Screened for Comfort

This Little Rock homeowner put a new spin on an old design.
Alicia K. Clavell

If imitation is truly the most sincere form of flattery, homeowners Jane and Tom Johnson should feel complimented. In July of 1993 we featured their rear porch addition in our magazine. Inspired by the Johnsons' renovation, Little Rock homeowner Janie McDonald tore out the article and kept it until she could find the time and finances to do a little renovating.

"I liked the porch in the article because it was as appealing from the outside as it was on the inside," says Janie. She worked with architect John Allison to punch out the back of her bungalow and add the screened porch.

"We used the Johnsons' porch as our inspiration but tried to incorporate different design elements into our version," says John. For example, there are more horizontal lines, which add surface space and provide beams that jut out just enough to hold candles, drinks, and small plates.

The gabled front and steep roof pitch of Janie's porch mimic the ones in the article. They provide a sense of spaciousness, and the skylights, a new fixture, let light flood the space. Though the porch has a modern flair, classic details--such as a tongue-and-groove ceiling--add a traditional feel.

"I wanted my porch to be an extension of my living areas," says Janie. "I like to entertain, and I wanted the porch to work well with the traffic flow. My guests gravitate there."

Black roll-up awnings on either side of the exterior pull down for privacy or during inclement weather, and porch chairs are embellished with canvas pillows that can be washed with a hose for easy cleaning.

Another of Janie and John's innovations, hinged louvered shutters work with the set of French doors to allow light into the house or close for privacy.