It may seem hard to believe on a cold day in January, but porch-sitting weather will be here before we know it. And I’m happy to report that the bungalow porch addition we’re currently completing will be ready for our client to enjoy by spring. In the meantime, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the design process for what promises to be a fabulous outdoor-living space in Arlington.
A while ago, I shared our Bungalow Bachelor Pad design, where we instilled a mountain-inspired, masculine vibe while maximizing a compact footprint. What this 1960s bungalow lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. That said, the homeowner wanted to extend his living, entertaining and dining space with a large back-porch addition. The interior does not have a designated dining room — in fact, the bar-stool-lined kitchen counter serves as the only dining area. So, space for a proper dining table was a major goal as we set out to design the new screened-in porch. Other items on our client’s wish list included a vaulted, beamed ceiling and a prominent fireplace.
Designing the Back-Porch Addition
To kickstart the design process, we gathered some inspiration images that captured the spirit of the client’s ideal.
From there, A. Houck Designs collaborated with Alexandria-based Lyon Architecture on the design, architectural drawings and permitting process. Here are some of Chris Lyon’s early conceptual drawings for the roughly 20′ x 10′ porch:The porch replaces an existing deck. Integrating the addition with the home was an important objective. We wanted the porch to look like it had always been there. The result is a long, shotgun house with the porch extending off the back — and a new deck sitting beyond that.
A set of French doors (bottom, left) in the client’s office open onto a small landing; three steps take you down to the porch level. We lowered the porch to align the new deck more closely with the grade of the property (three additional steps lead from the deck to the lawn). Our builder, Chris Kupczak of K-Quality Services, has done a masterful job executing the plans.
Incorporating an Outdoor Fireplace
As I mentioned above, the client really wanted a large gas fireplace to serve as the porch’s focal point. We found a unit with all the bells and whistles he wanted — plus a few he didn’t even know he wanted. Check out this 48-inch, linear outdoor fireplace from White Mountain Hearth:
The flames flicker above a bed of crushed glass, illuminated from below by LED lights. You can change the LED color and intensity with the push of a button. This model boasts a 55,000 Btu burner. In short, it gives off enough serious heat to comfortably make this a three-season porch.
We wrapped the fireplace box in stacked stone, with a mix of warm and cool tones and varying sizes. Here’s a larger rendering of how the linear fireplace will look in his outdoor space. It will be topped, of course, with an outdoor TV for game days and movie nights.
Flanking the fireplace are two sets of doors leading out to the deck, which stretches the living space even further.
Selecting Finishes for the Porch Addition
From inside to out, we wanted the porch to project a masculine aesthetic. For continuity, we selected finishes and materials that would flow beautifully with those we specified indoors.
Take a closer look at #11: With the client’s beloved mastiff in mind, we chose a sturdy porch screen from PetScreen that will stand up to wear and tear. It’s practical and good-looking!
Selecting Furniture for the Screened-In Porch
The new porch includes two zones: a dining area and living area. As you can see below, the dining area is tucked into the alcove to the right of the landing and steps, which makes it feel more like a designated “room.” A partition wall, separating the landing and eating area, further delineates the spaces and enhances the sense of privacy.
Needless to say, the living area’s seating arrangement is clustered around the fireplace and television.
We sourced most of the furniture through Summer Classics, one of our go-to vendors when outfitting outdoor spaces. Take a look at our durable, manly selections.
Despite shipping delays, the final pieces will be in place on this porch addition soon. I can already imagine the first festive gathering around the beautiful stone fireplace on a chilly spring night. Will your outdoor spaces be ready when things start to thaw? Until then, we hope you stay warm and toasty inside.