SUMMER PROJECT – Sunroom Balcony

So…we have now had our French doors in the sunroom for over a year. Building codes require that if a door goes out to, well, NOTHING as in our case, a deck or balcony or stairs must be built. We fully intended all along to put in a balcony for pond-and-goose watching. This summer my hubby tackled it. I thought it was only fair he rest over one winter; after all, he laid a complete stone patio with retaining wall last summer. He has said on more than one occasion, “I am getting too old for this.”

1. After pouring footings for two support beams with the help of our son, he screwed stringers against the barn wall under the doors the width of the new balcony. By the way, I did not want a balcony or deck with a staircase. For one thing that would mean tracking in from outside directly into the great room. I prefer we come through the mud room in the lower level. I also did not want another easily accessible entrance to our home from the back side of the barn, even though we have it lit with a security light.
2. He then ran joist across to the stringers and bolted them to the supports. That was the hardest part and I helped by holding beams, etc. in place while hubby leveled and used the screw driver.
3. Our son helped him finish all the floor joist. That was an all-day job. Hubby had already done the tricky part where joist had to go around a curve to accommodate our brick farm silo. ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE PARTS OF THIS PROJECT IS USING THE COLLAR OF THE SILO AS THE FOUNDATION FOR TWO OF THE SUPPORT BEAMS. The deck skirts the silo, enabling him to use the curved side as a wall instead of a railing at one end as well. We love the fact that our unique garden element–a 100-year-old silo–will be incorporated into the balcony.
4. The balcony is long enough to span the back of the barn from the French doors in the sun room to an emergency door we had installed in the dining room when our home was a shop. That door also went out to a drop but it was only an emergency exit. Now it will be another entrance to the balcony making outside eating very convenient.
5. Today hubby is putting in additional angle supports to make sure those extremely heavy support beams decide never to move.

The next step is the “fun part,” he said–putting on the decking. After that, all that will be left is the railing. It definitely needs a strong railing as it is an 8-foot drop to the ground.

Following are pictures of the balcony in progress.
IM007956

View of silo "wall" from the upstairs.

View of silo “wall” from the upstairs.

About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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