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Home design: Here comes the sunroom

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A fusion of Craftsman and rural farm esthetic carries through this home by Ardington + Associates and Maple Leaf Custom Homes, which includes an interior to exterior fireplace. Supplied

Custom home builder Gord Weima agrees COVID has changed things. “People are spending more time in their backyard and creating more living spaces inside their backyard,” he says. “There’s literally a shortage of cedar and pressure treated (wood) in the city right now… So many people are doing home projects and decks and all that kind of stuff because they’re spending more time at home than they ever did before.”

This two-storey pool house by Brenmar Construction oozes luxury. It includes motorized retractable screens on three sides for the experience of an open-air living space and decorative details such as large ceramic tile floors, dressed ceiling beams, custom wood paneling, mosaic and ceramic backsplashes and a myriad of lighting options. Photolux Studio

Besides, a sunroom or other enclosed indoor/outdoor space helps extend Ottawa’s short summer, says Kim Pijselman of Cedarstone Homes, who often adds a sunroom to the homes he builds. “A sunroom extends the usable season by a month in the spring and a month in the fall.”

And a screened-in area lets us enjoy the outdoors minus the bugs, notes Herb Lagois of Lagois Design-Build-Renovate. “We encourage our clients to think about not only their interior living but their exterior living as well.”

He also finds homeowners are optimizing their home as a cottage. “I’m a good example, we entertained (the idea of) getting a cottage (but) we love our home, love our outdoor space, and I’m too busy as it is. I can’t imagine taking care of another property.”

Whether you’re thinking of a sunroom, a lanai, an outdoor kitchen or even just a dedicated lounging area, you can expect to recoup at least half of the cost of updating an outdoor space. For instance, adding a deck will return about 72 per cent of the cost and adding a patio returns 55 per cent, according the Cost vs. Value report prepared annually by Remodelling Magazine.

“Imagine a wonderful outdoor space that we can gravitate to and enjoy without just being trapped indoors,” says Lagois. “For me to simply watch the birds in our backyard allows me to let go of all the stresses for a while.”