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Where to put Screened Porch?

anj_p
last month
last modified: last month

We are building a production home and have decided to add a screen porch next year. We chose a lot so the back of the house faces mostly south (slightly southeast) to maximize light in our living and kitchen. We also made the sliding glass doors 8'x8' to maximize light. We live in MN, which means the screen porch will get used for half the year.

Initially I was thinking we'd add an open deck off the sliders and put the screen porch off to the right when you walk out the door so we don't block light (there are no windows on that face), but a lot of people have disagreed with that, saying that having to go outside to get into the screen porch defeats the purpose, and how great it is to leave the sliders open and use the screen porch as an extension of your home.

I totally agree on that but I'm a bit devastated about having a roof right outside those sliders. I know we could add skylights to the screen porch but I'm still really hesitant about it. What would you do? Plan of the sliders and rear elevation below (dinette will not be used as a dinette - it will be open).





Comments (9)

  • chispa
    last month

    The screened in porch will also block light to your walk-out basement, if the bulk of it is right in front of the sliding doors.

    Maybe do a screened porch design that places the bulk of the room to the left (when looking from the back) but has a narrower access area in front of the sliding doors, so you aren't blocking as much light to the kitchen and the basement.

  • anj_p
    Original Author
    last month

    @chispa I had considered that as well but wondered if it would be strange, especially since the screened porch would be out a ways (4') from the sliders and it might be awkward to have to walk through a screened tunnel.

    I'm not as concerned about the basement - we will be using that mostly as a theater/games area so the natural light isn't as important.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Have you started construction?

  • rrah
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If I lived in MN, I wouldn't want to block that sunlight in the winter months by putting the porch outside the door.

    I've seen houses that have an open deck immediately outside the door and then the screened porch. Tell all those people saying it will look weird that you want an uncovered, safer space for grilling and enjoying the sunshine. Google "screened porch and deck" for some ideas. (I found plenty, but I'm not certain I can post images from competing websites here.)

  • anj_p
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @mark no, we haven't started construction. I wanted to change the sliders to windows and move the door to the end of the counter but that was a no. We basically can't change anything with the house. And unfortunately I just saw today that the slider opens differently than I thought. They already ordered windows so I'm stuck with that.
    @rrah OK thanks for that! I tried to find something similar but it was always the screen porch first.

  • nhb22
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I was visiting a home over the weekend that had the screened porch entrance off of the deck. The screened porch could also be accessed from the main bedroom. We went in and out both ways. A little awkward from the bedroom, but the owners did not seem to mind. So unless it is raining, entering from the deck worked great! The reason they set the porch up that way was because they did not want to block their huge picture windows from the lake view.

  • One Devoted Dame
    last month

    [...] I'm a bit devastated about having a roof right outside those sliders.

    I totally would be, too, Hon. <3

    Upgrading to a covered porch, right off our family room, was an option our tract builder offered that we declined. Seems like every other house in the neighborhood has it.

    But.

    I carefully selected the lot, to allow for maximum southern and eastern sunshine to enter the house. The family room has eastern and southern windows, and the covered area would've blocked eastern light. I am SO glad we didn't cover that area. In the morning, it feels great to open the blinds and *flood* the room with sunshine. It's such a happy start to the day.

    Occasionally, my husband expresses regret that we didn't cover that space, since it would've made the area immediately outside the house "done," instead of requiring a deck. We had discussed it at the time, so we knew we were facing that pro vs con thing. I remind him that we would've lost the natural light coming into the family room on that entire side, and that a nice deck is waaay prettier than a slab of concrete patio. ;-)

    From the picture, it looks like your kitchen's *sole* source of kinda-direct sunshine is that back slider. That would absolutely, 100% seal the deal for both my husband and me -- No covered anything over there! Every time my guy and I talk about "the next house" he almost always says he wants more/bigger windows in the kitchen, *specifically*. Once in awhile he tells me that he's glad I was a bit of a brat when I insisted on building a plan with a kitchen window (a bit of a rarity in our neighborhood), especially one that faces south. :-D

    You and I seem to prioritize a lot of the same things, Miss Anj. I'm thinking that if y'all decide to cover that space, it'll pain you just a tiny bit, every time you have to turn on the kitchen lights in the middle of the day. :-(

  • anj_p
    Original Author
    last month

    @One Devoted Dame thanks! Yes, that is my heartburn - losing that light. My parents built a screen porch off their sliders and it's really a wonderful addition on their home, but they also have a lot of other windows. I was pretty insistent on this orientation, especially since I compromised on the actual layout (it's REALLY HARD building a production home after designing a custom home that I absolutely loved that checked all my boxes). But we're still getting a great house so I can't complain.

    Ok, I think I'm sold on my original plan to put it off to the side. Then at least we can cover up that ugly bit of blank wall and keep light in our house. We are building in a development where everyone's house looks like that from the back so I guess no one will notice or care, but I can try to make it look as good as I can! I just hope the roof works out - that's my biggest concern.

  • One Devoted Dame
    last month

    Ok, I think I'm sold on my original plan to put it off to the side. Then at least we can cover up that ugly bit of blank wall and keep light in our house.

    Yay! :-D Nothin' like killin' two birds with one stone. lol

    There's just something about sunlight that's required for my mental health. :-D I tried living in a dark place a couple of times, and thank goodness they were just rentals; I can't imagine feeling trapped like that in a home that I owned. :-(

    We are building in a development where everyone's house looks like that from the back so I guess no one will notice or care, but I can try to make it look as good as I can!

    :-D That's the spirit! <3 Flowers always help, too. Whatever prolifically blooms in Minnesota -- bonus if it's evergreen -- plant a million of 'em. lol