Friday, May 15, 2009

Den and Side Sun Room

We’ve been working on the bathroom on the second level and had to have a room to store building materials and bathroom fixtures other than the bathroom itself so we could have room to work.  For no good reason, the second floor den and sunroom became catch-all spaces for everything for the renovation and a bunch of unpacked boxes.  For those who don’t remember our second floor plan, here it is with the den/sunroom indicated:


We finally got it cleared out a few evenings ago.  You would think this meant that we must be finished the bathroom, but no, we haven’t.  We decided that our son didn’t need 3 play rooms on the second level (his room, the rear sun room, and the extra bedroom at the back), so we sacrificed the small bedroom, and moved everything from the den there.  Up until now, our only TV has been in the third floor office.

Here are some photos of the den and sunroom now.  Excuse the lack of and condition of the furniture.  When you move into a house that is twice the size of your last one, you don’t typically have enough furniture to fill every room.


The sunroom has a lot of window “issues”.  Lots of broken panes of glass, and the condition of the glazing and paint is very bad.  It doesn’t help that the steel roof over it suffered from significant ice damming this past winter, resulting in a lot of water damage to the room.  Where you see red tuck-tape indicates a broken pane of glass that I either patched with plexi-glass I found in the basement or just taped to prevent it from falling out.


Here are some shots that illustrate the poor state of the windows:

IMG_1106 IMG_1107 I had to reattach a number of storms that were falling out or were stored elsewhere in the house.  One interesting feature of many of our storm windows is a sliding pane that can be opened for air flow.  We have that feature on probably 1 in 8 of our storms. 

IMG_1108 IMG_1109 IMG_1112

I’m thinking of making some small screens that can be put in place when the pane is open to keep the bugs out.  It’s a nice feature to have as it allows you to leave your storms up all summer, but I’m not sure of the weather tightness of it.

The sunroom is getting a new standing-seam steel roof in a few weeks with ice and water shield and new roof decking.  Then we’ll remove the damaged plaster and ceiling, insulate as much as we can, and hope that takes care of the ice-damming.  We also plan to strip down all the windows, reglaze them and repaint.  Given the number of windows we have to repair, we’re going to concentrate on the storms first so that if we run out of time before next winter, we’ll at least have weather-tight windows.  We can address the poorly functioning double-hung and damaged in-swing casement next season if need be.


  1. I still think that you're doing pretty well, all things considered.

    Is there wood paneling behind the wallpaper or just plaster? It looks like the sort of place where there would have been paneling, if it had been built around here. It wouldn't be terribly hard to add wood panels, I don't think - you'd just have to take off the trim pieces and install quarter inch oak or walnut plywood in the spaces where the wallpaper is now. Further, this would save you from having to strip wallpaper glue, if the eventual removal of it is in your plans.

  2. Homes of this era were often designed to be budget-oriented, and that included "paneling" that was really just rails and stiles with grasscloth or lincrusta in the "panel" areas.

    What a wonderful sunroom, despite the condition of the windows! It adds so much light and air to the den, too - probably too much air in the winter the way things are right now! ;^) Still, the details in your house are lovely and so full of potential.

  3. Just to add: Below is a link to a Google Books iteration of _Stickley's Craftsman Homes_ showing a bedroom with grasscloth "paneling.",M1

    Other finishes for these panel areas shown in this book are textured plaster, usually sand-finished; canvas, usually stenciled; and smooth plaster, often stenciled.

  4. Jessamyn,

    That's really itneresting. I'd seen pictures of a setup like that before and had just assumed that the area between the stiles was wood that had been painted. The house on the page following the one you pointed to is that of Damn You Stickly Bungalow.

    The storm windows are interesting. I've seen screens like that, with the sliding section, so that you can open or close the casement window without the removal of the screen. With those, however, the screen was on the inside. If I didn't know better, I'd wonder if the storms were repurposed from somewhere else.

  5. A couple more thoughts:

    I know well the feeling of a house half full of furniture.

    Where was the tiny tiny radiator installed before?

    As bad as some of the windows look, think about it this way: scraping them will be really easy.

  6. Thanks for the comments as always.

    Jessamyn, I'm not sure they were going in for the budget choices in this place, but they might have decided to not go as 'grand' as they did downstairs. This room may have been a sitting room as part of the master bedroom as the built-in bookcase is actually a doorway that matches up with an archway in the front bedroom. They might have decided that the all-wood paneling look was overkill. It is a wall-paper over the whitewash coat of plaster, and likely the original wallpaper. It peels off very easily and is loose in many places. We're not sure what if anything we'll replace it with. We might just keep it.

    The storms are original to the house. The movable panel is common to a lot of our storms. I hope to be able to restore these to working order, and have a small screen insert to be put in place when the panel is open to help keep the bugs out.

    Christopher, the small radiator you see was in one of the washroom rooms. The washroom on this floor used to be two rooms. One with the sink and tub and the other with the toilet. The small radiator was in the toilet room. We had to have all our galvanized supply piping and lead drains replaced when we moved in, so we had the two rooms collapsed into one, moved a few things around slightly and no longer need the rad. We're not sure if we'll find another place for it now, it just happened to be sitting in the sun-room at the time of the picture.