Saturday, January 17, 2009


I've been installing sliding glass doors for the past couple days. It's very much like assembling a five year old's play kitchen. An inadequately detailed set of instructions (What's this part? I don't see that in the picture?!?) A bag of dozens of screws of several different varieties of which a significant pile are left over in the end begging for an explanation. The final product is not perfect; it's the result of a series of best-you-can-do concessions given the tolerances of the manufactured product and the inconsistencies of the rough opening. The goal is to approach perfect, and this is especially true in the case of renovation. If the 50 year old wall, the bearer of the brunt of hurricanes and dozens gales and nor'easters, into which the door is to be installed is a little out of plumb then the door will be a little out of plumb as well despite the instruction manual's insistence that the door be plumb, level and square.
The house we're renovating is an excellent example of aesthetics trumping energy efficiency. There's a wall of glass, about 30 ft long, facing north east, perhaps the worst possible exposure for a house on Block Island in the winter. A combination of double casement and transom windows and one 6' slider. (We installed this slider yesterday morning when the temperature was just breaking double digits.) Why would anyone want so much glass facing the absolute worst direction? The view, of course. Sweeping views of New Harbor and, in the distance, Block Island Sound.

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