A bigger porch is usually a better porch, wouldn’t you agree? More screened porch space can mean more ways to spend time outdoors while keeping the insects at bay.
These West Nashville homeowners love their home and they love its location. They loved having a screened porch and started spending more and more time outdoors. Eventually, the porch felt too small for them. At The Porch Company, we work with clients to help them gauge what size porch they will need.
Reasons to Lower Your Porch
We intentionally designed this screened porch to sit lower to the ground than the porch we were replacing. We lowered the porch for two reasons. First, if your porch is less than 30” above the ground, building code doesn’t require a railing. The absence of pickets opens up the homeowner’s view of the pool. Secondly, lowering the porch solved a problem with the view from the upstairs master bedroom.
The second level of the home features the large dormer window of an upstairs bedroom. Because this window overlooks the porch, back yard and pool, the homeowner wanted that view to remain unobstructed. At the same time, the homeowner requested a pitched roof for the porch rather than a flat or shed roof.
The Porch Company was able to make it work! Lowering the porch was part of the solution. Another part was reroofing a section of the house to direct water run-off away from the back yard. The pitch is actually like a little gable roof between the two sides and the area where a double window serves as a buffer. We were able to hold the pitch down to keep the view open as the homeowner requested.
When we design a porch that’s low to the ground, no railing is required. Nevertheless we chose to include a cup rail set at 30” – table top height. The cup rail is very handy as a place to set down your beverage or to arrange tea candles for ambiance.
We built the deck with low-maintenance, synthetic AZEK decking. While the railing is made of wood, we capped it with AZEK to reduce maintenance without adding a lot of cost. We prefer to use synthetic materials (PVC) for any horizontal surfaces exposed to sun and rain. Vertical pieces of wood don’t require a lot of maintenance – the horizontal pieces do. If the wood rail wasn’t capped, weather would degrade it. The homeowner would need to sand and stain that rail annually. PVC is our low-maintenance solution. What’s more, this design keeps the area free of splinters where the hand naturally rests when you’re traveling the deck!
Little Custom Touches Add Function and Beauty for Big Impact
Have you noticed a little overhang coming out of the back of the chimney? This was not in the initial design, but we added it for the homeowner. It’s a little roofed area where she plans to stack and store her firewood for the fireplace. The little custom roof will ensure the firewood stays dry!
We also built a little stepped area on the other side of the porch, the opposite side from the deck. The steps on this side did not require a rail. We used AZEK decking there as well.
Fulfilling the Client’s Desire for a Light, Airy Porch … With A Blue Ceiling
This screened porch design resulted in a large porch that is airy, light and bright. Best of all, it’s just what the homeowner was looking for when she contacted The Porch Company. And the blue ceiling? You’ll see splashes of the client’s blue accent color throughout the space. Blue pillows on white furniture. Blue door to the kitchen and blue doors into the garage just beyond the porch. The client has used this accent color beautifully, but the blue ceiling has special significance.
This is where folklore enters the story of this West Nashville, TN, screened porch. When folklore mixes with fact, who can tease them apart? “Haint blue” porch ceilings have been used in the South Carolina Low Country to keep out apparitions or lost souls. The rationale? These spirits couldn’t cross water, and blue ceilings imitated the color of water. Far away in New England, many Victorian homes featured a sky-blue shade of paint on the porch ceiling. The choice reflected colors seen in nature and reminded families that brighter days were ahead. In some areas of the country, homeowners believed birds and insects saw a blue porch ceiling as the sky. Tricking those creatures into believing they’d reach the sky decreased the likelihood they would build nests in the ceiling. Here, fact seems to support folklore. Early blue ceiling paint was made with milk and lye, and it’s true that lye repels insects. When the milk paint faded and needed to be repainted, a new coat of lye worked its magic.
Color specialists will tell you blue is known to be a calming color associated with peace and relaxation – perfect characteristics for a tranquil, leisure-time screened porch.
As with most Porch Company projects, we incorporated our favorite products and materials into this West Nashville porch design. You’ll see a floor made of our favorite tongue-and-groove cypress. A brown ceiling fan was chosen because it won’t show dirt the way a white fan will. A Solaira infrared heater that sends out rays to heat what they touch instead of trying to heat the air on a screened porch. (Do you see it hanging from the ceiling?) A mantel of old timber hollowed out to hide the wiring for the client’s electronics. (You can purchase one of these amazing mantels through The Porch Store.) The cap rail inside the porch measured a little deeper so the homeowner can set a glass on it.
Overall we succeeded in our mission of building a new porch better-suited to meet this client’s needs. If you are interested in having The Porch Company design and build the perfect porch for your home in the Nashville area, call us at 615-663-2886 or come by our design studio. We would love to meet with you to discuss your porch needs!