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Should I open a closed-off breezeway/ porch?

Karen Sorenson
February 7, 2019
last modified: February 7, 2019

I know most people are tying to get more square footage from their home, and not trying to reduce it like me... but hear me out.

We recently moved into a 1954 colonial revival ranch. At one time it had a lovely little breezeway. At one point a laundry room was added on the back side, making the once breezeway a porch. Fine, I get that. Years later however someone decided to make an ”office” out of this space and bricked in the opening. However the dumb-dumbs never insulated the space, nor connect it to the HVAC, or raised the floor from what was there previously; so you step onto a carpet covered concret. It’s now a COLD awkward dead space that is currently being used as storage for our unpacked boxes.

Both the kitchen and dining room connect to this room with glass doors, I imagine when there was a breezeway it was lovely. We plan on building a walk-in pantry from the door in the kitchen. However we haven’t been able to decide what to do with the “dead space”. We have discussed making it a room, but it’s very narrow, the space is currently 16’ x 9’-the pantry would take up six of those feet.

I want to make it into a porch again, knock out the brick wall and screen it in (we live in Tennessee so a screened off area would keep out the bugs). It was never meant to be a room or office. We also have plans to add a pergola in front of the house to create another porch.

So does it make sense to take away square footage for ascetic? We aren’t planning on selling anytime soon, we want to raise our kids here and perhaps make it a forever home. But you never know what life will bring I suppose.

I have included pictures of the “room”, our plans for the house, and a breezeway from this time period.

Comments (22)

  • functionthenlook

    I think it is a lovely idea to open it back up again. Adding a pantry and little screened in sitting area is making a useless space useful again.

    Karen Sorenson thanked functionthenlook
  • PRO
    Pearl Remodeling

    Sounds like you already made up you mind.... The easiest way to think about is: If you don't really need that square feet than hell yeah ... open it up

    Karen Sorenson thanked Pearl Remodeling
  • qam999

    Since you make an eloquent case as to how the breezeway is not really functioning as a useable room due to its defects, it seems you have little to lose by turning it back into a screened-in breezeway. The one thing I didn't hear from you was any clear plan as to what you will do with the restored breezeway. It may be difficult to keep it from reverting to a storage catchall.

    Karen Sorenson thanked qam999
  • Karen

    My only concern would be...people walking up to the house. Would they try to enter at the screen door or walk all the way to the other doorway? it appears that the driveway is on the left (facing the house)

    Karen Sorenson thanked Karen
  • Butternut

    Yes I think people will enter that way. It’s common here in that era of house to have a porch/breezeway/whatever that functions as the side entry of the house, before they directly connected garages to houses.

    Is there an entrance from the garage directly to the house? Is there any way you could rearrange the whole thing including pantry to create a mud room/garage/side entrance? That would be more functional than a porch only accessible from the dining room, but maybe I’m reading it all incorrectly.

    btw your exterior proposed changes look great! Going to be super cute when painted and spruced up!

    Karen Sorenson thanked Butternut
  • emmarene9

    I don't understand if you will lose the laundry room if you open the breezeway. I think an enclosed laundry area is desirable. If you just moved in I think you should live in the house a year before you decide.

    Karen Sorenson thanked emmarene9
  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens

    I'm biased because I grew up in a neighborhood of 1950s ranch homes with breezeways, but I'm totally Team Breezeway. I love the look and I love the function.

    Karen Sorenson thanked Revolutionary Gardens
  • PRO
    Stecki Construction

    Sounds like you really don't need the space. I think opening it up would be a great idea. This way you would be able to enjoy the breezeway. Thanks for sharing!

    Karen Sorenson thanked Stecki Construction
  • Karen Sorenson

    Thank you to everyones comments, I’ve never posted on Houzz before so I don’t know if there is an individual way to answere each of your helpful comments.

