Cedar Outdoor Living Room Addition


The renovation and cedar-clad outdoor living room addition on our Norwood house project is complete!

In the first phase of this multi-phased renovation project, we focused on redesigning the kitchen’s awkward layout, the disconnection to the rear yard, and putting an infrastructure in place to support the future master bedroom suite phase on the second story. The deck now becomes an outdoor living room, perfect for summer backyard barbecues and lounging under the stars.

Most older homes in Chicago lack an aesthetically pleasing and functional connection to the back yard. The Norwood house was no exception. We removed the existing back porch and replaced it with a multi-functional outdoor living room deck that connects seamlessly with the light-filled kitchen and cozy family room space.

While it was ideal to have a solid cedar wall and railing on the west side of the deck, we opted for a more open solution using cable railing on the stairs and guardrail near the backyard. Cable railings provide higher visibility and make a deck feel more open to the outdoors. We sourced a custom stainless steel post and cable rail system from InLine Design in Seattle, WA. The cable railing, combined with the cedar’s natural beauty, creates a streamlined, unobtrusive look.

The original u-shaped kitchen was impractical with a lot of unusable space, making it clunky to maneuver around. Our solution was to design a more functional, user-friendly kitchen layout. We relocated the sink to a newly installed kitchen island, creating a gathering spot for casual dining and opening up a whole new visual for designated dishwashers.

The addition of a modern, wood-burning RAIS fireplace warms the space quickly and efficiently, creating a cozy atmosphere in an area where guests and family usually tend to congregate. The powder room was updated with a wall-hung toilet (ideal for small bathroom spaces), new vanity, and subway tile making it appear larger and brighter and less like a creepy, wood-paneled, musty cabin bathroom. 

This once ugly step-sister has been transformed into a modern, cozy, do we dare say, 21st-century fox? We dare. Below is a photo of the existing north exterior view and the underwhelming porch, followed by one of many sketches presented to our clients during the schematic design phase.

Existing condition of the back porch

People & Products

  • General Contractor: moss Build
  • Doors/Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors
  • Millwork: Fricano Custom Cabinetry
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Duravit
  • Appliances: Bosch
  • Kitchen Lighting: Juno & LEL, Inc.

All photos by Carmen Troesser