Sunday, June 7, 2009

4 Seasons Are Better Than 1

“With this sunroom, we spend more time together than ever.”

The screened-in porch at the rear of this family’s house had one major thing going for it: its size. But it was only usable during the best weather. By adding sliding windows and new doors, the space is transformed into an all-season sunroom. During good weather, the open windows allow air to circulate, blurring the lines between indoors and out. When it’s cold or rainy, the homeowners can close the windows and still enjoy the space. New paint, flooring, lighting, and furnishings brighten the room and tie the look together. And now that this area is appealing to the family as well as to guests, a new hospitality center and adjacent outdoor patio with a grill make it a hot spot when the homeowners entertain.


1. Freestanding storage units—which were constructed from poplar boards, plywood, and beaded-board paneling— create shelving around the TV.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Design a wall unit with customized kitchen cabinetry.

2. The brick walls were painted a soft cream color for a restful background.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Leave the exposed brick unpainted for an edgier look.

3. Three new ceiling fans overhead keep the room comfortable during the warmer months; their light color allows them to blend more with the ceiling.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Install just one fan, or try out the space without them. You can add them next year if needed.

4. New V-groove pine paneling on the ceiling, coated with a clear finish, emphasizes the casual cottage feel of the space.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Paint the original ceiling a light color.

5. Sconces with an oil-rubbed bronze finish are mounted to each post for additional lighting.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use a fan/light combination for general lighting, and then add a couple of standing lamps or sconces.

6. Sliding windows transform the porch into an all-weather retreat. They minimize the visual boundaries between the sunroom and the yard.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Take a staged approach. Install new windows this year, and then update the ceiling and floors next year.

7. Repainting the existing furniture was a low-cost way to liven up a set of table and chairs.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Choose from a wide selection of all-weather furniture from Lowe’s.


1. A blue-and-white striped window awning adds a playful focal point and architectural interest to the hospitality area.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Simply paint an accent wall for a punch of color.

2. The tile backsplash is not only beautiful, but also easy to clean.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use a less expensive material, such as laminate, for the backsplash.

3. Eighteen-inch-square beige tiles, used throughout the sunroom, supplanted the old concrete flooring. The tiles make for easy wiping of muddy footprints (and paw prints) tracked in from outside.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Stain the original concrete floor with
a new color.

4. Maple base cabinets, painted a soft beige, offer a place to store utensils and dishware. Pulls with a wavy design add a relaxed touch.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Use open shelving for some or all of the
cabinetry in your plan.

5. A stainless sink with an in-stock high-arc faucet will save trips to the kitchen.
» SPLURGE APPROACH: Add more bells and whistles with a double sink,
pullout spray faucet, or hot-water dispenser.

6. The wine chiller and ice-maker add extra convenience when entertaining guests.
» BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION: Choose a compact refrigerator with an ice tray.

Smart Choices
If you like the look of this sunroom but you have a smaller space or budget, consider forgoing some elements or installing them at a later date. For example, the hospitality center is a welcome amenity, but you’ll still have an attractive, functional space without it—and you’ll shave more than $3,000 off the price tag. Similarly, the outdoor patio area can easily be omitted or added in the future.


On this small patio connected to the sunroom, a stainless steel grill, with an infrared searing burner, cooks everything from steaks to vegetables. The sand-colored pavers feature an interlocking design that does not require mortaring, which means easy installation and maintenance.

  • Wait until next season to create this area.
  • Use pea gravel instead of pavers, or stain an existing concrete pad.


tile (18-inch, Ravello beige, #187175)
bone-colored grout

windows (ThermaStar by Pella, special order)
exterior single door (Therma-Tru, Model S118, special order)
exterior double door (Therma- Tru, Model S118, special order)

tongue-and-groove ceiling (12-foot-long, 1 x 6s, southern yellow pine†)

knob and dead bolt (Kwikset, Venetian bronze; knob, #34706; dead bolt, #36229)

wall-mounted sconces (Portfolio, #230092)
ceiling fans (52-inch, white, #153928)
recessed lights

walls (Valspar Ultra Premium, Muslin Wrap 7003-11, eggshell)
accents (Valspar Ultra Premium, Lovebirds 4004-5C; Oakmoss 6005-3C; Strawberry Pink 2001-3C; semi-gloss)

(8-foot-long) 1 x 8s, poplar†
(48- x 96-inch) 3/4-inch-thick birch plywood†
(4- x 8-foot) beaded-board paneling†

dining table and chairs (Freeport; table, #131832; chairs, #132638)
tile inserts (12-inch, Corinth Brownstone, #58976)
jute rug (#229511)
throw rug (#111168)
wall accent (Celestial Garden Sun, #47126)
paper lanterns (white, #237095; blue, #237089)


in-stock maple cabinetry
drawer pulls (satin nickel, #224630)
cabinetry knobs (stainless finish, #98575)
marble countertop and backsplash tile (12-inch, #163424††)
bone-colored grout
ice-maker (Whirlpool, stainless, Model GI1500XHS, special order)
wine cooler (Haier, stainless, #43005)
single-bowl sink (8-inch-deep, FrankeUSA, stainless steel, #171199)
faucet with side spray (Moen, Caldwell, two-handle, high-arc, stainless steel, #113117)
cabinetry paint (Valspar Ultra Premium, Drumskin 7003-10, semi-gloss)
awning (FutureGuard, Pacific Blue/Natural Splash, Model 4783, special order)


pavers (Countryside, sand/tan; 6- x 9-inch, #123162; 6-inch-square, #123424)
gas grill (4-burner, #242608)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.
Availability/selection varies by market.
††Available by special order in some stores.

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