Black Lives Matter. Period.
  • The Sunroom

    One of the other projects we hustled our butts off to get completed prior to Zano’s 1st birthday party (which was already 3 months ago! Jeeze!) was our sunroom. Unfortunately we ran out of time and couldn’t get the space completely finished, but we were able to get the new tile laid on the floors literally the day before the party #closecall

    Here is a photo of the sunroom, the day we closed on the house. I get why the sellers painted the floors, but something about this color just magnified dirt. I could never keep it clean.

    SUNROOM Before | brittanyMakesThis space isn’t one I’d expect you to hate, chucks, I didn’t hate it that much, but there’s nothing great going on here and I knew from the moment we bought the house that I’d have to make a few changes in order to make this space feel welcoming.  It’s not pictured, but one of the complaints we had over this space was how it was accessed. We had this bulky (and broken) sliding door that literally took your entire body weight to open. I’m not going to hate on sliding doors, most homes have them, but I will point out that no person ever said “oh! that sliding door really helps make that extra space feel like an extension of the home”. Nope. It’s never been said. I checked!

    What I’m getting at is, the sliding door was preventing this space from feeling like an extension of our, rather small, home. It was broken anyway, so we decided to replace the door with French doors (!!!)


    Sunroom-door-&-stepWe had to extend the door opening by about 4-6 inches to fit our new doors, which actually wasn’t that big of a deal. We also had to extend the step all the way to the right wall. Luckily our landscapers were working on our backyard and helped our contractor frame out, rebar, and pour the additional concrete for the step extension. It was definitely 2+ man job.



    Sunroom-stepWhile our contractor was prepping the sunroom floor for tiling, my husband went on to pre-seal a few hundred individual tiles. If you’re thinking about using cement tile for a project, this step is crucial! Cement tile is SUPER porous, and will soak up anything and everything if not properly sealed. We chose to grout this tile with black grout, and knew if we didn’t pre-seal the tile job could go bad so fast, and there’s almost no method of recovery once the tile has been stained.

    Sunroom-tileWe pre-sealed the tile 3 times. There were a small handful of tiles that must not have gotten the triple treatment… we ended up having to strip the sealer and use an acid wash in order to get them clean. Let’s just say that wasn’t a good day. Our contractor is basically a magician. Tile is his trade and he knew the secret concoction to get them back to normal looking. Bottom line, make sure you pre-seal! It would be great if these cement tile companies would pre-seal their shiz so their customer’s don’t have a coronary upon installation.

    black & white ceramic tile | brittanyMakesBelow is just after the tile was grouted. Can you spot the few in the back corner that have a darker haze? Those are the tiles that had to get the magic potion treatment.


    Sunroom-tiles-groutedBack to the vision of this space… I envisioned this space as being an extension of our house, and a great bridge to the backyard. I wanted to create a casual lounge + play area with built in  benches decked with pillows, hanging plants and cacti, you know – like a mini California retreat.  I’ve always kept Sarah’s built-in benches in the back of my mind, I loved how she angled the sides of the benches – a spot for drinks or in our case, Zano’s sippy cup.

    Sunroom-building-benchesI had it in my mind I would build these benches myself, then the reality check set in a) there was no way I could get them built myself before the party and b) projects like this always take me 20x longer to do myself. Our contractor busted these benches out in a day. I call that money well spent!

    Sunroom-benches-1Our contractor framed the benches with 2″x4″s and finished with 1″x2″ cladding and galvanized screws. Then he cut and laid plywood for the bench seats. We left about an inch lip with the top piece of cladding to help keep the bench cushions (which I still have to finish sewing) in place. Also, notice the angled drink ledge! So fancy.

    DIY built in bench seating | brittanyMakesI stained the wood using the same stain recipe Sarah did on her built-in benches.

    DIY built in bench seating | brittanyMakes


    sunroom built in benches | brittanyMakes


    black & white cement tile in sunroom | brittanyMakes


    That’s where we’re at with the sunroom. Hopefully I get these bench cushions finished this week since we’re hosting another party this weekend! If it weren’t for these forcing functions my house would probably be full of half completed projects. No joke.

    1. Wow, it’s looking so good already, I can’t wait to see the finished space. Perhaps I should start planning social events as motivation to finish up some projects here…

    2. Gah! It is looking so amazing, Brittany!! That tile is just delicious and the bench is perfect. I pretty much love any built-in of any kind!

    3. Looks so good!! Parties ALWAYS motivate us to finish projects at our house! We’d be living in DIY hell without them, ha!!

    4. wow, this looks SO good! nice job. i noticed that you no longer have that beautiful lucent lightshop hanging over your kitchen table…where did it go??

    5. I’m obsessed with this space! I recently purchased some cement tile for our entry way and was hoping you could tell me what you used to pre-seal the tile? Thanks so much!

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