Building Dark Bamboo Accents on the Windows

Every time I walk up the hangar stairs and into our future loft home, I lose my breath. It’s not from hiking the stairs, mind you. It’s opening the door and seeing this:

white picture windows

Do you like it? Maybe you lost your breath, too? ha!

Martin and I wanted awesome windows so badly. I think it’s okay to say, “Baby, we got ‘em!”

It all started one year ago when we were designing the windows with a homemade CAD drawing and spray paint:

The steel beams made it extra challenging. Those guys couldn’t move or be altered. This tango definitely took two very different minds. As luck would have it, Martin and I happen to be experts at thinking in totally opposite directions. It’s like we’re from different countries or something.

(Oh! And so you’re not thrown off, the 2×4 framing on the left side of the below picture was from the preexisting pilot training room. See how it doesn’t follow the slope of the hangar ceiling? Anyway, winter was coming, so we figured we’d better get window plans together and ordered before ripping down the rest of that framing. And now – sigh – winter is coming again.)

Here’s where I’ll add a checkmark to “Katie’s good ideas” list. Or maybe it’s the “things Katie gets crazy stubborn about” list.

We have three vertical red beams that jut into the house. We hid two of them in the walls: one’s behind the pantry, and one’s in the wall to the bedroom. Sneaky, right?

The third beam is poking out behind me in our window spray painting photo. I really (and I mean really) wanted to disguise it as a wood beam. I was channeling old German architecture I’d seen. Or maybe my grandparents’ house. We have no idea, but it was big on the stubborn list.

Once we got the windows in, Martin added it to his stubborn list, too.

living room window design

Fast forward to, say, a week ago, and my idea came true!

Here’s my clear varnishing station. (The faux beam has my paintbrush on it.) My beam is hollow; it’s like a slipcover to wrap around the wood framing we’ve already put around the steel red beam.

Martin had the great idea to build a few wood frames for our windowsills, too. It was love at first mention.

All of these pieces are sustainable bamboo. We built them downstairs in the hangar.

This one is waiting for his turn with the sander while his glue dries.

Our floors are also sustainable bamboo. We wanted a matching wood grain and rich brown color around our windows. You can’t see it so much in my little photographs, but matching wood makes all the difference in person.

bamboo windowsill construction

I did all the staining in the hangar. I’m very pleased with the eco product I found. It cost about $25 + $8 shipping, which isn’t cheap for such a small can compared to conventional products. But I’ve used it for all the trim in the house as well as these projects today, and I still have half a can. Off-gassing from traditional stains and varnishes is, in my opinion, the nastiest.

In case you’re lost like Moby Dick, here’s the ol’ rundown of our bamboo sheets:

  1. chillin’ at the eco store
  2. banged up on accident; marked down
  3. snagged by Katie and Martin
  4. hauled home on a trailer
  5. built into window sills and a beam slip cover
  6. sanded til’ the sun went down (using this technique)
  7. stained in the hangar
  8. varnished in the house (natural light is my bff so the glossy finish is consistent in the room where the wood’s going to live)

Want to see the final product one more time? Come on back up…

bamboo window trim

We’ve still got 2 1/2 weeks left in the month. Cross your fingers. We want to move in!

And you’ll visit, yeah?