When our home owner from the Twin Cities decided to remodel their screen porch, we worked with the local Precision Decks porch builders to assure the finished project enhanced the look of their home.
From past experience, we know that finish carpentry skills needed for a Weather Queen installation can be found wherever pride in craftsmanship and good business practices exist.
Precision Decks installed a new screen door and Plexiglasin–the small opening above the door. By also installing the Plexiglas in the triangle windows above the screened openings, light will always enter the porch, even when the shades are lowered. The 6 x 6 posts allow a larger opening, giving a feel of an additional living area to an already spacious home. Because of the screen porch location immediately off the kitchen, it oversees the gardens and play area for younger children, which adds to the flow of life at this home.
The custom finish on the Windstop Tracks blends perfectly with the color of the window trim. The soft flecks of color in the durable Tresco Ginger Sunbrella® Awning and Marine Fabric now reflects the welcoming warmth of their home. Our homeowner sent the following testimonial to us:
“I hope this email finds you busy, but not too busy to enjoy the summer months and the wonderful business you have built! Your product is well-designed and beautiful. We love how the color of shades literally blends into the cedar shakes of our home. It creates a consistent, sophisticated visual, almost giving the effect of a full addition to our home. Another wonderful room to enjoy! The shades have exceeded our expectations. And, they will help to maximize the time we are able to spend in our porch. We’re excited to share many more family memories in this special place! Thank you for everything!”
Weather Queen Shades are proud to be a high-quality foundation piece that opens many new possibilities for home time pleasures. Our focus is on helping our homeowners retain the unique heart of a traditional screen porch, while minimizing the constant upkeep and adding value, livable space, and beauty to their homes. These are the qualities that beautifully crafted, custom window treatments have always given homeowners. Now, these qualities are not only for the interior of a home, but the exterior as well, encompassing function, form, and beauty.
Now that you are ready to move forward with your building project, you have a very important decision to make. While you do have to consider budget, timing, decorative additions, materials, and potential landscaping needs, there is one critical decision that affects the entire project—choosing the right builder. Whether you are building a custom home, planning to remodel, or adding a screen porch, the right builder can make all the difference.
Although there are many considerations when collaborating with a builder, we are offering our top five tips for ensuring your project and partnership moves along as smoothly as possible.
#1 – Experience. Does the builder have experience with your home style? Has the company been in business for 25 years or is this the first year? A new builder may be able to offer modern ideas while still having experienced staff members. And, a more seasoned building company may be able to show examples of their work. Either way—be sure to meet with the builder ahead of time and decide if your personalities are a match for this long-term project.
#2 – References. Can the builder provide you with a list of references? A quality builder should be able to give you the names of several satisfied clients. This will allow you to hear directly from a third party about the builder’s work ethic, workmanship, and adherence to timelines. And, as with many things in life, asking trusted friends and colleagues for referrals is another way to discover the best builders in your area.
#3 – Materials. Ask the builder what types of materials they utilize and where they are purchased. Will they provide you with material choices? Or, do they purchase things at the local home improvement store? In addition, the materials used for your project are dependent upon the style, size, and budget for your project. The materials can also tell you a great deal about the quality of work provided by the builder.
#4 – Licenses and Insurance. While everyone hopes that nothing bad happens during the building process, the fact is there will be many people—including subcontractors—on your property during this time. Some states require that builders be licensed. And, you want to be sure that both you and the builder are insured in the event of a negative occurrence.
#5 – Warranty. Before any work begins or a contract is signed, ask about warranties on the products utilized and the work performed. You want to ensure that a builder will back-up his or her work on your home. Seek someone that is responsive when contacting you, answers questions promptly, and resolves any challenges along the way. These are the signs of someone that takes pride in their work and someone that understands customer service.
Consider all of the above when you are adding a screen porch, too. While some may consider a screen porch a simple addition to their home, it really becomes an extension of your interior living space and should be treated as critically important. Because of the precision needed for installing Weather Queen Shades, we focus on working with builders that deliver quality work within budget and according to timelines. And, ensuring you have the right builder on-board will ease any stress and worry over your next building project.
