The room that has undergone the most transformation in the 18 years since we moved to St. Louis' other Hill, "Snob Hill," is our sun room. If we have time we will dig through mountains of fading snapshots and show how this room has progressed under our care.
The sun room is one of the features of this house which caused the realtor to warn us before touring it, "It's not for everybody." We know this to be true 1) Because we bought it, and 2) Because over the years, we have met several families who toured during the six months it was on the market and who said, "No thanks." This room addition was added to the back of the house and faces southward. Originally tacked on during the energy crisis in the early 1970s, it was constructed of rough-hewn cedar beams and paneling and was filled with black 55-gallon drums. The purpose was to warm the water in the drums during the winter and to off-heat to help warm the house. When we moved in, the barrels were gone and the family before us tried to make it more liveable. They get an E for effort, but not much else.
To access the room, we open an external Dutch Door (now an internal door), step onto a small landing and walk down six steps. There is no eating area in the kitchen, so casual meals are served here.
After storm damage, we torn the structure down to the slab and redesigned it to serve our purposes. Between budgetary constraints, the hard use of two growing sons and a general focus on other parts of the house, this room languished. We have had four tables in the sun room, and now we finally have the right one. The previous table was a nice dark walnut with bar-height chairs. We chose this type because one of our Parson's Terriers, Max, figured out how to get up on the old chairs and steal food -- hence one of his many nicknames, The Hamburgler. Now that he is too old to jump, we are able to return to normal height chairs.
We are not finished working on this room, but this set gets us a step closer. We added the French antique plant stand earlier this summer. We believe in buying used from tag sales, resale shops and estate sales. This approach often takes much longer than buying new, but the hunt is part of the fun. And, it teaches us patience.
Next stage: We are saving to install a tile floor.