Screen Porch Ideas- Making Your Exterior More Superior

BEFORE AND AFTERAdding a screen porch to your house can provide some welcome additional living space, and give a boost to the curb appeal of the home as well.  A screen porch addition has many of the same requirements as any other home addition, as well as a few additional considerations due to the exposure to the elements.  “The screen porch is meant to act as an extension of your existing home, just like any other home addition. In fact, the only real differences are screens in place of windows, and no need to tie in heating and cooling with the rest of the home.” says Normandy Design Manager Troy Pavelka. “Since you are trying to create a seamless transition from your home to the porch, it is important to be mindful of the placement of the porch and the materials selected.”

screened porch“When determining the location of the screen porch, one of the frequently overlooked considerations is the impact this will have on  the available natural light in the interior rooms,” added Troy.  “The newly added roof and extended outdoor living space will filter and diminish the currently available light and air flow.  If you can position the new porch outside of a room that already has other windows to provide light and fresh air, you will be able to minimize these issues.”  It is common for existing windows to become a part of the screen porch, so there will still be some opportunity to borrow natural light and air flow that is now supplied to the porch.

white porch indoor detailwooden porch ceilingOther key pieces to remember are that, although acting as an extension of your home, your screen porch needs materials that are able to withstand the elements of the outdoors.  “Since your porch is going to be exposed to the weather, I recommend using Douglas fir or Cedar in areas where you would like to enjoy the beauty of natural wood, because they are resistant to rot and moisture,” noted Troy.

It is possible to create an indoor feel for this outdoor room by adding TV’s, decorative ceilings, tile flooring, fireplaces and interchangeable storm windows and screens, depending on zoning restrictions.  Since screen porches are a common transitional space to the yard, they can also be connected to a deck or patio, which extend the potential for gathering and entertainment spaces even further.


The Best Time of Year to Remodel

remodel for summerOne of the most common questions we hear when people are planning their kitchen remodel is Patio ideas“When is the best time to remodel my kitchen?”  While kitchen renovations happen year-round, many people have found that planning for the construction to take place during the summer months can make living through the renovation more enjoyable and less stressful. One of the reasons that living through kitchen remodeling construction can be a bit easier during the summer months, especially in Chicago and its suburbs, is about meal prep.

“Summer is the season for grilling and outdoor dining on your deck or patio, which gets you out of the house and enjoying the warm weather,” says Normandy Designer Liz Reifschneider.  “This brief respite from the construction going on inside can be quite soothing and can help you cope with the disruption to your normal routine.” Taking advantage of the warmer weather for construction requires some advance planning, as do most things for a kitchen remodel. You will need to allow time to design and plan your new space, and some additional time for blueprints and permitting.

Backyard ideas for summerOrdering kitchen cabinets“It’s important not to rush through the planning stages, and to give yourself plenty of time to make sure that you’re creating a space that meets all your needs, without feeling rushed to meet a particular construction timeline,” commented Liz.

“If you’re someone who makes decisions quickly, that planning phase may take a month or two.  But if you really want to delve into the details or make more significant changes, you should allow a few months for working out the design you really want.” Once your design is complete, there are still several important parts of your remodel that can impact your timeline, one of them being the permitting process.

Some villages are fairly quick and can issue permits in a few weeks, others have long timelines and it can be several months before your permit will be approved.

Cabinetry is another key piece that can have long lead times, and some manufacturers even shut down for a few weeks in the summer months for employee vacations. “It’s not unheard of to wait 3 months or longer for a custom or semi-custom cabinet to be delivered,” says Liz. “It’s just one more piece of the timing puzzle to be considered.”

The good news about finding the right time to remodel is that it’s almost never too late to start because there is always next summer. If you would like to remodel your kitchen during the warm summer months, you probably want to begin meeting with a designer and planning as early as late fall.

An initial October or November meeting gives you plenty of time to work through your design goals and schedule construction to begin as the weather warms up. If you happen to finalize your design more quickly than expected, most companies will be able to delay your start date by a few weeks or months to give you an opportunity to soak up the summer sun as your kitchen undergoes its transformation. “With summer months always seeming to fly by in Chicago, the renovation will seemingly be over in no time,” added Liz. And what better way to start the cold weather months in Chicago than with a beautiful new kitchen?

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