screened porch

1st day of summer and here in central Texas we have already had two weeks worth of triple digit heat.

We have always wanted an old-school screened in porch for lounging, listening to night sounds, a tall cool one, napping, etc. etc. Nearly there. The house was designed with a screen porch from day one to add living space but it also evolved to include a laundry area (Hand washing in a double galvanized tub. You read that right. Still looking for a good modern wringer to go with it.) and a water heater / electrical / A/C closet. We spent a great deal of time out there already as a temporary shop area while we finished the interior of the house, it stayed buried under a folding table for my chop and table saw and piles of wall boards until just a few weeks ago. It is on the back - east - side so it is shady all day after 10am and has an elevated view of the largest prickly pear on the entire place. After the front deck was wrapped up the final big ticket item on the preliminary punch list for the house was the screen walls themselves. Still doing some decorating and fine tuning to do but happy to report we have spent many hours already in our fully semi-transparent, cinemascope view of the back woods, breeze blowing, mood lit sanctuary. Now if it would just rain and cool the hell down for us to really get the full effect.

The walls were framed with 2x material ripped to 1-1/4" x 3" verticals. All the perimeter frame was dadoed to receive 1x1 screen stop. Charcoal color aluminum screen was stretched and stapled over the frames and then all the staples covered with the square wood stops for easy repairs down the road. All the wood was stained with a semi transparent Behr stain like the rest of the framing on the deck. The back wall of the house inside the porch was sided vertically with hardiboard spaced about 3/4" apart then stripped with vintage molded battens off of the old Hills Prairie post office damaged beyond repair in a small tornado. Still have a few plugs to fill for complete bug security. I rigged small christmas lamps into two old hanging kerosenes lanterns for mood lighting, the shadows of the rafters and ceiling fan blades are a bonus. We built in a doggie door next to a fully restored screen door salvaged from Birdie's house and saved it back just for this porch. A collection of vintage chairs; a repaired antique wicker beauty found beside a dumpster, a very heavy 50's Rayette hair dryer (St. Paul Minn. The inventors of Aqua Net hairspray. Finest potato gun propellant know to mankind) that we bought years ago at a Salvation Army store and a pair of early Herman Miller fiberglass side chairs all surround a galvanized topped coffee table with cedar branch legs on a cool new outdoor sisal area rug.

It is a crying shame that screened porches went out of vogue; they are a great retreat from the bugs and heat, low cost additional living area, a great gathering place and nostalgic to the max. We feel like we are on vacation in a remote vintage camp soaking up the evening breeze, listening to the bugs and night birds singing in quadraphonic all around us.