Southern Romance House: Back Porch

Y’all, I love my job!  I say that all the time, but it’s so true.  I am continually blown away by the things that come my way due to this blog of mine and I’m so blessed to get to experience so many wonderful things in life that I never dreamed I’d be doing or seeing.

Last week, I had the pleasure of heading back down to Mobile, AL for the final reveal of the Southern Romance home, a house renovated by Phantom Screens CEO, Esther DeWolde.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you will remember that trip and the beautiful 1906 Arts and Crafts bungalow home that was down to the studs when we saw it last.  We didn’t know for sure that we would be invited back to see the house after completion, but believe me, we were all ecstatic when we got the invitation to go back and see this house in its full glory and beauty…..after renovation.

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Esther took painstaking care of renovating this house back to its original beauty and then some.  She was careful with keeping as much integrity and history of the house as she could, also taking into account that updating certain parts of a home for the 21st century is not only desirable, but seriously needed.  The kitchen and bathrooms are all modern and up to date now and it’s a true Southern beauty.

I dearly love a good romance story (especially since I’m living my own right now! Don’t you love how I snuck that in?) and this house story is a captivating one, so come along with me to see the Southern Romance journey unfold.  She is a beauty and if I could be in love with a house, it would be this one!

Rempy Shokar headshots

Today, I’m going to show you the back porch, which was truly my favorite space in the house.  You all know how much I love a porch and this one is magnificent.  It was added onto the home to extend the living spaces outside, a must in the South.  But, the thing that took this porch above and beyond anything you’ve ever seen was the addition of the Phantom Screens.  In case you haven’t heard of this company, they add retractable screening to outdoor spaces so that life can be enjoyed without mosquitos and pests to ruin an afternoon or evening on the porch.

We Southerners dearly love our porch sitting, don’t we?   I know, I know…the rest of you do too, but we think really highly of our porches in the South.

Rempy Shokar headshots

The porch is finished and ready for entertaining.  Adding on to this house with the back porch was such a smart way to add square footage and outdoor living onto this historic house and the porch looks like it’s been here all along.  You can see in the above picture that Phantom Screens newest product, their remote controlled retractable vinyl screen is in place.

Ya’ll, this was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!

Rempy Shokar headshots

The porch is outfitted by Phantom Screens with 2 tracks for each set of screens.  One is the traditional mesh screen, which lowers with remote control and covers the entire porch from top to bottom, keeping out bugs.  You still have the open feel and fresh air of an open porch without pests invading your space.

With an outdoor cooking area, it’s the bomb!

Rempy Shokar headshots

Don’t you just love how the porch spills out from the interior of the house?  We’ll get to the rest of the house tomorrow, but today…it’s all about the porch.  Sigh, those French doors make me melt.  In fact, this whole house made me melt with intense admiration.  It is such a beautiful home and I can imagine many hours spent on this porch.

Rempy Shokar headshots

{all photos above via Rempy Shokar headshots and Phantom Screens}

Esther spared nothing on this porch and it will be enjoyed for years to come, truly a transitional space from indoors to outdoors. All the photos above are from Phantom photographers, but I took my own too, so you can see those below, with a few more detail shots. Notice the Phantom Screens retractable screens in the doorway above.  Those open and close with ease, retracting out of sight when you don’t want them open.  This is the same type door that Phantom Screens added to my laundry room door last year.

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Esther had this porch swing bed made at a neat antiques place down near Mobile, called Charles Phillips Antiques.  Such a cool place!  We stopped by there again this year.  The back of the swing is made from one of the original old doors in the house that she repurposed and other architectural pieces were added along with rope for hanging the bed swing.

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This fireplace was removed from the master bedroom and added onto the porch as architectural interest and it really does create a wonderful ambience out here.

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I couldn’t get enough of the swing, so took lots of pictures for you.  The detail and sturdiness of this piece is just amazing. It’s a twin bed size, I think and it is so comfortable to sit on.  This would be my spot if I lived here.  I can see some serious nap time on this swing!

