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The Garden Room

Opening Your Home to a Garden Room

Opening Your Home to a Garden Room

Whether you call it a Garden Room or Indoor/Outdoor living, opening your home to your garden is probably the single most expansive change you can make in the feeling of your house.

Rendering - BeforeLet’s look at the remodeled home, above.  The rendering to the left is the room prior to the renovation.  It’s a typical room in almost any house — especially homes built in the early part of the 20th century.  The window faces the front yard.  The room is awkwardly narrow with a fireplace at the end of the room not visible in the rendering.  Because the window faces the front yard and street, the homeowners usually kept it curtained to protect privacy.
Rendering - After Step 1To the right is a rendering with the structural changes but before the garden room was created.  A screened porch off the front door, not originally visible from the living room, was turned into a sunroom. The front door was moved to the adjacent wall — creating a nice focal point as well as providing the opportunity to create a separate entrance garden (see last image).  French doors open the living room to the new sunroom.  Another pair of French doors open to the front yard.
Rendering After - Part 2The final rendering shows the effect of an enclosed patio off the new French doors.  Now not only does the out-of-doors feel like a part of the house but you’re welcomed outside to the new patio.
Garden RoomThe patio is a Garden Room.  Just like any other room, a Garden Room has walls and a ceiling.  In this garden room, two walls are formed from the house itself.  And just like rooms in your house, you can enter the garden room from the adjacent enclosed rooms — from the living room and from the sunroom.  The other two walls of the garden room are created by an 8′ tall pergola.   The canopy of a tree — along with the pergola — create the ceiling to the new garden room. We benefited from existing mature plantings — shrubs and trees that aid in the sense of enclosure and increased privacy.  Note: The cobble patio was raised above the roots to to avoid stressing the tree. We also worked around the water meter which became part of the fabric of the patio.
Garden Room Walls Garden Room Walls Strategic views of the street are blocked by stained glass panels in the pergola.  Now there’s no need for curtains to provide privacy — the Garden Room visually and physically expands the home and provides a buffer from the street — and making use of an often wasted front yard.
Garden Room in Winter
All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build

About the Author


I'm the owner and principal of Braitman Design/Build. We remodel older homes within the urban and close-in suburban areas of Washington, DC. In addition to our full service Design/Build Practice We welcome small design projects and small home improvement projects. And consult with homeowners across the country who want to design and manage the remodeling process themselves. Finally, my work is informed by my experience as an exhibiting sculptor and designer. I truly work at the intersection of art, architecture and design. Please see for yourself the extraordinary result when architecture, design and art are seamless parts of the whole. Please also visit my sculpture website: www.jackiebraitman.com

2 Responses to “The Garden Room”

  1. avatar

    [...] One opens onto a back stone patio.  With the screened porch on the 4th side,  there are now garden rooms on all sides of the house.  The stone veneer on the terrace compliment the colors of the original [...]

  2. avatar

    [...] quite different if the outdoors beyond the patio door was not designed and furnished like a room (see discussion of Garden Rooms).  If it was a yard or woods, you would feel separated from it — a distinction between [...]