Adding a porch to a home


There are several reasons why Liz Vilardi and Nick Zappia added an old-fashioned screened porch to their West Roxbury home.
While it’s a great play area for 4-year-old Lucian, and for entertaining friends, extra space wasn’t the impetus for the addition. It was bugs.
“We have a long, skinny backyard covered in trees. It’s shaded and beautiful, but it gets buggy and we never went out there in the summer,” says Vilardi.
The couple, who co-own Cambridge restaurant The Blue Room, wine store Central Bottle Wine + Provisions, and Belly wine bar, brought in close friend and architect David Rubino to construct the space.
Rubino designed all three establishments and, along with his wife Maureen, is a partner in Central Bottle.
“It was all about bringing the backyard indoors,” says Rubino. “There’s [even] an 8-foot door so that it feels open and flowing to the rest of the house.”
It also had to match up with this Victorian’s fittings. Copper gutters, mahogany and a metal roof added to the cost, which Rubino estimates as “upwards of $40,000. Maybe in the long run, you might decide to enclose it and add windows,” he suggests.
Vilardi and Zappia insist that won’t happen.
“For me, another reason was nostalgia,” says Vilardi. “I grew up in Texas, and we would sit on our porches and sip ice tea. I missed that.”
“The only change I want to make,” Zappia says, “is to get a pizza oven out there.”

Rubino’s tips for building a porch
“It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It will block sunlight to that part of the house, so a modest addition might work just as well as something bigger.”

“Think about privacy. Where are your neighbors? Building codes apply, so boundaries need to be considered. Also, you want to maximize breezes for cross-ventilation in the house.”

“If you want some tunes out there, you need electricity. Maybe you want to add a ceiling fan. Think about what you’ll be using it for.”

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