We partnered with This Old House for the third year to help furnish the 2018 Idea House, which included a beautiful sunroom space with a variety of uses. Project Design Manager Kristen Martone shares her tips and tricks for designing a stylish and functional sunroom.
About the sunroom space:
Our aim for the sunroom was to help bring the outside in and extend the months of the year when the homeowners can enjoy the beauty of this area. The home is built in Narragansett [Rhode Island] – which was recently named by the Boston Globe as New England’s best beach town.
Project Design Manager Kristen Martone
Tell us about the concepts behind the build and design of this space.
We wanted the space to extend naturally from the open living areas, so that conversations and gatherings can easily spill outside during warmer months of the year.
How do you account for regional weather when designing a sunroom?
Our work is concentrated in coastal New England, so we tend to focus on how a sunroom will function in changing weather throughout the seasons. Unlike southern regions of the country like Florida where the issue may be whether it’s worth investing in glass windows to accommodate cooling systems, we tend to be asking homeowners if they want to consider a fireplace or other heat source to extend usage for a longer period of the year.
Are there things people often overlook when styling a sunroom?
The real key is to think through how you will want to use the space. The danger is thinking that the process can be less rigorous.
First, determine whether you want a screened-in porch, three-season, or four-season sunroom. No matter what you choose, you’ll really want this space to be an extension of the existing architecture and style of your home.
Identify the primary uses of the room and think about how that will impact everything from furniture choices to lighting placement, electrical outlets, and air ventilation. Ceiling fans with a built-in overhead light are ideal for sunrooms. And in the Idea House we used a new window product that allows you to transition between glass and screen windows effortlessly.
Consider whether you want a heat source to extend use of the room throughout the year. Do you need window coverings for privacy or UV protection? And keep pondering all the details – like if there will be skylights, do you need to consider how placement might affect activities like watching the game on TV? Finally, make sure to choose fabrics and outdoor-rated area rugs that are resistant to UV exposure, mold, and mildew.
What is your favorite element in this space?
The cedar ceiling. It brings natural elements inside and gives a sense of warmth to the room.