Remember the immortal line of questions in My Cousin Vinny? In open court, one of the witnesses claimed that he could identify the two youths charged with murder from his house across the street. the dusty, dirty-looking thing over your window?” Vinny Gambini asks, pointing to a photograph. The witness replied, “A screen.” Yuck! This scene has ruined the screened-in patios for some people. Top designers are now creating beautiful and high-brow spaces in yards from that controversial fiberglass mesh. While we may appreciate the innovative design, it is essential to remember the screen’s primary function. “While it keeps bugs at bay, it also creates a barrier that makes you feel comfortable without removing you completely from nature,” states Los Angeles interior designer Nina Freudenberger. When screened-in porches are done well, the jury can declare the verdict proudly on the courthouse steps: not guilty!
FARMHOUSE TO TEA
The porch of a farmhouse in Bridgehampton, New York, built by designer Steven Gambrel was a great way to bring the garden indoors. The client said, “My husband fell in love with the cozy elegance.” Steven created the vibe we wanted.
The dining table, benches, and rattan couch are all made of New Zealand Teak. The cushions are in Perennials fabric. Circa Antiques provides pendant lighting. Fine Paints of Europe painted the walls in White and the ceiling in Silver Gray.
Bill Ryall, an architect who lives on Long Island with Barry Bergdoll, designed a sun-filled porch for their home. The space is airy, modern, and accurate to the aesthetic of his architecture firm. A 1950s butterfly chair is featured in the casual dining area, with a plywood tabletop and industrial folding legs. The stainless steel screens are held in place by simple wood frames.
In the heat of the day
It only takes a little to bring your screened porch up to par. Susan Hable Smith, a textile designer from Athens, Georgia, has a screened-in porch that features a banquette made of a Hable construction outdoor fabric, a simple Indonesian armchair, and antique chairs. The floors have been painted with Farrow & Ball Studio Green to bring out the color of the grass outside.
Michel Botbol, when he first saw this century-old Long Island property, likened it to “Harry Potter and Miss Havisham.” He used that aesthetic to his advantage in the screened porch, where he turned a row of rustic columns into a focal point and placed an airy table and chairs, which initially belonged to fashion designer Geoffrey Beene, front and center.
Your screened-in porch is designed to keep you protected from the elements. But why not add a little bit of sky? Fashion designer Chris Benz has painted his screened-in porch ceiling a pale blue. The cocktail table and 1920s rattan furnishings are vintage.
Badgley Mischka’s Kentucky Retreat is a place where high-style and thoroughbred horses meet. The screened-in porch of the design team’s 1920s limestone-and-clapboard Dutch Colonial Revival looks out onto their 15 acres of land and features sofas, chairs, and tables by RH, Restoration Hardware.
RUSTIC AND RELAXING
Jeffrey Bilhuber’s home in Jackson Hole (Wyoming) gives a new meaning to the phrase “into the woods.” This room’s rustic timber walls and frame matched the furniture and accessories, creating a forest-like atmosphere. The vintage low-country corn-husk chair and stool, the Swedish-painted table, the Holtkoetter floor lamp, and Patterson Flynn’s rug are all vintage.
Leaves of SASS
The rattan sofa and armchairs in Palm Beach are a data-vars-ga-call to action. Walters made the slipper chairs. Tucker Robbins provided the porcelain stool. And the cocktail table was custom-made. Scheerer’s sconce for Urban Electric Co. is suspended between plaques with staghorn Ferns. The ceiling is covered in pecky Cypress.
NEW ENGLAND MOOD
In her New Hampshire home, Boston architect Heather Wells has used rattan furniture to create a cozy atmosphere. The vintage wicker furniture is covered with cushions in a Koplavitch & Zimmer material. The round side table by Mecox and the floor are old-growth fir.