    I forgot to include that the driveway does lead all the way to the back of the house where there is the laundry room and an entrance. We will be turning the laundry room into a mudroom/ laundry area. Currently it is a dumping ground, so perfect for a mudroom, right?!

    As far as people being confused which door to use, that is already a problem. Our packages end up in one of three places: the front door, the end of the garage (not the laundry door for some reason), and of course the mail box. Adding a third entrance may confuse a little bit, but nothing I’m already experiencing. Apparently people in the south don’t even use front doors (so we have been told and so far in many cases have experienced; we are from the west, there is only one door haha. So maybe thats where the mail problem occurs?

    My real question was will it effect resale value by taking away square footage, or is it about an equal payoff with an added porch?

    As well do you think we will run into problems tearing out the brick wall?

    P.S. I’m glad so many of you like the look, I’m pretty happy with my illusraction as well. I think it will still true to a 1950 home.

  • Lyndee Lee
    Where is the access to the garage? Is it in the laundry room area?

    We had a large screened porch at our first house and it was a great feature. I think the era of the formal home office is past with the rise of laptops and digital storage easing the need for huge amounts of desk space and file cabinets. If you can put a file cabinet in your laundry room or pantry for minimal office space or have it elsewhere, take over the space and use it as you wish.
    Karen Sorenson thanked Lyndee Lee
  • Karen Sorenson

    The laundry room is attached to the kitchen. The garage door is in the old breezeway/office; we making it part of the pantry. I drew up a quick blueprint to better explain to everyone our home layout. It’s not to scale...haha

  • maureen214

    As a prospective buyer reverting the space to a breezeway would increase value in my opinion. I love true breezeways and or porches.

    Karen Sorenson thanked maureen214
  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens

    I feel like architects should take note of the love breezeways are getting here. Bring them back!

    Karen Sorenson thanked Revolutionary Gardens
  • violetsnapdragon

    So, the breezeway originally was the entire depth of the house, but the back end is now laundry/enclosed area? I think screening the front would be nice, especially if you have a nice view out front. We had a breezeway and they made the front part a bedroom and the back a mudroom/passage to the kitchen. They kept the windows and door across the front and people do mistake that door for the front entrance, but what can you do? I'm a porch person, so I say go for the breezeway. We would have liked to revert, but ours is a very large bedroom with very large closet (attached to HVAC) and it would make the house three bedrooms, instead of four. Your room doesn't sound like it has a very practical function as it is so I say, go for it!

  • Karen

    This house showed up on a realty site on my Facebook the other day and it reminded me of your house. They call this a sun porch but it reminded me of your breezeway.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    I also love the idea of the breezeway, and think the drawing you provided turns the house from ho-hum to charming! Go for it!

  • ulisdone

    I would address the front door confusion by adding a circular driveway in the front yard, and landscaping to emphasize that formal entrance, while minimizing the porch. Perhaps no door in the porch screening.

    Having an obvious front door is important to a successful design. You don’t want confused people wandering around your yards.

    I do love your remodel sketch - very Mr. Blanding dream home.

  • violetsnapdragon

    Ha ha! Not only did we build a craftsman style porch with the beams and stone columns that said THIS IS THE ENTRANCE in front of OUR front door AND had a wide walkway poured leading to said front door, people STILL walk to the wrong door. Couldn't have made it more obvious but, oh well.

  • keith Dcil

    Go for the porch.. Value won’t change because the enclosed space is not heated/cooled. Also , I like the blue door In your inspiration drawing.

  • Debbie Garrison

    Team Breezeway :)

  • Cheryl Hannebauer

    Team Breezeway here as well...

  • teeda

    I love your house, and I think it would be even more charming with the breezeway you have drawn. I do see one problem, however---breezeways are typically open at the front and the back. That's how you get the breeze to flow through. I've been in screened porches that were only open on one side and they weren't very pleasant because there wasn't cross ventilation. This may not be a problem for you, but I just wanted to mention it.

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