A Tale of a Sun Room
The Tale of Our Sunroom Evolution
Life is interesting, months, even years of easy going then bam - surprise! Nearly two months ago, Mr. GDC had knee replacement surgery. It happened rather quickly. A doctor's visit, a few X-Rays and it was scheduled. The damage to his knee from Texas high school football, years of use, combined with heredity, left him literally "bone on bone". The pain incredible, surgery was the only solution. Getting old, it's a journey.
The cottage is two story, the only two bedrooms along with primary bathroom are upstairs. Mr. GDC won't be able to handle stairs for several months, perhaps a year or more while he recovers. We were suddenly faced with a huge dilemma; how to get the king sized bed down our 1930's narrow, stairwell featuring a 90 degree turn and small landing. The movers literally wrenched it into a taco shape, then four of them shoved it up the stairs! At least we had gravity on our side, down proved easier than up. Once down, what to do with a king size bed on a first floor with no bedroom?
|We recently replaced the failing 1950's backdoor. Can you see our puppy?|
Our first floor is a bit quirky from two additions to our cottage made in the early 1950's. A large open living space was added along one side. Secondly, a sunroom across a portion of the back of the house was added. The sun room is located behind the original cooking fireplace in the keeping room. A doorway on either side of the fireplace provides access to the sun room.
The fireplace protrudes into the sun room about two feet deep and eight feet wide. On either side of the fireplace the doorways are fitted with double shutter doors. The room itself is 13.5 feet deep by 27 feet long, clad by windows along one side, then a pair of windows at each end. In the midst of the back wall a door exiting to the "backyard" and patio. The ceiling is softly pitched and beamed, with two gorgeous lanterns dangling like earrings at either end.
The windows were covered in vintage shutters. Some were broken, chipped, stuck or otherwise damaged, most didn't close. Only a few actually worked well. I chose to remove all of the shutters, revealing a nice view, while bathing the room in light. With the open windows I turned my attention to problem solving privacy concerns.
The room being 27 feet long created a unique problem for hanging drapes. Best solution would be a solid expanse of rod. Further the space between the beams and window tops is very narrow. With those thoughts in mind, I settled upon running ten foot long 1/2" copper electric conduit as drapery rods, supported by oiled bronze adjustable 1/2" brackets. It's a little unconventional. The copper conduit worked perfectly. Over time the pipe will burnish to a lovely bronze.
Another concern was the number of drapery panels I needed, thirteen. Yes, thirteen. The drapes would need to be lined to properly block the sun. The windows are an uncommon size; 39" wide by 7' tall. I decided to repeat a trick I picked up in Galveston when dealing with windows and the unforgiving coastal sun - Paint tarps. Made from medium weight canvas, paint tarps don't require lining and they won't fade. I chose the best size to work for the windows. At first they were very long, I turned up the bottoms and sewed a quick seam on each panel so they'd just kiss the floor when hung...success!
The room was painted in oil based sage green colored paint. While I like sage green I thought continuing the Benjamin Moore, "White Dove" would be a good way to tie the sunroom to the remainder of the cottage. I used Kilz oil based primer to prime the walls, then followed with two coats of latex paint. I chose to the leave the sage green ceiling.
The next concern; where to place the king size bed? With two doorways, one either side of the fireplace, there was barely enough width to place the bed against the fireplace. The open doorways gave no solid surface for side tables or dresser. Or so I thought. Staring at the fireplace wall it occurred to me, we could erect a wall at the left side of the fireplace to provide a surface to place a dresser. Then I realized within the doorway entrance we could create a pantry opening into the keeping room. The pantry would provide much needed storage space for kitchen items, and on the sun room side a long wall for a dresser. Win, win!
Until we locate a contractor to build the pantry, I've placed the bed against the fireplace and set the dresser floating along the left side. Once the pantry is built there will be a wall behind the dresser, as well as the side of the fireplace.
|I've got a supervisor... watching me from the doorway.|
The dresser and bed leave only a small space to place a side table on the right side of the bed. The now main entrance into the room is on the right side of the fireplace. I'm experimenting with creative solutions for a small bedside table. I wanted something functional, small, yet attractive. Temporarily, I set up a tray table with a framed print. The Aden Gray cage lamp allows the print to be seen. For the moment the tray table is serving it's purpose.
We've a very nice view through the windows. Opening and closing the drapes is easy. The softness of the canvas panels give the room a cozy feel. At night when the drapes are drawn it feels like a tent, which is fun.
One element is a true miss, the lantern hanging over the bed wasn't centered upon the fireplace when it was installed by the previous owners. Being off center it's going to have to be relocated, or removed. I think centering over the bed would be nice. Mr. GDC has mechanical concerns about centering it. Relocation may be in it's future; it would look lovely in the living room, or over the dining table. We are in negotiations.
In the midst of Mr. GDC's knee surgery I obtained a full-time job! I literally conducted my phone interview from the car in the hospital parking lot. No stress there. Pff! I'll be working from home. Which for many is the convenient, trendy way to work. With the decision to accept the position, I instantly needed a home office. Where to put that? The opposite end of the sunroom - of course. I searched for a table, I prefer working on a table to having a desk. Through a Craig's List ad I happened upon a beauty offered by an antiques importer in Conroe, Texas. I took a quick two hour trip down and back to fetch her. I think she's worth it; cabriole legs, a parquet top, carved shell detail and a scrolled apron - swoon!
Temporarily I'm using one of the dining armchairs as a desk chair paired with the French table. Work supplied me with a laptop, I purchased a monitor. Having a house with wood walls created an issue with Wi-Fi so we had to purchase a router and booster, which is a long explanation for there are a lot of wires I have to camouflage! I'm thinking a basket with a lid, I can cut a hole for cords to enter and exit - that scheme is to be continued...
I think it's coming together well. It's a comfortable place to work with a view of the fountain and patio. I feed the dove on the patio, throughout the day I can gaze at them wandering about. I brought a few decorative pieces into the space. The long mirror carved mirror balances the armoire. I layered two pieces of art on top of the mirror. The St. Frances canvas is one of my favorite pieces of art. Though the work space needs a lot of finish out; a rug to anchor it while providing warmth from the brick floors this winter, a table lamp, accessories and so forth - this is a start.
I'm not thrilled with working a few feet from the bed. I'm scheming a plan to somewhat divide the space. The electronics tend to glow at night, each has an led light. The lights are an unanticipated challenge.
When life brings a surprise, sometimes good things result. We were fortunate our cottage had a sunroom addition. Also, that a first floor 3/4 bath had been constructed by previous owners.
We are uncertain our bedroom or my work space will remain in the sunroom. For now the room is working as a multi-functioning bedroom and work space. Who knows? Maybe we'll decide to leave the bedroom here, add a bath and create a master on suite. A first floor bedroom is always a good idea, especially as you age. Maybe I'll move my work space to another room in the cottage. For the moment, the sunroom was a convenient solution to life's surprises.
Until next time, wishing you all the best -