Friday, June 1, 2012

A Versatile Screened-In Porch

Covered porches and balconies have been popular additions to houses for a long time. I have always loved them, but as a kid growing up in a highrise apartment, I loved them from afar. Both my aunts had screened porches, as did one of the cottages we vacationed in in the 1970s. But finally, a few years ago, we built our very own. It is quite simple, rustic-looking really, but that is perfect for our house and for us as a family. It's my official favorite part of the house.

Lots of people have liked screened in porches over the years, too. But I'll bet not many of them would have wanted to try adding this Outdoor-Sleeping Device from 1915 to their house. The framework is steel and according to Popular Mechanics (Jan 1915, p. 77) there is "wire netting" around the sides, with the addition of a decorative awning and waterproof "adjustable side curtains." Even so, I think I'd want to attach this one to a window on the ground floor, wouldn't you?

You could even take your love of the screened-in porch on the road with you, as you can see in this "Comfortable Cottage Touring Car" from 1924. It was built by a man in Iowa so that his family could have "luxurious quarters"* on vacation - an early, stylish-looking version of a trailer, I guess. The screened-in porch bit has the engine inside it, though, so you wouldn't be sitting in it in a nice deck chair reading a magazine.

Anyway, a few years ago, we renovated our back porch, which was originally open -a sagging and creaky thing covered in dark red, chipping paint. It is now a screened-in, beautiful and airy extra room at the back of the house, and a favorite place for writing, reading, looking out at the trees in the yard, and socializing. It took a lot of hard work - and supplies and equipment - to make it such a great place. It was really important for those of us who were working on the renovation to have the proper safety equipment such as goggles and safety glasses, work gloves and slip resistant boots, and protective clothing and coveralls. The experienced renovators in the family knew that this safety equipment was just as important as the lumber and nails and building know-how - you should always stay safe above all, while building and renovating. All of which resulted in a lovely screened-in porch just where we wanted it: at the back of the house, on the ground floor - and not anywhere near the car engine.

*Popular Mechanics, April 1924, p. 496.


Jamie said...

I love the outdoor sleeping device! The cottage touring car is also very cool. I would happily tour the country in that.

Marcheline said...

Holy cats - a non-permanent death trap thingie hanging off a building, and you're supposed to SLEEP in it? Uh.... no, you go ahead. I'm totally on board with the carcamper. At least when that breaks down, you don't fall three stories!

Sally Campbell said...

Some of the perth patios back home still have these coverings but most of the covers were fruit vines or vinyl blinds. I absolutely love the house that has wheels here. Very nice!

Florence Pfaff said...

Most of the awnings that I see back home are cafe awnings. Back home, most of the houses have second floors and the front of the house usually serves as a patio or verandah, thus there's limited need for awnings.