Sometimes, things work out better than hoped for


The topic of this and last week’s Santa Cruz commute thinking time was about how to render the Sea Rise Sea House Pavilion’s greenhouse windows. I knew I wanted to do something leaded (or leaded-esque), and I knew the inevitable off-square measurements of the actual structure would be a nightmare to fit.


I’ve built two wing extensions on either side of the main deck to increase the living space area. One side is the greenhouse, and the other will be the shower and sleeping alcove. For the greenhouse leaded glass, I drew my designs using 9-point (1/8-inch) lines, which seem reasonably robust for a seaward structure. They’re cut from black cardstock, and glued front and back to non-glare Plaskolite, which provides a semi-opaque — and salt-spray burnished — surface.


My initial approach was to tediously center the Plaskolite within the 3/16-inch framing. (Of course if I was more dedicated, I would have routed a channel in the one million each of the frames, or, have built them with three layers of stock. But I’m not.) As I was fiddling about with measurements and drawing and cutting prototypes, I realized the best — and squarest — way is to cut the panes and cardstock leading a scant larger than the outside window openings, and glue them atop the frames. Then, trim out with thin strip wood.


It looks just fine! Intentional, even. The two layers of cardstock, glued to the Plaskolite front and back, look believable. Even the little schmutzes of glue make sense in a marine environment (although they are easily cleaned up.)


Here’s the whole structure-in-progress, including the new roof extension, which might be where the sleeping quarters wind up.


And here is the main — or one of the many — reasons I drive down to Santa Cruz each week: for Ruby, now four months old. She lights up a room, no batteries, routing or wires required.

19 thoughts on “Sometimes, things work out better than hoped for

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Sheila! The baby is a very happy person, wonderful to be around. And I feel I have my way clear to make this greenhouse be just as I envision it. Technology and vision align!

  1. Barbara W. says:

    That is a very stylish greenhouse. Ruby is certainly a gem – what a smile! I hope you and yours are well away from the fires – we’re seeing some scary stuff on the news here.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      The greenhouse will be splendid! And then someday it will be debris. But for now: bold graphics lovingly crafted.
      The fires are some miles north of us, across the Golden Gate Bridge, in Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma. We’ve had some bad air quality from the smoke, even here on the coast, but NOTHING compared to… it’s too horrible, and devastating to comprehend. Truly.

  2. azteclady says:

    Ruby’s smile and cheerful spirit shine through her eyes! She’s so adorable!

    I also really like the ‘leaded’ panels, they look really nice in place.

  3. mormson says:

    I love watching this build. The windows look much better with the additions needed to make them fit than they would have without… them gravitas….serendipity. I would definitely sleep your little people in the loft space. I am sure they would want to utilise every inch of their home. The shower needs to be kept where it is as they will need to use it most times before they come in indoors. I too have a Ruby a four hour drive away only he is an Oscar so understand the split life. Hard having your heart in two places. M

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Glad you’re enjoying my rambling progress, Marilyn! I agree with a sleep loft (and will leave the roof lift-offable). Although. All the solar panels and water collection system I’m planning will make that … interesting.
      My girls are less than 1.5 hours away — still a good long time to do thinking. Oscar is a charming name! Grandmother life is sweet.

  4. Bennie says:

    That window looks amazing and as if you planned it that way all along. The upper, possibly sleeping area, could work and be a ‘tiny home’ type loft.

    The baby is adorable too – congrats!! I hope you are safe from those fires I see on the news.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, Bennie. The way the roof is pitched, there is actually room to stand up (well, maybe not for Godzilla) with the addition, so it could be relatively roomy up there.
      I agree with you about the baby :)
      We are about 55 miles and across the Golden Gate from the wildfires, and only somewhat impacted by the smoke drift. Thank you.

  5. elizabeth s says:

    Hi Nancy, Your Sea Hut is really filling out and up! Your additions plus the raised roofline are looking Fab, and I think that sleeping up in the rafters will feel like sleeping in a tree house by the sea, the Best of Both worlds! :D

    Your newest grand-daughter is a Real Cutie! There is a Cat Stevens song entitled “Ruby My Love” which is one of my favorite tunes and now I’m going to be seeing your little Ruby’s smile whenever I hear it :D

  6. Susan Thies says:

    Beautiful baby and I love the Star Wars figure relaxing with his feet up. My kids, (now adults), would place their Lego figures in my minis. Usually in the bath tub or hanging from a ceiling fan. Lol.

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