One Sill Down.

Now that we have our trim picked out – everything from our baseboards, to the windows and the doors – we were really looking forward to diving in, head first, room-by-room. And after mentioning that we were on the fence about adding window sills along the way, you all responded with a resounding do it! Do it for the kitties!

You all make some strong arguments, but throw in any reason to pamper our pets, and we are in. See?

But first! Let’s back up. Cutting, painting and installing trim in each and every area that’s currently in waiting will take us much, much longer than one weekend, so we started by completing one sill in an unassuming room – for practice? – with baseboards soon to follow:

This is the soon-to-be studio shipping and storage room (do you hear that? That’s music to my ears!), which shares a half-wall with the the open studio area, and it’s located at the top of – and somewhat behind – the stairs. In addition to our two large front windows, this smaller window was also replaced last summer, but the drywall surrounding the opening was in such disrepair that there were crumbling gaps and rough patches in the casing. As the weather turned bitter in the last couple of months, Scott used this foam to seal out the cold air drafts, which, while helpful, needed to be trimmed off before proceeding. I used a utility knife to do so, prepping our window for the next steps – trim!

We purchased enough window trim for 3 sides – left, right and top – and we decided to use our chosen door trim for the apron (the molding underneath the sill itself) since it has a little more weight. We also picked up a 1″x6″x6′ piece of pine for the sill (aka: the stool), as well as enough quarter round to fill in the gaps around the left, right and top of the window. Tip: Our window is approximately 32″w x 54″h, so we brought home 13′ of molding and quarter round for the left, right and top. You’ll need a little extra since the molding will be cut at a 45-degree angle at the top.

Never having built a window sill before, I searched the web for some easy to read tutorials, and fell upon this one from Sawdust Girl. She recommends creating a template from cardboard for the stool, since the inside window casing is typically inconsistent, and I’m so glad we did! (To give you an idea, our casing was 2 1/2″ deep on the left, whereas it grew to 2 3/4″ on the right.) After tracing our template onto our 1″x6″ – which, by the way, the depth was personal preference; enough for the cats to perch, but not so deep that it would feel obtrusive in that tiny storage room – we used a jigsaw to notch it out.

Our dry fit showed that the stool was almost there, but we did need to shave down the right side just a bit. After another slight cut and sanding down the edges, we applied construction adhesive on the window casing (and if there’s ever a chance to inject some love, I’ll take it!), and we installed the stool on top of that with a few drywall screws and tack nails all around.

After all was good there, we measured out our trim, installing each piece carefully all around, and following that up with quarter round on the inside casing (right up to the window). Depending on the condition of your windows, the quarter round could be skipped, but again, ours was in such rough shape, and this helped to fill in the unsightly gaps.

Below, you can see on the left that it was by no means perfect, but that’s what caulk is for! Scott filled every joint and edge with paintable caulk, and I smoothed over nail holes with additional spackle. Once that dried, I primed the raw-wood window sill (the molding didn’t need it, since they were pre-primed upon purchase) and finished the job using Behr’s semi-gloss Ultra Pure White exterior paint (on the right).

Above, you’ll see that we took the extra time to cut the edges of the apron on a 45, which then allowed us to cut a baby piece (also on a 45) for the return. (Huge props to Sawdust Girl for that tip!) And now, three cheers for our first completed window sill!

Our toughest critics – the kitties – thank you tremendously; our Maddie girl has been loving the view from her perch, looking down over her kingdom (er, our street).

All in all, this took us 2 hours to build on Saturday – although we’re hoping it’ll take a little less time with each one – and about an hour for 2 coats of paint (plus a 1/2 coat for touch-ups). We’ve read that for very long sills, metal L brackets would be a smart move for extra support – in which case, crown molding would be used as the apron. (Big front windows, we’re looking at you!)

So, one down… almost 20 more to go? Okay, probably not (some of our windows won’t get a sill due to their placement in the house), but we now know this will be a process; window sills – broken record alert! – will happen with time, room by room, slowly (yet surely!).

