Slat Screen

April 5th, 2010


From Sketchup fantasy to Brick House reality.

Over three days with help from Carpenter Craig and my Mother we banged this bitch out. We ran into a few hiccups along the way and learned a some new skills (like how important a countersinking bit is and when to compromise) and in the end I’m super happy with the result. We still need to do the finishing – like sanding, staining, sealing – which should happen over the next week, but the brunt of the construction is over!

First thing first. We had to wrap the ugly structural poles with wood. When we first moved into the Brick House these poles were wrapped with wood, but it hadn’t been taken care of and was totally split and rotting. It was of the first things we tore down over two years ago…

The entire horizontal slat structure is made of finished redwood – the slat parts are 1 x 3″ / 8′ and the supports are 2 x 2″ / 8′ (that we cut down a bit to fit vertically). The big structural columns are built boxes made with 1 x 6″ planks that we had to rip down to a little under 5″ wide.

The big columns wrapped in new wood.

Day One:


We screwed up a bit. The left side was supposed to be flush, but we were having difficulty dividing the spacing into thirds and tried to center the middle support. BAD IDEA. It was way short on the right side and much arguing resulted on how to fix this design error. We had 16 feet to cover and I wanted the least amount of splicing. The math wasn’t adding up on how to achieve this…

The compromise was to install the middle support off-center to rest between the two front windows and then move the slats over to the left to be flush with the end of the patio.

Day Two:

We fixed the problem. Not the “ideal” Sketchup look we wanted, but it was the best compromise for our weirdly placed structural supports.

We got a little over half of the front slats installed and the side support attached to the crazy hard cement exterior wall.

Day Three.

Construction finished! Once we got a little assembly line setup to install the slats they all went up pretty quickly. We chopped each piece to fit and used spacing blocks and drilling templates to keep them all uniform. That’s some custom shiz.

Here is a close-up of the interior structural beam. We had to cover up the nasty (uneven) steel plate supporting the posts with a little bit of molding. The wood post couldn’t sit evenly on the ground and has a bit of breathing room at the base, so the compromise was to wrap it with some molding at each end.

Now we need some chairs or plants or something to jazz up our new shady porch. Our living room is so much cooler without the late afternoon sun beating straight into it, we get a bit of privacy and the house has some actual architectural interest from the curb. Win, win, win.

Here is a reference for how it looked…



Horizontal Slat Patio? CHECK.

2010 : The Year of the Exterior is progressing along nicely. Next up? Paint. PAINT THE HOUSE.

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  1. Nicole on 04/05/2010:

    Looks AMAZING. I also like how it disguises the different-sized windows behind it. I’m confused about the way you describe the problem with the slats being “flush.” Did you mean they were supposed to be flush on the right with the end of the porch?

  2. elfriede on 04/05/2010:

    This looks absolutely amazing. Attempting to bring some pizazz into my poor man’s mid century bungalow too. I have the same dilemma as you – more great ideas than cash. This seems doable without drying up my wallet beyond return. Are those slats 2x1s?z

  3. kim on 04/05/2010:

    it looks so good! you should be using that old google street view as a reference to what it looked like “before.” your little diamond-in-the-rough has come so far…
    kudos guys!!!

  4. katie on 04/05/2010:

    nice job! i like the pattern from the sun/shade that you are getting on the porch now. can you still see out when sitting inside or do the slats pretty much block the views to the exterior?

  5. Kara on 04/05/2010:

    i love love LOVE how it looks!!!

  6. ryan james on 04/05/2010:

    it. looks. INCREDIBLE.
    good idea. rad execution.
    you’ll never cease to amaze me.

  7. Ashley on 04/05/2010:

    This is my first comment on your blog, but I am speechless. Your house really looks wonderful, and all your projects are totally inspiring.

  8. Tamisha on 04/05/2010:

    It rocks! Looks great! Good job!

  9. anne b. on 04/05/2010:

    (this is my first comment on your blog as well) – damn, girl! it looks great! I really love the filtered light on the inside of the porch, too.

  10. tx Sarah on 04/05/2010:

    JFC, you guys are pros. The whole time I was looking at these photos, I was wondering if your neighbors would understand how amazing this looks, and if so, if they would somehow follow suit. Yeah, probably not.

  11. Design Milk Jaime on 04/05/2010:

    Wow! It’s incredible. What a difference. And such a nice outdoor space with added privacy.

  12. Gini on 04/05/2010:

    FABULOUS!!!!!! From design to reality – absolutely perfect. Great idea for your house.

  13. Conan on 04/05/2010:


  14. Isabel on 04/05/2010:

    I’ve never commented before (I think), but WOW; you are my frikkin hero!

