The skeeters are coming! The skeeters are coming!

In fact, they’ve been here for weeks, early this year, and BIG. Our record-breakingly wet spring might have had something to do with that. Bugs sent us scrambling to get screens on our doors and windows, but dang it, it’s never that easy, is it?

We’ve had the screen on the front door all winter. I finished painting that one last fall. But the screens for the French doors, which we often open for air (and to let cats inside—they have us trained) have been leaning wearily against the wall in the foyer all winter, waiting for their turn. Their red exteriors were already done, but the interior side needed to be painted Chef White to match our trim, which I’m still laboriously picking away at in between long breaks.

Black and white cat waits to be let in French doors

Poor little Checkers stuck outside!

When I bought the house in 1984, I found screens for all the house’s windows stacked in the basement. Ironically, nearly all the windows in the house had been painted shut. By the time Eric came along, the wood frames were falling apart, but he saved the hardware. Fortunately, the original French screen doors were intact. We rescreened them with “pet proof” fiberglass screen fabric, which is coarse and black. It really works! Our cats abuse it regularly, and it’s held up for years.

Mosquitoes were entering through the bathroom window, too. Eric made  a screen for one of the bathroom windows a couple of years ago, and I still had to paint its interior.

Red-framed bathroom window with screen

Our home-grown bathroom window screen

Old-fashioned screen clip

The old hardware works just fine (interior view of bathroom window screen).

Lastly, the kitchen screen door is still spruce green. I tend to forget about that one because we pin it back against the house when we’re not using it (an odd configuration), and when we are using it, it looks so familiar that I don’t see it. Put it on my list …

I set up my paint shop on the side porch, balancing the long French door screens on our rocky bistro table. Usually I don’t bother to tape, but I couldn’t risk slopping paint on the screen. (I dripped some on one screen despite my best efforts.)

Boxer dog lies beneath screen door ready for painting.

Security is present whenever the queen is in residence.

It took several days and a couple of weekends to paint the doors and give them a good chance to cure before hanging them. I spent a bit of time sanding the crud off of this brass sliding bolt that secures the bottom of the doors on the inside. I quit because A) I got bored real quickly with this fussy job, or B) We decided to upgrade to new black hinges and hardware … take your pick.

Brass slliding bolt

The original brass sliding bolt. We’ll use it somewhere …

Black hinge on French door screen

One of four new black hinges

We replaced the sliding bolt with a new black one.

Black sliding bolt on French doors

The sliding bolt secures the screen doors at the bottom.

But we retained the original high-tech latch.

Hokk keeps screen doors closed.

Refection off the French doors makes the screen interiors appear red. They’re actually white.

I added some colorful flowers to the deck planters and brought out the porch pillows. Ah … it looks so inviting! The side porch is my favorite room of the house in summertime.

Flower planters on porch viewed from inside

Summer flowers

View of porch through screened French doors.

This porch always beckons me.

Bistro table on porch, viewed from inside

Now the bugs stay out.

A finished project! Woo-hoo!!

Uncovered porch on Craftsman bungalow

The porch viewed from the sidewalk.

Green ginkgo leaf with 1913 - 2013 below it

12 thoughts on “The skeeters are coming! The skeeters are coming!

  1. Barbara H.

    Your porch looks so inviting from both inside and out. I love your screen doors and the hardware on them. Cat training – we often think we are training them but I think it is ALWAYS the other way around. At least they’re not usually too smug about it. I guess they’re afraid that we might catch on to them.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Curt! We keep talking about getting an old crockpot just for that … but we know we have one around here someplace. Probably two!

  2. Karen B.

    I love the hardware and it’s nice to know about the screens that are resistant to pets.
    The house has such great curb appeal, thanks to your and Eric’s hard work.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Hi Karen–That reminds me … we still have paint touch-up and catch up to do before the entire project wraps up. Summer will be busy!

  3. Donna

    Hi D’Arcy:
    Congratulations on mosquito-proofing your beautiful home! It will be so nice to keep the doors and windows open during the summer without the pests. Love your side porch. It looks like your house is a nice distance from your neighbors, which affords some privacy, unlike some of these tightly packed houses in some Seattle neighborhoods.
    I want to know why people paint shut the windows in these old houses. Same thing was done at my old bungalow. I installed new windows and hated to get rid of the original leaded, wavy glass ones. I set the old windows on my front door steps for the taking, and they were gone within a few hours! I would’ve driven them to your house if I knew you loved them so much. lol!
    Had to laugh about retaining the “original high-tech latch”. I got the same ones in my bungalow’s basement.
    Oh, an interesting aside during renovation of my 1914 bungalow: I read somewhere (was it your blog?) that a long time ago, men would drop their used razor blades into a slot in the wall after shaving. Guess what I found on the floor in between the studs next to the bathroom sink? Yes, a whole bunch of them!

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Hi Donna–We are on a corner, which is so nice. The other side of our house is quite close to the next house. I love having an expansive view out the long side of our house, even if it’s just the street and neighborhood.
      I guess we’re not the only ones to snap up old windows and glass. We know what we want to do with them, but I’m not telling yet!
      Interesting about the razor blades … I think I’ve heard that somewhere, too. When we renovated our bathroom we didn’t find any. Darn!

  4. Nine Dark Moons

    wow, your side deck looks fabulous and so wonderful i just want to head out there right now with some tea and a book! love the old screens and hardware. also love your new black hardware 🙂 great job keeping the skeeters out. pesky little bastards.

  5. Jo

    “It’s never that easy” — understatement of the year. But your recent projects — paint and deck — look marvelous. Love the upgraded hardware. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      The side porch is wonderful in summer because the breeze comes around the corner of the house (Venturi effect!) and it’s in shade much of the day. Ahhh ….. some days it’s my favorite room!


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