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Monday, March 2, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday -- A Conservative Conservatory

It's Metamorphosis Monday -- or at least it is for the next 75 or so minutes. It was a snowy crazy day here, and my computer was held hostage by a ruthless capitalist all day long!

But I'm sneaking this one in just under the wire, I hope.... and thanks to Susan of Between Naps On the Porch for hosting! Click here for more stories of magical metamorphii. Or whatever the plural is!

My story is simple, incomplete, and I hope some of you can help write the ending!

Once upon a time... ok, last March... we bought an old house. I love all its old spaces and nooks, but one of the best spots in That Old House is not quite ten years old -- the conservatory.

Previous owners had it built, replacing an open porch that ran along the kitchen "el" of the house. You can see it here, on the right side of the house, if you promise not to look at the peeling old yellow paint and crooked shutters!

Here's my husband, last March, strolling through the sunroom, carrying some unidentified large thing -- I think a shade destined for the give-away pile -- when we were in the paint-before-we-move-in phase:

This picture was taken from the kitchen.

An impromptu meal at a temporary table in the "eating" end of the room.
My girls home for spring break, and roped into house fix-up.

Hey, they went to Alabama to work on Katrina homes! Fair's fair.


Next picture .... moving day, May 2008, in the pouring rain. Ugh.
And, this room has off-white wall to wall carpeting.

Say it with me now, ladies and gents: "What were they thinking?"

By the end of this day, the room was full of boxes, mud,
exhausted wet people and dogs, and very dirty carpet.

I took down the lace curtains, decided we were not ready to replace the
off-white carpeting just yet, and decided to keep the gold color paint for the time being.

So we did a mini-metamorphosis.

In our book-lined family room at the last house,
we had two leather love seats. They are now in the conservatory here,
along with a club chair we moved out of our study when my husband
decided that he wanted (no, deserved) a recliner in the room with the TV.

Presto! A place to sit and chat:
And at the other end of the room, a wonderful old oak table.
Because, ummm boy, we do like our meals, and
so do our friends and family!

This old oak table has a very interesting past. . . but that is a story for a different post!
(Hint: I didn't have to pay for it.)

Don't you love the toe nails on the big feet?

This amazing table has endless leaves, and expands to about ten feet long. Wonderful for holidays, and thankfully there's enough room in the conservatory to let it stretch!

There's still a long way to go in this metamorphosis from empty shell to comfortable sunroom/family room/room off the kitchen.

Big decisions -- what to do about the floor? You walk right into this room from the patio, and it's the entrance most used by everyone, family and friends. Carpeting this pale is a nightmare. The kitchen next door has stone-look ceramic tile, and we'd never be able to match it. Wood? Pricey. Laminate? I worry about moisture with everyone using this entrance right from ground level. More carpet? Aaarrgghhh!!!!!!

The other thing... window coverings. We have none now. What should we get? Any? There's a limit to how much we want to entertain the neighbors, plus the windows get this reflective spooky-black-hole look at night.

See what I mean? Those black windows and ceiling are a little creepy.
One of my possible ghost sightings was in this room. . .
but that story, too, is for another post.

I don't want heavy drapes or shades, and the windows need to swing open, but I'd like something that would give at least the illusion of a bit of privacy when wanted.

What do you think?
Any inspiration?

And why am I so late with this post?
We got about 8-inches of snow today in my part of New Jersey, so my husband decided not to trek to Manhattan, and worked instead from home on my computer.

Sadly, he actually works when he says he will, so I didn't have computer access all day. Hence, the very late post, just squeaking in for Met Monday.

But, boy -- that snow is sure pretty. Howard took these pics; I stayed in with the conservatory heater keeping me nice and toasty!

And about that recliner Howard says he deserves? He is right.
But that doesn't mean he gets to pick it out!


  1. Love your Sun room girl...its so big, I have the same style one and I love the ceiling in mine durning the day..Now what we did with our floors is we painted them with garage paint..its washable and you can get it in many colors takes 2 days to apply with dying time but oh it so wonderful..and I have the same thing no one uses my front door everyone goes to my Sunroom which also is right off my kitchen..we just did our floor last year and even oil won't stick to it...check it out..Thanks for sharing...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    What a beautiful room! I love how you've divided it into 2 useful areas. I was so glad to see the lace curtains go... I love the natural light and seeing the outdoors.

  3. Wow, love your conservatory!!! I'd hate to see you cover any of those amazing windows! What a fantastic room...and sooo big! Thanks for sharing it with us...loved it! Susan

  4. Your conservatory is my DREAM room! We're in the greenhouse biz and I've been wanting a greenhouse off the side of my house for years but somehow the Big Guy just won't go for it.

