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!).