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What a porch, don’t you agree?!

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This would be a great spot to while away an afternoon, watching the sunset or having a party.

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The dining table out on the porch is also made from another repurposed door, with table set for dining. Esther had fun scouring antiques stores in the area to decorate the house.

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What a wonderful table and setting to enjoy.

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All details in place and picture perfect.

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Let’s take a look at the screens again.  Esther gave us a demo of both the mesh screens and the vinyl screening. This shot shows my favorite feature, which is their vinyl product, newly launched for home owners this year.  The vinyl has a track that runs right right beside the mesh screening and you can choose to have it lower and cover the whole porch.  All by remote control!

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All 4 open walls on the porch are covered in seconds with this heavy duty marine vinyl that lowers into place giving this porch an all weather feel.  I loved this feature!  You can see the screen doors are still in place here.

Can you imagine how neat it would be to put this in place during Winter months and protect your porch from pollen and dirt during the Winter going into Spring season?  What a wonderful thought that would be!

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This shot shows the regular screening going back up and retracting, while the vinyl screen is coming down in the other track.

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Screening for summer and vinyl for anytime. The vinyl keeps in the warm heat during Winter and the air conditioning during the Summer, truly making the porch a 4 season room in the house.

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Showing the vinyl in place.  The vinyl is clear and doesn’t impact the view that much at all.  I did ask Esther about cost of the regular mesh screening and the vinyl screens.

The products are not inexpensive and maybe not in the budget for everyone, but I can imagine how wonderful it would be to have this in place in an outdoor room such as this beautiful porch. It truly would make a space usable 100% of the time.  If you want to get an idea of pricing on these products, I’d suggest going to the Phantom Screens website and contacting a local distributor. They can give you an accurate estimate based on your needs and size of project.

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They completely landscaped the backyard, with the help of Southern Living Plants, making it a beautiful oasis with the brick wall and fountain being the focal point.  Since I’ve worked with Southern Living Plants on my yard, I can attest to their gorgeous plants and the value it adds to the landscaping.  You can see straight out the dogtrot hallway from the front door to the backyard and see this beautiful view.

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I love how simple and beautiful the backyard looks  now.  It’s a small space, but truly gorgeous with its captivating brick wall and fountain, giving it instant Southern charm.

I hope you enjoyed this peek at the Southern Romance back porch, as it was definitely one of my top favorite spaces in the house.  The rest of the house is breath taking as well and I’ll be back tomorrow to feature it on my Feature Friday series.  It’s a charming Southern home for sure!

If you have time, you would definitely enjoy catching up on the entire video series from the house renovation and you can check those out at Experience Phantom.  It shows the whole process from start to finish and they’ve done an outstanding  job with them. I absolutely loved them and Esther has woven in interviews with 92 year old, Miss Myrtle, who grew up in the house, along with her best friend Miss Katherine, who still lives in Mobile. That is priceless, so check out the videos and especially the last one.  The last one is the final reveal and it is a such a beautiful video to see the house shining in its full Southern glory!

Note:  Phantom Screens invited a group of bloggers to Mobile to see the house and provided travel costs and hotel.  

- Rhoda


  1. What a charming and lovely place to start and end your day! Thankyou for sharing this !

  2. I could spend hours out there! Gorgeous… look forward to “binge watching” the videos. 🙂
    xo Heidi

  3. Rhoda, you’re comment about your romance made me smile. Your new beau is obviously making you very happy and it’s great to see you so smitten!! The porch is just stunning. And, I’ll admit I had never heard the term “dogtrot hallway” before. I had to Google it!

  4. Jean from Georgia says

    Thanks so much for sharing these pretty photos – this must have been a delightful trip for you. What ideas have you brought home to add to your home? You have a great porch perfectly suited for Phantom Screens.

  5. I always look forward to your blog. But, please “it’s” is a contraction of it and is . . .

    From today’s blog:

    Esther took painstaking care of renovating this house back to it’s original beauty and then some.

