Monday, June 25, 2007

Light On Two Sides

Over the last two days, the workroom changed to a much more appealing space, even though it remains a construction zone for many months to come ...

A nine-foot chunk of the interior was carefully stripped back to the sheathing. (Which uncovered former owners outlines of tools stored when it was a garage.) Then much framing happened, to properly support the two new windows. I learned a lot about how the weight transfers properly through the wall framework, supported by the intersecting of sills, headers and studs.

This pretty much took care of Saturday, so Bill and I went off to the Barley Mill for a late night pub dinner and some Grateful Dead tunes...

Only once all the framework was in place did any work happen on the outside wall. Enough of the lovely 50+year old cedar shingles were painstakingly removed to allow access to saw the new window openings. We were able to save all the old shingles (there are no old-growth cedar shingles available anymore for anything an ordinary person can afford; besides, I wouldn't buy currently cut old growth any more than I would buy currently harvested ivory; it seems respectful to the tree that gave its life long ago to cover my home, to re-use as much as possible).

The openings were re-wrapped in fresh tarpaper, the actual windows were leveled and installed, and then we were off the the Rebuilding Center to find trim wood and flashing. Even though the new windows are protected, under my carport, they have all the correct stages of installation and parts. Trim in place, the layers of shingles were replaced in the order they were removed, and the outside was completed. I now have a small amount of spare shingles, in case repairs are needed elsewhere.

Then the interior sheetrock had the first layer of "mud" and tape applied. BIll discussed with me the steps and process for interior finishing of the windows, and left me with a good understanding of how to proceed. The interior trim installation is well within my skill and comfort level, as is the completion of sheetrock wall finishing. The former owners left bits of the old exterior paint, so the shingle nails can be touch-up painted and the window trim can match the rest of Acorn Cottage

In A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander, there is a pattern called light on two sides. It is a more vital pattern than most of us may realise. Formerly, my workroom, although at 26 x 10 the largest room in tiny Acorn Cottage, had only one window. Imagine a long dark shoebox with a window in one end. Though the new windows are each only 1 foot high and 3 foot long, having light coming from two sides of the room completely changes the character of the space. I am feeling more confident, that, over time, as I can afford the work and materials, my choices and ideas for this room will actually turn it into a welcoming space for creative endeavors.

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