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Should I remove the screen? Any ideas for the landscaping on the sides?
raquelfla
December 5, 2012 in Design Dilemma
When you walk up to my front door, it is really dark and you can barely see into the screened enclosure in the evening. We live in South Florida so the screen does help keep the mosquitoes out during the rainy season. Husband hates it and wants to tear it down. Any opinions would be appreciated ;)
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houssaon
I can't see where the screen is, unless you mean the front door. Do you ever keep the front door open for ventilation? If not, then the screen can go. Why not paint the wood and beam ceiling the same as the trim? Add lansdscape lights in the gardens on either side of the front door.
4 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 3:24PM
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mrskk
I would tear it down!
1 Like   December 5, 2012 at 3:25PM
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nasmijati
The space looks like a Porte-cochere to me. There are screens large enough to cover two-car garages. You might consider screening the entire area.

I have heard that yellow light bulbs (bug lights) do not attract bugs. If you installed quite a few yellow LED lights, the area would look cheerful and welcoming.

Regarding the landscaping, go to a local nursery and ask about plants native to your region. They will need much less water once they are established. In south Florida I think shrub verbena (Lantana camara) is a pretty flower.
You might also visit Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables or Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota for inspiration and names of good nurseries in your location.
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 3:34PM
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pcmom1
If this whole area was screened it would be a nice area for entertaining. You could add a couple of skylights to the roof to bring in more light.
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 3:41PM
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raquelfla
@houssanon- I didn't even think of the ventilation issue. There are only a few cool days that the door is left open. I like your idea of installing lights there. Thank you.
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 3:44PM
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raquelfla
@pcmom & eztia - I agree it would be nice to screen the whole thing in, but we have a really large screened back patio. We really use the Porte-cochere to park under when the torrential florida rains come. Makes unloading groceries a breeze ;)
@pcmom- I really like the skylight idea. Thank you guys!
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Arlen Dau
If the screen serves a purpose (like keeping bugs out), then you can't just take it down. There are many screen material options - some for shade, some for animals ... so there must be a clear one. Check out UltraVue Invisible Screen Mesh. I have not used it, just pulled it from the web for you. So, have someone rebuild your front screen doors. Minimize the frame size using either a good solid, dense wood or aluminum. Drop the cross bar from the door design - if your frame is strong enough you don't need it. Add a nice, light weight vertical handle design to again be minimal, yet easy to grab. The color of the frame should blend in and not "frame" the view through the door - so go dark, maybe even flat black. Increasing the lighting inside will draw guests to see past the doors. Now, if you want a different twist, consider sliding doors, instead of swinging doors.
1 Like   December 5, 2012 at 3:50PM
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victorianbungalowranch
If you are going with a custom screen door, I've seen some cool sort of retro designs done with alluminum metal strips. Painting the door behind them a lighter and or brighter color might help too, and maybe more up lights.

Also you may have an overlay of a type of laser-cut lattice or trim pattern that then can be painted a color and serve as the exterior front door. Crestview.com (doors awning and lattice) has a number of them that might work.

I have never seen a house like yours--almost looks like a modern house built around a castle keep. Is that the stairwell?
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 4:36PM
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raquelfla
@ victorianbungalowranch- Thanks for the ideas. Our house has a lot of stained glass, natural stone, pecky cypress walls, brick arches...fire places.....really neat. Looks like an up north house. We have been remodeling for about 10 years, but well worth it. The castle keep is a stairwell.
0 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 5:04PM
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indianagrammy
Beautiful house. I would take down the screen door and lighten the color of the door. Also you need some large pots of flowers near the front door to make the area a stand out.
2 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 6:47PM
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PRO
W. Friesen Construction
Yes remove the screens and replace with a phantom screen system which hides the screen until you actually need them. www.phantomscreens.com. To beat the darkened entrance way I would add at least 4 to 6 - 14" sun tunnels to direct light in under the carport, this system is cheap to install and the least intrusive with the intense Florida sunshine. And the with the extra light you will be able to plant some more coloful foliage on either side of the entrance due to the extra light.
Warren Friesen
3 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 7:10PM
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PRO
Ross NW Watergardens
What a BOLD house! I really like it. The two beds flanking the doors need some bold landscaping to fit in. I would go with lush plants with distinctive structures or color- 'Fatsia' is one that comes to mind. Taller plants in the back, some nice ornamental grasses in the front would be a start. I would look for either a sculpture or boulder to be centerpiece of each bed and then gently spot light them.
2 Likes   December 5, 2012 at 8:32PM
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xtalivy
Raquelfla,

There are a few wonderful low light plants of good structure and drama. A row of large pots of Sansieveria with backlighting could be quite dramatic making strong accent lights behind the plants and perhaps even silhouetting them.

Another option, you might want to give thought to hardscaping instead. Perhaps a series of repeated items, short and tall, definitely with lights behind them. You definitely need some light no matter what you do.
http://www.cactuscenter.com/sansevieriacylindrica.htm

If you were able to email me directly, I'd be more than happy to sketch something out for you. But, I'm sure you have enough ideas here to choose from.
1 Like   December 5, 2012 at 9:24PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Wow, would love to see the rest of it! I thought the design and materials didn't look like typical Florida, especially with so much stone.

