Created by: NRD Landscape Design + Build

The back story:The space below the deck of Jeanie Thomas and wife Larissa Nelson's home used to be an afterthought.

But when they finished the basement and added a pool to their backyard, the family decided they might as well make the unused space functional.

"Before our underdeck area was blah. It had river rock, a couple of decorative boulders, rocks and a hammock. We never used it because it was mosquitoes galore," Thomas said.

How it was created:The family brought in NRD Landscape + Design, which was charged with trading in the rocks for a cement floor as well as creating a screened-in porch that was usable — and bug-free.

Because it was built under an existing deck with a stairwell, the space was irregular.The designers added a 6-by-6-foot bump-out to make the space more functional. They also proposed wrapping the railing around the entire structure, something Thomas appreciates.

"We don't want anyone to go through the screen after dark," she said. "It also doubles as a beverage rail — where you can put a beer or glass of wine — all around."

When it came time to decorate, the family added string lights with a dimmer and created multiple seating areas. Furniture included stackable chairs from Target, bright stools that double as side tables from Room & Board, comfy chairs from Peters Billiards and rockers from By the Yard.

The new favorite room:Spring, summer and into fall, the screen porch is where the couple, their two daughters, three cats and dog spend time regularly.

"It's our cabin in the backyard. ... It's my favorite place to read, write, drink tea by myself or have a glass of wine and conversation with friends and family," Thomas said, calling it "the perfect blend of indoors and out."

"Being in the middle of Eden Prairie, we still have a ton of wildlife that comes through our backyard — cardinals, blue jays, hummingbirds, rabbits, deer and turtles," she said. "All of which we can see from our screened porch."

My Favorite Room is an occasional series showcasing improved home spaces, as submitted by readers. A favorite room doesn't have to be a showcase of fine design — it can be fun, whimsical or downright quirky. If you have a favorite room send a snapshot or two, along with a brief description of what makes your room special, to myfavoriteroom@startribune.com. We'll showcase readers' favorite rooms in upcoming Sunday Homes sections.