  15. Amanda on 04/05/2010:

    It looks freaking amazing! You guys did a fantastic job and your home is so much more stylish since you bought it! Love what you’re doing with the place and i’m constantly surprised at the ways you rework the house to make it look nice.

  16. Tracy on 04/05/2010:

    absolutely gorgeous. well done! i am a shit for not responding to your email. sorry. crazy week. but obviously you didn’t need it!

  17. lisa on 04/05/2010:

    I ‘heart’ slatty! I wish I could do that to my house.

  18. S@sha on 04/05/2010:

    Congratulations, it looks awesome! What I want to know is how you get the energy to do these projects week after week?

  19. ModFruGal on 04/05/2010:

    Excellent!!!! Looks fab. Glad you did yours first so if I have questions, you’ve been there done that. I can only imagine how this will help your energy consumption as the added bonus to being awesome looking. Congrats!

  20. DW on 04/05/2010:

    Holy freaking cow! This is fanTAStic!

    I really really really need to get off my arse and get some renovations wrapped and I’m just amazed at your motivation and energy! Wow. This is pretty impressive.

  21. DW on 04/05/2010:

    Also, look at YOU, with your crazy mad Sketchup skillz! Damn.

  22. LaShaune on 04/05/2010:

    that is freaking awesome!!!!!

  23. Jessie P on 04/05/2010:

    Amazing! But did they, and you guys, survive the earthquake?

  24. mona on 04/05/2010:

    gorgeous patio! very unique. loving all the improvements you are making.

  25. April on 04/05/2010:

    We’re wanting to build a cover over our porch and I think I might try to talk my husband into something like this… at least on the south side.
    Looks great!

  26. Ryan on 04/05/2010:

    I really wanted to build my back fence to look like that, but after realizing that the hilly grade was not compatible with horizontal lines I gave up. I know you hate your current screen door (but don’t have a replacement on the SketchUp drawing). I can’t remember if you have central air (although I know it’s s.california so you probably do. Anyway, I was thinking a slatted or louvered screen door would look good on the front door. They provide privacy, security, but allow airflow for cross ventilation (especially since it looks like your front windows don’t open.

  27. Drasylve on 04/05/2010:

    I love that the middle post is not centered between the two existing ones. It looks as if it is centered between the two windows instead and it gives it an interesting asymmetrical look. How are the middle and end post attached top and bottom?

  28. Make Do Live Well on 04/05/2010:

    You did it!! I thought this was more of a long-term goal, and you totally just did it! Awesome, congratulations.

    It’s looks fantastic, from both the inside and out. Very cool.

  29. THE BRICK HOUSE on 04/05/2010:

    Nicole – I meant flush to the side of the house – so that the wrap around on the porch is flush to the edge of the house and deck.

    elfriede – they are 1×3″

    katie – nope, you still can see out well…there is just not much to look at.

    tx Sarah – the neighbors actually said they liked it, we got some thumbs up. One guy even mowed his lawn after a year. Gentrify!

    Jessie P- yeah, we barely felt it.

    Drasylve – they are toggle bolted to the roof and we drilled a hole in the cement and installed an anchor, the wood has a hole drilled in the bottom that sits over the anchor. It worked great.

    Thanks all! We still have so much to do. We’ve got energy and time, just no money. More money would help.

  30. laure on 04/05/2010:

    dang, how do you get so much done on the weekends. it looks great!

  31. stephanie on 04/05/2010:

    Nice work! I’m really impressed with the from Sketchup to Reality of your projects. And I’m totally motivated for upcoming home improvement projects of my own. You kickass.

  32. Amy on 04/05/2010:

    I love, love, love it! You are motivating me to get with the program and start modeling our house in SketchUp. I learned the basics a while back (much easier than AutoCAD!) but I’ve been lazy and haven’t done a thing.

  33. eileen on 04/05/2010:

    Love it! I was going to ask if it made your front room too dark ’cause I live in foggy SF then realized you live in exposed sunny so cal where shade is a good thing. It’s really a terrific, functional, good-looking upgrade. Congrats all around. You should hire out your family.

  34. jamie on 04/06/2010:

    nice work, morgan & crew!!!

  35. my little apartment on 04/06/2010:

    dude. it’s awesome.

  36. Angela on 04/06/2010:

    LOVE IT! congrats on all the hard work!!!

  37. lisa mertins on 04/06/2010:

    congratulations morgan and boy. it’s so slatilicious!

  38. Amy on 04/06/2010:

    Love it – more than I thought I would. I love the space it creates for the front patio.

