The first step in framing the infill walls is rough openings for all the windows. I'll pop in studs around them to fill out the space, either 16"o.c. or 24"o.c., depending on the size of the gap. Since the frame is post and beam the walls are non-load bearing, and there is no real weight on either the doors or windows. So I don't need large headers over them. A doubled top plate will suffice.
Patty's been buying windows and bringing them up every time she visits. Once we've decided on a general layout for the interior of the cabin, we place the windows. The above rough opening is for a large vinyl clad double-crank window that will go in the kitchen.
Below is a rough opening for a 3x4 window that overlooks the garden:
We've got all the windows for around $80 to $90 a piece from a builder's surplus store in Atlanta. They are all new, vinyl, most open, they're doubled-glazed, argon filled, and some have low e glass. So they're modern efficient windows. I personally prefer wood casement windows that crank open . . . but they're hard to find at a reasonable price, so in the future I'll build my own. This project is about speed - getting it done.
We tried several salvage yards for windows and found the windows were either junk, inefficient, ugly, inoperable, or overpriced . . . used windows are a little problematic when you're going for a thermally efficient building. The modern window is pretty hi-tech and expensive. We've gone with a lot of windows for this particular building because the footprint is small . . . we don't want it to feel like a shack. There are great views in virtually every direction, and we wanted to take advantage of that. We also wanted the building to have a lot of natural light, crossbreezes and ventilation, as well as some passive solar heating when it's cold out.
Here are the kitchen window rough openings in:
This particular wall is southeast-facing so it has a lot of glazing. The opening on the right, though it appears small next to the crank window's on the left, is actually 3'x3'. These openings start at 3.5' in height - a kitchen counter will go in at 3' beneath them.
Here's the rough opening for the french doors that will go out to the addition:I go with a small header here to fill the space. We actually find a deal on a set of exterior french doors afterwards, $330, free delivery, but I have to bust out this frame and expand the opening to get them to fit.
Once the wall framing is finished on the lower story, I begin putting up the sheathing. I use standard OSB 7/16ths wall sheathing. This gives the building great lateral strength, as well as instant walls, a weather barrier.
I first try cutting the rough openings out of the sheathing before I put it up, but quickly move to the standard method of putting up the sheathing whole, fastening it, then cutting out the window gaps. For this I use a reciprocating saw . . . crude, but quick work. The sheathing is put in vertically, as all my carpentry books say that is the best way to run it for maximum lateral strength.
Here's looking toward the NW wall, what will be the bathroom and possibly stove area beneath the loft:
Here the sheathing is finished throughout the lower story, and the place really feels like shelter:
Here's the rear of the building:
We still plan on bricking these walls to the right and left of the french doors to store heat in the sunroom. The weight will be distributed right across the piers.
Next step - doors and windows.