The structural tricks of a three-season porch provide more than meets the eye

September 30, 2004


Remodeler and designer: Streeter & Associates, Wayzata, Minn.

Project location: Minnetonka, Minn.

Age of home: 10 years

Scope of project: creating a 145-square-foot screened porch and 123-square-foot deck addition to take advantage of the views of the home's rear woods
Working within the guidelines of a city ordinance requiring a 100-foot setback from the wetland area behind the home proved challenging for this project. Streeter had to ensure that the project did not encroach into off-limit areas. For that reason, says Lindgren, the 6-foot cantilevering was crucial: It picked up the overhang yet still produced the feeling of being "in" the woods without violating the setback. "This produced the feeling of being in a tree house rather than just a three-season porch," Lindgren says. Using a minimal number of clear cedar 2x4s and a thin structural element in the cantilevered corner rendered the corner virtually invisible and created what Lindgren calls the porch's "sweet spot."

The most impressive aspects of this 145-square foot project are the elements that are not seen - the well-hidden structural components that do not hamper the porch's form or its views. They also made the homeowner's goal - a home with a more pronounced outlet to the natural setting of the backyard - achievable.

The near-invisible black screening, which only has vertical supports because the beams are hidden in soffits, can withstand 200 pounds of lateral force - the tensile strength from 1/2-inch stainless steel rods tied into the floor's metal plate holds the screens back. A single fin wall hides the posts that hold up the large overhead beams that form the flat room along with the supports for the floor beams and an open-faced downspout. Streeter designer Jeff Lindgren says that these approaches are the true keys to the execution, form and feel of the porch.

Decking made from ipe, a South American hardwood, complements the concrete floor. Matching fascia work together with the porch's clean lines and crisp corners, all mimicking the contemporary style and angular walls of the rambler home. The ceiling punch-up makes a modern statement and serves as a visual center for the porch; the soffit cove houses the lighting.

Just more than half of the addition's seven-month project time was spent in the design phase, which Lindgren says was very long for a porch addition; however, he says the careful execution created a tight integration of the porch and existing home. "The minimalism of the design was not only important in creating an open space, but also creating a space that fit the design preferences of the owners and reflecting their personalities," he says.

This $78,000 project also received a 2003 Remodeler of Merit Award (ROMA) in the Best Porch category and a regional Contractor of the Year (CotY) in the Residential Exterior category.

Decking: Iron Woods Doors: Pella Lighting: Juno Paints & stains: Benjamin Moore Insulation: Owens Corning

Overlay Init