Window Pains

One of the many problems we bought when we bought the house was a window problem–or rather, a number of problems, both historic and recent.  When we took out the plaster, Paul realized that 1890s house builders didn’t use proper headers.  This is a problem because the weight above the window isn’t being diverted properly.  Additionally, old windows aren’t particularly energy efficient–and especially with fuel prices going up, we are going to need more than single panes.

Sad windows.

More recently, neglect has led to the window sill rotting , and abuse that led to a few broken windows.  On Wednesday night, Paul and I spent two hours at the Home Depot getting quotes for new windows.

Click “More” for what we decided (this one gets a little specific!), as well as a reader poll (we need your opinions!).

The quotes took a long time for a few reasons, but the main thing was that we had to sit down with the product catalog and compare our window sizes to the standard sizes.  Because of Paul needing to re-frame the windows anyway, we have kind of a blank slate for the window sizes–although the cost of fixing stucco does restrict that freedom a little bit.  Here’s what we got so far:

Window design

  • Double-hung windows (except where we need to meet egress standards)
  • Interior: unfinished pine that we will stain to match our interior trim
  • Exterior: white vinyl (we’ll still have the green trim, but this way if we every change our color scheme we won’t have to replace the windows)
  • double pane glass (so we’ll qualify for the energy efficiency tax rebate and save on our heating costs)
  • Custom grille pattern (we wanted to keep the historic pattern, so we’ll splurge on this part of the order)

So even with all of that decided, we still have one decision to make: what to do with the living room windows.  Right now we have the bank of 5 windows that spans about 10 feet wide (see top of post).  However, something like that is too expensive, and because of some other structural issues, we are breaking the new windows into two banks.  Paul and I came up with two different ideas for how to go about doing that, and we’d like your input!  Unfortunately, this means you will be subjected to my lovely visualizations again, but bare with it! Voting at the end.

Option #1: (Leigh’s idea):

Option 1: Two picture windows


*  More light coming into the living room

*  About $400 less than the 2nd Option


*  Doesn’t match the style of the other windows

*  Unopenable–no air flow from this room

*  Possibly less privacy



Option #2 (Paul’s idea):

Option 2: Two banks of two double-hung windows


*  Openable–plenty of fresh air into the living room

*  Grille pattern that matches the other windows

*  Possibly more privacy


*  $400 more than Option 1

*  Possibly less light coming into the living room

*  Possibly too busy of a design


So, what do you think?  For us, things like budget are definitely a priority, but of course we want something that looks good first and foremost.  I grew up in a house with large windows in the living room, so natural light is important to me. And especially since this is a south-facing wall, there will be plenty of sun to be had.  I don’t care as much about the ability to have open-able windows, but I could be convinced.

Vote now!  We appreciate all the feedback we can get!

About Leigh

Born and raised in Rochester, MN, Leigh moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 for college. She stayed, and now works for a south metro city in the recycling department. In February of 2011, she and Paul bought a neglected farm house in the city to start our own urban hobby farm.

Posted on April 10, 2011, in House, Renovation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I just love reading about your project! And I am so happy it’s not me doing all that work.
    When I looked at your windows, my soul called out for some stained glass…not uncommon in that time period.

  2. I think you should add a bay window, you would have a little bench below the window (with storage).

    • Yeah, I would love to do that, but it is just not in the budget. Also, the situation with needing a beam in the middle of that wall kind of took that option off the table.

  1. Pingback: Window Update « Twin Cities Farmhouse

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