One of the MUST haves for new residence is a screened in porch. It has to service a lot of needs….not just sitting out on a cool night, but a place where i can work with a view and a breeze, and not the least….a cat-tio.. If i give them a perch of their own i have a few roommates who will stay there 24/7/365, which will make up for having a small living space indoors.
I have had my porch now, for near 20 years and i am sort of used to having one. I know I will never have another 30 feet wide and made of brick, i am going to try to have one that at least services my needs BETTER. A brick porch of SIZE is actually a limitation to a small pocket, you can’t make adaptions and you can’t afford to repair the screens or add storm windows etc.. In the end it just collects junk.
There was a time when an enclosed porch was the standard part of a new england home, especially one anywhere near the coast line. In the south they call them sleeping porches, pre the invention of air conditioning era, the entire family would move out there, and in the cold climes, tuberculosis patients were shoved out there to freeze. Somewhere along the lines, decks became the predominant ‘porch’…and personally i can’t think of anything more useless as an open DECK in New England. Only useful when it’s not raining or snowing and porch furniture has a very short ugly shelf life. Just a roofing a deck would earn back its cost in lounge chairs alone.
Decks are as common as chimneys in Maine, so that’s the core of the design. Converting it to three season use, is a realistic goal. Four season involves heat and insulation and electrics and different codes…..not worth the doing unless i adopt triplets. Adding a gabel or hip roof, depending on the width of the deck, will give me south facing roof, so lots more room for solar panels! Using fiberglass core pet screening, means the screens will have a much longer life span than regular screen. There should be a decent size overhang so no worries about UV rays either. Being wood frame construction, i can add shelves and perches, so that’s the cat’s sorted. By only screening from hip height up, with plywood and t -11 siding for the bottom third, I will keep snow drifts and much rain from finding its way in. Also allows for more adapations like fold away tables and built in shelving etc.
Back in the era of Downton Abbey levels of household staffing, seasonally added storm windows were the norm. Some were ginourmous! I know cause i have one for my porch window, but it’s in the garage cause i can’t lift it. Normally they go on the outside but that’s not practical. My concept is to replace the traditional hangers with hinges on the inside, and then they can be lifted up inside between the rafters and hooked up there for the rest of the year, and then lowered in winter. This will eliminate the porch damage from winter storms and snow, also make it possible for the cats to enjoy it in winter. Of course i can see snow drifts gatherin between the screens and the window..i will have to think on this..
The only draw back to this plan, is that NEW wooden storm windows are about 350 each. In the end i think it will be well worth the money, to increase the living area and by using quality materials, none of these improvements will have to be replaced for the ne xt 20 years or more.
I can SEE the porch in my head, i just can’t draw the damn thing, and i am certainly NOT adept with a graphics design program. I have to use the traditional method, of scribbling it down. I found a place in New Hampshire that can millwork storm windows to order. So once i have a deck width and length to work with, i can design using the window measurements and the rafter spacing. Hopefully i can reach out and find a carpenter who can correct my half assed wishful thinking.