Designer’s Notebook: Fulfilling Addition

Innovative Construction builds a bright sunroom over an existing garage to create an outdoor entertainment space for family and friends.

by Kyle Clapham

The homeowners originally wanted a porch and a deck for hanging out with their grandchildren and for grilling. The small lot in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta had limited options for expansion, so the renovation team had to get creative. The original plan was a covered porch, but it evolved into an enclosed sunroom connecting to the house.


“Because the property was small, the only space to do this was over their existing detached two-car garage,” says contractor Clark Harris of Innovative Construction. Because they needed a variance from the city, the permitting process presented many challenges. But it also guided the project, which grew and changed for the better. The end result is a light-filled sunroom atop the existing garage, as well as other improvements to the garage, driveway and entry experience.

Regardless of the project’s scope, the homeowners wanted to make alterations in a way that would respect the architecture of their 1925 home and their quiet street in the historic neighborhood. The efforts of architect Patrick Kirkland of Kirkland + Associates Architects, interior designer Heather Hogan Roberts of Ivy and Vine, and the team at Innovative Construction ultimately gave the couple a brand-new space that looks as though it has always been a part of the house.

They improved the entry experience from the driveway up to the house by replacing and redesigning a set of unsightly wood stairs with concrete steps that lead to both the lower and main levels of the home. They also added new decks and a retaining wall. This improved the connection to the driveway, the sidewalk and the rest of the neighborhood. The team connected the new sunroom space atop the garage to the main house through a new interior breezeway and through an exterior entry off the new deck.

Careful attention to detail created strong connections between the original home and the addition. Kirkland specified brickwork and rough-cut stone sills under the addition’s windows to match those on the house, and the scalloped siding matches the siding on the home’s dormer. The brackets under the roof overhang echo those on the existing structure.

“Attention to such details can be more expensive, but it helps maintain value, particularly in a historic home,” Harris says. They improved the original portion of the garage with a new standing seam metal awning and coordinating brackets. And lush landscaping hides the exposed foundation and helps make the addition look as though it was always part of the original structure.

Indoors, the homeowners wanted a light and airy space they could enjoy with their children and grandchildren. Expansive windows lend the light while a high vaulted ceiling lends the airy. The windows also provide vast views of the foliage and sky.

Roberts used the same careful consideration to create connections between old and new on the interior. At the same time, she freshened up the style to match the more modern light and airy feeling. They decided upon a coastal cottage-inspired style that suited the charming two-bedroom cottage. She mimicked the millwork and marble of an original fireplace in the house to create cohesion on the interior. And reclaimed beams lend a sense of age to the new space.

At the same time, the new sunroom does stand out. “The brass finishes and shiplap throughout give it a more updated look,” Roberts says. Breezy, white Roman shades soften the windows, while dark engineered hardwood flooring warms the space and adds contrast to the white walls and ceiling.

As for furnishings, an oriental rug layered over a larger natural fiber rug anchors the space, bringing in color and pattern. Transitional-style armchairs and a sofa with slim arms are more updated than overstuffed, yet they are very comfortable for conversations and movie nights. A mix of ceiling lights, sconces and table lamps provide layers of lighting options to fit any mood.

“Having such a comfortable room which accommodates our family has been a wish fulfilled,” says homeowner Becky Martell. “We so enjoy working and relaxing in such a light filled space; it’s our favorite place.” QR

Clark Harris is the founder and owner of Innovative Construction. Originally from Cincinnati, Clark moved with his family to Hingham, Massachusetts. While growing up in Massachusetts, Clark was initially exposed to the construction industry by working on jobsites in the summers and holidays while going to college. Upon graduating from St. Lawrence University with a degree in history/education, he moved south to Atlanta. In 2000, Clark decided to start his own business that specializes in renovation and restoration.

Founded by Heather Hogan Roberts, Ivy and Vine’s aesthetic combines her New England heritage and the southern classicism of her new home. Roberts spent more than a decade in New York City, working as the fashion director for ELLE, JANE and Allure magazines. Her 12-year career in marketing, advertising and public relations has helped her immensely in developing her own distinct vision, which is a unique juxtaposition of fashion and home décor.

Founded in 1983, Kirkland + Associates Architects, P.C., is keenly aware of the importance of every project and the value that a successful project brings, not only to the owner and the architect, Patrick Kirkland, but also to the community.

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