I was recently in Maine visiting family. Like always, I did my duty as a loving niece and went around to each of my aunts and uncles’ houses for a visit. My aunt Linda had recently moved and it was my first time seeing their new home. As I received the tour there was a clear winner as to my favorite spot in the house, the sunroom.
The sunroom at my aunt’s house is set back off the kitchen and is surrounded by three walls of windows. They have a small backyard that abuts a wooded area behind it. The sunroom, to me, was the perfect place to curl up with a cup of coffee or a good book, relax and enjoy the natural beauty beyond the windows.
Sunrooms make great additions to the home because you can enjoy them, and the changing seasons, all year round. Take Maine for instance, it has a beautiful summer. When I visited my aunt, all the windows were open, allowing a nice breeze to go through the room and into the rest of the house. Unfortunately, Maine weather isn’t that spectacular all year round. The winters are cold, very cold, but that doesn’t mean that my aunt won’t be able to enjoy the sunroom. The windows will definitely be closed tightly, but it will still be a great place to enjoy the surroundings. Who doesn’t love to curl up and appreciate a good snow fall in a sunroom?
When having a sunroom designed, it’s important to tell your designer how you intend to use the space. Is it something that you want to enjoy all year round or just during the nicer months? Some people may think of sunrooms and think of rooms that they can’t use all the time, and that is true in some cases. If you want to use the space all year round, make sure your builder knows this so they can use enough insulation to ensure the room stays warm efficiently in the cooler months.
Flow in and out of the sunroom to the rest of the house is also an important piece of design. If the intension is only to use the space a few months a year, it may be OK if the space is a little more closed off from the rest of the house. If the space is going to be utilized all the time, you may want to have a wide doorway that provides a seamless transition.
At Archadeck, we aim to design and build custom sunrooms that fit the clients’ needs and budget. The existing home is a major part of that design, not only do we want it to flow nicely, but we take into consideration any way that the new home could be affected. For example, if the sunroom is more of a closed off space it may decrease the amount of light going into the rest of the home.
Finishes are important to design as well. Our goal is to make the sunroom seem like it was always there. Colors, architectural style and textures are a great way to make the whole space cohesive.
When looking at our franchise locations’ outdoor living spaces, I always notice the unique ways that deck, porches, patios, sunrooms and other structures add functional space to a home. Space that doesn’t serve a purpose is just lost space, right? This project from our sunroom and deck builder in Connecticut is a great example of adding space in a different and interesting way.
The owners of this Devonwood, Connecticut home wanted an addition to their home as well as more outdoor space. Making all of it feel natural to the home was very important as they didn’t want anything disjointed. Phil Brown and his Archadeck of Central Connecticut team designed and built a custom sunroom and deck that fulfills all their needs.
The common sunroom is square or rectangular in shape and has windows on three of its sides. Sunrooms allow people to sit and enjoy the nature that surrounds the home without actually being inside. The common sunroom, however, was not what these homeowners wanted. Instead, Archadeck of Central Connecticut designed an octagonal sunroom. Being set on the back of the house, the room is very cozy, but still spacious with enough room for a couch and chairs.
Instead of a flat roof, a gazebo style roof was added to the sunroom. The pine ceiling adds to the warm and cozy atmosphere and the large Anderson windows allow the sunlight to flood in. I love how the windows don’t have panes that can obstruct the wooded views of the property. It gives it a very airy impression.
Outside, Phil designed a deck that fit all of the homeowners’ needs. The majority of deck space is taken up by the large curved deck below. It serves as a place to sit and eat dinner on a nice New England night. Off the sunroom is a smaller deck that is used to sit and relax and right off the back of the house is a rectangular deck that is the perfect go-between from the house to dining portion. A grill sits on that deck since it is so convenient to the kitchen.
The entire deck was finished with IPE decking. IPE is a very dense Brazilian wood that is rot and insect resistant. It is very durable and will easily stand up against increased traffic and usage. The warm tone of this IPE wood looks gorgeous against the yellow of the home and the wooded areas surrounding the property.
The best deck designs take the homeowners and their passions into account. In this example, one of the homeowners is an avid gardener, so when Phil designed this deck, he wanted a place for her to keep her tools and pots. The grill deck, as a result, also serves as a roof structure for a potting shed below, keeping that covered space as usable. Genius!
