What can we do with this three-season porch?
August 23, 2005 9:21 PM   Subscribe

What can we do with this three-season porch?

We just bought a condo in a two-family house in the Boston area. Everything about it was a gut renovation except for a three-season porch in the front -- instead the owners just put in some new inexpensive carpet and left the rest as-is.

When the outside temperature was 85F, it was at least 110 in the porch with the windows closed and the sun beating down. This being New England, it's probably going to be more like a 1.5 season porch because not all the crappy windows close flush and cool air rushes in really fast (like at night).

At first we were thinking we'd remove the windows and carpet and just go with screens and additional drainage and waterproofing, to make it into a regular covered porch. But Google tells me that most people convert into three-seasons, so maybe we should work with what we have.

What would we need to do to stop the wildly swinging internal temperatures? And what are some creative ideas for use of that kind of space? Anything short of a complete tear-down is an option.
posted by nev to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
seal it up, put in a heater, make it an atrium. Use the back door to get in/out normally.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:24 PM on August 23, 2005

I'd do what your first instinct was and un-convert it back to a screened porch.

*Without exception* I see 'converted three-season' porches go unused or as a 'mud-room' or storage area.

During the winter time/Christmas, light it up with an artificial tree. It looks great from the outside.
posted by unixrat at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2005

Response by poster: unixrat: We had already made an agreement between us to absolutely not dump any temporary crap in that room, because that's been our experience too. Luckily there is plenty of other storage, but the point is still well-taken.
posted by nev at 9:30 PM on August 23, 2005

My understanding was that you should open the windows and close the blinds/shutters/curtains when it's hot, to block the sun and not the breeze. You might enjoy it more in the summer if you try that.
posted by cali at 10:26 PM on August 23, 2005

I still miss the screened porch on the house I grew up in (also in New England). I'd say convert yours back. I don't see those enclosed porches getting much use anytime.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:38 AM on August 24, 2005

I envy your porch, since I live in a new-ish house that has a faux porch which is not deep enough to be usable. I say get rid of the windows, put the screens in and enjoy the space. Maybe put a small table out there to play games or as an occasional dining space.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:32 AM on August 24, 2005

Response by poster: Just to clarify, it does have screens, but to go from entirely-closed to fully-screened would entail opening about 10 windows, some of which stick or fall off the hinges. Plus of course it would just be the bottom half of the windows open, because the glass needs to slide up.
posted by nev at 6:12 AM on August 24, 2005

Pull out the windows, put up screen, and then create some Plexiglass "windows" for the winter that you can snap into place and hold using mirror clips? This way you get an area that has a lot of air flow in the summer, but can be sealed up in the winter.

Also, ceiling fan.
posted by KirTakat at 7:08 AM on August 24, 2005

IMHO, a screen porch is one of the very best extras a house can have. Depending on what the rules are there, converting a 3 season 'room' into a screen porch may reduce your property taxes (I'm guessing here, really, but if there were any justice, that would be true).
posted by willpie at 8:01 AM on August 24, 2005

I'll elaborate some on why I miss the screened porch. I could essentially be outside, while staying dry when it rained, and without bugs. Sometimes I slept there. It was the best thing about that house.

Opening a bunch of windows is not the same, partly because they don't ventilate near the ceiling, and also because you feel much more confined than with screen-walls.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:29 AM on August 24, 2005

I'd do what KirTakat suggests and:

Add a table or two, some comfy chairs, maybe a chaise lounge (nap time!). Is there room for a hammock? Make sure you paint the ceiling a light blue and add a ceiling fan. I'd look into Plantation shutters if your budget allows it and use gauzy curtains to soften them.

Think Southern veranda, shabby chic, summer cottage.
posted by deborah at 9:37 PM on August 24, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! It looks like we'll be converting to a more open space come spring.
posted by nev at 8:06 PM on August 25, 2005

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