If you are in the planning stages of designing your screen porch or are putting on the finishing touches to your decorating, don’t underestimate the importance of lighting. As with an indoor living space, your outdoor screen porch requires lighting that enhances the atmosphere—for those long evenings outside or for a cloudy day when you want to relax with a blanket and read a book.
When you utilize Weather Queen Shades, you can use your screen porch in many weather conditions while protecting it at the same time. Why not incorporate lighting that meets a variety of needs, too? Read below for five ideas to consider when choosing lighting for your screen porch.
Idea #1 – Bring your ‘inside style’ to the outdoors. If you would like to enhance the current style of your home and not develop a new aesthetic for this outdoor living space, consider purchasing all-weather lighting that matches your interior space. A quick online search will yield many results, including colorful indoor/outdoor lamps, cordless outdoor lights, and decorative fixtures—some that even encompass rechargeable LED lights.
Idea #2 – Utilize ceiling fans that provide both lighting and air movement. By incorporating fans in your outdoor space, you are solving two problems at the same time. A myriad of fans can be found at your local home improvement stores in all colors, sizes, and shapes.
Idea #3 – Consider an outdoor chandelier as a decorative piece. Although you want the chandelier to emit light, this can also serve as a decorative piece that matches your décor and style. For instance, a wrought-iron chandelier may add an air of elegance to your porch while a chandelier that features crystals may align with a formal outdoor dining area. Whether it’s casual or formal, be sure to find chandelier shades that are mildew-resistant and can be utilized within an outdoor space.
Idea #4 – String lights are a fun option. Even if you have permanent lighting in your screen porch, you may want to consider hanging string lights for parties, events, or casual get-togethers. These lights can be purchased in many shapes and sizes. Not only do they add lighting, they add ambiance to the space. Because string lights are easily interchangeable, you can have various sets for different occasions.
Idea #5 – Wall-mounted task lights and safety. If you are planning to cook within your indoor porch, play games, or partake in other activities, ensuring appropriate lighting is important. In addition, wall-mounted task lights can help illuminate the entryway while providing lighting for safety.
When considering lighting options, remember that the lighting should enhance the potential activities taking place on the screen porch while adding ambiance and mood to the setting. Consider adding additional external outlets for future lighting changes and modifications. Finally, be sure to purchase lighting that is rated for outdoor use and can withstand wind, dust, and moisture.
A good source of lighting rated for exterior use may be your local Menards store if you are concerned about price. Restoration Hardware carries high end, outdoor lighting with a variety of styles, finishes and sizes. Local lighting and electric shops such as Northern Lighting Center in Appleton, WI, carry a wide variety of outdoor lights and can assure that your wiring and lighting is safe.
As always, let us know if you have any questions about designing your screen porch or which lighting and furniture have worked best for our past customers, we would love to share our advice with you! You can either call us at 715-354-7012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to bring you a series of blogs that will help with the design plans for your dream screen porch.
How you plan to use your porch: Our first blog will discuss a few of the reasons for adding a screen porch to your home or cabin plans, beginning with how you plan to use the porch space.
Making a budget:
How you plan to use your screen porch:
A well planned screen porch starts with the same set of questions every other room in a home begs to have answered. Every room in your home has a main purpose and planning the layout and décor needs to enhance and support its main purpose.
See the images and text below for some basic reasons for constructing a screen porch:
Relax quietly, read a book, or take a nap while enjoying the fresh air.
Use as a summer dining room for food prepared in the kitchen or off the patio grill.
Entertain family and friends on a summer evening.
A cozy getaway in the heart of the city, relax after a long day at work or drink your morning coffee before heading out into the real world.
A summer sleeping area for yourself, guests or visiting children—they will experience the joy of sleeping in the porch with the shades lowered and rain falling.
To gather around a fireplace on a cold winter day, warming up with hot cocoa and mores, before going back out to ice skating or for cross country skiing.
