The Summer Living Room: 10 Airy Screened-In Porches

Screened-in porches are making a comeback, a trend we applaud. After years of dwindling popularity, porches are back on young homebuyers’ lists of “Most Wanted” features, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. Among Millenials, a front porch is more prized than hardwood floors, a master bath with both a shower and tub, or a dining room.  And with good reason.

A screened-in porch is your summer living room. It’s a neighborly space, inviting breezes and greetings from passersby. And it’s an iconically American architectural feature. Before the 1860s, “there was no hint (or probably dream of) making a house flyproof,” writes Russell Lynes in The Domesticated Americans. Then, during the Civil War a manufacturer of wire mesh sieves miscalculated demand; the surplus was repurposed and sold as window covering. By the 1880s, screened-in porches were a trend.

In support of the screened-in porch, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorites from around the country, from Maine to Maui:

Cape Cod

Screened porch Photograph by Matthew Williams
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

A simple timber frame screened porch is an homage to a nearby Cape Cod house built by homeowner Miranda Heller’s grandfather, the self-taught modernist architect Jack Phillips. Heller’s porch is an addition to a 19th-century barn (you can see the exterior in the top photo) that was moved uphill to its current site a century or so after it was built.

For more of the project, see our new book, Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces.


Poteet Architects out of San Antonio designed this rustic porch photo by Chris Cooper
Above: A breeze-capturing screened pavilion from San Antonio, Texas-based Poteet Architects has a rough-hewn timber frame and a covered entry platform for shade and rain protection. Photograph by Chris Cooper.

For more of this project, see Architect Visit: Screened Porch by Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas.


screened porch by Andersson Wise
Above: In western Montana, on the southern shore of the biggest freshwater water lake west of the Mississippi River Texas-based architects Andersson-Wise designed a cabin on stilts with a living room that doubles as screened porch. Photograph courtesy of Andersson-Wise.

For more of this project, see Into the Woods: A Cabin on Flathead Lake.

Rhinebeck, NY

screened porch Photograph by Richard Powers for Tsao & McKown Architects.
Above: Architects Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown’s screened porch at their weekend place in Rhinebeck, New York has  pleasing blend of green walls (so dark they border on Gothic) and midcentury Danish antiques. Photograph by Richard Powers for Tsao & McKown Architects.

For more of this project, see Steal This Look: The Perfect Screened Porch.

Hudson Valley, NY

Photograph by Reto Guntli, courtesy of BarlisWedlick Architects.
Above: A three-story screened porch has a swing on the top level and a table and chairs for dining on the middle level. The sauna is at ground level at the bottom of a slope. Photograph by Reto Guntli, courtesy of BarlisWedlick Architects.

For more of this project, see Architect Visit: A Natural Pool and Passive House in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Lamoine, Maine

screened porch in Maine by Matthew Cunningham
Above: A screened porch is oriented toward the water views and has a perimeter French drain, in a garden designed by Massachusetts-based landscape architect Matthew Cunningham. Photograph by Matthew Cunningham.

For more of this project, see Landscape Architect Visit: Clamshell Alley on the Coast of Maine.

The Catskills, NY

screened porch by Jersey Ice Cream Co.
Above: Design team Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. rescued a nondescript and unloved screened porch in the Catskills–and made it magical. Photograph courtesy of Jersey Ice Cream Co.

For more of this project, see Before & After: A Summer Porch Rehab in Upstate New York.


Roberto Sosa Hawaii Beach House Exterior
Above: A a traditional plantation cottage, recently restored to its laid-back Hawaiian charm by Brooklyn-based architect Roberto Sosa, has a screened porch with a mahogany door. Photograph by Kate Holstein.

For more of this project, see Vacation Rental: Maui Beach Cottage with a Tropical Garden.

Llano River, Texas

screened porch Photograph by Molly Winters courtesy of Ann Edgerton.
Above: Austin-based interior designer Ann Edgerton designed a screened porch with a soft bohemian look using vintage rattan furniture, Moroccan accents, and bright textiles. “I wanted to create a place you can grow into with new textiles and plants,” she says. Photograph by Molly Winters courtesy of Ann Edgerton.

For more of this project, see Steal This Look: A Bohemian Screened Porch in Texas.


screened porch in Jamaica by Art Gray
Above: LA-based designer Sean Knibb designed a charming family camp of cottages with screened porches, connected by pathways through the natural vegetation on a four-acre property in Jamaica. Photograph by Art Gray.

For more of this project, see The Tropical Life: A Family Camp on Jamaica by Designer Sean Knibb.

N.B.: See more of our favorite summery living spaces:

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