This post is sponsored by Pella.
Yesterday afternoon, Faye perched herself on one of the chairs in the breakfast nook and took tiny bites from an apricot for at least 20 minutes. Enjoying it and everything going on outside of the windows surrounding her.
We knew the breakfast nook would be a constant hangout spot as soon as we moved in. This little alcove off of the kitchen was the perfect place for a round dining table, a place for casual eating. We wanted a formal dining room — but day to day, this “nook” is so cozy and convenient. We eat here and snack here and play games here and love looking out on the yard. And it’s our favorite place to start the day.
The breakfast nook is open to the kitchen and living room and we really put a lot of emphasis on natural light when we re-imagined this space. The black architectural series windows from Pella frame the landscaping perfectly–it is the art.
But it didn’t always look like this! Over the past 11 months, we have been slowly updating it. When we moved in, it looked like below (yes, I put a vase of flowers on a folding table–don’t wait!):
The entire space has been overhauled little by little–new table and floors, chairs and light fixture and paint (Alabaster on the walls and Accessible Beige on the trim, both by Sherwin Williams), but the biggest change from replacing the old prairie style windows for something that felt more classic–we went with Pella’s Architectural Series Contemporary wood windows in black. They’re the perfect marriage of modern and traditional, and the black looks so good. It really emphasizes the view outside. But, I’m getting ahead of myself — if you’re thinking of replacing your windows, you’ve got questions. And I’ve got answers.
For starters, I can think of four great reasons to replace windows: curb appeal, interior design, energy efficiency, and general function (Does it “work”? Is it safe?). The breakfast nook had windows that were about 30 years old. (You might remember this post, when my sisters and I painted the sashes.) They were functioning okay, but we knew that we could upgrade their efficiency while improving their design.
(Below you can see the before)
One of the first things we needed to determine was if we’d need a full-frame installation or a pocket installation. A full-frame installation is when you replace the whole window frame. A pocket replacement keeps the original frame (along with the trim and the casing) and just replaces the old window with a new one of the same size. If you’re changing the shape, size, or style (bay window, for example), you’re going to need a full-frame installation. If you’re current window frame is in good condition, you can probably get away with a pocket replacement. Pocket replacements are obviously easier in brick or stone homes since these materials would be impacted by changing the window size or shape.
These were all full-frame installation since the window brand, style, and color were all changing.
Then we had to decide on single-hung, double-hung, casement, sliding or picture windows. This all comes down to whether you’d rather slide your windows (up and down or side to side) or crank them open. For the big windows, we went with a “sash set fixed” or picture window (they don’t open). The side windows are casement windows — they roll out so the entire height of the window allows fresh air in. You can see them propped open a bit in the photo below.
And now the question you’re really here for: Can I DIY the installation? Technically, yes. If you’re a builder or a carpenter or you’ve had lots of practice with this sort of thing, you already know you can install a window :) But Chris and I hired our contractor to install these. And this isn’t our first rodeo! We’ve installed several Pella windows over the years, each time hiring a professional to install. In my opinion, it’s worth the money to ensure that it’s done right. Added bonus: If you hire a pro, they’ll take care of recycling the old windows for you. (These have to go to a deconstruction service. You can’t leave them out on the curb.) We donated ours to the reStore and our crew took them there for us!
You’re probably going to want to go with the glass that blocks UV rays. We asked for these for a couple of reasons: First, it helps the fabrics not to fade and to keep looking fresh. Low-E glass also protects your art and keeps your house cool (even if you don’t have AC). This has been the biggest noticeable difference in our home. Our home never feels drafty or too hot!
We had these installed in the winter. I’m telling you this in case you think you have to buy new windows in the spring/summer. Whenever it’s good for you and your contractor, make that the time. We’re installing windows for this house in stages, a few at a time.
So how much did it cost? The windows for this breakfast nook came to just under $5,000. But your budget for your new window(s) will depend on your customization and your house. The cost of hiring a pro will vary depending on where you live. We ordered a custom Pella window for our last house — and put a window where there was not — for $335. So it’s truly a sliding scale depending on size and finish. They have a variety of series at different price points!
There are still a few things we want to add to this little nook. We finally decided on some chic roman shades we’ll be adding. And here’s a question for you: the plaster ceiling medallion was there when we moved in and at first I hated it, but now it has kind of grown on me! Yay or Nay from you?!