I am the proud granddaughter of the cutest 93 and 91 year old ever. They may not be young bucks anymore, but they have a routine that they love. A few weeks ago I flew up to Maine to visit them in their new apartment at an assisted living complex. My grandmother raved about the whole place and said that there was only one thing she missed from her house: the sunroom.
About 10 years ago, when Gram and Gramp were still living in the house my mother grew up in, they added a sunroom to the side of their house. It quickly became their favorite spot to sit throughout the day and the epicenter of the home.
My grandmother’s reasoning behind adding the room (because she makes all the decisions) was that she wanted a brighter, more open room to enjoy the day. She liked watching the neighborhood kids walking to and from school and my grandfather cutting the bushes in the yard. When it was originally built, I thought they would only use it in spring and summer when it wasn’t too cold (it was Maine and all), but I was wrong.
Despite the frigid air, the sunroom builders created a room for all four seasons. When it was warm out, my grandparents would open all the windows and turn on their ceiling fan if needed. In the cooler months, they used a space heater that was installed in the wall that efficiently heated the room. It turned out to be the perfect spot to curl up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (grandparents always have hot chocolate) while the leaves turned colors and snow began to fall.
At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build custom sunrooms that transition perfectly into the client’s existing home. Transition is important when considering adding a sunroom. While in general sunrooms do add significant value to your home, it’s important to have it planned out properly. The new project shouldn’t take away from the existing architecture of the home, but instead be a flawless addition.
For our clients, sunrooms are the perfect place to enjoy their outdoor surroundings from the comfort of the indoors. Because they can be built to be used all year round, they truly add to the amount of usable space of your home. Here are some great examples of Archadeck Outdoor Living sunrooms:
The chill in the air is beginning to become more noticeable all around the country. It signifies the end of summer splendor and its long balmy days spent enjoying your deck. Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean you have to cuddle up inside to keep warm and miss mother nature’s splendor that is still unfolding all around you. Many homeowners are considering the ever-popular option of closing in their existing deck, or a portion of their deck and creating a three or four season room or other outdoor structure that can extend your outdoor living enjoyment into and beyond the cooler months of the year. In order to determine if closing in to create an extended season outdoor living structure would be right for you there are several considerations that have to be bought to the forefront.
The first consideration that has to be addressed is the structural integrity of your existing deck. In order to accommodate the weight of a roofed structure. Many decks are not built to withstand the weight of adding a roof. In order for a deck to be able to withstand the weight of a roof. The foundation of the deck will have to extend all the way to the corners of the structure. In cases where the foundation does not extend to the corners, changes must be made to have the foundation extended and new footers will have to be added in order to safely support and hold the weight. Determining whether or not your deck fits conversion criteria can be answered from a quick inspection by a professional outdoor structure builder, and depending on their findings will let you know how you wish to proceed with getting the deck structurally compatible to withstand a conversion such as a three or four season room, a screened porch or even a sunroom.
Once the issue of foundation reinforcements has been addressed, the next step is to decide which type of conversion would best suit your individual needs. Screen porches are very popular and can be enjoyed late into the fall in many areas around the country, but this all depends on your geographical location and whether the area you live in experiences mild autumns or more harsh, cold autumns. Making the decision to convert your deck or a section of your deck into a screened porch will have benefits even in the warm summer months by keeping insects at bay and protecting you from the sun. Screen porches can be in use even during inclement weather since they are roofed. This means that the backyard dinner you had planned won’t be put on hold with a little rain because you would have a roofed screen porch to utilize. Many homeowners also opt to use a sliding window panel system to make use of their screened porch later into the year. A convertible windows like the EZE breeze sliding panel system and the Artistic Enclosures Screen Plus System offer you the ability to convert your screened porch into a three season room on demand. These convertibility systems use sliding glass panels that mimic the function of a sliding door and can be set into place very easily and quickly. By adding a space heater to the structure you can utilize the space for longer periods through even the chilliest season. By using a convertible system on your screened porch you can still feel the warm breezes of summer, and when the temperature drops you have the peace of mind knowing that your screened porch also offers more function with added cold weather protection as well.
