Windows and Doors

Installing the windows and doors is a major step of the house building process. It usually arrives after a very long time of quiet and perceived inaction, when in reality, the various components are being cut, sanded, constructed, fitted to glass, glued, nailed, oiled, and dried, all in a little hide-away shop which in our case, was down the road at a friends’ house. One of our favouite windows is a double paned, bevelled glass design that has been in the collection of my father-in-law for many years. We made a yellow cedar frame for it and set it within the day bed nook on the west side of the house.

Two huge 8 foot by 4 foot double pane windows were hauled from the recesses of the workshop, where they have been moved around and stored for some 10 years. The two windows, which are fir on the inside and metal clad on the outside, had been part of an even larger array of glass, built in place (for someone else’s house) with a set of double sliding glass doors which arrived on the island with a faulty metal track. The window company that had custom made them was required to make a new set, and the offer of free windows to us was not passed up. We cut the two window panels from the array and stored them in our quiver of building supplies ever since. We essentially re-built them into the south wall with fir double french doors in between them instead of sliding doors.

Similar to our first house, we used yellow cedar for the windows from the same wood salvaging supplier on the next island over from us, and fir for the doors. The spaces in which they fit needed to be shimmed, braced, and stuffed with insulation before the trim is set in place, and the windows finally become the imbedded and framed view we imagined from the beginning.

The doors can be more complicated, with wide sills at their feet needing to be installed, catches and locks set in the correct place, weather stripping attached, and the fine art of hanging them upon their hinges can be a painstaking task of patience. However, the details eventually get attended to and the house takes on a completely different feel of shelter- with a clearly defined boundary of inside versus outside.

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