated immediately out the patio door to get to the existing patio. The steps were in a pyramid configuration without a railing. Whether carrying a tray of crudités or dealing with mobility issues, it was a less-than-ideal situation.

STUM20055 EC BACK STEP DETAIL

Basement Window Wells

There were three basement windows on either side of the existing patio some of which would have been covered up if a screened porch was added directly onto the back of the home. The client's basement was a finished space that they used frequently. These windows brought daylight into the basement that would be missed if covered.

STUM20055 EC BASEMENT WINDOW

Existing Hardscaping

The existing circular brick paver patio was in good condition and the clients used it. Although not a deal-breaker, if it could be worked into the new design that would be an added plus for them.

A perfect solution: the UNATTACHED SCREENED PORCH

STUM20055 STUMBO CROPPED RENDER

With the clients' goals well defined, our design team took into careful consideration all of the challenges/opportunities the existing home design presented and came up with a solution that would maximize the opportunities and resolve the challenges. 

STUM20055 IP REAR FULL CROPPED

A thoughtfully-placed unattached screened porch provides the outdoor living without the bugs and helps to throw some shade (in a good way!) onto the new back deck. By raising the elevation of the deck and screened porch to the level of the patio door, the steps are eliminated making the flow to and from the home much safer. Finished design details include:

  • Durable and easy-to-maintain Trex composite decking used for the deck and screened porch flooring 

  • Insect screening placed below screened-porch decking to protect from the bugs

  • Tongue and groove cedar planking used in the ceiling to add warmth and texture 

  • A partial wall is placed on the street-facing side of the screened porch to add privacy 

  • 2 of the 3 basement windows remain fully opened for daylight

  • Lattice will be placed around all deck and porch skirts 

  • Wall sconces eliminate the need for accessory lighting in the screened porch

STUM20055 IP SCREENED PORCH CEILING DETAIIL

The crisp angles of the new exterior components tie seamlessly into the existing home and complement the home's original architectural aesthetic. The unique angled deck design ties into the existing brick-paver patio and looks like it always has been that way.

STUM20055 IP DECK TO PATIO TIE IN

The clients are thrilled with the project and have now officially dubbed this their "garden room." It's going to be the perfect spot to enjoy that morning cup of coffee and that evening glass of wine. Stay tuned...we'll be getting this professionally photographed and we can't wait to show you the final results!

Dreaming about an unattached screened porch...or any other project around your home? Wondering what makes sense for your needs and for your home?  Contact us and let us help you turn your dream into reality.

 

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