Windowsill With Jade

Windowsill With Jade

Before:

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After (in progress):

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More of the story

When we first saw the house, the sun porch with its solid bank of windows was a memorable feature and one of the things that commended the whole venture to us.

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But you’ll notice: they aren’t really windows. They’re gaps. Open air. In a wall framed with 2×4’s and 4x4s, on top of spindly footings dug into the bare earth. So, like everything else, nothing was as it seemed. We had the simulacrum of a luxurious sun porch, but in reality — a hint. A suggestion. And we would have plenty of opportunity to think it all through for ourselves.

So back in July we found this pair of new casements on Uncle Henry’s:

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They weren’t cheap, but they were less than half regular retail, undamaged, never-used, high-quality “low-e” Energy-Star-rated, new-construction (not replacement) windows. We had looked at many alternatives, including six 4’x4′ windows to fit the existing spaces. But once I recognized that the wall pretty much had to be rebuilt anyway, it opened the field to other window layouts — ones that would maximize our light and view, minimize heat loss, give back some wall- and floor-space, and — in our final layout — provide a spot for a wood stove, which now no longer had to be in the living room, given that the chimney no longer existed….

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Once we got the support structure beneath corrected last week, we could finally tackle the wall.

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All the siding down.

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Temporary “wall” put up to help support the ceiling/roof while the outer wall is taken down. The start of the new 2×8 framing on the right.

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Because each window weighs about 200 lb, and the wall is 10 feet from ground level, we came up with a plan to insert the windows into a pre-fabbed section of framing, which we could then maneuver into position from the inside.

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Worked like a charm… though the second one went better. It always does.

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Yesterday I finished building out the rest of the wall, and took down the temporary support wall.

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And this morning we got the second window into its slot.

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Then we had to retrofit the boarding siding and sill flashing — though loosening the window in its frame to get access was a little hair-raising at times.

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But at the end we get a better sense of what the new space and view will really be like.

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And this long-suffering jade, a cutting from a plant Marsh had for many years, and which we’ve nursed through this move, found a new home.

We expect to do the same in a few weeks.

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