Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sunroom Musings

I like to have at least 2 projects, big or small, to blog about every week (in my head, the goal is 3ish house/decorating/DIY related posts--either stuff we've done, stuff we plan to do, random observations, or whatever--and 1-2 kid/family/life related posts. Just so you know what I'm shooting for so you can judge me when I fall short). Partially because then there are more blog posts and partially because it means we've gotten two things done here. (Sometimes I worry that someday we'll run out of things to blog about. Then I look around the house for a minute and laugh hysterically at the thought).

But that dresser took approximately 47 times longer than I expected to finish and threw me completely off schedule. Then the baby woke up again. He keeps doing that.

Anyway, all of this to say that I, shamefully, don't have a second project to blog about this week. I kept hoping we could get one done during the week, but, thus far, we have not. So what I did for you, dear readers, was I went and took pictures of my neglected sun room. And today I will share them with you and ramble on for awhile about the early stages of our plans to un-neglect the sun room. I would also love any suggestions or ideas you have about said un-neglecting project....I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with a sufficiently amazing vision in my head. And, hey, last time I did one of these "show a messy room in my house and blather on about it" posts I wound up embarking on a much more ambitious than I originally planned tween room makeover. (Of course, the time before that, I showed you my hideous master bathroom....and did nothing about it).

The sun room that made the biggest impression on us when we first saw the house....because our realtor met us at the door and said, "come on in and see the indoor water feature."

See it? Over above the door on the far end there? It was raining the first day we saw the house, and water--lots of it--was coming through that hole. It turned out that this looked a lot worse than it really was: the roof itself was/is in great shape--the culprit appeared to be those skylights (actually just sheet of glass installed by some hapless DIYer). But the house (a foreclosure) had been sitting empty and neglected for 2 years, so once the leak started it just got worse and worse until we came to help.

Fixing the leak is pretty much the only thing we've done to help the sun room, though. Here it is today, same general perspective:

Oh, look: no more leak! And, umm....a bunch of crap that we don't know where else to put!

Let's take a tour.

This is mostly Gable's room, as evidenced by the giant dog crate. Gable's very rarely crated these days (there's a gate across the doorway, so we can lock him in the room when we need to. Like if anyone's eating an apple. He goes insane when he knows there's an apple loose in the house).

Gable generally hangs out on the old, stinky futon when he's in there:

The curtains are drop cloths....good start, right? The room gets VERY hot in summer, so something is definitely needed there. Last year we got the drop cloths and hung them up....on some of the windows. But we never finished. Nor did we cut them in the right places so we could open and close them. Nor did we hem them. They could really use some kind of black-out fabric backing them, too. And sometimes I think about painting or stenciling or otherwise embellishing them. Yep.

And the leak is fixed, but we sure could use some paint in there.

There's the big dresser I bought to paint.

There's my vacuum cleaner, which tends to hang out in there because we don't have a coat closet (or any kind of downstairs closet).

There's the "cat hideout" the kids built a few weeks ago with the neighbor kids. The cat actually goes in there, even:

There are the two remaining Taboret chairs from Overstock that we haven't even unwrapped yet.

There's a big pile of crap on top of Gable's crate. It includes a comforter that's supposed to go in Lucy's crate, but needs to be washed, one of Fiesta's sweaters, and swimsuits that have been sitting there since last summer.

There's some nice but not in especially good shape terra cotta tile:

This is one of the rooms that got a fancy light fixture upgrade at some point:

....only it doesn't work. The fan works, but not the light. We don't know why. An electrician told us we could either replace it or buy a really expensive new remote for it. We are skeptical. the globes are off from when Dave checked it out to see if he could fix it. Now we keep them on the mantel, of course:

You know--the one we lean screens against. What was up with the previous owners and ostentatious fireplaces, by the way?

Here's a nice piece:

It's in here because we couldn't find anywhere else to put it. It's huge! We keep all our board games and, incongruously, our extra set of dishes in here.

Looking the other way. That doorway leads to the kitchen (and the door leads out onto the screen porch and then into the yard); the other end has a door into the den. Both doors are ridiculously narrow, so any wide furniture has to be carried in through the screen porch.

Just for fun, here's a peek at our nasty screen porch:

"Screened porch" is kind of a euphemism, because there's not a whole lot of screen left. Gross carpet. Doors need to be replaced. Everything needs to be pressure washed and probably stained or painted. Then it will be lovely out there!

Okay, so! Now we need to make the sunroom beautiful and useful!

Initial thoughts: I want kind of a multi-purpose hang out room. It's really long, so I'm thinking two areas--a seating area on the end by the fireplace and then a table for crafts/games/whatever on the end by the kitchen. The idea is we'll move the kitchen table out there when Dave builds a farmhouse table for the kitchen. That's the idea.

We have a brown leather sofa that my mom gave us sitting in our garage, waiting to go in there (at which point the futon will leave!) I guess a leather sofa is an unconventional choice for a sun room, but a. it's what we have and 2. I think it will look good with the terra cotta. So leather sofa and then....some other chairs. Maybe big comfy wicker ones? And a coffee table of some sort. 

I'm thinking either turquoise or aqua for the big dresser. And keeping craft stuff and/or extra kitchen stuff in it. And then another piece to go right under the window opening to the kitchen. Something smaller. 

For paint....I'm not sure. I'm thinking of Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter. I do not usually go so neutral, but the orangey tile limits things and also if I'm going to go painting furniture crazy colors like turquoise then something has to be neutral. And everyone says it's awesome. I'm thinking it will tie in well with the gray grout. Might also do the den the same color. I'm not sure what to do about that greenish fireplace. I cannot imagine I will ever decorate a room that that fireplace would feel fully at home in. But there it is. 

Who wants to imaginary decorate my sun room with me? What would you do in there? 


