Tag Archive: windows

Hello everyone! I wanted to let you know that after one week being able to focus on my house I am quite sure I made the right decision. I finally feel organized on top of things, rather than 3 steps behind, and I have gotten so much done and I am a much more pleasant person to be around ūüėČ

And, although temporarily leaving my job was a big leap of faith, I am already so grateful for the notes of encouragement I’ve gotten from people, saying they are inspired by what I am doing and wanting to support me to finish my project. At least for this first week, my lack of income has been made up by donation on my indiegogo site, igg.me/at/tinygogo. So thank you so much!!

And I promise you, I have not just been lounging around lazily on my couch with this extra time. Upon deciding to take a leave from Hammerstone and having that big scary conversation with Maria, but having it go better than I could have ever dreamed (she says she wants me to hopefully come back full time after my house is done!), I went home and made this massive To Do list:


I figure this To Do list will take me from now until at least the end of October. But note that some things are already checked off!!

And then I took off for the Mother Earth News Fair, which I wrote about in an earlier Blog post. This was the perfect way for me to celebrate making this shift in my life.

So what have I gotten done this past week? I ordered my metal roof, which should arrive tomorrow if I am lucky! I finishes putting purlins on my roof and got all my stickers and two pairs of saw horses made in preparation for all my window trim and siding wood to come. And indeed, I was all prepared when it came from a local saw mill, Cory Schillif, on Thursday!


Stickering wood is important to let it dry properly and minimize the chances of it warping or twisting too much. It also helps to prevent mold and bugs that might like to take home in a pile of wet wood.

Yes, it is the sad truth, until now I have used the one pair of plastic sawhorses that I borrowed from John. Now I have my own! And they are beautiful and have already come in handy...

Yes, it is the sad truth, until now I have used the one pair of plastic sawhorses that I borrowed from John. Now I have my own! And they are beautiful and have already come in handy…

So once my wood arrived I got to work on my window trim, and I have to say I couldn’t be more pleased with how it has come out! I am using a pine tar – linseed oil stain from this company called solvent free paints¬†and it is pretty cool stuff! The pine tar is a natural wood preservative with a gentle antiseptic and water repellent effect. And Linseed oil helps to nourish the wood, like moisturizer for our skin!

IMG_4353Now, my windows have been a bit of a struggle. Because I decided to use mostly found and salvaged windows (not recommended) I have had some problems with leaking on more than one of them. It has gotten to the point where I have even considered tearing out a few of them and replacing them (not something any builder wants to have to do, especially on a new construction project!). But I have also recognized that once my metal roof goes on with eaves, and if I do a good job with the window trim the windows they will be much better protected when all is said and done than they are now. Another challenge I was facing when designing my window trim details was that my walls are going to be build out. Meaning that from the sheathing plane I am adding 1 1/4″ of roxul board, the 1/2″ furring strips and then my siding. So How could I design window trim that would act as extension jambs and trim all in one? And that I would still like aesthetically?

Well, here is what I came up with:

trial window #1

trial window #1

My trim is 1 1/2″ thick larch from a local saw mill. Larch is often used for decks and other outdoor applications because it is one of our local naturally rot resistant species. And, another cool fact, it is a deciduous conifer, meaning it looks like an evergreen but it loses its leaves in the fall!

I assembled the trim with this wood on edge, using 3 1/2″ stock for the sides and top and 4 1/2″ stock for the bottom to create a sill that stick out slightly further than the rest. The bottom is beveled at 10 degrees in order to shed water, which I did by ripping the back edge on the table saw. And the top is beveled at 5 degrees, which is barely noticeable to the eye but will still shed water.

Here you can see all the frames for one side of my house assembled, waiting to be installed!


Then I installed them using pocket screws on the sides and top so that the holes will be invisible, and putting a bead of caulk also on the sides and top to help create a water tight seal.


With this design it didn’t matter that some of my windows are¬†basically flush with my sheathing plane and some have J-channels so they stuck out and inch or so beyond that plane. The depth of these frames was able to accommodate all of that and will also accommodate¬†the roxul board that will be going on soon (you can see one board up in the photo above.

