Inside Out

Last night we were with friends who are debating replacing a deck or adding a screened-in porch. Mr. Blandings thinks one of the few drawbacks of the Dream House is its lack of screened-in porch. A few weeks ago local antiques dealer, Suzanne Cooper, arranged a house tour, an adventure, and the appeal of this porch keeps bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. Shady and cool, the allure of the black wicker is undeniable.

I can just envision myself feet-up, enjoying the one space where a ceiling fan seems appropriate, vodka drink in hand. (I’m off wine, mostly, because I fear it makes me whiny. Mr. B noted last week that Wine Spectator called vodka a colorless, odorless, tasteless intoxicant. I’m not sure what his point was. And I think they could be biased.) With her lovely furniture the homeowner has created a spot where you can enjoy outside inside. Heaven.
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24 thoughts on “Inside Out

  1. We have a small screened in porch which we love –
    Black furniture with cushions and pillows and a greek key border indoor outdoor rug and lights for at night…strung by my son.
    Love a good porch.

  2. It was interesting to read your post, as we spent Saturday evening on our neighbors' new (and possibly still slightly in progess) porch, with a pitched roof lined in stained a varnished wood, ceiling fans, several seating areas, and a few antique serving pieces. It was the most magnificent space I've ever been in. Go for it!

  3. Linderhof has a screened porch — but it's the front porch and although we do have wicker and plants it's not as inviting as a side or back porch would be — it IS the front entry after all!

    I love those Brookside Tudor style homes with the screened porch on the side (most have either been glasses in or totally enclosed) — that to me is what a screen porch should be!

  4. Patricia – it sounds perfect.

    Martha – my office is exactly that porch of which you speak. We didn't enclose it, the previous owners did, but we use it so much that I agree that it was a good plan. We just need to add a little something on the south end. Someday…..

    Lee – Again, someday….

  5. Must have- a screened in porch! No bugs m'lady there, and I love the black wicker- I am doing a screened in with black painted and I think leaving some natural rattan with khaki fabric-changing out throws and pillows seasonally.

  6. My sister in KC, and her family practically live on their screened in porch for months out of the year. It's the best way to enjoy the outdoors there, because of the bugs, in my opinion. Your photo shows a beautiful one – I love the architectual details in the screens!

  7. I am preparing to have our screened in porches redone – the exterior wood has seen better days. I thought I had decided on the style porch posts and railings I wanted until I saw the photo of this porch you posted. Lovely. One advantage of screened in porches I've found is that it blocks most of the snow from coming in in the winter time. Not that you'd be sitting in your porch in snowy weather, but the screens would keep the snow off any porch furniture.

  8. A porch would be wonderful on the dreamhouse, but might attract neighbors with pitchers of vodka lemonade. Fair warning.

  9. Here in the city we lucky ones have roof decks and I spent a LOT of time on mine. For the summer, I trade in my glass (or 2 or 3) of merlot in for a greyhound. Vodka and grapefruit are the BEST combination!

  10. Sharon – I hadn't thought of that, but it seems an added bonus.

    Leigh – yes, with no bugs I can totally see it.

    LPC – if you knew the owner you would understand. She's delightful.

    David – we should make that happen screens or no.

    AD – exactly what I am drinking. Splash of soda for a little fizz.

    E & J – hopefully very soon.

  11. On the strength of this picture, I am thinking of redecorating my porch… do you know what the dimensions of this lovely porch are?

  12. Anon – one of my weaknesses is spacial relationships. It's large – 15 X 20 at least. Maybe bigger. I can see why you'd want to.

  13. A lovely screened porch indeed. Our present house doesn't have one nor does it have an easy way to add one, which is why it is not the dream house. Once you've had a great screened porch, it's hard to live without one.

  14. Thanks a lot, Patricia. Our shimmering Midwest heat & relentless sunshine are bad enough already, without seeing pictures of a wonderfully shady screened porch. That just adds fuel to the fire–not, of course, that it can get much hotter in my neighborhood than it already is, anyway. But I'd gladly trade in my fancy foyer, state-of-the-art kitchen & spa bath for a handsome porch like this, except for the fact that I don't really have any of those things to trade with, the main difference being that I don't care about any of that other stuff, anyway, while I whine all summer long–even without the wine part–about my chronic lack of a screened porch. This, though, is exactly the kind I want.

