Friday, November 7, 2014

notes from the screenporch

A fragment of music from my parents' piano bench,
seen thousands of times in my childhood.
No recollection of ever hearing the song.

A few notes on last weekend's clearing-out of the screenporch.

It was A Task.

There was Stuff.

Much of it was there for good reason.
Since I built the screenporch, it has been one of my favorite places to be, from early Spring through late Autumn. It's my dye-simmering spot, my potting shed, my library and writing space. When visitors stop by, we sit on the screenporch and share the view. I knit and listen to audiobooks on the screenporch. It's where I did Drawing August this summer.

I more or less live out there.

Oak galls for dyeing,
collected on many walks with Piper.
Simmering while the cleaning went on.

In the years when I could sleep on a camp mat, I slept on the screenporch. Now I have one of my LaFuma recliners out there for resting my joints between chores.

Piper enjoys the screenporch, too. She snoozes on Grampy's Chair, or stretches out beneath my worktable, keeping an eagle-eye on the driveway and road below, and announcing anyone who crosses the boundary between the two.

my work table, mid-clean-up

But that Piper! 
Do you know what she does? She leaves all her gardening tools and plant pots and buckets of dyes and her stored portfolio slides and boxes of old paperwork all piled up in teetering towers in one corner of the screenporch! What a mess!

Just kidding, Piper!
Except for the box of your toys, it's all my stuff.

Last weekend, I spent many hours completely clearing out the porch. So that I would not lose momentum and get lost in minutiae, I decided that whenever an item beckoned me down Memory Lane, I would just take a quick snapshot and Move On. It worked very well!

flashback to my Master's research

I had to get it done, because I had a deadline.
Monday morning, a long-pondered project began:
turning the screenporch into a many-windowed room comfortable enough to be used and enjoyed year-round.
My goal is to make it my bedroom this Winter, so I can wake up watching the sun rising through the trees. I have a strong feeling that this will be an uplifting and encouraging way to begin the Winter days.

Sounds likely, doesn't it?
Here's hoping!

I've hired a fellow to do probably 85% of the work, which is a reversal of the way I built the screenporch in 1997. Then, I designed the porch but hired a licensed carpenter to make sure things were done "to Code" and to do the parts I had absolutely no idea how to tackle, like tying the roof of the porch to the roof of the house. But I did a lot of every part of the actual construction, from the ground to peak and everything between.

This time, well. I've redesigned the porch, and I've been sourcing materials and doing a lot of prep work, but the construction will be out of my hands. I'm going to try to just step back and enjoy it.

I'll let you know how that goes.



  1. What an awesome idea!!! I visualize a room with mostly windows so you feel like you're outside but you're protected from the elements! Our whole house is a bit like that... and I adore it for that reason. But, I live on our deck all summer long (like your screen porch). Hmm, you're putting ideas into my head! I hope that it all goes super smoothly!

    1. Sounds like we have very similar homes :)
      Thanks for your good thoughts. It's a tricky time to tackle this, so full steam against Winter!

  2. You will never ever regret putting in the windows, Quinn. We did that with an open porch and promptly deserted the rest of the house most of the time to eat, chat, entertain, in hot weather, sleep, out there. It was wonderful. I miss it still and it's been a long time! go you! I heart this project.

    1. Every year I have stayed out there til the last gun is fired...reading, etc., with a coat and hat and gloves on, sometimes wrapped in a blanket. It should be quite nice to have it as a "real" room this Winter. My only thought is, that if it becomes my year-round bedroom, I may have to build another screenporch!

  3. I was just noticing the moon this evening when I drew the curtains and thought oh, I'd better check Quinn's blog and see how close to the full it is. Which is why I came in, but there you were already, posting away.

  4. I always read your blog, to see what your up to, but this one made me put pen to paper, well not literally but I'm sure you know what I mean. I can't wait to see how this great project evolves, as you almost live on the porch, it sounds a wonderful idea. 'Bon chance'

    1. Merci! All good lucky wishes are very welcome :)

  5. Can't wait to see what develops :)

    I, too, have those nasty cluttered corners, just like Piper.

    1. It's a bit annoying, but at her age, I don't think she's going to change her cluttery ways! ;)

  6. I think that will be the most amazing space.
    Yes Roobarb is also very messy. You should see the state of her sewing room!

    1. Ha! I wonder if it's a genetic trait?

  7. That bit of music looks familiar but I can't say if I've ever heard it. I do love a screen porch. Ours is gone in the front porch repair & renovation. It really wasn't the best place for it. It got the afternoon summer sun and was too hot to enjoy.

  8. I love old music - sounds like you found some great treasures while hunting . Good idea to take a pic and move on.

    1. Possibly the best housework-related idea I've ever had! It's the keep-or-toss decisions that tend to slow me down until the work just grinds to a halt. Didn't happen this time!

  9. I can imagine what a task that was to sort through all the piled up stuff. I spent 7 hours cleaning yesterday and only got to the living room and tv room and that's just doing the basic cleaning and didn't even hit every spot. Things around here get mighty dirty and when I let it go for a few weeks, it's a mess. Ugh! The bain of my existence, that's for sure. Your new porch will be great when it is all done. Good luck! Tammy

  10. I think Piper's doing very well with her crafting considering the lack of opposable thumbs and all. That probably accounts for the clutter, come to think of it.


Thank you for leaving a comment! I enjoy reading each one, and will usually reply either here or on YOUR blog!

Due to spam, Anonymous comments are blocked. I'm hoping to avoid the annoying Word Verification gizmo! If you find you cannot leave a comment, please email me so we can try to sort it out.