Another viable option when making the decision to enclose a deck or portion thereof, is a four season room or a sunroom. These type of structures function as an extension of your homes living area as well as an extension of your outdoor living area. Four season rooms, as well as sunrooms give you an unobscured view of nature by the use of numerous windows that sometimes even feel as though they are window walls. These structures can be used year round, snow or sleet because sunrooms and four season rooms require a HVAC system, or instill the use of a wall mounted electric inversion heating and cooling system that offer individual room control like those offered by Mitsubishi electric. In essence the presence of HVAC, or heating and cooling system creates a dynamic where you actually are getting a room addition when you choose to convert to a four season room or sunroom.
Another benefit of converting your deck into a sunroom or four season room is the freedom of material choices that can be used within it and to finish out your structure. A whole new set of design choices open up to sunroom and four season room owners. All of the same materials that can be used safely within an interior room inside your home can become finish options for your sunroom or four season room. These include sheetrocked walls, carpet, hardwoods and a myriad of other design choices. An added benefit is that the furniture used within your structure won’t have to be weatherproof when considering using it on your sunroom or four season room. The world is truly your oyster.
When Juan Cardona and the design team at Archadeck of Chester County met with these homeowners in Kennett Square, PA, which is known as the mushroom capital of the world, to create this masterpiece in outdoor design, they had an existing deck that was in dire need of replacing as well as an open deck at the rear of the home with an unsightly concrete slab patio under the deck. The homeowners wish was to create an outdoor area that incorporated a sunroom, less deck and a patio on the lower level. They also wanted to include a built-in cooking area, spa area, and a custom fireplace or fire pit to accommodate their desire to have room and suitable entertaining areas for larger gatherings down below as opposed to having an all-open deck on the second level. The obstacle that had to be overcome was the fact that their yard was on a rather severe slope. In order to deliver the outdoor oasis the homeowners desired, we would have to install some retaining walls to make it happen.
Archadeck of Chester County, PA teamed up with a professional stone mason and together, they quickly put together an integrated plan to totally re-build and re-structure the entire rear of the home. The extensive use of stone walls was used to match the overall look of the existing home, since the entire front of the home was already finished in stone. The suggestion of using stone within the new design offered a dramatic look that harmonized well with the existing property.
The deck was constructed using low maintenance TimberTech XLM in Mountain Cedar which harmonizes perfectly with the old world appeal of the stone used throughout the project. Archadeck of Chester County black Fortress iron railings on TimberTech posts for continuity and fluidity in the deck’s design. On the interior floor of the stunning sunroom they used IPE tongue and groove flooring. The exterior of the room was finished with a stone veneer to match the rest of the patio which includes stone retaining walls, an outdoor kitchen and a custom fire pit. The sunroom also includes Anderson windows. Under the sunroom there is a built-in custom spa also trimmed with stone. The finishing touch to the project was the addition of a maintenance-free pergola of AZEK composite that was painted to match the decking color. The whole design flows effortlessly from structure to structure and looks and feels original to the existing home, which requires perfection in the design and the execution of the design in order to achieve.
If you are ready to turn your backyard into an orchestrated oasis of beauty, style and relaxation, contact Archadeck today and you will be on your way to creating beautiful harmonies within your own little slice of heaven. Schedule a free design consultation or contact us by calling 804.353.6999 or emailing us at [email protected] locate an Archadeck near you to get started.
See more awe-inspiring images of before and after completed jobs by visiting our web site photo galleries
The outdoor structure has evolved, now I don’t mean a “Darwin” type of evolution but rather an evolution of style and luxury. Many of the same pampering elements we enjoy within our homes is available in our outdoor rooms as well. Screened porches, covered porches and patios, sunrooms and 3 and 4 season room have begun to receive the royal treatment in terms of the accoutrements that are now commonplace among professional outdoor structure builders. Features such as wrapped beams, decorative columns, detailed ceilings, ceiling fans, recessed lighting and all the outlets, plugs, areas reserved especially for your HD flat screen TV’s, and more multi-media hookups than you could ever imagine are being seen within today’s outdoor structures. These features, make for convenience and are oh so easy on the eyes to boot.
One such element that we often install in our outdoor structures is the skylight. Gone are the days of the skylight just simply being a skylight. Sure, they allow for your structure to receive more sunlight, which really opens up your space and gives the space a feeling of airiness. But today’s skylights offer many other features as well. Velux skylights are the skylight of choice for many of our! Archadeck locations throughout the country, and for good reason. They offer high quality skylights with a myriad of available features with your convenience in mind.
