Real-Life Redo: A New Old Porch
A screened addition to a historic Mississippi farmhouse becomes headquarters to one family’s annual holiday reunion
Screened Porch Addition
This two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-story brick farmhouse has been the Loeb Holiday headquarters for eight years now. Six years ago, architect Brad Shapiro added a large screened porch onto the rear of the house that has allowed them to enjoy it even more. Prior to then, guests were divided among the den, kitchen, dining room, and living room, which are arranged foursquare style around the house’s wide central hallway.
Now the whole group can congregate on the large porch, visiting together while also spreading out between the room’s three zones, each approximately 12 by 18 feet. Architect Brad Shapiro removed the steps and small back porch of the existing home, but the double doors, windows, and shutters were left intact. A pair of flanking exits for the new screened porch don’t take away from interior floorspace.
The Outdoor Kitchen
Directly adjacent to the house’s interior kitchen, the porch’s kitchen is actually a grilling and prepping area that features an outdoor grill, sink, countertop, dining table, and island. To give the grill a built-in look, Brad enclosed it in a brick surround that mirrors a real fireplace surround on the opposite end of the porch. The large island does double-duty as a prepping and serving surface, while the long antique farm table surrounded by easily movable chairs can accommodate any crowd.
Before and after meals, a pair of windows between the porch and interior kitchen (the house’s original exterior windows) becomes a convenient pass-through for dishes, prepared or dirty. Custom-made shelves hung at window-box height provide a convenient staging spot.
For the kitchen island, Kathy had an antique radiator cover painted and topped with granite.
The Fireside Lounge
A wood-burning fireplace is the center of attention in this section of the porch, and dozing, reading, and chatting are the orders of the day. The fireplace was designed to echo the two fireplaces inside the house. Kathy admits she’s a fire fiend, lighting fires just as soon as the weather gets slightly chilly.
She played up Brad’s parallel fireplace design by hanging twin sections of salvaged stair railing on the chimneys in the outdoor kitchen and the fireside lounge. An indoor-outdoor rug softens and defines the gathering space. The cushy seating that surrounds the hearth counts as the porch’s only new furniture; the arrangement includes an upholstered swing that Kathy had custom made based on an antique bench she saw at a Paris flea market.
Bench swing: custom; for a similar look, try the Cabbage Hill 5-ft. Red Cedar Porch Swing in Natural Cedar; porchswings.com.
View to the Porch
Brad designed this rear-facing section not only to capture those views but also to be a view itself. “It’s the same width as the home’s center gallery,” he says. “So as you walk in the house’s front door, you have a direct view down the wide center gallery leading to the bay on the porch.”
The rear entry’s double doors, sidelights, and transoms are duplicates of the opposing front entry.
The bay portion of the Loebs’ screened addition acts as its true porch. Two rocking chairs and a round pedestal table are the only accompaniments to the panorama of pond, trees, and rolling horizon.
Flooring: Ipe decking; advantagelumber.com.
Architect: Brad Shapiro, Shapiro & Company Architects, Memphis; shapiroandco.com or 901/685-9001.
Designer: Rhea Crenshaw, Rhea Crenshaw Interiors, Memphis; rheacrenshaw.com or 901/685-8361.