|Photo from This Old House website. |
Not my porch. Not even close.
What I failed to take into account was that the space was only 14 feet long and 7 feet wide, tucked into a back corner of the house. The builder did not put in full length screens, just screened windows, as you can see in this photo, so it became simply a narrow unheated room, not really a summer porch.
For years Jim has had to listen to me whine that it felt like being in a railroad car. The windows are too high to see out of when seated, and the space is not wide enough for much furniture unless it is lined up along the wall.
Now we are finally going to re-do the porch, and I am searching Pinterest for ideas.
Right now I have kept some furniture on the porch, but the area is mainly a storage depot where pots of tender plants live in winter. I call it The Warehouse.
In summer, with lots of houseplants, and early morning sun streaming in, it looks nicer, so then I call it My Conservatory.
We are not gong to expand the footprint of the room -- that's beyond our budget, so it will remain the size and shape of a railroad car, 14' by 7'.
But we'll take off the vinyl siding that covers the interior walls and use something nicer, like cedar planks. The floor will be covered in terra cotta tiles, maybe brick. The windows will be dropped down considerably so you can see out to the deck and garden more easily from inside.
But how to use this porch? What can I do with such a narrow space? What would you do with it?
One concept is to forego any furniture at all and make this a work station for my plant activities. I'd call it The Interior Potting Shed.
We could brick the porch floor, add a floor drain (um, sure), and then put in a dry sink table for potting and washing. Zinc topped. Double sinks, actually. Plants and containers strewn about. Tools hanging on the walls. As they say on Pinterest, Love, love, love it.
We can't put plumbing out there, so I'd have to make do by bringing the garden hose in through the door when needed, but there is a faucet close outside the back door. (C'mon. It's a fantasy right now, and in my fantasy dragging the hose in through the door works just fine. Perfectly fine.)
Here's the same idea again, complete with stone potting sink, and this windowed nook appears to have the skinny, cramped dimensions of my porch. How beautifully it transforms this space into something interesting and useful and full of light and life. I'd call this My Cottage Greenhouse. More love.
Or I could dispense with all the plants and greenery, and keep my porch spare -- just a couch, a chair and a lamp. I would read and relax there, and I'd call it My Zen Retreat.
At Idyll Haven, a blog written by Sue, a fellow Connecticut blogger, it looks like her porch is about the same size as mine, and she has done exactly that. She has created an uncluttered space for sitting, and kept the furnishings and any plants to a minimum.
The full length screens are essential to open up the narrow area. Glass topped tables lighten up the tiny space. You can see her porch is tucked into the corner of her house as mine is. These pictures are so helpful for me to see how I could translate what she has done to my problem space.
I am wandering around Pinterest to get more ideas for our porch re-do. Before I go much further, though, I have to make a decision about what I want the porch to be, what I actually want to do in it.
A lush, plant filled work area with no furniture -- like a potting shed or cottage greenhouse? Or a sitting area for one or two people -- a zen retreat, uncluttered and simple?
How do you use your small screened porch?