(ARA) - Drive around any neighborhood in your hometown and chances are good you'll see work trucks in your neighbors' yards. With the kids home from school and life at a more casual pace, summer is one of the most popular times of year to take on a home improvement project.
According to Remodeling Magazine, during the summer months, the most popular projects are those that expand and enhance living space. Looking for a project that will achieve both objectives? How about adding on a sunroom?
"A sunroom offers a unique experience in your home. It allows you to enjoy all the positive aspects of your backyard -- the flowers, trees, birds and other wildlife -- without having to deal with the negatives such as rain, bugs and heat," says Brian Pitman, spokesman for the National Sunroom Association (NSA).
Over the years, people's perception of what constitutes a sunroom has changed dramatically. They've gone from being simple screen or glass enclosures to grand rooms that add living space and enhance the architectural design of a home.
The variety of what's available today is evident in the results of the NSA's 4th annual design awards competition. A panel consisting of judges from the architecture/interior design field chose six winners from a pool of nearly 100 entries. Sunrooms were categorized by the type of roof they had -- glazed or opaque, and how much they cost to construct: less than $15,000, $15,000 to $30,000 and $30,000 and over.
"We are very pleased with the quality of entries we received this year," said Pitman. "The winners represent the very best in sunroom design."
Roger Foote, a do-it-yourselfer from Westport, Conn., won the Glazed Roof Sunroom Less than $15,000 category. He put a do-it-yourself kit up on an existing deck. "The do-it-yourself kit we used was wonderful," says Foote. "We used the sunporch at Christmas and put our Christmas tree out here. It has actually been a godsend. This is our place where we come and relax."
Bob and Judy Culli of Sullivan, Ill., winners of the Opaque Roof Sunroom $30,000 and Over, consider their sunroom a godsend too. "I had always wanted a back porch," explains Judy, "but we didn't get a back porch when we built the house. With allergies during the springtime, I figured an all-season room would be nice."
The Culli's sunroom features windows all around, wood paneling inside and a cathedral ceiling roof, also with paneling. Outside, it is fully finished with siding, and has a backdoor leading inside.
To view photos and videotape of this year's winners, log on to www.nationalsunroom.org. Courtesy of ARA Content