Thinking About the Sun Room…



Now that we have no more kitchen floor, we decided to see what other damage we can do to our house.  Figured we’d start with the sun room.  It’s been not much other than a storage room/ project room/ dog room/ mud room to us since we moved in– mostly because it’s always the temperature of the outdoors.  So it’s really only comfortable a few short weeks a year.  Here’s a picture of Liesl and Kaiser just hanging out in it:DSC_0320


A while back, David took apart some of the cutesy arch connecting the kitchen and the sun room.  (Blog post here.)  He decided to see what, if anything, was behind the walls in the sun room.


After a bit of semi-careful digging around with the screwdriver, we found what we’d been afraid of: no insulation.DSC_0375


So there we have it, folks.  A sun room without insulation.  Its roof also leaks.  Oh, and the sliding glass doors going down the back brick steps?  They’ve fallen on my toe before… not exactly the safest.



The stone floor in the sun room also means there’s no heat/ air conditioning going to it from underneath.  So not only is it no insulated, but it’s not heated or cooled.  In the above picture, you can see a wall mounted air conditioning unit that is no longer hooked up to any electricity (was a major fire hazard and we had to un-wire it when Albemarle County came to inspect our electricity before we were allowed to move in last year).

We got a few estimates to put on a new roof, new insulated walls and new door and windows, and another heating/ air conditioning unit like the one in our kitchen… it came out to WAY over our budget.  By about $40k.

So… drumroll please…. David and I have decided to huff and puff and tear the sunroom down!!!  We’re going to have a simple back porch instead.  Yes, it will lower the square footage of our house but we’re here for the long haul and not too worried about resell value right now.  We think we’ll get far more use out of a back porch anyway.  Maybe even screen it in?  Not sure yet.  All I know is I’m excited to get the ball rolling! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Thinking About the Sun Room…”

  1. Two things to consider.

    One is that you have a soapstone floor. If the sunlight hits it in the winter months, then it will absorb solar energy and release it as radiant heat. Radiant heat warms you rather than the air, so you can feel warmth even if the air temperature is lower than what you would usually feel comfortable at. It’s hard to say what your solar orientation is from your photos, but it may be possible to increase solar exposure with a skylight or with some window changes.

    Second, even if the room is not a place you would want to hang out in the coldest months, it can still act as a buffer between your kitchen and the outside world. If I recall if that room is directly connected to your kitchen now. A pair of French doors between the two would let you close the outer room off when temperatures warrant that and open them when you want the full space. Keep your eyes open at the Habitat store and something perfect will eventually show up. It may already be there.

    It can be really handy to have a cool room off of your kitchen. You can store garden produce, sometimes for months if you treat it right. That’s how people used to keep stuff like potatoes, apples, onions, carrots, etc. before it all came in form California. You can cool off something you have baked in your back porch pie safe. A farmhouse is a process and an attitude as much as it’s a thing.

    1. Definitely hadn’t thought of the perks of having the cool room until you wrote this, and David and I have since thought a lot about it. Thank you for bringing these points to our attention! A pair of French doors would seal it off and we could make minor repairs like the roof and doors… and you’re sooooooo right about a farmhouse being an attitude; you have to have a particular mindset, and a cool room would fit that mindset.
      That being said, we also really like the idea of a back porch where the grown-ups can hang out as the kids play in the backyard (or maybe eventually the pool?!). We could eat out on a back porch and have some family time out there, whereas with a cold room we wouldn’t be able to use it for much other than mud room/ storage stuff. Plus I love porch swings and have always always wanted one…while we could totally have one on our front porch, it’s tricky with the two story column bit. So at the end of the day, I think we’re going to go ahead with the porch plan, but I am really grateful for the idea to make me stop and think about it!

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