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  • Elly - February 6, 2014 - 6:37 AM

    Oh la! Very pretty :)ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy - February 6, 2014 - 6:49 AM

    Looks fantastic. Feeling very inspired from this post. Was teetering on doing something super simple for our windows – no sill, no decoration – because we’re to the point where we just need to get it done and the clock is ticking. But this feels very doable, and accepting that it will just take time and going one window at a time is a good reminder to not rush it (and also probably an accurate way of describing how it would go even if we did the super simple route).ReplyCancel

  • Sam - February 6, 2014 - 6:56 AM

    Oh it looks excellent! It’s amazing how some simple trim pieces can make an entire room look that much more finished!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - February 6, 2014 - 7:53 AM

    I cannot get over how lovely that looks- so clean and professional. You two do great work!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - February 6, 2014 - 7:57 AM

    Love it! We remodeled a few of our rooms (with more to go) and added extra thickness to our walls for additional insulation…meaning extra wide window sills. Our cats LOVE them. Our big dog does too, it makes a great head perch to watch his kingdom (our back or front yard).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 6, 2014 - 8:15 AM

      Thanks, guys!

      Megan, that’s another great point! We’ve already caught Jack resting his chin on the window casing in the nook room, and we don’t even have a sill in there yet. We should get on that!

      Anne, we’re biased, but aren’t those little orange paws the cutest?ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias - February 6, 2014 - 8:10 AM

    Distracted from the awesome window sill by Maddie’s pretty paws. So sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Jennie - February 6, 2014 - 8:31 AM

    It just looks fantastic! So polished. And the adorable kitty makes the pictures even better!!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - February 6, 2014 - 8:34 AM

    Perfect. Especially for the critters. Also, you manage to make every image have such a dreamy hue. :)ReplyCancel

  • andee - February 6, 2014 - 8:47 AM

    It looks wonderful! One step at a time. I hated trimming back that terrible spray foam, although it did do wonders prevent air leakage.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 6, 2014 - 9:07 AM

    Andee, no kidding! Trimming down the foam takes patience, but it makes a world of difference.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - February 6, 2014 - 9:09 AM

    Great job! You make it look really easy too. Seems like that window sill has always been there. And yay for happy kitties!ReplyCancel

  • misie - February 6, 2014 - 10:14 AM

    Looks great guys! Whoop! I think the dog may be jealous and in need of it’s own bench.ReplyCancel

  • Jannike - February 6, 2014 - 11:38 AM

    gorgeous cat, and trim!ReplyCancel

  • Dave - February 6, 2014 - 5:39 PM

    Great job! That room looks awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Jody - February 7, 2014 - 10:59 AM

    Awesome! I am amazed at your carpentry skills. SO neat and clean!ReplyCancel

  • Rita - February 7, 2014 - 4:26 PM

    Kim and Scott, The window looks great. It sure looks like Maddie likes it as well.ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - February 11, 2014 - 12:10 PM

    The kitty on the sill amaze me. So gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - March 20, 2016 - 7:52 AM

    Hi, Could you advise what the wall colour is? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 21, 2016 - 10:14 AM

      Hi Diane, it’s Silent White by Clark+Kensington.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - July 22, 2016 - 10:12 AM

    Thank you so much for this!!!! Adding it to my list of projects! My cats and mason jar plants thank you as well.ReplyCancel

    • Kristen - July 22, 2016 - 10:26 AM

      Oh, and I LOVE kittie paws!
      Great pics!ReplyCancel

  • […] One Sill Down […]ReplyCancel

  • Derric Race - October 24, 2016 - 7:33 PM

    Some great work here.ReplyCancel

  • Gracie - May 18, 2017 - 11:47 AM

    I love this! it’s a great idea, i do have a question, that table in the picture with the finished window, well i love it, do you have a how to make for it?ReplyCancel

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