Lastly, I did an important flashing detail above each window.

I made these myself using the break we have at Hammerstone. This is the basic design and then I actually ended up folding each end in a way that creates almost a little bathtub to shed all water out.

I made these myself using the metal break we have at Hammerstone. This is the basic design and then I actually ended up folding each end in a way that creates almost a little bathtub to shed all water out.

And below you can see them installed. I slit the house wrap right above the window trim and put another bead of caulk behind the flashing, which got nailed directing the the sheathing with roofing nails, and the I taped the over the corners again.


I am very pleased overall with how these came out and am actually kind of looking forward to a good rain to test them. But I also hope to have my metal roof on by the end of this week, so that will also add much protection to my whole structure!

Cheers, and thanks again for reading. And Happy full moon eclipse! What a sight that was last night!


Phew! It is definitely late summer and I am feeling a bit of that late summer fatigue. But the pressure of fall and winter is pushing me to keep going. Mostly it is a good kind of tired. A satisfied kind of tired after a day of good work for something you are passionate about. But some days the amount of details that go into building a house just overwhelm me! It is all in the details, I tell you. The little weatherization details, the artistic details, the making sure to order material far enough ahead of time so you have it when you need it details… the tiny little details that no one else will notice or know about but could make the difference between a warm, cozy, inviting, and long lasting house and one that is not. But I won’t bore you with the details… Except to say that I did have a leak in my house wrap that I am hoping I fixed but will not know for sure until I have another good rainstorm. I share this only because for any of you out there thinking about building or in the midst of building I want you to know that these things do happen. And sometimes we freak out and sit down and cry and feel like throwing up our¬†hands up and giving up. But part of¬†the beauty of a project like this is that you can’t give up. You can’t walk away. Not after you have put as much time and money and effort as I have into this. And so there is nothing to do but keep moving forward, problem solving and fixing the “mistakes,” learning from them, but not letting them stop you. And this builds character. A project like this builds you as much as you build it. I swear.

Ok, enough of the pep talk. Now¬†I will share with you some awesome and exciting photos of all the progress I have made! My last window went in yesterday morning and it is my beautiful octagon window! The special touch of either stain glass or wooden hearts will be added later, but the window, custom made by a small company in Vermont is in! And I couldn’t be happier with it.

Can you tell how pleased I am?

So Much Light inside! I love it!

And it opens!

The other big news of the last month is that my door is in!! A beautiful, solid wood door that I bought for $70 from the Ithaca Re-use center and lovingly sanded the paint off, re stained it, and built the door jamb for and then hung in my door opening! It was quite a project, and I am still perfecting the white oak sill for the bottom but I am very happy to have this door in. Most people get pre-hung doors, that come with jambs and everything. I fell in love with this door but knew it would be a project to get in. But I have to give a big thanks to my friend Barry Segal who took on this project with me, going to the hardware store to find the right hinges, helping me figure out how wide and how tall the jambs needed to be, and making a creative router jig to help me route out the spaces for the hinges. And then of course he helped me hang it. And now I have a door that swings shut with such a satisfying *Click* and I even have a key to lock it with!

Sanding the paint off

Sanding the paint off

And hung in my house! (there were a lot of steps in between sanding the paint off and getting it hung, but I won’t go into that now)

Lastly, I want to share the two timber frame style braces that I put on the back of my tiny house, made from some donated white oak I received from a friend:

And they are good and strong too!


Just to make sure both John and I hung on them together ūüėÄ

Thanks again for all you support and I hope you are enjoying watching this journey unfold!
For the complete photo journey check out my facebook album
The Hidden Leaf

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Creating "new" from old has been a preoccupation of mine for a long time, but turned into a full-time adventure in building and living in a tiny "reclaimed" house. Beginning in 2012, I will live in this 120 square foot space for the length of my PhD studies in Literature and the Environment, and perhaps beyond. In this way, I hope to live a little smaller, leave a little lighter, and learn in what ways formal study can be acted in the every day.

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