10 Enclosed Porches That Are Put to Good Use

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By Byron Loker / Published by Dwell
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If you're looking to embark on a renovation project, consider the valuable indoor/outdoor space that a porch can offer.

Whether it's used as a work studio, an enclave for relaxing with a cup of coffee, or a space for dining almost-alfresco, the porch can be full of potential. Take a look at these examples that show how different homeowners have applied creative reclamation to this space that's sometimes underutilized.  

Cape Code Retreat

In a Cape Cod retreat, a sliding door opens to a relaxed screened-in porch. Varying types of wood make up the home's interior: white oak planks for the floor, solid mahogany for the cabinets, and fir for the ceilings, beams, columns, and trim.

In a Cape Cod retreat, a sliding door opens to a relaxed screened-in porch. Varying types of wood make up the home's interior: white oak planks for the floor, solid mahogany for the cabinets, and fir for the ceilings, beams, columns, and trim.

Sliding fabric panels allow the enclosed porch to be used for dining or overflow sleeping. A loft overlooking the main living space and views of the farm serves as office space.

Sliding fabric panels allow the enclosed porch to be used for dining or overflow sleeping. A loft overlooking the main living space and views of the farm serves as office space.

New York-based design firm Mojo Stumer Associates sent us a look into a home renovation they completed in Laurel Hollow, New York. With an interior that features a mix of textured fabrics and stone, they formed multiple seating areas throughout the glass-enclosed living space.

New York-based design firm Mojo Stumer Associates sent us a look into a home renovation they completed in Laurel Hollow, New York. With an interior that features a mix of textured fabrics and stone, they formed multiple seating areas throughout the glass-enclosed living space.

The glass-enclosed side of the house looks into a screened porch on the left, followed by a combined open space that brings together the living space, dining area, and the kitchen.

The glass-enclosed side of the house looks into a screened porch on the left, followed by a combined open space that brings together the living space, dining area, and the kitchen.

"Repurpose, refurbish, recycle" was the guiding principle for a metals broker in Ontario who harnessed his passion for–and knowledge of–industrial materials to create a new house from old scrap. Shown here is the enclosed porch.

"Repurpose, refurbish, recycle" was the guiding principle for a metals broker in Ontario who harnessed his passion for–and knowledge of–industrial materials to create a new house from old scrap. Shown here is the enclosed porch.

In line with the family’s active lifestyle, the kitchen is also situated outside. To the south of it, a screened-in area off the porch, clad in ipe and black fiberglass mesh, serves as the impromptu dining area. The table and chairs are from Black’s Farmwood, and the ceiling fan is by Fanimation.

In line with the family’s active lifestyle, the kitchen is also situated outside. To the south of it, a screened-in area off the porch, clad in ipe and black fiberglass mesh, serves as the impromptu dining area. The table and chairs are from Black’s Farmwood, and the ceiling fan is by Fanimation.

Akin to a residence by Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragán or an installation by artist Olafur Eliasson, the structure commands a visceral experience, filled with sweeping, perceptual vistas that shift in concert with the light and shadow of the desert.

Akin to a residence by Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragán or an installation by artist Olafur Eliasson, the structure commands a visceral experience, filled with sweeping, perceptual vistas that shift in concert with the light and shadow of the desert.

A 24-foot sliding glass door system leads out onto the balcony from the great room. Cypress wraps the ceiling and floor above. Beck says, "In designing this project, we strove for simplicity. Cost efficiencies were obtained by exposing the structure where possible, taking advantage of locally sourced products, and choosing relatively simple finishes." For the floor, a local concrete company ground and polished the elevated slabs to create the finished floors and exterior staircases.

A 24-foot sliding glass door system leads out onto the balcony from the great room. Cypress wraps the ceiling and floor above. Beck says, "In designing this project, we strove for simplicity. Cost efficiencies were obtained by exposing the structure where possible, taking advantage of locally sourced products, and choosing relatively simple finishes." For the floor, a local concrete company ground and polished the elevated slabs to create the finished floors and exterior staircases.

The bach features a series of moveable wall-sized glass panels and screens that define light, shade, and shelter, and are designed to make the most of the limitations of the surrounding plot. The central kitchen-dining-living space can be opened completely, or shut up tight in winter.

The bach features a series of moveable wall-sized glass panels and screens that define light, shade, and shelter, and are designed to make the most of the limitations of the surrounding plot. The central kitchen-dining-living space can be opened completely, or shut up tight in winter.

Walls and ceilings fold like origami, sheltering the interior with tent-like flaps. In the enclosed porch, horizontal slats is palatable for a traditionalist, thanks to generous use of cedar. 

Walls and ceilings fold like origami, sheltering the interior with tent-like flaps. In the enclosed porch, horizontal slats is palatable for a traditionalist, thanks to generous use of cedar.