Remodelers Corner: July/August 2013


How does one transform a drab, rarely used deck into a distinctive bi-level living space packed with entertainment potential? Lots of planning.

In converting their deck to an all-season sunroom with adjoining patio, Janine Yanisch and Chris Jankowski didn’t want support posts or an overhang spoiling their view or darkening their basement the way the old structure had.

“We wanted to utilize our outdoor living area more, so we began planning on how we could best do that,” says Janine.

Working with Dale Mulfinger of Sala Architects, garden designer Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick of Green Spirit Gardens and contractor Terry Babcock of Edge Homes and Construction, Janine and Chris planned meticulously to ensure they had the right design.

“The remodeling took four months to complete,” Janine recalls. “The planning took place off and on for a
year, though.”

The result: a uniquely suspended four-season sunroom with an open outdoor patio underneath. Supported by a special concrete base, the sunroom doesn’t require extra support posts directly underneath it, so it appears to float over the patio below. Inside the sunroom, a fireplace, in-floor heat and plenty of insulation help keep the area warm in the winter so Janine and Chris can enjoy their 5 a.m. coffee long after summer’s warm temps are gone.

“The half walls [in the sunroom] serve well to define the space, as well as provide extra seating. We have a beautiful space for living with the feeling of being outdoors,” Janine says.

To connect the upper level to the patio, Babcock fabricated a custom stairway using structural steel and aircraft-quality stainless steel cable. He also built a dual-purpose outdoor fireplace and grill on the patio that shares a chimney with the sunroom fireplace. The two-story fireplace—conceived of by Kirkpatrick and incorporated into the overall plan by Mulfinger—maximizes efficiency and space.

Babcock even constructed custom grates for the fireplace which quickly convert it to a grill for outdoor cooking and entertaining. The sunroom overhead provides ample shade for the outdoor space and makes a great backdrop for relaxing meals, entertaining friends and wine tastings.

Whether it’s catching up with the daily newspaper by a crackling fire in the sunroom in January or entertaining guests on the patio in July, something’s always happening here inside and out.