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May 07, 1988 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-07

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hot tub was added
to a house on a
wooded lot. The
steps leading up
to the hot tub
platform are lined
with flowering
plants and shrubs.




olariums are the answer for
those interested in enjoy-
ing the out-of-doors all year
round, but within the con-
fines of less rigorous conditions.
Once called greenhouses and
once used primarily for growing
exotic plants, solariums are quickly
becoming an important part of the
American residence.
Since the energy-conscious
days of the 1970s, more than
300,000 greenhouse-like struc-
tures have been built onto Ameri-
can homes, turning the glass room
or wall enclosure concept (also
known as sunroom extensions) in-
to a $1.5 billion industry.
Bob Binsfield, president of Con-
servations Unlimited, Inc., South-
field, says that the growth is taking
place more quickly in states such
as Michigan because even though
the temperatures dive in winter,
people still like to feel as though
they are living outdoors.
About 70 percent of the solari-
ums Binsfield constructs are
separate rooms with glass doors.
The remaining are add-ons to a
kitchen or family or breakfast




"Whatever it is, it becomes the
most popular room in the house,"
says Binsfield. "When guests visit,
everyone gravitates to that area.
Some even put their TV in the
solarium and it becomes the den
or family room."
Binsfield says that the average
solarium of 10' by 15' costs about
$15,000 to construct and that costs
can reach much higher depen-
ding upon the materials and
custom features.
Technological advances in glass
material has made it possible for
the present state of the solarium
art in which the glass lets in light
yet prevents 65 percent of the
sun's heat from penetrating the
To prevent solariums from
becoming too warm, dozens of
shading systems are offered.
Shading systems are also effective
for providing privacy, and add
to the aesthetic quality of the
"If all the sun's heat entered a
room, the temperature would
reach 130 degrees in the summer,
and no one would be using the
room," explains Binsfield. "The

type of glass used determines how
the room will function. It's impor-
tant that customers understand
this and that the company they've
hired to construct the solarium
provides quality material."

Binsfield likes to work with his
customers, getting them involved
with the design. He and his staff
also work with those who pur-
chase the do-it-yourself kits which
can save 25 percent of the costs.

Even though the renovations
may not spell profit when it comes
to reselling their homes, The
Blooms and the Kaplans are
among the ever increasing
number of folks who are spending
more on home improvements that
enhance their leisure time. As an
oft quoted saying states: "We
don't stop playing because we
grow old; we grow old because we
stop playing." Adding recreational
structures to our homes certainly
increases the possibilities for
leisure, making it not merely a
refreshing change from tedious
work, but recognizing leisure as
profoundly important in its own

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