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Designer Interview: The Multi-function Sunroom

As we cozy up for winter, there's no reason not to let the sun shine in! Kristen Martone sits with online furniture and décor retailer Hayneedle to talk about making the most of your sunroom throughout the year.


In the last installment of her interview with Hayneedle, Kristen talks about her work at the This Old House 2018 Idea House and shares her tips and tricks to creating a stylish and functional sun room. Now is the perfect time to start planning how you can apply these tips to better to enjoy your own 3-season porch or sun room space next season.

Tell us about this 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 – which was recently named by the Boston Globe as New England’s best beach town. We wanted the space to extend naturally from the open living areas, and make it easy for conversations and gatherings to 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 that people overlook when designing a Sunroom?

The real key is to think through how you will want to use the space and dig into the details in the same way you would in designing other areas of your home. The danger is thinking that the process can be less rigorous. First, determine whether you want a screened-in porch, 3-season, or 4-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.

Then, 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. Consider whether you want a heat source to extend use of the room throughout the year. Ceiling fans with a built-in overhead light are ideal for sunrooms. Do you need window coverings for privacy or UV protection? And keep pondering all the details… 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 area rugs that are resistant to UV exposure, mold, and mildew!

What are your favorite elements of this space?

The cedar ceiling. It brings natural elements inside and gives a sense of warmth to the room.

#WatchGracekeDesign. To see the original article and shop the look on Hayneedle, click here.


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