Things have been pretty quiet here on the blog lately, but we've been hard at work on several projects.

Rather than keep waiting until everything is done, we wanted to share an update to start getting you caught up.

If you've been a reader here for a while you may remember the work we've done in the past to begin restoration of our five original 1880s windows.

Years ago we paint stripped, re-roped, and weather stripped three of these windows, but we never did anything with the sash.

Over the years these sash have withstood blizzards, tropical storms, a derecho, blistering sun, and deep freezes. All the while they've slowly begun to fail. The glazing is cracking in places and the paint peeling and falling off, but the wood has stayed very solid on account of being old growth pine. Sure it's a little weathered in places and needs some rejuvenation, but pretty good all things considered.

So enough is enough. It's high time we do something about these old windows. And by that I mean lovingly restore them to make them wonderful once again.

Consider this the kickoff of the continuation of our original window restoration (which may also eventually result in finishing the storm windows that I've repeatedly promised to finish but also repeatedly failed to finish).

First steps to restoration is removal. This has been a heated debate in our house. Initially I told Wendy that we'd be cutting and installing plywood sheets in the window openings while each was being restored. Wendy, well, she didn't like that idea. So instead I decided to build a temporary window.

Using some two by material, I cut several pieces of wood and pocket holed it all together. Quick and dirty is my plan of action here.

I picked up a few pieces of plexiglass from Lowe's and placed it on my temporary window.

To make sure it was all watertight I applied a bead of silicon caulk around the perimeter of the plexiglass and secured the panels with 1" stainless screws into some decorative washers to properly distribute the pressure.

Removing the sash was easy. Since I never reinstalled the parting beads and the sash stops were just screwed in place, it only took me a few minutes to free the sash. (This also means that the windows have had a terrible time keeping wind and cold out for many years...)

I did have to cut some small notches at the top of the temp window to accommodate the sash pulleys, but other than that I had apparently measured correctly and the whole thing leaned right into place without issue.

Today the front of our house has a single temporary window where an original once hung. The frame has already been restored, but the sash is another story.

We've got a somewhat long road ahead of us that will include a steam chamber, salvaged glass, blopentine (we'll cover what that is in the future), and I'm sure a lot of head scratching. I'm excited. Wendy's excited. Heck, even Lulu and Mel are excited. I hope you're excited too!

Comments 16


9/2/2017 at 4:52 PM

I am very interested to watch your progress with your windows--I follow you on Instagram as well so I saw the paint removal that you posted there. Next time I need to strip some paint , I may try the same product, so thanks!
I am also interested in your storm windows. My house is not as old as yours and has the original wood windows, but awful aluminum storms. I keep hoping for a good solution for keeping the wood.
Thanks for telling your story


Glad you're following along on Instagram too. There's just so much to this project that I definitely want to share it as we move along and learn. Otherwise we'd have an epic blog post that would be a little too overwhelming to handle. Alt smile

The storms are partially built, still in the basement. I had good movement on them initially but the wood I bought, Western Red Cedar, all started warping after I began building. So I am going to regroup on that project after I finish up the initial window restoration.

9/3/2017 at 7:14 PM

Love your blog and look forward to watching the progress. I admire how meticulous you both are (no pressure!), and that you take the time to do a project in such a way that it both looks good, works properly, and, hopefully, lasts a good long time!


Nobody can ever tell us we don't take our time. Alt grinning

Thank you for following along, and I do hope we don't let you down.

9/4/2017 at 10:08 AM

Really rooting for you; that looks like a lot of tedious work ahead, especially with your high standards (a really good thing here). But it's one step closer to storm windows! I hope you are able to complete at least this one before any hurricanes hit (Irma?).


It is tedious, but I like tedious. This has been a dream for so long and I'm so excited to actually be working on it. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for all of our Florida (and Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, etc) friends with Irma. What a crazy storm.

9/6/2017 at 3:43 PM

So excited to watch this process!


Thanks, Leslie. We're excited to share!

9/6/2017 at 5:18 PM

I'm super excited. I haven't touched my original 1901 wood windows at all yet, but I've read and re-read your previous window posts to help prepare myself.


I hope our experience (and hopefully results as well) with give you some of the tips you need to tackle this yourself. It's certainly intimidating as a whole, but it's helping me to break it down to all of the individual steps.

9/7/2017 at 8:53 AM

Check out this site. You can select wind, precip, temps, etc. Just scroll over the area and it will tell you the wind speed, gusts whatever. And you can change date and time at the bottom. Seems like something you'd find interesting...;-78.1;5&l=wind


Thanks for the link. I was using it to watch Irma's approach. Such cool visualizations.

9/13/2017 at 9:54 AM

What a great post. Thank you for sharing all the details with us!! I have a few old windows in my home that need to be restored and this just made me build the courage =)


I really hope you feel like taking your project on after you see how I handle ours. There are certainly a lot of steps, but tackling each one at a time I think it should be doable.

9/13/2017 at 10:35 AM

Windows are doors are one of the most overlooked things in a house I think. Its so easy to improve your TV, sofa or bed, but do people even take a look at their windows and doors when they are improving their house? So many houses have windows that are of poor quality.

9/17/2017 at 5:27 PM

Can't wait to see more. I sent you an e-mail. ;)

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