Chez Cattywampus

Even your dreams are square!

– Bart Simpson

That should be only our dreams are square, or at least only the dreams about this house. I’m convinced that from the moment of completion, houses just want to return to the earth one way or another.¬†Builders say houses just naturally settle, but sometimes it seems rather more adversarial than that! They settle…and lean…and twist.

Market Cross House, Windsor

Market Cross House, Windsor

Thanks to the natural aging process, this house has few truly square angles. You wouldn’t know it to look at, but getting things level in this house is an exercise in patience. So we shouldn’t have been surprised when we started to frame in the wardrobe that this happened:

Hint: the new crossbeam is level.

The new crossbeam is level; the house is not.

The ceiling (and floor!) lose over an inch from square from the right corner to the end of the new closet opening. The opening for the new doors needs to be square, so we can’t fiddle the issue there. At the floor end of things, the doors are designed to install with a substantial gap at the bottom, so the slope should not be obvious. But the storage area above them…that’s going to be harder to fake.

My most recent working idea for the upper cabinet area was to have one long hatch that would lift up toward the ceiling. That concept is now out — a short but long hatch would accentuate the difference between the square closet and the sloped ceiling. Ergo, the new plan…more or less the same as the old plan.


In the center of the upper frame opening, we’ll add a wide divider that will break the horizontal line across the top. Then we will install cabinet doors on either side that open outwards. The hope is that we can downsize and drop the left-hand side doors just enough that they look as if they are same height as the right-hand side. We’ll also need to play with the crown moulding, possibly shaving it a bit at one side so it runs closer to level against the lines of the closet.

So it’s situation normal ’round here! Anyone else dealing with weird angles in obstinate houses? We wish you every good luck with that.

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