Room with a view

A greenhouse in the forest doubles as a sunroom
Jim McCausland

When you're warm and dry, the winter garden is a lovely place to be. Rain makes sword ferns glisten; mixed flocks of juncos, nuthatches, and chickadees work the trees above, and frost outlines swelling buds on shrubs.

Richard and Marcy Lowy built a fully enclosed garden room and greenhouse to connect them with nature. Its generous windows frame garden views on three sides, and on mild days, the room's double doors open up to let in fresh air, the calls of wild birds, and the burble of a small stream nearby.

Designed by the Lowys together with Portland architect John Cava, this custom addition seamlessly connects with both the main house and a garden: Identical floor tiles run from the house through the addition, and the large custom windows flood the interior with light. Granite tile counters and a cold-water sink outfit the room for year-round potting and plant maintenance. To provide growth-stimulating illumination on dark winter days, plant lights hang above a series of shelves designed for seed starting and overwintering houseplants.

When not caring for plants, the Lowys enjoy relaxing at a small glass-top table―the perfect spot for coffee and garden watching on a rainy morning.

Design: John Cava Architect, Portland (503/238-7777)