  1. Go fun! That room is fantastic and has the light to do anything you want! If I were you I would SO make it into a school room for you guys. Big desks, art supplies, a giant chalkboard and command center- It'd be amazing!

    1. ooh, that would be fun! The problem with needing to be in there at a particular time, though, is that it gets REALLY hot in there, esp. in the mornings (it faces east)....I definitely envision a lot of schooly stuff happening in there, though--reading on the sofa, art/craft stuff at the table....and maybe someday we'll find a way to deal the greenhouse effect going on in there (I think it's only partially the giant windows, which can be dealt with with drapery, and also just poor routing of the air vents and stuff. whoever built the addition did their best to completely screw it up)

  2. What a great room! I can imagine that it gets very hot though! I think you should go with cool and breezy colors.

    I like the drop-cloth curtains - instead of hemming them, what about just folding over the tops and clipping them up with more clips (so there's less drape)? I think you should paint the room white or a very pale teal & paint the dresser a darker shade of aqua.

    I love the idea of two defined spaces. Wicker chairs would work great & add some bright pillows/throws to the sofa & chairs to tie it all together. I think it would be fun to find an old coffee table with more classic lines & paint it in a bold color that matches with the other paint & fabrics.

    For the table side, what about using the tabouret chairs at the heads and finding/ DIYing benches for the sides to give it a nice casual vibe?

    Can you paint any part of the fireplace? It might be better all white? Otherwise, find a large mirror or piece of art you like and hang it over the fireplace. That should take some attention away from it.

    Phew, that was A LOT of thoughts on your room! Hope some of these are helpful.

    1. thanks so much for all the ideas! I'd love to do a pale teal on the walls if I could get away with it...I'm going to think on it and look at colors. And, yes, definitely lots of colorful pillows and whatnot to cheer things up. I like the idea of a brightly painted coffee table, too. The chair probably will wind up at the table....the kitchen table we want to move out there has 4 wooden chairs with it but room for 6, so we're actually using the other two white chairs in the kitchen with it now. I'm not sure if the fireplace is paintable or's really glossy and slick--I'm not even sure what it is. I just went out to inspect it and I'm still mystified. It's supposed to look like marble, I guess, but I have no clue what it is. The part immediately around the....umm, the part you put the fire some kind of stone, so that could be painted anyway, I'm sure.

  3. That is such a great room and I even love the tile. I would def. keep that. I would of course immediately give the ceiling the same treatment as we did in our master: square off the room with a white trim piece in the crease between the wall and slanted ceiling, then paint the ceiling and walls around the upper row of windows white.

    Below I would go with a gray too like you are suggesting. I don't keep all the Benjamin grays in my head, but the one you are describing sounds lovely. As long as it dulls the tile redness a bit which it will if your gray has a tiny bit of red/yellow in it.

    Love the curtains. And love your idea of painted furniture in there.

    Could the fireplace surround be torn off and a new one built inexpensively out of worn wood - or something similar to the two wooden shelves you made? Something a bit rustic, I think would look really great.

    I am so excited to follow along with this room :)

    1. ooh, I didn't even think of how I can cleverly get rid of my triangle! I'm not sure if the fireplace mantel can go away or not or how big of a project that would be....I'll have to investigate it more closely. Thanks for all the ideas :)

  4. I look at the sunroom, and all I can see is its potential. I KNOW you all will make it so beautiful. Also- I'm coming over for game night :)

  5. That room is great! You could do so much. It would be fun to paint thick stripes on the curtains! I like how they pile on the ground a little. Makes them look a little more regal!
    You could go so many directions with that room and all of your ideas sound great. I can't wait to see the results!

    1. Stripes would be cool! (and easier than a stencil, I'll bet)....I don't mind the length of the curtains (we already cut them off a bunch), but they're just ragged edges at the bottom right now....I need to whip out the iron-on hem tape; it's like an hour or two project; I just haven't been able to make myself do it yet!

  6. Gretchen! First of all you crack me up! Your space is fantastic! Oh what I would do for a room like that and and a screened in porch! All of your picks sound wonderful! Must of our rooms are long and narrow and I try to break up the spaces too! Our main room is revere pewter and it goes well with everything! I got our round "game" table for a pretty good price at home decorators. High enough for people to eat at for parties. Love your fireplace and I think that color sounds perfect for the piece you are refinishing! Keep us posted and have a great weekend!!!

    1. Good to hear a personal review on the Revere Pewter--thanks!

  7. I'm not usually a jealous person, but I'm SUPER jealous over that sunroom (and my cat is even more jealous!). Such fantastic bones!

    If you don't want to change out the fan you can buy a light kit and switch it out with the old one. One of our fans worked fine, but the light fixture was burnt out.

    1. light kit--that might be the way to go--thanks! It's just perplexing because the electrician acted like there was nothing to be done; he claimed it wasn't working because we don't have the remote for it, which makes no sense to me. we might need a second opinion; we were sure it would be a quick, easy fix.

  8. Your realtor was a bold one for pointing out the indoor water feature right off the bat. But considering you bought the house, the sales pitch worked wonders. It’s a shame that you haven’t done much else with the sunroom though. I think that has a lot of potential to be a really great area in your house. I would have suggested putting in a skylight again (this time, a proper skylight and not just a pane of glass).

    1. We thought about new skylights...honestly, the reason we didn't put them in at the time was to save money. But money aside, I'm really glad we drywalled over it instead, after having lived with it for a summer; the last thing that room needs is MORE sun streaming into it in summer. We definitely want to do something with the room soon, but it's a big house, and we've only been here 10 months...we're trying to keep a good balance between doing all the projects that need doing, taking our time and making sure we do things we won't regret, and, of course, trying not to completely burn out on house stuff! Thanks for stopping by :)


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