Just Off the Porch

A natural spring, chirping birds and jumping fish all have starring roles in the nature show outside of Mark and Kel McDowell’s east Springfield silo home.

Photo by Randy Colwell

Sep 2014


Surrounded by flowing water, chirping birds and a plethora of other natural wonders, Mark and Kel McDowell’s screened-in porch is peaceful and serene. The space is attached to their beautiful home, which they built partially within a 24-foot grain silo. They moved in just a week before Christmas in 2013, and they enjoyed urbanizing much of the space, but they decided to keep the focus on nature in the backyard. The porch is on an elevated level that gives the couple a bird’s-eye view. “I love standing over the rail and watching the heron on the pond fishing,” Kel says. “I can see the fish jumping, and I have so many birds that feed in the feeder off of my flower garden—all within view.” The couple uses the area mostly for entertaining, but Kel also loves the space for enjoying her coffee and relaxing. “In the evening, the fireflies light up the woods,” Kel says. “There is never a dull moment.” And there’s also a wonderful cross breeze that keeps the space very cool and comfortable. Although the silo home will always evolve as an ongoing project for the couple, they think the porch is as perfect as it can get.—Han Zhao