Before and After: The Balcony We Added Off Our Primary Suite!!

May 4, 2021

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When we moved into this home, it had a (surprisingly dark) sun room, that we knew from the beginning needed to be a dining room. At the time we had no idea what would be involved in making that happen, but this is where we started:

Of course, once we started tearing into the sun room, we discovered the worst – no footings around the perimeter. From what we gather, the original owners built the sun room over a patio, not taking into account proper foundation (and it showed inside, where the addition had started pulling away from the house and causing leaks in the roof).

So to make it right, the entire section needed to be ripped off and rebuilt, with proper footings. Never ones to waste an opportunity, we decided to go all in and convert the roof of the new structure into a private balcony, off the home’s primary suite.

The above photo was taken almost exactly one year ago, as we were addressing the mold we found all over the exterior. A summer of construction and dozens of hiccups later, and our balcony now looks like this:

The back of our home at twilight makes my heart flutter. The sun setting through the trees, casting light across the dark exterior turned out better than anything I could have imagined.

We coated the balcony in a thick, sanded epoxy, but the winter moved in before we could get it completed (just enough to winter-proof it). Before we leave we’ll have that finished up. To ensure proper drainage (ie, we didn’t just have water cascading directly onto the balcony and settling itself up against the house) we ran the copper gutter around the chimney stack. We felt this was a necessary step for the long-term integrity of the home, and with the copper gutters we knew it would still be so pretty.

The railing was custom built off of drawings that Chris and I put together. We wanted to mimic the fence that lines the perimeter of our home (you know I love a call back). We hired a metal fabricator to custom make the railing and they sourced the tempered glass as well. Of course gaps that large don’t pass building code, so adding the large, tempered glass panels keeps the line of sight clear.

Of course we’re a bit sad we never had the chance to really use this balcony. It’s never even had furniture on it! But we love standing out there on the evenings where the warmth hangs in the air just a little longer, watching the girls play in the backyard. And we just know the new owners will love it every bit as much as we wish we could.

It always seems to happen that we’re putting finishing touches on our home as we head out the door. That we sometimes don’t get to experience something the way we envisioned when we planned it. But when you renovate a space to make it the best it can be, it feels good to know that whoever is there, will get to love it the way you wanted to.

The balcony was the very last project to finish up before revealing the full exterior. I know many of you have seen nearly EVERY ANGLE of it (we’re not ones to hold back), but were still planning a full post with all the before and afters and maybe a budget breakdown if we can stomach the thought. Converting the porch to a dining room and adding a proper balcony, on top of everything else we did to our exterior, was not a quick project (it’s been about 18 months in the making) or a cheap fix, but I’d say it looks like a million bucks and it wasn’t that much. ;)

One last before and after of this labor or love!

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What do you think?

  1. amanda says:

    Oh my goodness, so stunning! Love the photo from the patio below. Gorgeous!!

  2. Liz S says:

    I would love to see a budget breakdown if you’re willing to share. We’re contemplating a very similar project and it would be helpful to have a point of reference. I love the way you added a gorgeous space and how it made the roofline more current.

  3. Teri says:

    Are those real boxwoods in your pots? And if not, could you give me your source? They look really good.

  4. Sherry says:

    Absolutely Stunning !!! Amazing talent to have this kinda vision ! Have loved following along …A mood board on what the kitchen was going to be would be fantastic …Lol !! May your life’s continued to be blessed ❤️

  5. Jasmine says:

    It really is stunning. What a perfect spot for a morning or sunset yoga session!

  6. Elizabeth Anne Weber-Falk says:

    Your home is lovely. I have to say that this addition makes your home not just lovely but impressive. So very nice.

  7. Molly says:

    Simply beautiful!

  8. Laurielulu says:

    Such an incredible transformation❣️ I am 💔 that I can no longer follow this home. Consolation? Hell yes, another CLJ home in an amazing new location. Love you guys so much, it is such a joy to follow your life 💋💋

  9. Diane says:

    It’s beautiful! I love the idea of having tempered glass panels, but I’m curious about how you would keep them clean – especially on the outside?

