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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Solutions for unused balcony... sunroom? sleeping porch?

kfritsNovember 7, 2012
I'm looking for ideas on how to better use the second floor balcony space. It is accessed through either of the two bedrooms on either side of it. We live in Seattle and the deck faces west. The only time we consider going out on the deck is during the summer and then it is absolutely baking. I've tried an umbrella and chairs but no one uses it. I have this idea of enclosing the space and making it into an art/reading space that the kids share. Maybe a sunroom. Is this possible? How would the roofline be reconfigured? Right now 1/3 of the deck is recessed and covered and the other 2/3 is exposed.

Just to reiterate, I'm not interested in making it into an outdoor living space because I've tried it and it hasn't worked. Thanks much for your considerations and ideas.
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Anta Design Studio
I like your idea of sun room, but summer backing problem will not be completely resolved.
did you ever considered creating " green wall? basically you will have to create structure to have plants on vertical surface. may solve summer issue.

if you are planing to enclose it, roof line can be a challenge, because you front has such a nice composition and it will be shame to destroy it.
consider either continuing slope with gazing so main structure is still visible, or adding another gable in middle. you need good designer to create proper well composed elevation.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Boy that is a toughie with the complicated roof angles and such. Plus it is so cute the way it is, I would hate to put something too big and out of scale there.

1) The simpliest solution is to put a nicely scaled door t there flush with the gables directly above your front door and the walls continuing the shingle pattern (maybe you can salvage the stuff on the back and sides of the dormers.) and keep the balcony. Don't know what the dimensions are but it may end up like a hallway more than a room, but still could be useful for shared storage or expanded closets or something.

You can maybe project it out a little bit, but I wouldn't go beyond the depth of the brackets or it will look strange. and ceiling height will get low. I would consider moving the brackets inward to compensate for the thickness of the new walls. I also wonder if there may be structural support issues to deal with for the porch below.

2) Another option is to close oof the covered space and make the rest a low dormer, making sort of a play cubbie or storage space, but that could look like too many gables--might be OK if it was pushed back and the roof closed in.

3) I also considered extending the top gable out all the way. or part of the way, but I'm afraid that is going to make the house look really top heavy and the walls will be right next to the windows. Maybe a compromise halfway ther to make a Juliet balcony might work.

Another option is to project the top gable out to the bottom wall, faced with the vertical siding,, but narrowed a bit and the porch roof filled in. Then movie the porch pillar underneath to visually link and support the projecting gable and perhaps widen the steps. Maybe a large windows would soften the effect. I think it will look really off if you don't move the pillar, and it does open up the entry a little.

Option 1 is the cheapest by far and the amount of space you gain with the others may not be worth it

This is something you really need an architect, perhaps the firm that designed it in the first place or that does a lot of Bungalow Revivals, or you will ruin your house.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:08AM
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BTW, a canvas awning is appropiate for this style of house and can really help the heat issue so much better than a table with an umbrella. Shields from the rain too. It can be a permanant feature, not retractable, for studiness and to save some bucks. Back in the day, it was common to build a black metal framework to support the canopy from the cornerposts, especially since it is so deep.

You could even put little awnings on the other windows (rather tight though) or maybe a porch valance below to balance it off. They come in all kinds of beautiful colors to complement your house, and old kit house catalogues from the 20s show them on all kinds of different styles of houses. Too bad they have fallen out of favor because they really can be super cute.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:39AM
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Barbara Ceo
I like the awning idea very much. Changing roof lines is expensive. The plant wall would carry the outside front up. My family in Atlanta has a half moon black awning over front door. Fits well with their style house.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:48AM
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