This post is about why and how to use a two legged table to expand a window sill and harvest all the winter sunlight you can for your plants. Laugh if you want, but yes, there are times (if you are thinking creatively) that a two legged table just might be useful. The goal is to repurpose some old pieces of wood with the intent of maximizing the winter sun’s rays coming in through the windows.
Let’s face it. Who doesn’t love a nice, wide window sill? They give us a place to put plants when they need to come indoors for the winter. You would think this window sill (see photo below), for example, would make me happy. I mean, it is a good eight inches wide (great for a window sill) and is in front of a 3 foot wide window that has a great southern exposure. It gets direct sun most of the day. As an added bonus, it is situated close to our fireplace in the one room of the house that stays nice and toasty warm all winter long. My lemon trees should love it down here in January! So yes, this is indeed a very nice window sill, as far as window sills go.
But here is the rub. This is the only usable window sill in our entire house. All the others are less than an inch wide (standard marble sills) and get no sun at all (or very little). As a result, all of our potted plants that soon need to come inside (which is enough to fill this window sill 5-6 times over) either have to go here OR suffer a long, slow, sunless death — unless, of course, we invest in lighted shelving or a small green house, neither of which are budgetable at this time. (Yes, I made up that word. If you can’t fit it in the budget, then it is not budgetable.) That said, as big as this window sill is, it is just NOT ENOUGH for everything and certainly not enough come March when it is time to get our seeds started. Oh, pooh.
Here is another shot of said window sill from a different angle:
So I got to thinking – which is always dangerous – how can we make this window sill bigger? I brought it up to Eddie and he said, “No, we cannot expand it because someday we will sell this house, and I don’t want to have to put it back like it was. No permanent damage to the fixtures, please. Not everybody will be thrilled with an EXTRA wide window sill.”
Besides, that would have just made more work for Eddie and that is never a good idea. And then there is that issue of making sure we don’t subtract from the space on the hearth for stacking firewood. During the winter that hearth stays full at all times. “Okay, what other objections do we have?” I asked. Silence. I hear crickets. So, I guess that was pretty much it.
So all issues defined, I had to figure out something that didn’t involve removing or harming the existing window sill in any way, does not interfere with firewood storage, and still at least triples the square inch-age (footage is a word, why not inch-age?) of the sill. So I asked Eddie, “Can you take a piece of plywood and stick a couple 2 x 4’s on it for legs and just rest it there? You know, give me a two legged, removable table?” At first, he thought I was nuts. Really? A two legged table? How is that supposed to work? Once I explained it to him, the light bulb came on and he said, “Sure … I can do that!” So he took a few measurements, went out to the shed, and moments later, I had a two legged table. Here are the steps and the results.
Take the measurements, cut the plywood to the right width & depth for your window sill project. Cut two 2x4s to the right height and screw the 2x4s onto two of the four corners of the plywood. Seal with a water repellent (remember, it will have plants on it, and they sometimes leak).
Then set it in place with the legless side resting on the sill, and the legs firmly on the hearth
(or the floor, if there is no hearth in front of your window sill).
Jiggle a bit to make sure it is nice & steady and you should be good to go.
Now, if your window sill is very narrow and the back edge could slip off the sill, then add two more legs.
There is still plenty of space underneath for stacking firewood!
Moral of the story: Think hard about what is available to you and how you could MAKE it work before you go out and spend money to solve a problem. Surely there is SOME way to make what you need out of what is on hand and spend little or no money doing it. Just look around you and get creative. And don’t worry too much about what it looks like. Who cares? Develop a “function over form” attitude and care only that it does what you need it to do. Sure, make it pretty if and when you can … but first, make it work.
What repurposing projects have you done that made you proud? Share them with us here!