One should never title a blog entry as “The Last Remark”, just as there should never be a textbook titled “Modern Principles of …” There’s always new stuff that comes along.
In the ever-ongoing renovation of This Odd House, we came to consider how much we enjoyed our second-floor screen porch, a retreat in the treetops from which we observe the sidewalk-level activities of our neighborhood. The porch needed help—the screens were aging, failing to keep out insects and critters. It was also pervious to snow and rain, which then seeped into the floors and walls, with predictable results.
We decided to install wall-height replacement screens that convert into a vinyl window. In the summer they will be three-fourths open screen, in the winter they can be closed against the snow. I remain skeptical that clear vinyl (yes, the same soft vinyl used in swimming pool toys), will stand up against ultraviolet and Minnesota temperature swings, but I am conducting the experiment. There seem to be many satisfied customers; I hope to be one of them.
I thought it would be straightforward to create the rough openings for the new windows. Of course, in This Odd House, there is no such thing as “straightforward”, just as there are no square corners or level floors. Unconventional construction methods had been used to build this outdoor space, and we discovered an odd assortment of studs and spacers behind the wood-paneled walls. Posts we thought were weight-bearing turned out to be weight-loading. Beams that would normally be supporting a load, were loads themselves and needed their own support. It reminded me of the treehouse I built when I was twelve.
Eventually, we were able to sort out the structural elements and get the window openings prepared. We had ordered the windows months earlier, but during the pandemic, business for home improvements was booming, and the windows would not arrive until December. Fortunately, the winter weather was mild, and the installation went well.
Although the windows were now installed, the space was not heated, and winter is the season not included in the term “three-season porch”. Still, I found that this space provided the perfect wind-protected studio to take pictures of freezing soap bubbles!
Now the weather is warming, and there are some more things to finish, including the replacement of the worn and stained plastic carpet. My plans are to tile the floor with Penrose tiles, a topic I will take up next.
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