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Three-Season Screen Room
With its combination of rustic finishes and discrete modern amenities, the new screen porch on this Minneapolis, Minn. bungalow provides its owners with a functional indoor/outdoor retreat that complements the century-old home's simple architectural style and meets their entertaining needs at the same time.
|The wood-burning fireplace, which features a battered design, was a high priority of the homeowners. The fireplace serves as the focal point for the new indoor/outdoor room and provides texture and interest to the home's rear elevation. After photos by John Reed Forsman|
REMODELER AND ARCHITECT: TreHus Builders, Minneapolis
PROJECT LOCATION: Minneapolis
AGE OF HOME: 95 years old
SCOPE OF WORK: Add a screened porch that could be used most of the year
With its combination of rustic finishes and discrete modern amenities, the new screen porch on this Minnesota bungalow is designed to provide the home’s owners with a truly functional indoor/outdoor retreat that complements the century-old home’s architectural style and meets their entertaining needs.
A natural stone hearth fireplace serves as the focal point for the 260-square-foot addition that directly connects to the main house’s family room via a set of French doors. Floor-to-ceiling screen panels ensure that, when the weather is mild, the homeowners will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of their young family at play in their back yard. Storm windows are designed to replace the screens during the fall so the family can use the space throughout the year.
The simple, almost cabin-like character of the screen porch belies the complex planning that went into its design and construction, says Meriwether Felt, project architect for the Minneapolis-based design/build firm, TreHus.
The first thing Felt addressed with her clients was the best location for the new room.
“The homeowners originally intended the addition to be an extension of their kitchen,” says Felt. “They had done extensive landscaping in their rear yard five years earlier and had installed a bluestone patio next to their family room that they did not want to disturb.”
This location, however, proved to be a poor option for two reasons. First, the two existing gables, kitchen porch roofline and a second-floor bedroom window on the back of the home made the option architecturally challenging.
“It just was not going to work there aesthetically,” she says. The other drawback to this location was that the team would have to reposition the children’s play space to the yard's shady and damp north side of the home.
Ultimately, the homeowners recognized the sense of Felt’s solution. And the patio pavers that were removed to make way for the new living space were used as a terrace surrounding the screen room and a pathway leading to the garage.
|A natural palette of materials adds rustic charm to the screen room addition on this early 1900s bungalow. This includes clear cedar trim, Chilton stone for the fireplace and a bluestone terrace.|
In addition to its direct connection to the family room, the screen room also has its own transition to the existing porch off the kitchen, which makes sense architecturally and functionally for the family. Felt modified the original kitchen porch with similar cedar detailing as the new space for continuity.
Felt’s next challenge was to design a space that combined a rustic character with modern conveniences.
“Our clients wanted to enjoy all of the same modern amenities in their new outdoor room as they had indoors,” she says. This included electricity, low-voltage lighting, a plasma television and surround sound.
“But they also really wanted to capitalize on the feeling of being outdoors at the same time,” she continued. Felt faced the challenge of incorporating electrical outlets, wiring runs, lighting and speakers that were convenient, unobtrusive and sheltered from the elements.
“With the room’s oversized wall screens there was really no simple way to run the electricity around the space without impacting its open-air character. There just was no good place for the electrical outlets.”
Her solution was to incorporate the electrical runs for the room into the space beneath the floor and use 4-inch by 6-inch hinged-cover electrical outlets which were recessed into the flooring planks to conceal the outlets. Similarly, she hid the wiring for the overhead lighting in the room’s ceiling beams, the speakers for the surround sound system were mounted in between the ceiling joists where they are barely noticeable.
They chose the materials based on durability, quality and beauty, says the architect. “The clients wanted finishes that would last a long time and age well. The extensive detailing that they were looking for made the project slightly more expensive in terms of budget than they were expecting but, ultimately, they were really happy with the way everything turned out. We gave them the space they wanted and one that they will continue to enjoy for years to come.”