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The New Window Is In!

March 4, 2015  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

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Earlier this week, I shared the installation of our new window in the living room in real time on Instagram, but I am here to report some more details on the window itself and some progress photos, too! Here’s how the wall looked beforehand:

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And here’s how it looks now!

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The thing I wish I had was the original of the first photo because just looking at it, I can tell I had to brighten it quite a bit. The new window lets in so much light, the above photo isn’t brightened at all. We still need to paint and trim out the window and add window treatments (all of which we plan on doing this weekend), but we can’t get over the difference it made in our whole great room.

It feels larger and makes more sense–like it should have always been there. In this progress photo below, you can see there is another large window to the right of the patio door. The large blank space to the left, puzzled us since we moved in. We knew almost immediately that we wanted to add a window. Fortunately there was room to fit one of the exact same size.

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There are a few key differences though. This window opens and the other, as well as most windows in our house besides the bedrooms!, don’t. While our house stays very sealed and warm all winter long–an important thing in Idaho–in the summer, we roast. The other main difference besides having our new window open is the shape of the panes. The window to the right of the door has an extra row of panes, making them more square shaped. We prefer a rectangular pane, so we did 4 rows x 6 columns for this window and will eventually switch out the other window to match (and open!).

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Backing up to when our contractor first arrived, there was a lot of nerves flying around. We are generally DIYers. We like to be in control and get our hands dirty. But cutting a hole in the side of our house?! That makes us way too nervous to attempt to do it ourselves. Our contractor spent a lot of time measuring and staring and measuring and running outside and inside. And before he made his first cut we held our breaths. There’s really no telling what is behind that wall. We felt like we were clear of the water pipe outside and the plug we were pretty sure stayed south, but we weren’t 100% on anything. As he opened the wall up, we were faced with spray foam and no sign of anything else. It was the best feeling. Also, I was really glad it wasn’t us having to remove that foam.

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The above photo was taken around 2pm during a short break for lunch. He had arrived just before 9am.  So, it took about 5 hours to cut the hole, remove all the insides and frame it for support. It took another 2.5 hours to get it to this point where we’re taking over:

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Naturally, the exterior had quite the update too.

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As for the question that we’ve been getting quite a lot–How much did it cost?!

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The window–a good quality, 5’x6′, custom Pella window we special ordered from Lowes–was $335. A steal, right?! I hate commenting prices on contractor wages, because they vary so much from place to place. But I’ll say we paid him about what we paid for the window to give you an idea.

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We’ll have another window update next week once everything looks a little nicer. Ha! But, I am already anxious to add more windows to the great room–more specifically the kitchen. What a difference!

Ps. I got a super flattering email informing me that Chris Loves Julia was named one of Better Homes and Gardens top 10 DIY blogs. The #1 DIY blog is decided by votes–although we truly feel like we already won–if you want to vote for our blog just hit “select” under our name right here. Thanks so much for following along for so many years!

What do you think?

  1. Laurie Jones says:

    Hi! I love the ledge above your sofa! Was that a DIY project? Thanks!

  2. emily says:

    the amount this window cost to purchase and put in is waaaaay less than the impact it has in the room….better than any piece of furniture. love, love the symmetry and the light! fantastic.

  3. Kates says:

    Ah-maz-ing! Now I want to cut holes in my walls and add windows! LOL

  4. It boggles my mind that the original design of the house did NOT have a second window, if clearly there is the exact amount of room for it on the other side of the door. Still, most people just shrug and accept it as “I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be” But not you guys! You’re such a refreshing reminder of asking oneself “But why?” in home design.

    • Julia says:

      It was especially boggling since there was nothing behind the wall. No pipes or electricity. We thought, “There must be a reason!” But we’re glad we could bring this home to, what we think, is its potential.

  5. Lucas says:

    I am so glad you went for a more vertical rectangular proportion with the panes in this unit. Thank you for thinking about the proportions of your window when adding this and future units. Historically, proportions were more vertical/rectangular. I am an architect and it can be a tough sell to clients to replace their windows because they have horizontally proportioned panes. It just doesn’t have a place in traditional residential building g types. Great work! Everything is really coming along and you’re really adding valuable character to your home.

    • Julia says:

      Ah! This validates our decision so much. Thank you for weighing in. We felt this was the way to go in our gut.

  6. Look really cool . I love your new window.Really enjoy your blog

  7. Alison G says:

    Looks like you got my email about the nomination. :) I have voted several times. I hope you win, you both deserve it. And the window looks great! Will you have to order more curtains now?

  8. I’m really blown away by the amazing difference that window makes, and how (relatively) little it cost to do. For some reason I was expecting that cutting a hole in your house and installing a brand new window would be much more expensive, but this seems really reasonable for such a big improvement. Love it!

  9. Megan says:

    Looks great. I’ve wanted to add a bank of windows to my living room for six years, now I’m seriously considering it! How did you go about looking for a contractor?

  10. Shauna says:

    Love the new window, it makes such a difference! Wish I could do that to my house but it’s block built and it would be sooooo expensive with steel and everything! Also I voted for you! Love the blog!

  11. Daniela says:

    What a transformation! Your living room looks amazing!
    Congratulations on the BHG nomination! I just voted for your blog! :-)

  12. I love that you guys put windows wherever they are needed. Our living room doesn’t have any windows and I always feel encouraged to look into putting one or two in whenever you guys install another window. Looking forward to seeing it all dressed up!

    • Julia says:

      You know, for what it does–it is such a relatively inexpensive thing to do for what it adds. I guess they call that “bang for your buck.” We think windows are huge bangs for your bucks!

  13. Ange says:

    The new window looks amazing!! Oh and I’ve just voted for you guys.. Good luck!!

  14. Callie says:

    Whoa – HUGE difference!! Looks amazing! Great job having the vision. I can just imagine how in each season it will brighten the space. And so good to know that contractor rates can sometimes be cheaper in the winter.

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