At Weather Queen we love to hear the stories of how our homeowners are enjoying their protected screen porch. In 2012, I contacted a homeowner who had purchased our shades in 2007 to see how the shades where doing and she sent me this email.
“We have enjoyed our porch shades so much. It has been 5 years since we’ve had them installed at our lake home, and they still look great! It’s really kept our porch furniture looking good after all these years. One of our family’s favorite things about the shades is the ability to close one wall of them during a summer storm (usually the lake side), while keeping the other wall open to watch the storm. The shades fit so snugly we can stay in our porch warm and dry during the storm and enjoy the show! This has become one of our family’s favorite summer traditions!”
A screen porch is designed to be a sanctuary where we can reconnect with family and friends or enjoy a few quiet moments in the outdoors while being protected from hungry insects and rain.
Now that you can protect the interior of your screen porch from the weather Mother Nature sends your way, you will want to think about your furnishings.
From Lowe’s to Restoration Hardware, high-end furniture stores, and your local furniture retailer, there are limitless options for your porch furniture.
Weather Queen Shades started as one of the many window treatments and soft furnishing offerings of Carla’s Custom Window Fashions business in Northwestern Wisconsin. The client’s cabin, shown in these pictures, was on an island in a larger lake in the region. The owners had restored an old fishing camp and wanted to not only protect the porch, but to have new cushions for the wicker furnishings.
Through the years, it has been a pleasure to discover the best fabrics, hardware, foams, and wraps for homeowners’ cushions and window treatments.
We can now purchase EZE Foam cushioning that is comfortable and completely outdoor-ready. When wet, the water flows though it and because it is wrapped with dacron batting, it is mildew-resistant and maintains its comfort for many years.
Furnishings in a screen porch have more protection than outdoor furnishings and we recommend wrapping the foam in stitched dacron for screen porch furnishings. Protected by the traditional EZE Wrap, it maintains its loft and the feel of feather cushions, giving homeowners the ultimate comfort and old-fashioned feel of feather stuffed furnishings.
The solution dyed Sunbrella® upholstry fabrics are one of the best choices for both outdoor and screen porch furnishings. You must always remember that even a protected screen porch has humidity. And, sometimes, your shades will be left up and a rain storm will enter the porch. Our motto is to decorate for the best and prepare for the worst.
If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, washable cushion covers and a good spray fabric protector are your best friend. We once read an article where the writer said her mother could make a home anywhere and within any budget. She grew geraniums in tomato soup cans and placed them on her kitchen window sill. Creating a welcoming home or screen porch is always more about fashioning your living areas to accommodate your family’s lifestyle. With decorating, as with cooking, love is the most important ingredient.
One of the main rites of spring is tree pollen and you will most likely notice as it collects in your outdoor spaces. Our screens and screen porches suffer greatly from pollen and need protection.
Keeping your Weather Queen Shades lowered when not using the porch protects screens, interior furnishings, and the floors of your porch. Or, keeping your Plexiglas inserts in until after the pollen season is over is another option. It helps to remember that spring is a time of change—including renewal for the trees and flowers. Renewal is always messy, but the result is new growth and a beautiful summer just around the corner.
Once the pollen season is over, it is time for spring cleaning your screen porch screens, shades, and furnishings.
A microfiber system is great for the first once-over of shades, furnishings, and floors. For outdoor furnishings, a cleaning solution that will work on most fabrics is to mix a quarter-cup of clear dish-washing liquid meant for hand washing, such as Dawn, in a gallon of warm, not hot water. In salt water areas, adding 1 cup of white vinegar to your warm, not hot, wash solution will help remove the salt buildup that collects dirt. Keeping track of cleaning instructions that come with your furnishings is important, as well as always testing in a hidden area before using any solution.
