The day we closed on our circa 1834 home, there was no doubt in our minds that we would be replacing many of the old windows. We also knew we would be limited to what style, material, and even brand we would be allowed to use.
Living in a historic district is charming, and in our case has many perks such as being able to walk to several restaurants, but it also comes with challenges, including having to get approval for all exterior changes with the HDC (the Historic District Commission).
During our remodel, which has involved turning a two family back into a single family, I had a clear goal and a mission. My goal was to create a virtual design show house to share not only design inspiration, but our sources, many of which are New England businesses, companies, and brands. Why? Well as a small business owner myself, I strive to support and promote other local businesses. I always have and I always will. Also, it’s not easy finding the right product or service provider for a antique and historic homes. I firmly believe New England companies, that are familiar with the style, construction, and needs of old homes are the best to start with. They truly understand old homes and their quirks making it easier for architects, builders, interior designers, or home owners.
Over the course of 30 years, working in the field of design, presentation, and remodeling, I’ve worked on hundreds of New England homes, including seven of my own. Projects have included first period homes to new contemporary homes, historic properties that are now a businesses to new commercial spaces, so finding just the right product or service is not new to me. That said, when it comes to working on a historic properties, antique homes, or reproductions, especially when it’s in a historic district, going the extra mile is not only desired, but in many cases necessary.
Okay, so enough of the small talk. The reason I wrote this post was to share with you the company I selected to make custom windows for our historic home. We chose to work with Harvey Building Products, not only due to the fact they are a New England company, but they create a quality line of windows approved by many historic commissions. Even though Harvey Windows were a known product with our HDC, I still had to get my window selection approved by the Historic District Commission, which meant doing my homework and creating a presentation.
A bit like Frankenstein, our 185 year old home has gone through many changes over the years. I am still doing research to see if it was moved here or was the home built with bits and pieces of other homes. The home also shows work and additions from past eras, especially the windows. I thought for sure the front of our home was completely original, but I have a photo from 1908 showing it had bay windows on the front (which most likely replaced single windows from the 1800s). Some of the windows are six over six panes, and most likely original, some are two over two and others are two over one panes, most likely 80 to 100 years old. Photos of our different widow styles are shown later in this post.
Before I jump into our own remodel, when it came time to select windows and then place an order, I was under the guidance of our contractor. I did venture out on my own to view a display at a local showroom, as seen below, and I’m so glad I did! I did not realize there would be so many options and making the wrong choice might delay the approval of the HDC and I had already waited long enough for phase one of our remodel project to begin.
Once I made my selection of a six over six, 5/8” simulated divided light windows, that complemented the windows in the oldest part of our home, and got the official approval from our HDC, our contractor placed the order for our windows. Weeks later, once the custom windows were made and ready for installation, he picked them up at his local supplier. Remember, these are custom windows made right here in New England, so there is a lead time. If you select Harvey windows for your own project, or any other custom window of your choice, your contractor should be able to give you a rough estimate for production and delivery time once he places the order.
Seeing our contractor’s truck pull in with the windows for our new master bedroom, bathroom, and closet made me one happy homeowner! I may have even done a little happy dance!
On a side note, I will be creating more posts on each room remodel, but for now, here is a sneak peek of the installation and a few room shots.
As I mentioned earlier, when we first started this project, our home was in fact a two family. The photo below was the day we broke through the wall and could finally see into one of the rooms and view the outside from our upstairs hall. This room and the other rooms we were working on for this phase had the two over one windows.
Below, the windows were removed, the old cords and pulleys were removed, and the exterior storm windows were removed. Some of our windows have old storm windows that are hanging by two hooks at the top of the window, some have new interior compression storm windows, and these had newer exterior storms attached. I’m was certainly looking forward to having just one window take care of everything as was Ben, since he was the one removing and hanging the old storm windows.
The photo below shows the three different types of windows in the living area of our home.
As I mentioned above, our windows were made custom for each window opening, so replacing the old windows was fairly easy, so it seemed, once everything was removed and cleaned up.
After the first window went in, I was grinning from ear to ear and anxiously waited for the remaining six to be installed.
Yes! I actually ran outside to take this picture… I couldn’t help myself!
Below is a photo of the two new replacement windows in what is now part of our walk-in closet. This room was once an old bedroom, then a dining room, then a living room in an apartment.
Now for the master bathroom windows… What was once a kitchen on the second floor, I designed a new master bathroom. This was not an easy task since we had to remove a chimney to accomplish this, but more on that in a later post.
In this space, we were replacing old two over two windows.
Sorry for the blurry images, these are still shots from a video I shared on Instagram the day we moved in.
Voila!!!! The old windows have been replaced with the new ones.
And once again, I had to run outside and see what they looked like! Pinch Me!
Last but not least… the soon to be master bedroom windows.
Out of all the windows during this phase of the remodel, these windows were the most needed. This room over looks the back yard and is exposed not only to strong western sunlight, but strong winds that whip across an open field. The old windows were not energy efficient, so the room would either be too hot or too cold and they would rattle with the slightest wind. I did not realize how drafty they were until I taped plastic over them so that we could spray prime the walls and ceiling. The plastic immediately started blowing and lifting and when I taped the bottom, it created a large bubble. Kinda cool to witness and it confirmed installing new windows was a smart decision and we would certainly see a difference in our energy bills.
This photo shows were the chimney to our two burners used to be, but once again, I will share more about that part of the remodel at a later time.
Below, a note was left for our contractors from our friendly ghost. Okay, the note is from me, but I do have many fun stories I could tell! Boo!
My day wouldn't have been complete if I didn't run outside for yet another picture of our new replacement windows!
At the time of this post, I’m still putting finishing touches in each of the three spaces and I will photograph each space soon. We’re also already working on phase two of our New England home remodel, which includes a full kitchen demo of making two smaller rooms into one larger room.
Right now, I’m still trying to decide if I want to have my kitchen sink overlooking the back yard, which would create the need for new plumbing and smaller/raised windows (which would mean no yard view from the kitchen island) , or just replace them and keep them the size they are now so that we can enjoy seeing most of the back yard while seated in upholstered chairs, by the windows.
Stay tuned to find out what I decide!
If you are looking for a contractor, that installs Harvey Building Products, here is a direct link to get further information. Click Here
Disclosure: We’re working with Harvey Building Products as homeowners and consumers, but New England Fine Living is also officially working with Harvey Building Products as a content creator and marketing partner to help them spread the word about their products. That said, this post is completely my own words, thoughts, and feelings and I was not given any direction from Harvey Building Products, nor would I share this information if I did not believe in the product or brand.