The Velux skylight slogan is “add drama to any space”, and Velux definitely delivers on that promise. With a 10 year no leak warranty and features such as remote control operation, insect screens and blinds that are built right with choices like classic venetian blinds to systems that block the light entirely. Velux skylights also offer an open and close feature that comes with a sensor that detects the first raindrop and automatically closes the skylight so you don’t have to. Imagine sitting on your lovely screened porch enjoying a mild autumn afternoon with your skylights open enjoying the fresh air and the blue skies. A scene like this is reminiscent of that first drive in a Corvette with the T-tops down, a “wind in your hair” kind of freedom that is unforgettable.
If you are ready to let the sunshine in on your outdoor room, contact Archadeck to learn more. We can help you pick the right spot, the right accessories and the right angle to best suit you and your families needs. Skylights not only look the part, they will make you feel the part as well. 888.687.3325
I am sure each one of us would agree that a roof is a pretty important detail in any structure. It keeps us dry and out of the elements. It helps secure other structures that are attached to it. It becomes a component of the stability of a structure it is atop. All these explanations are “no brainers”. A roof is so much more than all of these. A roof can add character and presence to a structure. What type of roof you decide to put atop your structure can really determine how sound it is, and how attractive your structure ends up. That is why it is so important to pick the right roof for the right structure.
One important factor when you decide on the addition of a structure such as a covered patio, screened porch or sunroom is to choose a roof style that matches and fits with the existing architecture of your home. For instance if you have a hip roof, it is usually a good idea to carry that through when building your addition, this will keep the structural integrity of your home and the additional roof will flow into your existing roof. This “flow” is most crucial when the structure is going to be directly connected to your existing house.
The same rules usually apply when you have a gabled roof. If you want to add pizazz and originality to your new addition with a gabled roof there are gable-end designs now available to add a custom look with a lot of flair.
The use of a gabled roof also lends space for higher ceilings which can be a canvas for arched windows, bead-board ceilings, the addition of ceiling fans and unique lighting choices. The design choices available to structures with high ceilings are endless nowadays.
Whether you are anticipating the addition of a sunroom, patio or screened porch Archadeck can show you all the choices and design a roof and living area plan to fit with your home’s architecture beautifully. Give us a call and we can make your dream come to life under one roof.
Take a look at our website at Archadeck.com to see lots of pictures and learn more.
Homeowners make improvements to their homes for a myriad of reasons. Reasons include adding additional living space, remodeling to update a space or style, or upgrades to interior and exterior spaces just to name a few. Home improvements are classified as anything that makes a positive alteration to your home or your land. Today many homeowners are adding new decks and outdoor living structures to their list of improvements.
When an appraiser comes to appraise your home before you put your house on the market, he takes a lot of information into consideration before coming up with that magic number. Appraisers look at land size, square footage, age of the home, the numbers of rooms, the type of home it is, the condition and the quality of the home, and the comparable value of all the other homes around you. Any type of home improvement that adds livable space of any kind, whether it is heated or unheated square feet, does increase your home’s value.
Building a deck for example, can greatly increase your home’s value. Some research shows that up to 75% of the deck cost can be recouped if the home is sold within a year of adding the new deck. Even if you don’t have a lot conducive to adding a deck, a patio is also a solid choice for sellers looking to re-vamp their backyard in preparation to put their house on the market.
Covered porches make an impression to appraisers and prospective buyers when selling your home
Any structure that adds character to your home or land will add value. Any structure that makes you stand out above the competition will add value, and also help get your house shown more often, and thus, sold quicker. You have to think in terms of relativity to the competition around you. Adding an outdoor structure such as covered porch, a gazebos or a pergola can add enough character to make your home stand out from all the rest. Think in terms of the potential buyer’s standpoint, they are going over the houses they have been shown and have to choose from in their price range and they come across yours by memory in their conversation…" yes, that was a nice home, lots of open space, well maintained interior, right amount of bedrooms and it had that beautiful backyard with that lovely covered porch, nice". An addition such as this can often make such a positive impact on your home that the chips will become stacked in your favor.
