Oct 042007

For more than a year, we’ve been discussing and choosing the hardware, windows and doors for the house. This week, we finally placed our orders for exterior doors and windows, all 51 of them. Yes, we have 51 doors and windows in the exterior. If you go take a look at the front elevation drawing of the house, you’ll see how quickly it adds up.

Many of the windows and and doors are being mulled together into groups, so in fact there will be about 30 separate units to install in the framing. This should make installation faster and neater.

We chose Sierra Pacific Windows for the house, because they are well made, moderately priced, have wood frames that come from sustainably-harvested trees, offer aluminum cladding on the outside, and are very energy efficient. Everything has bronze-clad aluminum on the outside, oil-rubbed bronze hardware, and clear douglas fir wood on the inside. Window frames are minimal, modern looking. We’ll be putting a clear stain on the wood, so it will be a nice natural accent to the smooth walls and ceramic floor.


The doors are made the same way as the windows, with a big central clear glass panel, doug fir on the inside, bronze on the outside. There are six exterior doors. Four of them are fairly normal (although two are 7-1/2 feet high!) but two of them will be folding doors from La Cantina that will open up between the 3rd floor deck and the living room and hallway. We expect that this will make the living room feel a lot bigger, and will make the house a great place for a party.

We were originally going to get sliding doors for the deck, but it turns out that the additional cost for folding doors is about 30% more, and it seems worth it to have a full sized opening.

And then, there’s a spiral staircase connecting the decks. We need to specify this now too, because Alex needs to know where the extra framing should go to support the stairs. We getting a large, 6’-wide stairway, made of iron to resist the weather, with wide 27-30° treads so it’s easy to go up and down.

Really, we have two choices. We can get a local firm to make the stair for us, or we can order a kit and assemble it ourselves. After looking at kits from The Iron Shop, Salter, and Spiral Stairs of America, I think we’re going to get a stair built by Stocklin Iron in Santa Rosa, not far away. The cost is not much higher than a kit, and we will get a stair that is welded together, very solid, with fancy railings like the image. They can fabricate rails for our decks that match these stairs. Also, we like supporting a local business.

In the mean time, the second floor is getting framed in. This is the ceiling, the left-hand corner where the main plumbing systems will be placed, above and behind a closet in one of the bedrooms. This space will be the “machine room”, so to speak.


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