Peek Inside this Amazing Sunroom

By Marni McEntee | Photographed By Shanna Wolf

Bring on the mint juleps and the pecan pie.

When Ryan and Janelle Baxter envisioned the sunroom in their Madison manse, they extended the Southern vibe that infuses the rest of their stately lakeside home into the four-season space.

The bright and warm room, with blue accents and nautical décor, is meant to draw a crowd. And, Ryan Baxter says, it does.

The couple, who got engaged in Savannah, Georgia, likes the feel of the Old South. It just brings back happy memories of the day they decided to tie the knot, Baxter says.

“We wanted it to feel like an old Southern porch; relaxing, casual, a place we could always feel like we were on vacation.”

It features a red brick fireplace, which allows the room to be used all year, an indoor grill and large windows with a view of Lake Mendota.

The room also has robin’s egg blue bead board ceilings to accent the white bead board walls, and cement floors (much loved by the dogs because they’re cool in the summer.) The blue pinstripe window covers were a team effort by Janelle and her mother, Barbara.

Rather than opt for doors leading out to the shoreline, the Baxters decided to allow the room to open via double doors to the rest of the house, built by Classic Custom Homes of Waunakee.

“We got odd looks from people when we said we wanted no exterior doors, but we were so grateful for doing it that way. We never worry about bugs getting in, and it’s also not a busy highway with people coming and going all the time,” Baxter says.

Plus, the couple has convinced their 2-year-old daughter that the porch is actually “outside,” so she can go there any time, be safe and secure and not get bug bites.

In another nod to the South, the Baxters do crab boils three or four times a summer, dumping all the fixings on a news-paper-covered table in the porch and enjoying the feast. And they grill indoors year-round.

“It’s the one room in our house where we can just kick back and relax, take in the view, the sounds of the seasons, watch thunderstorms roll in,” Baxter says. “We call it our weekend room. It always feels like the weekend when you step in there.”

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