  39. megan on 04/06/2010:

    omg. amazing.
    i want to move in. i’ll sleep on the porch.

  40. Juli on 04/06/2010:

    Looks amazing!!!

  41. Amy on 04/06/2010:

    Wow good job! In the very first picture I thought it was a photograph + a mockup of the slat screen. Then I read on to discover that it was only a photograph! It looks amazing. Congratulations

  42. melissa on 04/06/2010:

    we just bought a sweet little mid-century ranch in Richmond VA ( that desperately needs some outdoor entertaining space. we may imitate this a bit, with one slatted wall and greenery for privacy on the sides. thanks so much for the inspiration! love love love your blog.

  43. melissa on 04/06/2010:

    sorry for the bad link, if you’re interested, here is his new site…

  44. Tim Young on 04/06/2010:

    Screen looks great! I like those concrete pavers in your sketchup concept.

  45. Caroline, No. on 04/06/2010:

    I am in awe of how you get things done. AWE. AMAZING WORK.

  46. j. on 04/06/2010:

    wow! ever since your sketchup i’ve been eyeing every house i pass for slat screen potential … what other style of house might it work for, or just simply revolutionize. you’re inspiring as always.

  47. Jason on 04/06/2010:

    Great work.

  48. brandeye on 04/06/2010:

    it looks SO amazing. great job!!

  49. Coletta on 04/07/2010: husband and i are going to do the same thing to our house. the EXACT same thing. this is getting kooky how much our house is gonna end up looking like yours!

  50. erin@designcrisis on 04/07/2010:

    Awesome awesome awesome job. I really hope you’re taking some martini breaks in between projects.

  51. Betty on 04/07/2010:

    A fantastic job as usual! You’re an inspiration! I totally agree with you about the door but I was wondering, is that screen vintage? If so, could it go on a back door or maybe sold for $ to someone with a craftsman cottage or something?

  52. la terreur on 04/07/2010:


  53. Tania on 04/07/2010:

    I didn’t know horizontal slats were a thing to covet until know. Lovely. I especially like the view out from the porch.

  54. Jill on 04/07/2010:

    HUGE HUGE HUGE improvement. You worked so fast too – I couldn’t beleive it was already done since I looked last week. You are a supergod. XO

  55. John on 04/07/2010:

    LOVE your site….inspirational as i’m searching for a house to buy…
    Please – take a sexy ‘twilight’ pic of the screen ! and post.
    btw –
    i love the color you painted the fireplace inside.
    can you share what brown ? ( at first i thought it was black )

  56. spinsLPs on 04/07/2010:
  57. YAY! I have been waiting for you guys to get to this project, I knew it would look great, and it totally does. Now you can justify some great thrifted patio furniture…

    Way to go!

  58. And, I kinda really like the spacing of the supports better in real life than in the sketch up version…

  59. megan on 04/09/2010:

    looks great! our home originally had a slat screen, and we’ve been toying with the idea of rebuilding it… I think you have convinced me!

  60. megan on 04/09/2010:

    looks great! our home originally had a slat screen, and we’ve been toying with the idea of rebuilding it… I think you have convinced me!

  61. Shawn on 04/10/2010:

    This is so beautiful and has left me in love with the beauty and simplicity of a slat screen. <3

  62. Wendy on 04/10/2010:

    Beautiful. Real nice work and design, Brick House people!

  63. Katey Dutton on 04/15/2010:


  64. Mickey on 04/19/2010:

    Do you mind me asking how much it cost? I am thinking about making a fence for a section of our yard, and it’s probably about the same length. It looks gorgeous!

  65. eric on 04/29/2010:

    I don’t know, it looks like a prison… Why?

  66. THE BRICK HOUSE on 04/29/2010:

    Because you have no taste or imagination?

  67. David on 05/11/2010:

    Marvellous work!

    Great impact and fits perfectly within the minimalist house design.

  68. victoria on 08/06/2010:

    Effing fantastic. Am in awe.

  69. Eric on 09/02/2010:

    I can’t even say how amazing this is. You make me want to get power tools and start building something. I’m adding something like this to my to-do list.

  70. Debra on 09/20/2010:

    I just found your wonderful very beautiful blog. I’m really enjoying reading it and looking at all of the beautiful work you are doing. I would love to do this on my back patio just on the sides of it for beauty and privacy. I will be coming back quite often to visist and comment. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work with us.

  71. Carolyn Vick on 10/15/2010:

    Just found you. Have been longing for slats for an age. However, my house is more cottage than midcentury (sigh). Am tearing down my closed in front porch (those aluminum windows again) and plan to do one side using the slats then adding verticals for a lattice effect to keep the sun out a little. Not as sleek as yours but the best I can do considering the architecture. Super work lady, lead on!