In 2012 we installed Weather Queen Shades on a carefully crafted home, in far northwestern Wisconsin, our homeowners where having built. They wanted to create the cozy peaceful look of the 1930’s. A time when many Chicago people where building beautifully crafted lake homes in Northern Wisconsin. Her taste was on the mark, and a large screen porch was one of the main arcitectual requirements. With sandy shorelines and large family gatherings, keeping the screen porch clean was one of her main concerns. The homeowner loves her lake home and is generously sharing the ways she keeps her porch looking good with the least amount of work. Here are a few of her tips:
We use the Sunbrella® Awning and Marine fabric for our shades. This 100% solution died acrylic fabric is designed for heavy duty awning and boat cover applications. Sunbrella® has a wonderful cleaning video on their web site page www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/ . This site also covers the cleaning of their upholstery fabrics. We include their complete cleaning instructions with every Weather Queen installation.
This spring one of our homeowners is going to let us help clean her shades of the heavy infestation of pine pollen she gets every spring in northwestern Wisconsin. This was her main reason for purchasing Weather Queen Shades in June 2012. This spring, as the owner of Weather Queen Shades, I plan to work closely with her and our local homeowners, gaining firsthand knowledge of the best cleaning methods for both our shades and the interior of their screen porches. We want to make sure the advice we give is real-world tested.
We would love to have you share your tips for outdoor furnishings and porch cleaning. Contact us today to share your ideas – they may appear in a future blog post!
Welcome back to the Weather Queen™ Blog. We are re-launching the blog with a focus on improving screen porch living. We’ve taken a little break from the blog to assure we were up to the task of helping our homeowners enjoy their screen porches more, now that they have the ability to easily protect the interior of their screen porch and screens. This is a large order as now they can install nicer furnishings, flooring, lighting and heat sources. We will be depending on our readers for feedback. Tell us what you not only love about your screen porch, but also the problems you are faced with. We cannot solve all the problems, but together can make everyone’s screen porch their favorite room to relax and connect with friends and family.
During our many years of working with homeowners and builders we have gathered some great information that we want to share with you as you plan, design, build, decorate and enjoy your screen porch. We will invite the builders, designers, fabrication workrooms, fireplace providers, and flooring experts to help you make informed decisions as you plan or update your much loved screen porch.
After 38 years of designing and fabricating custom window treatments and soft furnishings, I have been blessed with caring partners. It is an honor to work with builders who are craftsmen and designers who care deeply about helping their homeowners realize the home of their dreams. But mostly it is my homeowners who always amaze me with their style and eye for what they want. Creating a comfortable home that reflects and supports our unique life style, is art at its best.
Together we can help to make screen porch living all it is meant to be. This blog is for all the screen porch lovers out there, so curl up with a good book by the fireplace and let the summer breeze renew your spirit.
Relaxing in the screen porch.
Lighting plays a critical role in any design scheme, and this is certainly not limited to the interior of your home. Outdoor porch lights can impact the way that you entertain, as well as set the mood for a relaxing evening on your screen porch. There are a number of factors you should consider before selecting your outdoor porch lights, and we want to outline a few of them for you below:
With all that said, a simple option is to use basic task lighting, like lamps, to create a calming mood, read or play games on your porch. While we aren’t necessarily specialists in outdoor lighting at Weather Queen Shades, our outdoor screen porch shades help to keep your porch protected. Please contact us to learn more.
This time of year when the weather is perfect for spending outdoors, people are constantly on the hunt for porch decorating ideas. One of the most simple and affordable solutions that will enhance the appearance of your screened porch is to add some greenery.
Here are some plants that thrive when placed on a screened porch, and please note that you don’t need a green thumb to master container gardening:
For more porch decorating ideas, please contact us at Weather Queen Shades. Our shades will help protect all of your beautiful screen porch decorations!
Have you ever had to deal with a tear in your screened porch? Not only is it unsightly, but it can allow insects and other pests to enter your outdoor entertaining space. If you notice a tear in your screen, it’s best to address it as quickly as possible. Here are some helpful steps for repairing a tear in your porch screen:
If you find that you are regularly dealing with tears in your porch screens (due to Mother Nature or pets scratching to come inside), you may want to consider installing screen porch shades. Not only will they help to protect the contents of your porch, they can also help to minimize tears due to harsh weather and everyday wear and tear.
To learn more about screen porch shades, please contact us at Weather Queen Shades.