Four Seasons of Outdoor Living

By+Judy Bradford

He wanted the feel of the outdoors. She wanted to have a brighter area in the house, away from the sun. A four-season porch by Peacock & Company made both of them happy. Jim and Pat Taylor now have a 432 square-foot space where they can enjoy the sounds and sights of their backyard without being exposed to the harsher elements of nature. “We use it year-round,” says Pat. “We enjoy the birds and frogs in the spring and summer, and the beautiful snow in the winter with the cozy warmth of the fireplace.” The couple added the four-season porch to their home, south of South Bend, two years ago with the help of Peacock and Company. The room takes the place of the Taylors’ 18 foot x 24 - foot sun deck, where Jim cooked on the grill and sat for hours enjoying their backyard gardens, ponds and two waterfalls. But Pat could only enjoy the porch in the evening because direct sunlight triggers her rosacea, a medical condition causing facial redness, and other allergies. She wanted an outdoorsy room that she could enjoy during the day hours - a bright place to enjoy coffee in the morning, or spend time with guests or grandchildren. “I told (Peacock’s) designer what I wanted - an open look, high ceilings, a lot of glass and low maintenance,” says Pat. When you first walk in the room, through wide doors, your eyes are drawn upward by the high ceiling and its two large barn beams that support track lighting. Pella windows all across the south side bring in the light. When open, they bring in the sounds of nature. But glass cleaning is the only maintenance required on them, since the mini-blinds are all built in between glass panes to keep them dust free. She was even able to keep her old kitchen window, which is above her sink. She can look out onto porch activities while working in the kitchen. “And, I can still open it if I want to talk to someone,” she added. An antique collector, Pat was also able to add a long, spacious shelf where the overhang for the old roof sat. The space now sports an old fence post, a rug beater, baskets and a cheese paddle and other antiques. (The Taylors were also able to keep a bay window that looked out onto the old deck. Peacock & Company carpenters dismantled it and then rebuilt it on the west side of their house. It now gives the family a view when they’re using their dining room table off the kitchen.) The entire porch can be heated, through their main furnace, in the colder months. But they can turn down the heat and fire up the gas fireplace, provided by Rose Brick & Materials. An old chunk of oak found in a friend’s garage became their fireplace mantle once it was cut and shaped. In the warmer months, the porch can also be air-conditioned but the Taylors often just close the main doors to it. That way, they can open up all the porch windows to the screens and enjoy the summer breezes. The cottage-style windows are “60/40,” meaning the lower pane is larger than the higher pane, to encourage people to sit and enjoy the view. To make the room look more like a porch, they also kept the house siding on the wall that used to be the outside of the house. “It’s refreshing and cheerful,” Pat says of their four season porch. “When our granddaughters are here, they play out on the porch the whole time. We only used the deck in season and sometimes we’d go weeks without using it. Now this is a bright place to sit and enjoy the backyard, or watch the news on TV, or enjoy being with our neighbors.” “Peacock really worked with us, and they came up with some good suggestions, like the idea for dismantling and rebuilding the bay window on the west side of the house,” says Pat. “It was like working with family,” said Jim.  “They sat down with us and really helped us get what we wanted.”  Four Season Porch Contractor: Peacock and Company 1147 Mishawaka Avenue South Bend, IN 46615 (574) 289-4992