    I LOVE the look of your windows at night. Don't put drapes up.....invite the neighbors over for a nighcap :)

  5. I love your conservatory -- we have something similar on the back of our house -- a room with walls of glass -- and we have no curtains and yes, the glass does look like a black hole at night -- but we don't seem to mind and often when we have company, we turn on the outside lights -- and it is really pretty looking out.

    As to floor -- ours is brick -- but not "real" brick. A product from Lowe's that looks like real old bricks (the molds were made from bricks 80 years old or older) -- guests really think it is an old brick floor -- it's a great product and about the same price as tile.

    When we added the room on, my floor choice was something waterproof -- no carpet (same reason you said), no wood (I'm a messy waterer and we have a lot of floor plants there) -- so it had to be a waterproof surface.

    The brick is wonderful!

  6. Your conservatory is wonderful! I can actually relate to peeling yellow paint and crooked green shutters - what's the problem?
    I am no help with window coverings. I love that natural light, but understand the privacy issue. I think the garage or porch paint ides for the floor might work. Can't wait to hear about your table and your ghost! :D Jewel

  7. I love your conservatory, I've wanted to add on a sunroom to my house for years...(is there a difference in a conservatory and a sunroom?) It may just be a "southern" thing to call this a sunroom. Have you considered a good quality vinyl floor that looks like wood or stone...they make some great ones and they're easy to maintain. Thanks for visiting with me.

  8. What about some sheers to soften things up a little... like Susan did for her screened in porch.

  9. Hi, Cass, thank you for stopping by! What a beautiful old house you have. I have always loved older homes but never owned one. You're very fortunate to get to love an old one.

    Hope you'll come back to see me!

  10. Oh, the conservatory is spectacular. How about roman shades that can raise all the way up, then you can have privacy when you want and sun when you want. Hugs, Marty

  11. LOVE that conservatory!!! Do you just pinch yourself everyday that you live in such a wonderful old home. I loved seeing the exterior too. love it! (did I say I love it?)

    Great job!

  12. Ditto everyone's comments on your wonderful room. Can't wait to hear about your ghost sighting.

  13. Your home is beautiful and the conservatory is so welcoming! I know you are loving it...and the oak table - love it! Don't know about the windows...would be a shame to cover the view. I like what Susan at Between Naps on the Porch did to her porch with sheers. Have you seen it? Anyway, well done! Linda

  14. I have mosquito netting panels I bought from Overstock (I think) on a wall of doors/windows in my bedroom and I love the look. I can see everything outside, it's a softer look and since no one can see inside, it works fine for me. I was going to suggest really wide plank old fashioned wood look laminate until I read the comment about brick! I love the look of brick - real or not real. Love your home ..........

  15. I love everything I can see about your house.Looks like Gloria has given you plenty of advice.I'm still in the wanting stages of a sun-room.I do have the floor of one,ha...Ann

  16. I love your conservatory. Looks like you've gotten some good suggestions for your windows and floor. I was going to suggest slate for the floor. A totally different look from the tile in the kitchen so it wouldn't look like your were trying to match and just couldn't quite get there.

    However. I know that thing that are cheap and readily available in one part of the country might be more pricey and difficult to find in another part.

  17. Lovely conservatory!
    I have just the place for an addition like this - if only I could talk my husband in to it!!

    For your floor... have you thought about TrafficMaster Allure vinyl faux wood flooring (or a product similar)? This flooring is getting rave reviews because it's easy to install, it's perfect for those areas that can get wet (basements are a good example) and, as I understand it, it can be installed directly onto the cement (keep in mind that the floor would be cold in winter - unless you have radiant heat). Best of all, it looks terrific! If you went for this option you obviously wouldn't be able to match your existing wood floors - the trick would be to find something complimentary... perhaps to the kitchen cabinetry (assuming it's wood).

    Good luck with this!
    Victoria from EdinDesigns @ DesignTies

  18. I love your conservatory and I just adore your house. I wouldn't cover the windows but I think I would be a little scared of the 'black hole' at night too. I can't wait to hear about your resident ghosts maybe you could trace the history of the home and find out who your 'guests' might be!

  19. What a fantastic it! I think the commenter who suggested brick for the floor had a great idea. That would look so nice. For the windows, how about white canvas (or similar) Roman shades, hung at the same level the lace curtains were.

  20. You lucky, lucky, LUCKY girl! That house and sunroom is a dream come true! I am so impressed, your life must be blessed!


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