We love the character and originality of our 1960’s Walk-Out Rambler home. However, one original feature that has become a “pane” (hahaha) is our original windows. (see what I did there?)
Now, most of our windows in our house that are original can be categorized under “annoyingly chilly”, to be replaced eventually. However, if you Minnesotans can recall back to last winter (remember, we bought our house in January), it was a fr-eeeee-zing cold winter, one for the books. We made the discovery that our living room bay window leaked soooo much cold air that it actually created ice on the INSIDE of the house. Our solution? Insulation by throw-pillows. So high-tech and energy efficient -not! What was worse is that our living room layout called for our sofa to be up against the bay window, so if you were on the couch, you were freezing your bum off. It had to be this way so we could keep the fireplace wall open because, well, we used the fireplace A LOT to heat the house and counteract the wrath of the bay window freeze.
We knew after last winter that we simply could NOT go through another winter with that draft (and heating bill), so we set out on a mission this Fall to get this baby replaced before the snow came. We started by having Home Depot and Window World both come to our house to do proposals/quotes. Holy-bologne. Having an installer do the whole thing ranged from $3,000-$4,000. Yikes! We are truly fortunate to have my Dad be a retired carpenter, so he heard those prices, laughed, and said we’d be doing it ourselves (dear Matt, please take off work, thanks.)
So, as you can see, in my Dad’s more-than-capable hands, we had to decide next what we were going to replace the window with. While I’m sure there is very valuable information about the install process itself, that is not my forte, but here are some photos of the men in action making this happen:
Now, I learned a thing or two about windows (far from an expert, mind you). But I’ll pass my knowledge on for the next window-shoppers out there.
Fun fact, our window that I keep referring to as a “bay window”- not a REAL bay window. A real bay window either jets out 30 or 45 degrees to create a “bench/seat/ledge” in the middle of the panes. When we were looking into bay windows I liked the 30 degree bays a lot more, the 45 almost feel like a box has been shoved on the side of your house. Kind of weird.
Now THIS is what our current window was. Bow refers to a window that wants to be a bay, but didn’t quite make the cut. It doesn’t jet out as far as 30 degrees so its in more of a bow form. Our bow window had 2 casement windows on the left and right side that opened (with a crank), and two center pane windows that did not open.
After discovering the differences and seeing bay and bow windows in big box stores and salvage shops, I came to the conclusion that bay windows are silly expensive. Now, subjective I understand, but let me explain my reasoning and things I considered that made me realize the bay window just wasn’t worth the investment for us:
So, we live in a neighborhood, and this bay window in question is in the front of our house, facing the street. Realistically, we have our shades drawn/covering the window 90% of the time. It just seems unnatural to have the neighborhood looking in on you like a fish bowl (and vice-versa). Now, I grew up on 10 acres in the country, and we didn’t have one single window covering because you looked outside and all you saw was trees & fields. That’s just not the case here. It’s a neighborhood, which is fine, but I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a bay window that I am pretty certain will be covered up by some form of window treatment for privacy.
Now, I wasn’t about to just take the cheap route and stick something on the very front of our house that looked like garbage, so that was taken into consideration too. The truth was that the bow/jetting out aspect of the window really didn’t do much for the curb appeal, so I wasn’t worried about changing it up (but something to keep in mind).
Change Of The Times
I think we were hesitant about taking out even the bow window (let alone a bay) because it just seems like a classic thing people want in homes. However, I feel like that is a little cliche/old school train of thought. I mean, we were keeping the same window opening area, so we were going to let in just as much light- which REALLY is what buyers are looking for in homes.
THE DECISION & OUTCOMES
So all things considered, we went with a standard window from Lowes, they were having a promotion so we saved 30% which was great. The window is flat, and features 2 casement windows (open with cranks) on either side, and one large pane in the middle (that doesn’t open). While I was just relieved to have one picked out, I never imagined the new window would have these positive effects on our house:
Room Feels Bigger
This is kind of ironic/seems backwards, since you would think that by taking out the bow window (which, remember, jetted outward from the room), would make the room feel smaller, that is not the case at all. We think it is because there is so much more glass vs. wood in the old window design.
Walkway Feels Bigger
Remember when I said to make sure you consider your exterior? Well, we thought about the curb appeal of the house, but didn’t realize that our walkway (that used to have the bow window on your left jetting out from the house as you walked to the front door) feels SO much more wide and open without the window protruding from the house. Woot woot!
Trim Makes A Big Deal
After the window was in, we had to decide on what kind of wood to use for trim. Since the interior framing of the window itself is pine, we opted for Pine for the trim (in case we stain it them the wood would match). Going from our old yellow-y original 60s oak trim to this beautiful, thick, pine trim makes me weak in the knees with glee at the difference trim can make.
AND the best part? The window is sealed and is keeping our living room toasty warm! (No throw-pillow insulation this year, yes!) We got this done literally in the knick of time just one week before Mother Nature dusted the Twin Cities with snow and plummeted our temperatures into the 20s (which p.s. heard on the radio today, this is JANUARY weather, Mother Nature, not November. Check yourself.)
I think we can all agree Lewis approves too. Anywho, yay for our new window! I hope you walk away with a small piece of knowledge should you ever have to replace a large window!
*Next on the docket, what should we do for trim?! (Finally, something more aesthetic/visual/fun). Such a huge decision (since it will carry through the whole house). I love white, but Matt isn’t sold. He wants to go with a clear poly over the pine, but I don’t want it to turn yellow-ish. How about white-wash? What do you guys think?!