Monday, June 4, 2012


A lot of time has been spent with the windows in the house. It's a big component, making up almost 1/3 of the surface area of the house.

The living room is where the windows are really featured. The windows are situated so they intentionally frame the view of capitol hill and the surrounding trees, while mostly blocking out the neighboring rooftops. This brings in tons of natural light, which is quite important around here, especially during the rainy season. 

The plans originally called for fewer, larger panes and had a giant Fleetwood 14'x9' triple sliding door out to the deck. This would have been an awesome feature of the house until I got some major sticker shock when I saw the ~$18K quote for the sliders. For a project that's already pushing the limit of what I can afford, that's way too much. We tried really hard to find a cheaper alternative without sacrificing the large opening, but none was found.

Original plan with large sliders

In light of the cost of the sliders, Pb redesigned the window/slider configuration in the living room to use a more standard Milgard 10'x7' set of double sliders. It's not as awe-inspiring as the large triple-sliders, and it shrinks the width of the opening to the deck from 9'4" to 5', but it ended up looking fine.

Current plan with double sliders

 Installed, it ends up looking like this:

Living room windows

The living room creates a great impression with the wall of windows. I feel like I'm in a tree house.

View of living room windows from the outside
One of the reasons this posting came a bit late is that the lower set of windows in the living room were ordered incorrectly by the rep at Home Depot and arrived in black anodized aluminum. It took a couple weeks for them to correct the mistake and have the replacement windows manufactured and shipped. 

The skylight had its own issues. Earlier, during the framing process, there was apparently a misunderstanding about the size of the skylight that was going to be installed above the kitchen. The result of that misunderstanding was that the opening for the skylight was 1-2 feet too wide in both dimensions. This would have been a non-issue (just get a bigger skylight) until I found out that nobody makes insulated glass skylights of that size without going to acrylic (with no insulation specs), or spending a lot more for some sort of a structural skylight. The house is already at the limit for meeting insulation code requirements due to the large amount of windows, so we had little choice but to frame in the opening to fit the originally-planned skylight. My contractor ate the cost for the extra framing, so least the mistake didn't cost me anything.

skylight above the kitchen with living room in the background
The frame for the skylight is bigger and taller than it needs to be as a result of the framing correction, but it's unimportant that it ended up that way.

The entry has a doubled set of full-height windows that give that indoor/outdoor feel to the house even before you enter. I'm still on the hunt for a decently-priced front door, but the intention is to make it look like the windows next to it.

entry to the house
 And finally, behind the entry is another set of windows that bring in as much light as possible to the office area and stairwell. It also opens up the entire second floor and makes, what otherwise would be a narrow hallway, something more substantial.

view from the lower patio
Overall, I'm very pleased with the windows in the house, and they were one of the few line items that ended up being on-budget!