Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Historic home statement front window replacement

One super prominent feature of this home is its long living room with (approx.) 7'x7' window at the front. It lets in tons of sun in the morning (it faces east) and a good amount of light most of the time. It's a great!! But it had a lot of issues. Almost all the windows on my 1937 home are original wood windows, including some leaded glass ones. They are very cool and help the house keep its original character. But this window was failing in several ways. 

When we first bought the house this window was on the long list of overwhelming expensive projects/updates, and it fell to near the bottom of the list. But now with two kids and using the space in front of the window for their playmat and climber, and with a lot of other projects crossed off, it felt like it really needed to happen. 

Take a look... leaded glass panes including four fins in the middle, which were no longer welded together. At the top someone had tried to secure them with wood and screws, but the glass literally moved when you pushed on it slightly, and rattled in strong wind. There was also a lot of water damage on the sill and floor below. (And cat hair--but hard to dust with the varnish worn off from water damage!)

Outside it had been patched with various products and painted over, including by us when we had the exterior painted in 2020. I think this helped with some of the leaking, at least temporarily, but it didn't look great. 

I had an old house window expert out after we bought the house and he looked at how to repair this window. It would be very expensive and difficult due to the size. Replace the broken pane, weld (or solder? I don't know), replace the wood trim, somehow do all of that without damaging it more... I forget the quote but I think it was around $4k and the guy wasn't even sure it would work. So I crossed repairing it off the options list.

Another good thing about replacing it is energy efficiency and comfort in this room. This window was super drafty in the winter, and it gets super hot on this side of the house in the summer mornings. I use blackout curtains which help a ton but then we have a dark living room until the afternoons all summer.

So... I did some research into options for replacing this window with another wood framed one with a similar pane look. I wanted it to look as close to the original as possible, but with modern materials. I reached out to several companies and Pella was the clear choice for an old house, and they do the installation too (not all of the vendors I contacted do). 

There are a lot of pros about a new window, particularly for one of this size. It's double-paned and energy efficient which is huge for this location and size. The leaded glass look dividers are between the two panes so it's very easy to clean. 

Pella has a ton of options but I just reached out to my local branch and described what I needed. I had a call with the rep who I worked with the whole time (also not the case with some of the others I contacted). I chose the color of the dividing grilles, the exterior (primed with white inner edge, sorry I don't know the terms), and the interior (unfinished). The rep even came all the way out to the house (20 miles outside Portland) to hold up the samples to the other leaded glass windows I'm keeping. 

Pella installed the window for me included in the price but I chose to stain the trim (interior) and paint it (exterior) myself. Here it is all done!

I love how they matched the style of the interior trim so well.

Note the nice caulking job at the far right edge outside. 

I took these photos literally the first day it rained in several months and... the yard has looked better. (Also the new window and fresh paint, and the slow speed at which the new plants in front of the brick part of the house are growing, are making me really consider painting or whitewashing the brick again... stay tuned.)

You can also still see that water damage in front of the window. Refinishing the floors sounds really overwhelming but... it would really help with that.

The Pella quote was comparable to others I got but they didn't all include installation (so I'd have had to hire a contractor as well to install). I also got a 10% discount on top of this for paying cash (in two chunks). Here are the window stats on energy efficiency, etc. And you can see how big it is!

Having this done is such a relief! I'm happy to have the kids play here and it's already been more comfortable in here. 

Pella provided me a discount on this window in exchange for this post.

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