Our Renovation- Phase 3: The Sunroom

I am SO excited that starting mid-August we are breaking ground on our sunroom renovation (shown above in the book)! This will be the FINAL bit we do to this house before selling it (probably in the next 2-4 years) but we all agree its going to be a great investment in the property and one that really changes how we live in the house now that we have a tiny toddler running around messing up all our stuff. :)

Right now the sunroom is not heated or air conditioned and clad in leaky old sliders with peeling laminate flooring. Really, not much of it can be salvaged so we are just knocking it down and re-building it, but 5 feet deeper and with a vaulted ceiling so it can serve as our family room.  We’re toying with making the fireplace double sided so you can see it from the living room or family room too, which would be pretty cool.  And since these drawings were done (by my dad’s architectural firm), we actually decided to eliminate the sliding glass door and instead copy the windows on the opposite wall to give us more wall space for toy storage.

This is what the room will look like from the end of the house…

Left will be the view from the front of the house (and will be the same on the back side too, facing the back yard)

We’re working with Monahan Contracting on this project and it should take roughly 8 weeks to complete. I seriously can’t wait (although construction with a toddler is going to be interesting re: nap time!? If anyone has advice on that let me know!)

I want this space to feel really relaxed and comfy with a neutral palette.  The walls and ceiling will all be shiplap and we’ll be using some wood beams like below (pic from Kate Marker Interiors insta). We’ll have a simple chandelier fixture in the center and the fireplace will have a clean white mantle with soapstone surround (if we do the double sided thing) with the TV mounted above.  We’ll be using our existing zebra ottoman in here, and I’m looking for the perfect comfy sectional like this one below (from Cisco, and way too expensive) to give us all room to lay down.  A Persian style rug is awesome at hiding stains and wear and tear and a bookcase like this one with baskets like these will help corral toys.   I’ll bring is slight blue accents like this pillow (since in the living room I’m going to do a blue sofa (!!!!)) which will help tie the two rooms together.

(lamps are from my line (sold out) and side tables are from Noir and Wisteria)

That said, keep your eyes peeled for a HUGE blog sale in the coming weeks of almost everything in my house. :) Sofas, tables, rugs….  I’m excited to refresh the house for our new life as a family with kids! Stay tuned as we begin!

And speaking of kids, many of you asked for the link to this busy board below my mom bought for Henry on Etsy that I posted on Instagram this weekend– BUY IT HERE.




  1. I have no idea what CISCO pricepoint is, but I splurged on Verellen sofas (2 sectionals) for our new house and they did not disappoint. Great looking + SO comfortable!!! Thought about doing them in Sunbrella, but did cotton instead + treated it w/ Fiber ProTector. Works like a charm!!!

    1. Melanie, where did you purchase the fiber ProTector? Googling it online it appears it has to be applied by a company. Let me know! Thanks!

  2. I purchased a sectional from Roger & Chris, based on a blog post of yours a while back. I love the sectional and had it covered in sunbrella to make it kid and dog friendly. Highly recommended.!

    1. I’m waiting on my sofa from Roger + Chris now! Had followed them after seeing their house tour on apartmenttherapy.com and then when Erin referenced their product here that sealed the deal. Also visited their builder in NC and can’t speak highly enough about the quality and selection. Concur with Caroline!

  3. Awesome! You will love it! Our sunroom is also our playroom. I had enough a few years ago of baskets of toys in each room and we moved them all to our sunroom! I suggest some closed storage because after 6 years I’m just sick of looking at toys at times. And at some point Matchbox cars and Legos will own you and you will want to be able to put them away, where a basket can’t be just pulled out and dumped…out of sight, out of mind!

    Good luck with the naps and construction! White noise machines everywhere and lots of activity before nap time!! I was unusually surprised when we renovated our bathrooms and my 1 year old did great with napping mid-construction!

  4. Ditto on the white noise machine… And Henry would love his own tiny toy tool set so he can do construction too. A toy tool kit was the first present I ever got for my then newly adopted grandson the first time we met him at almost three years old. Every time his Daddy had a project around the house, he’d run get his tools to help.

    Happy memories!

  5. Already looking forward to watching the progress of this addition, but trying not to focus on you selling that beautiful home in the years to come, or being too broken hearted that I am an ocean too far apart for your blog sale!! Good luck with the works, am sure it will look great! (also trying not to dwell too heavily on kids ‘plural’?!!!) x

    1. Nooooooo! Not pregnant! Just hoping we will have another one in the next couple years :)

  6. How exciting!! Love the plans and hope it all goes seamlessly!

    Where is that console from? Did I miss in your post?

