The Sun Room

About a month ago we turned the screened-in room off our kitchen into a true sun room by replacing the screens with windows. This was something we had wanted to do since we first moved in. All of the screens had been broken by various doggie antics, and when it rained, the floor sometimes had a good inch of water on it. The broken screens really annoyed me, because the entire point of them is to protect you from bugs, and if they are all broken, you might as well just be sitting outside. Being eaten up by mosquitoes. Because that is what happens to me.

The screen-in porch prior to house purchase. Note the rug on the floor.

The screen-in porch prior to house purchase. Note the rug on the floor.

We had finally reached the point where we had a good chunk of money saved up (following Dave Ramsey’s plan for emergency fund, etc.) and so decided to go for it and really make that space usable. For humans, and not just doggies. Because let’s face it, there might as well have been a sign on the door that said, “Gus and Corbin’s Room”.

Gus and Corbs

Gus and Corbin’s Room. Oh look, that rug is still there.

We hired a contractor we know from church to do the project. We saved some money by picking up three windows from the Habitat ReStore for $75/each, and another from Craigslist for $100. We were really excited about the ReStore windows, which are very nice windows and easily $300/each if you were to buy them retail. One of the goals of this project was also to increase the security of the back of the house, so we got a steel exterior door from Home Depot to replace the busted screen door. Now if you wanted to break in from the back, you would have to get through the deadbolt on that door, as well as the locked sliding door into the kitchen. And get past two ferocious guard dogs. So we should be good.

Once opening up the walls, a very little bit of wood rot was starting show, and the walls themselves could be shaken with one hand! They were not properly framed the first time around (I presume when the house was built) so our contractor ended up reframing the walls. They are not going anywhere anytime soon. I feel confident that the structural integrity of our sun room has been improved, especially since our bathroom sits on top of it. The rot was so minor that once dried and properly enclosed, it became a non-issue. The energy efficiency of our house was also improved by the addition of insulation into walls. I am very excited about that, because I hope it means our bathroom above will be warmer in the winter.

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Overall we were very happy with the quality of the work done, although it did take longer than we were expecting. In between having to reframe the walls, a couple of emergency handy-man calls from other church members, and working on other projects simultaneously, it took 6 days for our contractor to finish it, instead of the 2 he first told us. It’s not like we were in a big time crunch or anything, but when you say something is going to take 2 days, and it takes 6…we were a little frustrated.

In the evenings after the contractor had left for the day, we went ahead and replaced the ceiling fan in there, installed the door hardware, and cut a giant hole in our brand-new back door to install a real doggie-door. Remember, Gus and Corbin’s Room? I do enjoy being able to leave the sliding door open now so the dogs can come in and out as they please, and not have to worry about bugs getting in or all the cool air getting out.

New ceiling fan. The old one was just sad, dirty and the blades were very droopy.

New ceiling fan. The old one was just sad, dirty and the blades were very droopy.

After living with the sun room for a month, we are still trying to get in the mindset of thinking of the room as an indoor or transitional space, rather than a semi-enclosed outdoor space. Now that it is weather-proof we could actually decorate it like any other room of the house. We haven’t yet, but we could! We want to tile the floor, get a new rug (the one in it now was in it when we bought the house), and add more plants. I would like to get a daybed and a little bistro table for the room, but that is a ways down the road. The sun room gets morning light, so by the time we are done with it, I hope it will be a cozy space to enjoy a cup of coffee and breakfast!

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