There's something about an octagon window that appeals to many homeowners looking for a distinctive touch in an otherwise ordinary room addition or home renovation.
The use of leaded-glass octagon windows dates back more than seven centuries to church architecture inspired by Byzantine designs. Like stained-glass windows--another design from church architecture--octagon windows fit in just as well in many secular settings, particularly traditional designs.
Monarch Mirror Door Co. Inc. has introduced two leaded-glass octagons, one that opens, the other that doesn't. Beveled or etched glass and a patina lead finish or brass finish are among the variations offered. The stationary model requires a 22-by-22-inch rough opening, while the unit that can be opened needs a 25 1/2-by-25 1/2-inch opening. The frame of both units is clear pine, ready to stain or paint.
To make the installation easier for both do-it-yourselfers and professionals, Monarch offers pre-sized and mitered interior trim kits. Instructions are included and suggested retail prices for the windows are under $200.
The windows are available at Home Depot stores throughout California and--soon--in other home improvement and lumber outlets. Information: Monarch, P.O. Box 4118, Chatsworth, Calif. 91313-4118.
"Spas & Hot Tubs, Saunas & Home Gyms" by Tom Cowan and Jack Maguire (Creative Homeowner Press, 24 Park Way, Upper Saddle River, N.J. 07458-2311, $9.95 at bookstores, add $1.75 for mail orders) is a detailed guide to designing and installing these popular elements of a well-equipped house.
While spas, hot tubs and saunas have been around for a long time, home gyms or exercise rooms are relatively new. The authors suggest places for both indoor and outdoor exercise rooms in single-family houses, condominiums and apartments.
An unusual--and excellent--feature is a page of templates of exercise equipment, hot tubs, saunas, etc. that are designed to be photocopied by the reader to experiment with various layouts. The hands-on book includes hundreds of easy-to-follow sketches, step-by-step construction and installation instructions, glossary and index, as well as color photos of completed projects.
"Running Your Remodeling Business" by Harry Hardenbrook and Harold Hammerman (Craftsman Book Co., 6058 Corte del Cedro, Carlsbad, Calif. 92009, $21) is obviously aimed at professionals or would-be professionals. What's not so obvious is that it's a rare peek inside a profession, written by two experienced remodelers. Anyone contemplating remodeling, a step filled with apprehension at best, would be wise to read this book to find out how remodelers and their subcontractors go about their business. Although it's aimed at professionals who want to enter the business or improve their standing in it, the writing style is free from professional jargon that would stymie the lay reader.