Designs that Stretch the Season for Outdoor Living

Bruce Lenzen Design/Build home features Marvin Windows & Doors Ultimate Lift and Slide doors, photo by Spacecrafting

After a long, cold winter, we Minnesotans love to live outside. Decks, patios, screen porches, outdoor kitchens, gazebos—any space that welcomes us to glory in the great outdoors gets a workout while the weather is mild and the breezes warm. Our season is abbreviated, so we try to stretch it out as much as possible with three-season spaces.

Minnesota builders accommodate by turning homes inside out, connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces in clever and functional ways. They make the transition as seamless as possible.

A few of our favorite variations on the theme:

Bruce Lenzen Design/Build, photo by Spacecrafting

The wall of this home opens to a three-season porch that features a fireplace and patio with outdoor kitchen. The sliding door folds into a wall pocket, bringing the patio (and the water) into the house. Come dusk, remote-operated screens keep out any unwelcome visitors of the flying, stinging variety.

Aspect Design Build, photo by Spacecrafting

This home makes the screen porch an extension of the kitchen with a café window that opens to link the inner countertop with the outside bar. Inside the kitchen, an under-the-countertop beverage fridge serves the porch. With a two-sided fireplace, flat-screen TV, and comfy furnishings, this is the room to hang during the summer.

Detail Homes, photo by Spacecrafting

A Mediterranean-style home in an urban neighborhood features an airy veranda. Surrounded by white stucco, ebony ceiling and beams, and flowing outdoor draperies, it’s the perfect setting for a twilight gathering or an afternoon dreaming of the Kasbah.

Divine Custom Homes, photo by Spacecrafting

Full-on rustic screen porches are just right for woodsy settings. This one, adjacent to an open kitchen and dining area, functions as a second great room. Large windows show off the surrounding stand of red pines, while the stone fireplace, cedar shakes, and reclaimed wood make the 3.5 season porch a cozy gathering spot for chilly evenings.

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