Keep in mind as well that adding an outdoor space to your home is the most affordable way to expand your home’s value. Archadeck can help you decide on the right outdoor structure for you, from planning, to design, to construction. We can help you every step of the way. 888-OUR-DECK
When Curtis & Ann Crays of Archadeck of Front Range, CO first talked to their eventual sunroom customer, the empty nesters had nothing but a swimming pool in their backyard and it was something they no longer needed.
What the homeowners wanted was a room addition where the swimming pool used to be. They wanted a room on the back of their home. They also wanted some open outdoor area. So Curtis and Ann designed a 16×18 sunroom with two different decks totaling roughly 330 square feet of decking.
Here is a picture of the backyard after filling in the pool and before building the sunroom.
Before Curtis & Ann got the crew started, they designed a rendering of what the room would look like to share with the homeowners. This serves a couple of benefits. First, the homeowners really can see exactly what they will be getting so they can make any desired changes up front. Then, it leads to everyone’s expectations being fulfilled because the visualization of the project is not left to interpretation. It’s right there in black & white so to speak.
If you live in the Denver/Front Range area and you’re thinking about building an outdoor living area or adding a room to your home, give Curtis & Ann ad Archadeck of Front Range a call (303) 736 – 6739 or email [email protected]
When Steve Folsom of Archadeck of Kansas City first started talking with homeowners in Olathe Kansas, they were looking for replacement for a two-story rotted deck that adjoined their kitchen and living rooms. They wanted an upper sunroom above a new lower deck to replace their old two-story deck.
They didn’t know all the features and final design details they wanted for the room but they did know he wanted to use it as much as possible, both winter and summer, and throughout the year as much as possible.
The planning process becomes a really interactive discussion at this point. Since the homeowners were not sure about the details, here are some of the things that Steve recommended. They wanted to install new french doors from the living room and keep them open a large part of the time so Steve suggested a fully insulated room with auxiliary heat and cooling.
Steve suggested low-e double pane energy-efficient windows to maximize comfort and year round occupancy. Then for the design details, in order to give unique architectural look to the room, Steve suggested tongue and groove cedar ceiling trim with painted beadboard wall trim.
If you live in the Kansas City area and you’re thinking about an outdoor project – whether it’s a sunroom, deck, porch, pergola, outdoor fireplace, outdoor living room or another vacation spot in your back yard, give Steve Folsom of Archadeck of Kansas City a call. (913) 851 – 3325. [email protected]
Yet our deck is the room right outside our back door and we let that become an abandoned old rickety un-functional room in our house. Yet, it’s the only room in our house where we can feel the breeze. It’s the only room in our house where we can smell the fresh air. It’s the only room in our house with tremendous natural lighting which is so good for physical and mental well-being.
I think a lot of times we put off getting our decks up to snuff because we fear the price of such an upgrade. But now is really the best time to get a quote. We’re going into 2011 and we will make a lot of new spending decisions. We may again decide to put off a vacation even though we annually have some money earmarked for it. We can put that toward upgrading the vacation spot in our back yard. We may put off getting a newer car even though we had some money budgeted for it. The reason we may put these types of things off is because the return on these investments is slim-to-none. At this point in the economy, we can’t afford to spend unless it’s an investment. The return on this investment is high financially and otherwise.
Go ahead and get a quote and a design from a professional who can help you envision the right outdoor space for you. These homeowners in Chadd’s Ford PA had the type of deck we’ve been talking about. It was just too small and it was very old and run down.
Juan Cardona at Archadeck of Chester County worked with this family to design a bigger deck that also had a nice area for shade so they could enjoy the room outside their back door both in moderate and direct sun conditions.
Here’s a note from Juan Cardona
“These homeowners were looking for a larger deck than what they had which was 12’X14’ and very square. They wanted to work with a newer material (no wood) for low maintenance. They originally wanted a porch attached to the house on top of the deck, but the house configuration did not allow for what they wanted. I suggested that she consider a free-standing gazebo as an option and this is what we finished up with.”
If you live in the Chester County PA area and you’re considering a new backyard project or want to have a free consultation, call Juan Cardona. Phone: (610) 696 – 3340. Or email: [email protected] Visit http://chester-county.archadeck.com/ or visit their Facebook page.
