An Indoor-Outdoor Addition That Does It All

A Baton Rouge, La., family got the three new rooms they wanted — by building just one screened-in porch. HGTV Magazine shows you how.
By: Alyse Harral Stevens

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

Photo By: Trevor Dixon

In Need of Space

With two teenage sons and an 85-pound yellow Lab, Jay and Barbin Graham were craving more space in their 2,600-square-foot home of 15 years. But when they got an estimate for an addition — $350,000 — they had sticker shock. "You could build a new house for that!" says Barbin, who owns a sign-manufacturing company with Jay.

The Better Plan

Instead, they found a way to add room for a lot less money: Replace the back deck with a 500-square-foot screened-in porch designed as an outdoor living room, kitchen and dining area. Total cost? $65,000. Plenty of prime features — pine floors, vaulted ceilings, a brick fireplace, a built-in gas grill and weather-resistant furniture — have made it the family’s favorite spot.

Strong Window Screens

Aluminum screening keeps bugs out and fresh air in. During the coldest winter months, the Grahams add heavy plastic roll-down sheeting panels from enclosureguy.com.

Extra-Large Coffee Table

Barbin knew she wanted a coffee table big enough for a crowd. A local metalsmith built the base (painted Intellectual Gray by Sherwin-Williams) and added a 4-foot-by-5-foot reclaimed-pine top.

Blue and Cream Color Scheme

To give their new "living room" a kick-off-your-shoes feel, the Grahams chose a beige sofa and chairs (from Pottery Barn) made of outdoor Sunbrella fabric and eucalyptus wood. The floor pillows and indoor/outdoor rug are from Dash & Albert.

Casual Dining

Barbin, Jay, Denton (left), and Turner eat dinner together on the porch as often as they can. For seating, they picked benches made of weather-resistant eucalyptus wood (from Pottery Barn).

Countertop Space

The main kitchen is just inside the house, but the family wanted a place to cook on the porch, too. They put in a 20-foot granite countertop and cabinets. Jay cooks with the Bull grill and fryer (bullbbq.com for stores) twice a week year-round.

Durable Floors

The pine floor is pressure-treated to prevent rotting. To clean it, Barbin just gives it a garden hose rinse. The water drains out of the spaces between planks, and screening under the floor keeps bugs from climbing through the cracks.

Window Seat

The fireplace’s 2-foot-deep hearth extends along the wall, creating a window seat that’s perfect for curling up with a book.

Wood-Burning Fireplace

The prefab brick fireplace (from isokern.net) was about half the price of a custom-built version. With a gas ignition, it’s a cinch to light with just a match — no old newspapers or kindling needed.

TV Cabinet

The Grahams had a 5-foot-by-7-foot cabinet built for their 60-inch TV, which is wired with outdoor surround-sound. "We used to have season tickets for LSU football games," says Jay. "But then we realized we had everything we needed right here! Now our friends invite themselves over to watch."