A shady screened porch is the height of casual chic.

Designer David Coco added a touch of mountain magic in the voodoo country of the bayou by combining the rustic grandeur of a highland lodge with the simple style of a laid-back lowland cottage in this Baton Rouge, Louisiana, screened porch.

Stay Cool, Man
Don't hate it because it's beautiful. The octagonal design of Bill and Pam Hyde's porch actually works hard to keep the space cool. The steep pitch of the ceiling funnels hot air up and out of the room via a small cupola on the roof. The ceiling fan helps push up the heat in summer or bring it back down for chilly nights by the fire. The brick floors stay naturally cool in hot weather but absorb radiant heat from the fireplace when it's cold outside. Don't you love versatility?

Stationary louvered panels at the top of each screened wall diffuse any persistent rays of midday sun that find their way through the thick canopy of foliage. This helps to regulate the room's temperature.

Perfect Blend
David kept the interior of the porch neat and neutral. Soft greens and earth tones help to tie the indoors to the outdoors so the fresh-air vibe doesn't stop at the screens. Constructed entirely of naturally weather-resistant Spanish cedar, the porch has a warm patina that works with the tones of the brick. Easy-to-maintain wicker furniture and a classic porch swing piled with plush all-weather cushions insist on leisurely evenings over drinks. "We did not want a dining table out here," says Bill. "This space is for talking and relaxing. This is definitely a cocktail porch."

"Open-Air Escape" is from the July 2008 issue of Southern Living.