Article written by Herb Lagois
I’m realizing how wonderful and how important indoor-outdoor integration is. I’m thinking about how many homes in Ottawa could benefit from this simple pleasure.
Our home, like most traditional homes, did not take advantage of the outdoors when it was built, and yours may not have either.
There’s an important visual aspect to our world outdoors. When we’re seated, how often do we strain to look over window sills? How often do look outside and see a wall? And there’s a practical aspect. Is getting to the rear yard a challenge? Do we need to navigate around furniture and through spaces? There’s the way a house feels too. Even when it’s sunny outside, does the house feel dark? Ours did!
Our solution was to create a space with floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings and reflective flooring – literally, a sunroom.
What a difference it made! It’s more than a sun room. It’s also our family room because it’s the space our family gravitates to. The interior of the home is much brighter than before. Even the night time views are spectacular.
Naturally, adding spaces needs to be justified. If there is no need to add more space, there is no point in adding more. But, through design, there is always great “space” potential within existing spaces to opening up “compartments”, providing efficient outdoor access – by simply introducing natural light.
If you are considering renovating or adding space, there are many factors to consider – for instance, heat loss, heat gain, mechanical systems capacity, aesthetics, spatial planning, bylaws, and costs. An experienced design professional or firm has the ability to take the entire home into consideration – to take a holistic design approach.
Our sunroom/family room addition is one of the best decisions we have made. The outdoors is integrated into our home, and therefore into our daily lives. Even on cloudy days our home is bright – especially the existing space. Our home is a happy home. Best of all, our sunroom is a great place to kick back, do nothing and enjoy the beauty of the day.