    My pals are all tired of listening to me, especially the ones who keep inviting me over to "enjoy" their big multilevel decks, and they can't understand why I'm alwasy a no-show, but, then, how could they, since most of them grew up in newer suburbs, in big ranch houses with big, unshaded cement patios, compared to which their sprawling wooden decks must seem like a big step up, whereas when I was a kid, I spent most of my summers–and most weekends, once school started–living on my grandmother's cool, damp screened porch on the tree-lined banks of Lake Vermilion, compared to which idyllic spot, my pals' blazing, uncovered decks look outdoor torture chambers. Thanks, but no thanks.

    My grandmother's porch was huge–nearly as big as the house–and I spent most of my summers out there. One of my brothers was mean to the birds that nested in the masses of Virginia creeper on the wooden posts, so he wasn't allowed out there, and my youngest brother was freaked out by the spiders & daddy-longlegs that lived in the damp corners & in the rockwork of the unused fireplace, so the birds & the bugs & I pretty much had the place to ourselves. Mostly, though–especially in heat like this–all I did out there was read or take naps, and generally, one thing led to the other, because the steady drone of the cicadas & the smell of citronella & hot canvas awnings acted like a drug on me. All I know was that I was out on that porch most of the time that I wasn't in school. I don't think I ever slept indoors until mid-November, even when it came to summer thunderstorms or early frosts, both of which things sound pretty good to me at the moment, since it's hotter than hell today.

    Meanwhile, till I figure out how to recreate the dreamy, langorous feel of that first picture–and do it in downtown Chicago–I think I'll give the vodka lemonade thing a try. It couldn't hurt, and, besides, I figure anything's better than endless blue skies. This time of year, when other people–OK, when 'normal' people–are living it up at the beach or on their boats or at the Taste of Chicago, I'm hiding out indoors, with thwe shades pulled & the curtians drawn, dreaming of a hammock on a damp, shady porch. The old Arab proverb comes to mind: Nothing but sunshine makes a desert.

  15. Magna – Your comment made me feel a little guilty. You spent more time on this post today than I did for sure. That porch sounds idyllic – just what I'm after. Even though I am one of those folks who love a good sun bath.

  16. Guilt, schmilt. Parsing posts & divvying up the glory–or, in some cases, the blame–is for amateurs. In I Corintihans, the Apostle Paul gets it just right: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God keeps making it grow."

    Basically, thought, it all comes down to inertia: as long as it gets a good healthy post to start it off, a topic only needs watering to take on a vigorous, fruitful life of its own. Without that initial spark, though, though, all the watering in the world isn't going to help. Without your voice pulling us back here, we'd all be off doing something else. Sounds like a pretty strong draw to me.

    Speaking of strong, how about another vodka lemonade? It's not getting any cooloer out there.

  17. Black wicker, a beautiful screened in area…the cocktail hardly matters! The "thawk" of a screen door closing is the best!!!

  18. That porch is intoxicating enough – I fear a vodka while lounging in it would send me over the edge! (Not that I wouldn't be willing to try…)

  19. Two previous homes had screened in porches – which I loved. Current house – wonderful and large deck. But……next house – DEFINITELY going back to a screened in porch.

  20. Mrs. Blandings,
    Should you ever choose stop blogging I may have to give up my morning coffee as the two of you go hand in hand. Such a treat each morning. Thank You. And as to the screened porch, I had one as a child in Evanston and knew we must work one into the rehab of our own Dream House in Chicago. We enjoy our porch in all but the most foul of weather. Even with this summer's frequent rains it's double doors, which open to the kitchen, allow us to feel as though we're still somewhat out side. I'm posting from it now, reclined on the day bed looking out at our enormous Red Dawn dogwood with it's beautiful coppery bark. It's heaven in the quiet morning with a good cup of coffee.

  21. I wanted to just pop in and say I'm a fan of black wicker too but feel a little ridiculous after reading all of these thoughtful, lively comments. Magna is right. You get the ball rolling and your readers run with it. Great choice with the porch.

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