July 5, 2015 by Jean
Recently, when I wrote about my hassles in getting my screened gazebo set up on the back deck, a reader commented that she is lucky to have a feature that is common in her part of the country – a screened porch. I don’t know why screened porches are not more common in my part of Maine; it seems like such an obvious way to get maximum enjoyment of Maine’s wonderful summer season. On a screened porch, you can be outside but protected from the bites of flies and mosquitoes.
As soon as I began dreaming about putting an addition on my house to add another bedroom and bathroom, I knew I wanted that addition to include a screened porch. I’ve long thought it would be wonderful to have a house where every room had access to some kind of outdoor living space – a little patio, or porch, or deck. I don’t expect to actually achieve this, but with the new addition, I’ve come close. A sliding glass door in the kitchen opens onto the back deck. My new bedroom includes a glass door that leads out to a small front deck. And from the living room, you can walk through a door in the foyer out to the screened porch.
Of these three outdoor spaces, the screened porch is the one that is getting the most use. I have it furnished with a round table and four chairs. I eat both my breakfast and lunch out on the porch and head out there when I want to sit and relax. It’s a great place to read, or to work Sudoku puzzles, or just to look at the trees and listen to the birds sing. When I am working in the garden or on my patio and walkways project, I take breaks with a cool drink on the screened porch. It’s also a perfect place to entertain friends for lunch or dinner or afternoon tea.
During these summer months, I treat the screened porch as indoor space as well as outdoor space. The floor of the porch is at the same level as the floors of the house, with no step down. On warm days, I leave the glass door from the foyer out to the porch open so that the porch becomes another room of the house. My porch has a ceiling fan and a light so that it is a comfortable place to be even on hot days and can be used after dark. Because the porch (unlike the decks) has a roof, it also provides a way to be outside without getting wet on rainy days. Someday, I hope to add panels of plastic sheeting that can be put up over the screens to make this a three-season space. One thing the screened porch lacks right now is a garden view, but as I add gardens around the front entrance to my house this year and next, the pleasures of my screened porch will only increase.