11 June 2012

A Greenhouse of Recycled Windows

Over the last few years we’ve gotten pretty serious about growing our own food at Small Pond Arts, which led us to one of our epic spring projects: building a greenhouse out of recycled windows.

We have a number of outbuildings at Small Pond, the very worst of them we called – if you’ll pardon me - the Shit Shed, basically because it was really, really shitty. It was built out of chip board, and after many years of being exposed to the elements, the walls were falling off, the roof had large holes, and if you tried stepping on the floor, odds are you’d fall through. Despite all this, the framing of the structure seemed to be fairly solid, so we decided to give it a makeover.

The first step was stripping off the chipboard walls and pulling the roof off, which all took a surprisingly long time. I am just starting to learn that most of our projects take at least 50% longer than I think they will.

Milé poses with the stripped Shit Shed
When we lived in Toronto, I had a habit (problem?) of bringing home cool stuff that I'd find on the curbs on garbage day. I'd often find beautiful old windows that people were disposing of during renovations, and I'd haul these heavy, fragile things home, up two flights of stairs, and put them in a closet. I think Milé thought I was crazy. But I knew they would come in handy, I just knew it!

The windows all needed to be cleaned. Sanded. Painted. Both sides. Two coats. (See 50% note above.)

Milé and our friend Henry (left) made a new roof of corrugated metal. Our old gardening shed looked on from the background, sensing its imminent replacement...

We put in a new floor, as well as some temporary bracing to keep the whole thing square (or square-ish) while we were working on it. Then we painted the framing the colour of blue that looked just perfect standing out there in the sunshine. 

We worked our way around, fitting the windows together like a puzzle, and filling the gaps with plywood and caulking. We had an old door lying around, so we cut it to size and hung it with some new hardware.

And TA-DA! A greenhouse is born!

We hope that having this greenhouse will really help us extend our growing season, as well as giving future seedlings a good start with lots of warmth and sunshine. Yet as functional as our greenhouse is, we approached this building project as a work of art. We try to infuse beauty in all that we create here at the farm, and I do believe we've succeeded once again.

Big thanks to Henry, Christine, Elizabeth and Tom who all helped out at various stages of this project.


  1. Beautiful.. I can't believe Krista saved all those windows, that must have been soooo much work, but well worth it seeing the end result! Great job!

  2. Anonymous23 June, 2012

    I too have been saving windows, glass doors, solid doors, etc.for a green house. Now I want to build one like this in my own designs & colors. Thank you for the inspiration to actually do it ASAP