  72. Carpet Cleaning Melbourne on 12/18/2010:

    Redwood slates added to porch lend privacy and good design to home

  73. Rocky B on 04/18/2011:

    I just found your blog today and I love it! You guys are doing a great job. You are also the only other renovation blog I have found that is located in California. I actually know where Hemit is, we live in the LA area.
    We did something really similar to your slatted patio enclosure for our garden. It adds SO much privacy, and I love the horizontal lines. I recently started blogging about our place here is my garden pic:

    I love the midcentury feel 🙂 We like antiques and modern furniture also, so it is a blend.

  74. Doss on 04/19/2011:

    Those slats looks awesome! We did what you did but in reverse (painted then slats). Your blog has been great and we’ve been following it for well over a year now.

    Tell us what you think:

  75. Miami Foreclosure Defence on 04/28/2011:

    wow that cam out real nice. and so easy to do too

  76. gcmercury on 05/24/2011:

    Most inspiring! Our mid-century house has been a challenge for me to “dress” appropriately – it isn’t something I considered before buying it. I need a gate & a bit of fence on one side of the house & this is just the design idea I’ve been looking for. What do you think of using recycled wood?

  77. Terrence N. Banbury ALA on 06/17/2011:

    Chanced across your website and must commend your work. The screen totally transforms the house. It is a bit of a master-stroke. Simple. Functional. Appropriate. Elegant. I, too, have a modernist bent and a shoe-string budget; but it is amazing what you can pull off if you follow the design principles. Well done. TNB

  78. Laura on 06/28/2011:

    it looks amazing, we want to do something similar in our back deck. but the thought of pulling together so many 1x3s that are perfectly straight is already giving me a headache. we even thought about buying a kit, but apparently, only australians are cool enough for something like that. any tips on gathering all the slats? besides patience, that is… thanks!

  79. Laura on 06/28/2011:

    oh and one more thing: what distance did you keep between the stats?

  80. miami water removal on 06/30/2011:

    wow this is freaking awesome..this is what i want to do for my front porch. I was looking for different ideas and this is something i want to incorporate!

  81. water extraction miami on 06/30/2011:

    !wow this is freaking awesome..this is what i want to do for my front porch. I was looking for different ideas and this is something i want to incorporate!

  82. Locksmith San Francisco on 07/05/2011:

    Redwood slates added to porch lend privacy and good design to home

  83. Sasha on 07/13/2011:

    Absolutely love it.. It totally transforms the house from being just another white house to something really interesting to look at.. Great work, definetly inspired.. 😀

  84. Amy on 07/26/2011:

    Well, your blog has changed my mind about DIY. Please keep posting. Your work is amazing. ^^

  85. Kevin - Diy Dork on 01/26/2012:

    Oh man! This is cool. My wife and I have been looking around for our first house. I plan to buy a junker and mod it up. Low budget, high style. I’ve been trying to figure out the slat thing for a while … and now here it is. Awesome!

  86. Sylvialynn on 03/03/2012:

    Simple. Elegant. Amazing! I love it. It made your home go from plain to Wow!!

  87. Kelli Ahern on 03/22/2012:

    Thank you SOOOOO MUCH! We just bought our first home and needed something like this for the back patio. 🙂

  88. JMH on 07/02/2012:

    GREAT STUFF !!!!!
    My Fiance’ and I are looking to create something similar outside a West facing window (the living room is too hot in the P.M.)…
    Question –
    What is the spacing between the 1″ x 3″ slats??
    Thanks for sharing your project – Nice Work !! 🙂

  89. Estefani on 11/19/2012:

    Very very nice!

  90. Megan on 01/26/2013:

    Is it rude if I ask about how much you spent on this project? I’m wanting to do something similar (because this is so lovely) but I too have a limited budget.

  91. Marc on 08/22/2013:

    Awesome. I am now searching for a house that will allow me to do the same basic concept! Thanks for the inspiration!

  92. inkgrabber discount code on 09/11/2013:

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  93. Jean on 03/31/2014:

    You guys “nailed it!” Honestly, I like that the middle column is offset because it doesn’t split the windows as you had in your sketchy thingy. I like this way better.

  94. Satty on 05/07/2014:

    Great Job Mate. I am planning to enclose the existing patio with timber slats . Those pics gave me inspiration.

  95. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunxh break.
    I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on mmy mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, amazing blog!

  96. Rita on 09/26/2016:

    What stain did you end up using?

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