The thought of a dining sunroom always appealed to me. I remember on a cold wintery day dining at a local restaurant called Le Villa, watching the snow fall all around us in their dining sunroom, it was warm and charming. The windows that surrounded the room let in the twinkles of the holiday lights just enough to watch the snowflakes float down. Sitting there by the warm roaring indoor fire made dining feel so magical.
When we walked into this house I was very excited about the possibility of turning the 11×12 sunroom into an actual addition that would be our dining sunroom. A beautiful space that could recreate that feeling I had at Le Villa. I was determined to make it happen but had to rework our entire budget around it. There were a few things on the renovation budget that had to go in order to make this dream feasible. My husband wasn’t convinced at first but I knew that this room was going to be an important feature of our house. Once he caught on to the vision we were both excited at what this space could be.
BEFORE – THE DINING SUNROOM PRE RENOVATION
During the renovation. You can see the vent, we moved this vent into the sunroom. and replaced the ceiling , reinsulated and changed out skylights.
This is why it has taken me so long to share any pictures of my favorite space. To be honest it is STILL a work in progress. Slowly we have been bringing all the pieces we want together. We aren’t totally there just yet but I figured you might be inspired. Also I get a lot of questions about the tile in this room since I’ve posted Picts on insta.
So let’s start at the beginning, just in case you ever get the same idea. Here are some things that you will need to factor in before turning your sunroom into a dining area or building a dining sunroom addition.
The direction of the sunroom. Nobody wants to be eating in a room where the sun is beating down on their heads and it’s sweaty and hot! If this is the case you are now having to factor in window treatments, possibly AC and HVAC costs for this. In our case, the yard faces North West. Our yard has sun all day up until about 8 pm during the summer, but the way the sunroom faces, we get to enjoy all the views and the light with no direct sun! Which means I didn’t need to invest in window treatments and could keep skylights. I was happy about this because I didn’t want to cover up the views or take any away.
Insulation! We had to completely gut, and basically rebuild this room. Initially, we were going to spray foam the room (we were really worried it would be too cold in winter) but we just reinsulated new and did a really good job of it.
considering AC or Heat. You want regulated temperature. Initially, we were concerned about our long cold winters in Calgary. In order to ensure this space was comfortable, we added electric baseboard heaters. We also cored a hole through the cement concrete pad in the sunroom stairs and moved the HVAC this way so that we would have a heat vent in the room. We have since removed, patched and got rid of the baseboard heaters as we didn’t need them at all after we experience winter for the first time in this space. It was very comfortable and warm without those extra heaters and I attribute that mostly to the next point.
Because I was insistent on doing beautiful cement tiles we decided to heat the floors. This is something I strongly recommend if you live in a cooler winter climate. Heated flooring can be done with tiles or engineered hardwood floors. This is something that we can control with a thermostat. Please be aware that it does bump up your energy bills a little.
The energy efficiency of the windows. Our house was old but luckily the windows in the sunroom had been updated. Double pane windows can be very expensive and triple pane windows can be even more! The only windows that had to be redone in this room were the old original 1980 skylights. ***TIP*** instead of doing 2 large skylights we did the same size skylights but broken out into 4 – which actually gave the room a more modern feeling at almost half the cost!
if it’s going to be a dining sunroom make sure you are close to your kitchen. In our case, its literally leads right into that space which is fabulous for serving and cleaning up. We opened the area entrance up, it was about half the size. This created a very natural and seamless transition into our dining area.
Privacy. This is something that was very important to us when looking for our home. We wanted a large and private yard. In our last house, the newer homes are built close together and have zero mature trees, when we were eating and dining we literally could wave at our back neighbors. No thank you. Now we are backing onto our mature yard with lots of trees, birds and furry visitors!
the design and decor for this space are very much inspired by an indoor/outdoor calm but eclectic vibe. We wanted to stay with the theme of the house but I wanted it to feel cozy and different at the same time. We also did not budget for a new dining room table, wr had recently purchased a new table just a couple years back so we decided that we would have to make this one work. I am waiting on two really funky whicker style end chairs that I purchased from Article to arrive. I am very excited about these high back, black and wood colored seats as I feel like they will pull the room together.
Our lighting changed three times in this room. THREE TIMES! Luckily my husband develops and renovates homes for a living and we could use the lighting in other places. We finally have found something we really love. We purchased thid chandelier from West Elm.
Greenery. I wanted this space to house lots of natural elements and pull together the Terrazzo Tile from Saltillo Tiles with pretty pots. Our pots are from all different places, garage sales, West Elm, Plant and my mother in law. We even bought a pot to hold some beautiful Aztek south American camp blankets we purchased at a local store here in Calgary. We love the idea of being able to grab a blanket and head right out onto the patio through the slider doors for a fire and marshmallows any time of the year.
In the end, I am really happy with how the room is coming along. There are still some pieces missing like our end chairs, possibly a small bar cart and some shelving or art. Either way, it’s turning out to be a magical little space, the snowflakes falling all around us this past winter reassured me that we had made the right choice to invest in this room. Breakfast, lunch or supper we all love to entertain, eat and drink here, even this guy….salute!
Till the next post,