Having a car parked in front of your house or under the carport is practical, but doen't add much to your house. Perhaps screening the carport somehow, perhaps with a site-built slats or panels or lattice that do not totally cut off the view or light would complement the house and be practical.
1 Like   December 6, 2012 at 12:06AM
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raquelfla
@ victorianbungalowranch - Looking at the area, I know I don't want to screen the carport in because it will further darken the area and we have a really large screened in patio about 1200 sq ft. I want to brighten up the area somehow.
I really like the idea of adding some lighting that (xtalivy) recommended which I never thought of (I don't know why). And perhaps a sculpture of some sort or boulder that (Ross NW Watergardens) said to add.
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 6:19AM
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raquelfla
Thank you all so much for the opinions. This is my first post asking for help and everyone has been so kind. What a wonderful site!
1 Like   December 6, 2012 at 6:21AM
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Ramona
Remove the screens. Can you paint the supports and inside the roof of the portico a light color? Then decide on a wonderful bright color for the front doors. The house looks really special. It needs a special entrance.
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 9:01AM
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PRO
Welcome Home designs
Yes I agree that the screen doors should be removed. A lighter door colour would help but so would some lighting, as suggested - perhaps lanterns on either side of the door - uplighting definitely on the planted areas - and yes this area needs more interesting plants. I would also suggest two large planters on either side of the door - especially during the holidays. Think big and full - greenery, flowers, interesting baubles! Have fun!
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 9:12AM
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michele1965
I don't think you have to remove the screen doors, but I would paint them the same color as the doors behind them so you don't lose the impact of the red. Some skylights would brighten the area nicely. I would also add up lights to highlight the ceiling and rafters.
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 9:22AM
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PRO
David Rolston Landscape Architects
Keep the Screens!, but paint the ceiling of the Porte Cochere and some of the other trim a lighter color
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 9:26AM
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David Rolston Landscape Architects
Hire a Professional in your area to assist.
APLD and ASLA for Landscape, and AIA and ASID for the house
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 9:28AM
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By Design EK
Very unique house! Yes i would add some skylights to increase the light especially around the doorway so you can add some nice potted palms and plants to add color. If this is your main entry you could consider replacing the doors with doors that have a lot of glass to make the entry more welcoming and less dark. I also like the idea of adding lighting to the ceiling and also around the door. A hanging lantern would be very cool and play up the castle feel of the turret. Anything you do i would oversize it as much as possible, lights, plants, etc. this will play with the scale and make the porte cochere feel smaller and the house bigger.
0 Likes   December 6, 2012 at 12:14PM
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By Design EK
Very unique house! Yes i would add some skylights to increase the light especially around the doorway so you can add some nice potted palms and plants to add color. If this is your main entry you could consider replacing the doors with doors that have a lot of glass to make the entry more welcoming and less dark. I also like the idea of adding lighting to the ceiling and also around the door. A hanging lantern would be very cool and play up the castle feel of the turret. Anything you do i would oversize it as much as possible, lights, plants, etc. this will play with the scale and make the porte cochere feel smaller and the house bigger.
1 Like   December 6, 2012 at 12:15PM
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PRO
Carol Freedman Design
I would also suggest removing the screen doors, punching up the doorway with a dramatic paint color choice, adding a fresh and extra-wide entry doormat that complements the other materials at the entryway, and possibly adding some sculptures or plants with height to increase the "welcome quotient" of your entryway...
1 Like   December 6, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
Gee.. paver driveway......large canopy above.....main front entry..... and someone wants to enclose this with a screen for entertaining? Talk about not paying attention to the photos and the intial question.

As I assume you have other screened openings in the house (windows and patio doors) with screens that you can open for cross ventilation, I would remove the screen doors at the front entry.

The large canopy casts a big shade and at times maybe even shadow the main entry. You may consider to replace the doors with "main entry appropriate" glass doors. The glass can be opaque, frosted, clear, etc. You can also add exterior lighting to bring focus to the main entry.

I would also suggest consider removing the dangling Christmas lights. If you were to light up the whole canopy area, direct and even indirectly, you would be amazed how open and grand the exterior space can be.

Great looking house.
1 Like   December 7, 2012 at 11:57AM
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victorianbungalowranch
I was just saying that cars parked in front of the front door sn't that attractive, esp. for something as grand as this. Screened carports are popular in Florida, and not neccessarily for entertaining. I was thinking of something really open with a bit of greenery, if the cars live there much of the year, such as during rainy season. I was in Florida in May-June, and it rained hard for hours nearly every day!

If just once in awhile to unload or in the rain, or if there is a garage someplace, then no, it isn't a good idea.
0 Likes   December 7, 2012 at 12:06PM
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PRO
Aesthetic Tile Imaging
Either side of the door might be adorned with kiln-fired art on tile. Please visit my Houzz profile page to see more details and photo examples.
0 Likes   December 8, 2012 at 9:42AM
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