The living room side of the wall.
And the kitchen side. Clearly this wall is in the way.
This is a middle wall in a double-wide manufactured home. These homes are trucked in one half at a time. Meaning each have is it's own structure.
What this means is this wall actually has two frames. One for each structure.
The studs are 2x3 inch. There's a 1/2 inch gap between the frames but this is not consistent. The plastic you see here is leftover from when the units are trucked.
I made a bigger hole just to get a better look.
More holes to locate studs which dictate the width of my window. I also marked out the top and bottom and where I wanted to add a light switch.
Another bonus is the addition of these metal strips that criss cross the drywall.
More holes had to be made on both sides of the wall to locate, access and cut these.
Little by little I removed the drywall, plastic and metal.
Which left six wooden studs.
Wide shot of the demolition.
To prevent the metal strips from slicing my hand off or otherwise getting in the way I broke out my good friend duct tape.
The window structure will be filling these spaces so it's important that nothing gets in the way.
One of the strips refused to submit to the duct tape (hard to imagine) so I introduced it to my dremel.
This old relic has seen it's last plug. Once removed, 4 new electrical boxes will be added.
Here's the modern replacement. This is on the living room side of the wall.
Looking inside is a different electrical box for an outlet on the kitchen side. Beyond that you can see the new wiring. The studs were already notched for electrical.
Here are the 4 boxes and wiring. 1 switch and 3 AC outlets. The switch toggles the top plug on the far right outlet.
Completed electrical.
With the power back on I tested each connection and the switch and found no issues.
To frame the window I needed a consistent 5 1/2 inch width. Due to warping and/or poor construction the studs were shorter then this in some places.
I used 1/2 inch boards to space these into the correct position.
The two frames were then joined together creating a significantly stronger structure.
Using an oscillating power saw I cut the studs 1 1/2 inches above and below the window opening.
This tool was perfect for these tight spaces.
Here's the newly framed window.
Living room side.
Kitchen side.
As you can see here I erred on the side of caution regarding how much drywall I left.
With the framing complete it was now safe to remove this excess.
I simply cut along the wood to remove the drywall along the edge.
Here you can see the clean edge. Now it's time to make things pretty!
For the sides and top I actually used hardwood floor boards. These were the same as used for the living room flooring.
These have a nice finish and perfectly match the room's existing color scheme.
I used a miter and table saw for a lot of this project's cutting.
The top piece needed to be longer then the boards I had. Fortunately these boards are designed to be joined together.
I used wood glue and a brad gun to mount the decorative piece to the header.
The decorative sides will wedge between that top piece and the shelf. So I need to make the shelf before mounting those.
Here's the shelf cut to fit the width of the window.
And here's the sides cut to fit the height. At this point the shelf and sides are not yet mounted.
With the sizes correct I shaped the corners with a jig saw and rounded the edges with a router.
The shelf will hang out of the kitchen side while remaining flush with the wall on the living room side.
Notice the corners of the living room side are not routed. These will be hidden by trim and make it easier to line everything up.
Here's the unfinished shelf being tested again in the window.
This is a closeup of how those un-routed corners line up.
Kitchen side.
Living room side.
Next I used wood filler on a few imperfections.
I then sanded the entire shelf.
Once sanded I stained the wood everywhere that would be visible.
There was no concern for my truck as stain does not penetrate smooth surfaces. The mess was simply wiped off.
After the stain dried the shelf was sanded again. I then applied polyurethane to the bottom.
24 hours later I did the same for the top. Unlike with the stain I covered the entire surface to seal the wood from moisture.
24 hours later I sanded the entire shelf again.
24 hours later.. well you get the idea. Before being mounted the visible parts of the shelf had three coats of polyurethane.
It may not have been necessary but I cut many lines into the wood to give the glue something to grab onto.
I mounted the shelf using wood glue and no nails or brads. It is also secured by the side pieces.
The sides were mounted with a brad gun much like the top.
Here you can see how these pieces work together to create a sturdy structure.
Before adding the trim I sanded and applied thin coats of poly to the shelf two more times.
To minimize air leaks (there was noticeable heat coming out of the wall during this project) I filled the gaps with Great Stuff.
This foam expands and cures very fast. The excess was then cut away.
Then it was time for the trim. I actually made two frames. One using corner trim and another with flat trim.
Before doing anything like this I like to test my methods. I used the brad gun to secure two pieces of scrap together. Nothing split so I continued.
This is the corner trim being put in place.
Each corner was cut at a 45 degree angle.
These are actually made of plastic. Wood trim would have been better but this stuff saves time and money and still looks pretty good.
Because it's plastic, any grinding has to be done at low speed or it will melt.
The corner trim was a millimeter or two shy of the shelf edge.
I took this off of the flat trim and everything meshed together perfectly.
This side needed no special attention.
Here's the window from the kitchen side with the completed trim.
And this is the living room side. In the background you can see bottles of Novus which I used to get that final polished finish.
With the window complete I added some curtains to allow the living room to be closed off if desired.
The completed project..

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