  10. Vicki says:

    So very beautiful! I love the copper against the dark finish of the house. The photo at sunset is just stunning. You did such an amazing job turning this house into a masterpiece, inside and out. The new owners are blessed to be able to enjoy your labor of love. Your readers will miss it also. This one has followed along through every detail.

  11. Denise says:

    Simply stunning! Question not directly related to the balcony but seeing the chimney reminded me…what was the final outcome of the fireplace? I recall there being issues with the flame size/output. Was that ever resolved?

  12. Mirror says:

    Also, my family thinks I’m crazy because I want a private balcony, not a “hang out everyone party balcony.” Just like yours, our balcony would only be accessible through our bedroom. I remember you said you were going to add stair access outside.

    I know it’s a bummer you won’t really be able to enjoy it, but how do you imagine you would have used the space if you weren’t moving?

    • Julia says:

      Private balcony is the way to go. Chris and I come out here in the mornings and evenings. Just a peaceful place to relax.

  13. Mirror says:

    I’ve been waiting for this reveal! It’s so perfect. Would you say there was a big price different between a balcony vs a roof? (If we’re not counting the fancy custom railing).

    This is my dream project for our home, at a much smaller scale, and I love how yours is built in and not just a deck stuck to the side of the house.

  14. Just plain amazing! Can’t wait to see what you do at your new home!

  15. Janie says:

    Amazing. I’ve been following the renovation since day one and know that so much work went into it.

  16. Meredith says:

    This is so gorgeous! I would love to see a little mood board for how you would have furnished your balcony had time been on your side!

    • Kimberly says:

      I second this! I have two similar spaces in my home (though much smaller) – would love to see how you’d furnish!

  17. Alisa says:

    Just lovely! Would love to see a mood board of what you would have furnished the balcony with!

  18. Jill says:

    I just keep thinking how lucky this house was that you loved it. It looks like it’s always been this way, and nestled into the mature trees and landscaping, it really is a dream. You leave every house so much better than you found it, and that makes me very excited to see your next vision become reality!

  19. Katy says:

    Gah! What a dream! I think you should move some of your current outdoor furniture up there just for fun. Host a game night up there! Bring the outdoor dining table and some lounge chairs up there for one fun night to realize it’s full potential just *once* before you say farewell to this beautiful home you’ve built.

  20. It looks so amazing, it’s that finishing touch I didn’t even know the back balcony needed!

  21. Karissa says:

    This is STUNNING!! It really is so beautiful and it looks like that was exactly what the house wanted to be it just had to go through it’s awkward phase to get there.
    With the solid winters that you get in Idaho, what did you have to adjust to accommodate for heavy snowfalls and lots of runoff with the spring thaw? I’d love to do something like this but I’m intimidated with our Michigan winters!

  22. Venita says:

    My memory is failing, was there a fireplace in the sunroom? I have to go back and look at your first walkthrough bc Im wondering why there’s a chimney along that wall outside your room, since the fireplace was in the arched Windows, right?

  23. Liv says:

    I’ve been wanting a view of what it’s like when you walk out your doors onto the balcony and what the view is like from the balcony for some reason!

  24. Ashley says:

    STUNNING! Literally. Can you fall in love with an exterior? In that lighting? Heart flutters!!

  25. Dee says:

    So gorgeous!

  26. Tanja says:

    It’s so beautiful Julia and Chris. The colours, the detail around the doors. Everything!

  27. Lisa says:

    It’s amazing how you took a home that was so overwrought with unnecessary details, rooflines, etc. and turned it into the house it was always meant to be! It’s just beautiful and the new owners are very lucky to get to experience all of the wonderful changes you have made.

  28. Kelly says:

    Wow. Of all the stunning views of your renovated home, this is the one that stops me in my tracks every time. I love the balcony/dining room design so, so much. I’m a little bummed that you never got to finish it with furnishings & décor – I bet it would have been even more stunning.

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