  7. I love the idea of the double sided fireplace, what a treat! And the floorplans look gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the result! And I second the white noise machines – particularly where he is most likely to hear the noise from. We had people working in our yard with loud electric machines and I put one white noise machine in its usual doorway spot, but an additional one on the window sill where most of the noise was coming in. So, if they’re outside working at all, that might be helpful for Henry as well. Good luck!

  8. Can’t wait to see the transformation! Idk how heavy a sleeper Henry is but my kids sleep much better with a noise machine and cooler temps so crank the AC and the white noise and. hopefully, he will sleep like a little, almost 2 year old, baby! Running him like crazy before his nap won’t hurt either ;-) Good luck!

  9. Kids can seriously sleep through anything; don’t be scared. We did a major addition to our house, and my kids slept through men stomping up and down our stairs daily, jack hammering tile out of our bathrooms, and on one particularly loud day roofing above my daughter’s bedroom. They slept through it all. A loud rain CD saved the day every time. Good luck!

  10. We renovated the second story of our home earlier in the year. There were guys banging, hammering, and using all sorts of loud machines directly above our daughter’s room. She’s the same age as Henry, and her sleep was totally unaffected (she does sleep with a fan for white noise already). I had planned to put her pack-n-play in the bathroom and turn the fan on (I was stressing for weeks about this, haha), but she was seriously none the wiser. Good luck! Excited to read how it goes and see the end product. :)

  11. Idea for a future post: no idea if this would resonate with others, but I would be interested in hearing more about buying/renovating/selling of homes for people in your field. It seems constant – like your blogger counterparts are driven to improve their own homes/make more beautiful/more interesting and then immediately sell and start again. It can sometimes come off as a little frivolous – like designers are never really happy in their own homes. I’m a total outsider (I’m a lobbyist – not in a creative field) and I fully recognize that other “outsiders” might not get the same vibe I do. An overview of why that’s important for your readership/business/portfolio/whatever it is could be really interesting and help readers understand the flux.

    1. I totally get that. And will consider this topic for a post for sure. The renovations we’ve done to the house are not only an investment (our real estate market is insane and there is no better place to park your money) but also to help us stay in the same house longer. As for the decor- for me it’s a bit of all the above you mentioned– I’m always learning on the job and my taste evolves– and since my own home is my laboratory I tend to want to change things a lot. Also, it’s good blog content and book content. Also, I personally LOVE renovating homes and while its my job its also a hobby so to someone else it may seems excessive its actually really fun for me.

    2. Renovating is not part of my job but a passion and something that allows a creative outlet. My husband shares these interests so we’ve renovated five houses and five years into the one we thought we remain until out kids graduated high school, we find ourselves itching for another project. Mostly, we do it for our own pleasure but, living in such a competitive real estate market, it’s turned out to be a great investment as the improvements we’ve made have proven to have a better turn return than our 401Ks. Some people play golf, some people travel…..we renovate.

  12. Erin,
    What’s the going price or range of using an architect/firm. We have an old house and need to do an addition, and I haven’t a clue. Any tips for finding a great architect? Thanks so much!!!

    1. Typically an architect charges about 15% of the construction budget, but some charge hourly for smaller jobs. I’d probably start by looking on Houzz?

  13. Exciting and lovely plans. With regards to renovating with a toddler, Henry is about the same age our daughter was when we dug out the basement in our rowhouse. We kept her room dark and used the white noise machine (you the kind that everyone has). Thankfully she slept through the jack hammering. That said, she cries when we rip tinfoil off the roll. I wish for you the same sort of napping luck. It’s going to be great and worth it.

  14. Look up Lee Industries Stratford sectional. Looks a lot like the Cisco. We just purchased this for our living room with the help of our designer. I think you’ll love it…. it’s so comfortable!!

  15. As usual, this looks amazing!

    My kids and I haven’t had to deal with any construction and nap times (yet) but, I used to be a nanny with a family that had a house built next to them one summer and then the next summer they finished their basement and expanded the family room and it wasn’t that big of a deal. If anything, those kids can sleep through ANYTHING now. If you’re home during the day, everybody gets used to it and even if Henry is really particular about nap time, I think he’ll come around to the background noise.

  16. Our homes are very similar. The previous owner finished what used to be a covered screened in porch and made the fireplace double sided. I have to say it was one of my favorite things when we looked at the house. Since the fireplace is used so much where we live, I relax in this room with a good book while the boys hang out on the other side watching boy movies that I don’t like 😜 So if you’re on the fence about it I’d totally recommend it!

