would appreciate any advice on making my atrium into a screened porch - trying to figure out how to build a screen on the roof. Thanks
May I ask the purpose for the screen? For example, is it for cutting direct sun and adding shade or keeping out falling leaves, etc? There are several Eichlers in southern California that have restored the wooden 3x3's which run parrallel and evenly spaced across the opening. Another option is running tension wires and threading grommeted sail cloth (or Sunbrella) across it. This offers a flexible solution; in the winter the sail can be pulled open. Even though its not period, it still is modernist. I did once see an atrium that was literally screened in with screening material and wooden strips screwed into the frame from above. It prevented leaves from falling but created an unsightly mess up there with all that trapped debris....difficult to keep ahead of that sweeping chore. I have also seen clear (and white) corrogated plastic used, but in my opinion, it looks really cheap. Good luck, and let us know what you went with and how it worked for you.
In our case, we purchased some white shade cloth online that was custom cut to go between the beams in our atrium. The shade cloth is reinforced with a border of the same type of material which has grommetes 24 inches apart. The grommetes are attached to hooks we put in the beams. We like the open feeling of our atrium and we will only have the shade cloth up during the summer/fall and we will remove it during the winter/spring. The cloth cools the atrium by about 10 to 15 degrees. Total cost = less than $100.00.
Our neighbor (and us since he made one for us too) has a redwood framed cover that has a clear, hard plastic cover. It sits on top of the atrium hole. In the winter it is right on it and provides a nice waterproof seal that keeps the atrium warmer than outdoors (also lowers heating bill some). In the summer it gets raised about a foot and screen panels go around all 4 sides so you get a nice breeze. If it gets too sunny in the summer we put a piece of shadecloth over it to prevent our plants from burning.
It really is simple and works great - compared to our coverless neighbors we get much more use out of our atrium especially in the fall/winter/spring. Since the cover is clear it still feels like an open airy space. Here is a picture that shows it in the summer[img]http://pete.ford.name/pete-o-vision\eichler\2003-09-01_atrium_redo\2003-09-01_03-22_from_offic.jpg[/img]