A Glass Vestibule

A little work and ingenuity, and you can have spring in January with a glass vestibule.

| January/February 1981

  • 067 glass vestibule 01
    The glass vestibule shuts out winter winds.
  • 067 glass vestibule 02
    Plants and vegetable starts thrive in the glass portico.

  • 067 glass vestibule 01
  • 067 glass vestibule 02

Imagine a cold, windy midwinter day in a Boston suburb. Then picture yourself—in that chilly city and on that very January day—basking in the sun on your front steps and enjoying the first daffodil of the season ... all as a result of some $100 worth of 2 X 4's, concrete blocks, and (if you don't want to raid the local dump) window sash.

Well, I used to have to pick my way up ice-rimmed brick steps and—when I threw open the front door—be ushered directly into the living room by a howling wind. In those days, everyone knew when I arrived.

I got tired of such chilly receptions, however, and the solution was obvious: I had to construct an entranceway. Fortunately, my front door faces south, and—since I like to grow plants—I decided to build a glass vestibule with a planting bed ... just to see what would come up, as it were.

My project began with a simple design, and the execution wasn't much more complicated than the plan. I just built a raised bed of concrete block faced with brick. Then I constructed a framework of redwood 2 X 4's—spaced to correspond to the size of the available sash—and secured its uprights in the blocks and its crosspieces to the eaves. Once the glass was put in, the winter was shut out.

Added Touches

That's about all there was to the basic construction job, but I did add an extra wrinkle that you might want to consider: I made the whole addition demountable.

The section of "ceiling" above the planting bed swings back under the eaves, the steps remain covered, and the rest of the glass sash can be removed from the framework and stored. That way, each spring and summer, the majority of the entranceway is open to the pleasant weather.

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