Opening up a small, enclosed room with a bank of Queen Anne windows created a sunny retreat that’s perfect for the 1888 house.
Adding a Victorian conservvatory fixes a remodeling.
When my husband, Duke Ellingson, and I set foot into the Victorian Queen Anne house, built in 1888, we knew this was the one for us. The house is solid and well built—and most of the woodwork had never been painted. The previous owner, a restorer of church antiquities, had stabilized the structure. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of work to do.
We read OHJ cover to cover, and we’re not afraid of demolition, because it doesn’t take any skill. As we removed dropped ceilings in rooms all over the house, we grew curious about a small, narrow bedroom on the south side. Although it faced south, it had only one window, an odd horizontal that looked like it was put in sometime in the 1950s.
We came into possession of some historic pictures of the house, taken around 1900. As it turned out, that room had been a side porch. The space retained the original, coffered porch ceiling. We wanted to open it up and have something really sunny. We thought: It used to be a porch, so why couldn’t we make it into a sun porch or conservatory?
That got the ball rolling. I tend to create my ideas and then try to find people who can work with me on them, so I started by sketching the windows I wanted. They’re in the Queen Anne style, where small, square panes of glass surround a large pane
ARCHIVAL BEFORE ARCHIVAL An early 1900s photo shows that what is now the conservatory room was originally an open porch. BEFORE The room, a former porch, looked like a faceless bump-out when these owners bought the house. LEFT Storm windows protect new, custom-made windows.