Tuesday, December 23, 2014

walls and windows

For nearly two months I've been looking everywhere - salvage yards, lumber yards, re-stores, building supply places - for a gable window solution. Last Saturday I visited an odd place where I have bought windows in the past; it's a field with a scattering of tractor-trailer containers filled with a crazy assortment of materials, ranging at any given time from hot tubs to stockade fencing. 

It's not really easy to get to. The drive is a half hour over mostly rough road. The final section is dirt. I was relieved to find it had been plowed.

And after weeks and weeks of futile searching for just one window -

just one - is that too much to ask? -

in five minutes, I had found two.

I don't know what to call either of these shapes, but here are pictures:

Since either window seemed miraculously likely to fit the gable,
and since each window had its own interesting qualities,
I bought both - with the agreement that one would be returned.

Tuesday morning, I asked the carpenter to place each window in the gable. I took pictures from inside and outside, and from the parlor looking toward the porch. Here is the first window:

Not bad!
And here is the second:

I asked the carpenter to raise this one two inches, and...

we have a winner.

Let the framing begin!

It's important that the entire wall looks balanced both outside and inside, and the wall is now a different shape from each side.
In the image below, you can see it clearly;
that horizontal edge above the arch is the center section of the ceiling, built on the collarties of the screenporch roof.

Framed, insulated...

and the interior very neatly done.

The black shape outside the window in the image above is the protective material going on between the OSB and the pine sheathing outside.

There were many, many decisions along the way.
There always are, and it doesn't rattle me; this is not my first rodeo.
But it sure helps when you have a carpenter who likes a challenge,
can toss rapid-fire ideas back and forth, and can both explain his own ideas and envision yours.

No structural changes were made to the original porch,
but there were many places where a decision was needed about the most suitable way to adjust the new to meet the original.
I like this image, because it reflects about six of those decisions:

By the end of last week, more than half the exterior carpentry was done. The electrician returned to add an exterior outlet on the south wall. I was uneasy about its appearance until I had the happy thought of eventually planting a pretty shrub where that tarp-covered woodpile is, on the right in the picture below. I'm very glad to have the outlet, but I don't want my eye drawn to it every time I look at the house.


When the carpenter and his assistant arrived this morning, the west wall was waiting for its pine sheathing. I went out to buy insulating foam to apply around the windows and slider before adding jambs (next week), and when I returned, the west wall was done:

 Here is the south wall, which is the view from the barn:

And here is the east wall, with the slider:

There's still much to be done,
and the carpenter will be back next week.
Building window jambs and sills, the door jamb, and a high shelf running the full length of the gable wall,
will probably take another day.

And then, all the finish work.
A lot of the interior finishing may be done by me (very slowly if I can manage it physically), strictly as a matter of economy. Much of it will be tedious, and most of it will not be easy; urethaning the walls and ceiling, and sanding and finishing the floor are good examples. Lots of work. Some of it may wait til Spring.

And of course in the Spring there will also be the exterior finishing, now prevented by Winter temperatures.

Building all the windowboxes (nasturtiums! lettuces! geraniums?) will probably have to wait as well. Kind of a frill, I suppose, but I am determined to have windowboxes.

Tomorrow I will do the insulation around the window frames, while waiting for a call from the fellow who might have the lumber I want for the jambs. And I will gradually clean up all the construction detritus both on and off the porch - I've been filling a bag for the dump each week and filling the kindling box with scrap, but there still seems to be a layer/heap of stuff everywhere I look, and I don't want it under snow.

Soon, when the porch is tidied up, maybe I will unfold a lawn chair and sit for a while, in the room I envisioned in early November.
Less than two months ago.
Isn't that amazing?


  1. I like your choice of windows. It would have been mine, also. I can't wait to see the finished room. I'm sure you will get lots of enjoyment from it. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks, I think it will be everyone's favorite room in the house :)
      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. WOW! The addition looks fantastic. The window is perfect.
    Thank you for sharing the construction process
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Thank YOU for sticking it out through this very long post with all its pictures! ;)

  3. This IS amazing Quinn!! What a wonderful fit for the gable! I'm so glad you were able to find something now rather than later. What a treasure that lumber yard must be! You seem to have a real gem of a carpenter as well. The new room looks beautiful and snug, and the windows are going to be such a treat through all the seasons. What a cozy home you have there ;) Nice to know you've got everything sorted before Christmas and you can hopefully enjoy a few days reprieve. Merry Christmas Quinn! You got the best present of all!! Wendy x

    1. Thank you, Wendy! I suddeny felt festive today and rushed out and bought a balsam fir...the 2nd-last tree at the feed store! Now the room is about equally divided: half construction site and half extremely beautiful Christmas tree! Merry Christmas to you and yours :)

  4. That is absolutely amazing!!!! It is gorgeous. I love the window, and I love the ceiling wood. It is a perfect little room. I'd live in that room, if I could!

    You have really persevered, and I'm so glad you found the new carpenter.

    Merry Christmas!!!!

    1. If you come and visit, this will be your room :)
      Merry Christmas to you and yours, KB!


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