  6. VintageBeachgirl says

    Thanks so much Rhoda, not only for sharing your back porch visit though……
    I’ve been following this story since you first introduced us to Phantom Screens and the ‘Southern Romance’, and what a romance it has been! Restoring older homes is something that’s near and dear to my heart and this one has been a joy to follow so thank you for the many hours of entertainment!!
    As Julia mentioned above, you new beau seems to have rekindled the fires of romance for you and I, as well as all your readers I feel certain, am so happy for you both! He’s a lucky man and must be very intelligent as well to have chosen such a talented, lovely and genuinely nice woman to romance!! I’m looking forward to an introduction!
    Thanks for sharing the back porch, the video was great! I’m looking forward to but will be a bit sad as well to see the final reveal episode next!!
    Take care!

    • Thank you so much! You have been such an encourager to me over the years and I so appreciate that. Yes, we are very happy in our romance story, so I’ll let it unfold as we go along as I feel it should be shared a little at a time. We both feel very blessed!

  7. Linda Carr says

    Love the porch and the vinyl screening – I will definitly check into that. I am wondering about the grill on the porch. What do they do about the smoke and fumes? We have a screen porch and have always kept the grill on the deck for health reasons – smoke and fumes.

    • Linda, since it’s way over to one side, I guess they feel the smoke has a way to escape since it’s all open on that end.

  8. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the porch!!!!

  9. That porch is gorgeous, and I love the landscaping too. Wish I had those vinyl screens. Two years ago while cleaning pollen off my screen porch, I fell off the ladder and shattered my heel bone into 7 pieces. It was a nightmare of surgeries, staph infection, and not being able to walk for 4 months. But the Good Lord was watching out for me, and I am about 95% recovered now. Those Phantom Screens have got to be cheaper than my $100K Ladder Leap!

    • Oh my gosh, Roxanne, that is terrible. You’re right, compared to your mishap, these are a bargain! I loved them so much and would love to have them one day, but they are not inexpensive.

  10. Audra Taliaferro says

    Rhoda, Love this porch and have been looking forward to seeing the last video! I purposely have waited until after your blog post to watch it! I love that Esther was so meticulous in making the house reflect its past. Can’t wait to see your other posts about it!!!

    Side story….. Right after you posted about your trip to Charles Philips last year, I had to go to Pensacola to see my dad. Since I drive right through Mobile, I decided to take a detour and visit. What a cool place! There were a lot of pieces I would love to have, including one of those fabulous porch swings! One day… Well, I told my mom and stepdad about the place and since they live so close (Gulfport MS), they went to visit one weekend and got to meet Dr. Sid and Miss Catherine! My stepdad and Dr. Sid hit it off, and he autographed one of his books for him!

    • So glad you visited Charles Philips, such a neat place! I’d love to shop for a house again. What a fun story and I’m glad I was able to steer you there.

  11. Such a fun post! Rhoda-I want you to know that I always wait and “save” your blog for when I can sit down and really relax with a cup of coffee or tea. You have such an unassuming, low-key yet entertaining way of writing from your heart-it really is a gift. I know you feel like the blessed/lucky one in all the adventures and fun things this blog has brought to you–but you are also, in turn, blessing many, many lucky readers!! So happy for your new romance-the Lord is good and faithful! 🙂
    Sofia F.

    • Awww, Sofia, that made my week!! Thank you so much, I appreciate that. I try to write from my heart, because I don’t know any other way to write, so I’m glad it comes through to all of you out there. I do truly feel so blessed to be doing what I love and God is blessing my socks off.

  12. Do you suppose that Esther would share with us where she sourced her replacement windows? I am looking to replace mine and am wanting black. They are very hard to find

  13. Even though I was there, I very much enjoyed your post! I loved the photos you managed to get of the screens in action. Very nice 🙂

  14. Unfortunately your ads are so big and numerous it is impossible to read your blog on my phone.

  15. I enjoyed your post!

  16. deborah needham says

    Rhoda, Thanks so much for posting this. I love this porch soooo much. I could just read and enjoy the birds chirping and the cicadas.

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