Washington DC Addition – Screen Porch
Project Overview: When these homeowners called us out to their home for an initial consultation, they were crystal clear as to what they wanted. Their home is strategically located on a relatively steep hill in Washington, DC’s Woodley Park neighborhood. Off the back of their living room was a patio that presented a fantastic view out over their large triangular yard and the surrounding neighborhood. It was one of their favorite places to relax during the Spring, Summer and Fall months, but the thriving mosquito population was a an irritating deterrent. They wanted a three-seasons porch that would allow them to enjoy their back yard more frequently.
Design and Layout: The homeowners were veteran remodelers, and played an active role in the design process. They were clear about their style – modern/contemporary – and wanted their porch to make a statement. Our in-house architect who led this project is somewhat of a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple, and took much of his inspiration from Wrights Pope-Leighey house in Alexandria, VA. The new porch sits directly off of the client’s main living space and with the inclusion of French out-swing doors becomes an enlarged extension of the living area. The design is such that predominance is given to the desired view of the triangular yard below, with the constrained view situated to the neighbor’s yard roughly 30 feet up the hill. The split roof adds to the overall design scheme, providing tall, open sightlines, and a smaller more intimate space – all within the same floor plan. The staggered roof height also solves a practical concern in not blocking any of the windows at the rear façade. The smaller portion of the porch has slatted trim that extends to the roof line to create a screen effect, with built-in storage benches and a table in a bumped-out corner.
Style and Finishes: Our designer’s intention was to create interconnectedness between the built and un-built environment. The homeowners set the color scheme early on, choosing a field grey as the base and highlights of his and her favorite colors; blue and yellow. Exterior finishes are limited to painted Hardie Panel and 1x2 Azek trim and the interior surfaces are wrapped with the same materials. A “show wall” was created by installing unfinished, reclaimed barn siding at the exterior of the existing house and at the main structural beam. The horizontal lines are maintained at the show wall, as the accent wood is installed to align with the trim banding that wraps the rest of the structure. The floor tile is a 24” x 24” field tile, installed in a diagonal pattern.
Construction and Final Product: This was a challenging project to build for a number of reasons; the first being the location of the porch in relation to the sloping yard. The depth of the new foundation footings had to match those in the basement, which were 15’ below grade level. Since it was not possible to bring a machine into the landscaped yard, all ground work had to be dug by hand, and concrete hauled in with wheel barrows and buckets. During foundation work, a flash-flood one Friday evening caused an adjoining garage to flood (through a hole in the foundation wall) which led to an unplanned Saturday clean-up for our crew. Once the floor slab was poured, framing and roofing went quickly. Trim and finishes were a different story. The design was complex and called for horizontal lines throughout to match exactly. This is detailed work, which stretched out somewhat longer than we had anticipated. The polished concrete floor that was specified in the original design was ruined by a faulty blade in the finishing machine, and our attempts to grind out the defects proved unsuccessful. We presented a number of alternative floor options to the homeowner, and finally settled on the off-white field tile. This delayed the project again, but we updated the homeowner regularly with our revised schedule. Despite these few setbacks, the final product is stunning, and the homeowners could not be happier with their new porch.
What the Customer Said: “We highly recommend Four Brothers who built our screened in porch. It is not an ordinary porch but thanks to the design and craftsmanship, it is a unique addition to our home. The space is practical for our family while also shows great style. From the reclaimed barn wood on the walls to the beamed ceilings and the built-in benches- we love our new outdoor room. In addition to demonstrating great craftsmanship, the company upholds the highest integrity. Over the course of the project, all of the employees were hardworking, honest and committed to the final product. The project was well organized and the company was receptive to feedback and demonstrated flexibility. Four Brothers took steps beyond the usual expectations to ensure that the final product looked just right—from the porch door, to the floors to the top notch paint job. We have worked with many companies over our years as homeowners and Four Brothers is by far the best. We look forward to our next opportunity to hire Four Brothers for another project.”