James commented “I really love how you refer to decks as “vacation spot in our back yard.” That’s so true! So why not take the time and make the investment to make it as great as it can be? The project that Juan Cardona did with the free standing pergola is beautiful! I’m sure the homeowners are loving it!”
Hmmm. That’s not a good answer. When you’re hiring a custom builder to build a large project for your home like a custom outdoor living area, you want to make sure that:
you know exactly what you’re going to get so there are no surprises
you get exactly what they promised
And, in a perfect world, you want a cherry on top. So what is the cherry on top of a custom build? The cherry on top can be getting the unexpected in the design process. In the design and consultation process, a good builder listens well and interprets your needs and desires into functional architecture. But a great builder will also suggest ways that you can build what you want that lead to better use or greater enjoyment of that structure.
So enough speaking in generalities. Here’s an example. When Harold Cross was fist contacted by this West Des Moines IA homeowner, they wanted to turn their existing 2nd story deck into a sunroom. They already had met with and received a plan and quote from another reputable builder. But they had also heard a lot about Harold at Archadeck of Des Moines and gave him a call for a design consultation so they could gain an understanding of what Archadeck might provide as a solution for their needs.
Before I continue, I want to show you the before and after so you have a picture in your head of what their old deck looked like.
Let’s look at a couple of things in these pictures. First, let’s look at the stairs. The old stairs emptied out into the side yard just near the playset and the fence. Likely the playset was there because of the orientation of the stairs. The other builder’s plan retained the stairs in the same location and did not provide outdoor grilling space other than by re-locating the grilling area to the lower patio area. Harold saw this as creating a traffic pattern that did not facilitate ease of cooking with the 2nd story kitchen location. The existing (and other builder’s proposed) staircase location also created a bit of an eyesore.
In Harold’s plan, the stairs would have a landing and point the owners over to the area where they wanted to spend time on their lower outdoor living level. When Harold listens to what homeowners want, he also hears the feedback he’s had over the years from the owner’s he has built with. So many times something as simple as creating a staircase with a landing is something that makes such a huge difference in their quality and ease of living. It’s the sort of thing that homeowners mention again and again as a detail that made all the difference in the world.
The second thing you’ll notice about the picture above are the deck supports. There are two problems with these supports. First, they totally obstruct the homeowner’s ability to put any furniture on their lower patio and secondly, they create a virtual maze on the lower patio level. But, what Harold noticed was a third and much more serious issue. The old supports were not sufficient to hold the additional load of a room on the 2nd level. Although the other builder may have added this to his plans, Harold specifically communicated the need for structural enhancements for the roof load to the homeowner while the other builder had not. This left the homeowner wondering what other critical architectural issues might be left unattended to in the other plans
When I mentioned before that the family would be grilling on the lower patio, this probably set off bells in your head thinking about the fire hazard or where they would put an unsightly outdoor grill in their backyard. The new design integrated an outdoor grilling area right outside the new sunroom. This accomplished a couple things. First, when the family wanted grilled-out food but wanted to eat inside, the grill was very easily accessible to the 2nd floor kitchen. The grill was also easily accessible to the lower level patio. But, it created a designated space for the grill that was not at all unsightly. Let’s face it, grills are unsightly. That’s one of the reasons outdoor kitchens are becoming so popular. People don’t want to see their large grill plunked out in the backyard or taking up room in their eating area. You’ll see from the picture above that there was a perfect amount of space to create a small outdoor grilling area and to leave the view from that window completely unobstructed.
Oh, another thing I forgot to mention was the placement of the stairs as it related to the new outdoor room. Had the stairs been left where they were, the traffic pattern from the house to outside would have been straight through the middle of the room every time. With the alternate door and stairs placement, the chef could easily get to the grilling and outdoor area without creating a traffic pattern through the middle of the room. Note: good for carpet wear too:).
Ok, enough about stairs and traffic patterns. Let’s talk about the new room! The new room is technically considered a 3-season room. It has heat through the baseboard heating and gets air conditioning from the house when the door is left open from the house in the summer. It includes insulated Jeld-Wen windows that crank out. The roof design is a collared gable roof.
Here’s a video tour of the all-new room.
Here is the rendering Harold provided to his client which included both a design rendering and an architectural drawing.
So, you definitely want the expected but is sure is nice to get a great unexpected too.
Here’s how to reach Harold Cross of Archadeck of Des Moines Iowa.