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Small House – January Update

This past month we have been focusing on wrapping up some of the interior finishing work that needs to be done… primarily, the window casings.  Just as we have done with most of the design decisions for the small house, we incorporated a craftsman-style to the look of the finished project.

The keys to craftsman-style are clean lines and balanced proportions.  Just like every other part of building this house, there were key “terms” to learn so that I could understand what hubby was talking about when discussing the construction, or helping with the installation.  My cheat sheet showing all of the parts and how they fit together:


We turned to Fine Homebuilding for some tips on the proportions:

  1. The thickness of the cap is the same as the stool (ours is 1 inch)

  2. The stool should be 1 inch thick and project out 2 inches

  3. The side casings should be wider than 3 1/2 inches (ours are 4 inches)

  4. The overall height of the cap + frieze + fillet should be about 1 1/2 times the width of the side casing – (ours is 7 inches – 1 3/4 times the 4 inch casings)

  5. The apron height is similar to the width of the side casings (ours is 4 inches)

We chose walnut we had in our supply at the shop to bring in a cozy feel, and to match the walnut floors we had installed throughout the house.

I think hubby really enjoyed this project because 1) it was inside work during December, and 2) he got to use all kinds of power tools in the shop.  After selecting the best pieces of walnut, he first cut pieces to their rough length (miter saw), and cut out any imperfections in the large pieces of lumber.  The second step was at the jointer to create a smooth, flat surface on the face of the wood. and then run that flat face against the fence on the jointer to square up the edge.  The table saw is where the next piece of action takes place, and that is to rip the pieces to width.  My favorite tool (planer) to watch comes next, and that gradually trims the pieces of wood to their desired thickness.  The pieces are then back to the miter saw to cut to their exact length.  Finally, because the milling process leaves sharp edges, he used a 1/8 inch round-over bit in the router to soften the edges.  The drill press also comes into play on faces of the apron, frieze and casings to bore out holes to accept the screws for mounting.  An 1/8 inch scrap wood is used to cut out plugs for hiding the screw that are countersunk into the holes once the pieces have been installed.


So in the blink of an eye, we went from this undressed window –


to this beautifully finished craftsman-style custom walnut casing.


I think they look great against the black window frames.  We will trim out the front and back doors exactly the same way as the windows with the head heights over the doors matching up with the head heights of the windows.

Here’s the one in the bathroom – the lighting is a little different.

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