  17. Hi Erin! I love your design ideas for the sunroom! I live in southern California and we kind of treat all of our rooms like sunrooms (i.e. bring on the sunshine, outdoor mess, and the kiddo clutter). Question for you (and any designer that has experience with this product) see as it has come up a few times in the comment feed – sunbrella fabric: miracle or mistake?? I love the idea of durable/ bleachable fabric in a high traffic room, but what has been your experience long term? I bought a glider in Perennials fabric from RH (solution dyed acrylic, just like sunbrella) and it has pilled like CRAZY and looks a little scary with just 1 year of use. Does sunbrella behave differently? Would you ever use it in your home? I too have dogs and a toddler and am looking for a good solution. Thanks!

  18. Love love your style Erin and always enjoy your posts. I’m on your email list so I get them at night and have sadly missed some of the sales, offers, contests, etc. in the past that require ASAP engagement. Could you give us local, loyal followers any kind of heads up that the blog sale is coming so I will be an early reader and not wait for subscription to arrive? Thanks!

  19. We renovated our bathroom when my daughter was about 2 and believe it or not, her crib was on the other side of a tile wall where we removed all the old tile. She slept her nap everyday for a week through hammering and whatever tool they use to remove tile! It sounded like a jack hammer. I don’t know how it worked but we just went about our routine. Good luck!

    1. Jill, thank you so much for the recommendation! We are so excited to be working with you on beautiful pieces for your latest project!

      Erin, we are so excited to be following along with your remodel and would love a chance to build the perfect sectional for your space. We’d be happy to share information about our custom options and Performance fabrics. You can get in touch with us at [email protected], hope to hear from you!

  20. Hi Erin,

    I love the plans for the new sunroom and can’t wait to see how it turns out! We did some renovations recently and I was worried how things would go with my toddler’s nap and he did surprisingly well. Sticking to his normal routine (when possible) helped as did a noise machine. Good luck with that as I know how important naps are for everyone!

    I love Henry’s construction board. I made one for my son and it was super simple. If people are interested in making one, just walk through the hardware store, find stuff that looks interesting and screw them on a board (you can buy wood and have them cut it to size at the hardware store). It was really fun to make and my son and his buddies love it! Felt pretty proud of myself when it was done…just call me Wendy from Bob the Builder..ha!

    Good luck with the project!

  21. Are you selling that Kravet sectional? I thought you loved it? Maybe you just want something bigger, but could you share any thoughts about why you don’t want that one anymore? I have been coveting that sofa since you got it, but live across country so won’t be a shopper of your sale…good luck with your project. I love these!

    1. I do love it, but for this room we need something bigger and in the room it currently is in we are going to do a regular sofa (no need for TWO sectionals). I loved this sectional because it looked stylish and neat and tidy at all times (the tight tufted back and super supportive cushions)- which was nice since it was in the only living space in the house (where I didn’t want a “loose” feel).
      Also, mine is upholstered in belgian linen and I need something more durable now- so I’ll be using a Crypton treated linen-like fabric on the next one.

  22. Love this! Exactly what I’m thinking for our new family/play room.

    Any sourcing for the shades/blinds?

  23. Hi Erin,
    Longtime reader of your blog. I’d love to read a post about how to determine whose services you need for a project–i.e. what an interior designer can do vs. an architect, or a speciality designer –kitchen/bath vs. straight up interior designer. Your house has me missing Newton hardcore!


  24. Looking forward to your blog sale!! Will you have any pillows from your line available? I’m desperately searching for the Large Navy Greek Key pillows – sold out everywhere!!

  25. DOHM noise machine, it’s my favorite recent kid purchase! We are currently doing a big landscaping project, think bobcat machines digging, stone being cut, beeping trucks and general grinding and pounding, my son has slept through it all with the dohm on. I think Henry will sleep through it all too! My daughter also slept through the next door neighbors in our old brownstone re-doing their kitchen. Don’t stress, he’ll sleep :)

    1. Erin – Your project is going to be amazing. Could you share the windows that you’ll use which are marked A ? I am in the beginning stage of a similar project and I would love to know the windows and the size of them.

      Thank you, Meghan

  26. That said, keep your eyes peeled for a HUGE blog sale in the coming weeks of almost everything in my house. :) Sofas, tables, rugs…. I’m excited to refresh the house for our new life as a family with kids! Stay tuned as we begin! Really

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