January 3, 2015

Bay Window for the Living Room

We received an unexpected but wonderful gift for Christmas - the funds to do the living room window! Dan had extra days off over holidays, so we got an earlier than anticipated start on the project.

Old windows, original to the house - single glazed with no insulation
under the molding. The new energy efficient ones are in the corner.

The first thing we did was to take a trip to an area surplus building supply warehouse. We had decided that if we could find the right windows, then the bay window we wanted would be a go. Well, they happened to have recently gotten new stock and we found just what we were looking for - three new energy star rated windows (and for less than the cost of one at full retail price).

The next step was to take out the old windows.

It was a cold day and this promised to be a dusty job so we cleared
out the living room and covered what remained. Having doors for all
the rooms meant that all the cold and dust stayed in the living room.

As Dan feared, there was no header for the window opening. If you look carefully along the top you can see five studs spaced 16" apart on center.

Close-up of how the window opening was originally framed out.

A header would have supported the ceiling, but instead, the builder used the windows to prop up the opening. Not unsurprisingly, there was some sagging there.

With new header installed

Dan doubled two 2x6s with a strip of plywood sandwiched in between to make a new header. Having to do this meant having to rethink placement of the windows. We bought them the same height as the old, but the header decreased the opening by 5.5 inches. Lowering the opening at the bottom would mean having to cut the living room's cement board wall. The other option was the header as a beam effect. After finding several examples of this online, that seemed the simpler option.

Framing for the new windows

My original sketch showed only the windows projecting from the wall. Another option was to build it to look like a room bump-out. Bay windows are very heavy and are usually installed as one unit and attached to the house from above with cables. By building it like a bump-out, the weight of each window could be supported by it's own framing.

Here are a couple of close-ups for details:

How he framed out the top

Nailer on either side for siding and window trims
Next -

I'll paint the siding white for the time being, and then
do the final paint job once the entire porch is finished.

Dan stuffed every crack with either insulation or foam and then applied window flashing. The barnboard siding around the bottom is insulated with batting. He covered the floor with a vapor barrier and will also put down plywood cut to fit. This be covered with a window seat when we get to the interior.

Windows in!

This is a different style from what we've been putting in the rest of the house, but I like the picture window effect.

Siding up, trims installed, ready for primer and paint.

Like the front door, these windows brighten up the living room considerably. With the windows being energy efficient, I won't have to keep them heavily draped all the time. In fact, just yesterday evening Dan commented that this was the first time the living room felt warm in the six winters we've been here. In spring and autumn I'll be able to catch the lovely breezes because the front window is double hung with a screen.

The next step will be to prime and temporarily paint white. Then we'll get started on the inside. More on both of those here - "Progress on the Bay Window? Not Much".


Unknown said...

What a great job!!! I noticed when we put in all new energy efficient windows it was also so much quieter! In the city there's traffic, barking dogs etc. Really cancelled a lot out...

jewlz said...

Oh my. love it!! Bet those cats do too!

badgerpendous said...

That looks simply amazing. I really like the way it works in the covered porch. I'd have never thought of it, and now that I've seen it, I can't imagine it any other way. Fantastic! (as always!)

Dawn said...

How lovely to have deep windows, ideal for a window seat, our windows all have deep sills and the upstairs windows are low down, I plan to turn the upstairs ones into window seats by just putting a nice padded cushion seat on them.
Your windows and door have really improved the look of the house and added character well done.

Leigh said...

Nancy, thanks! Good point about sound. We noticed it buffered a lot of that as well. Much more pleasant.

JW, the cats will love it once we get the window seat in!

Garrett, it's funny how it really looks like it belongs there. Something else I should have mentioned is that being part of the porch roof like this means we won't have the leaking problems common to bay windows. Another plus!

Dawn, love those deep sills and window seats. We're really happy with how it's turned out and the way it looks. :)

Tuesday said...

Beautiful!!!!! I am so impressed with Dan's skills! It really adds to the front porch.

Harry Flashman said...

I'm impressed with how much you two have accomplished. Your place is coming along very nicely. Moreover, when it's done, it will be uniquely "yours" more so than a house a person just moves into.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

What an added bonus and one the seat is in it will be a great place to sit and have a cuppa.

Dani said...

Oh - I have bay window envy ;)

It's looking fabulous - Dan certainly is a gifted craftsman.

Mark said...

Leigh, that's wonderful! Once again Dan is demonstrating some excellent construction skills and the completed build out looks great. You're going to love the bay windows.

Woolly Bits said...

I'd love to have a window seat like that - and a shelf for books underneath, so that I can sit in the window and read, and look out and let dreams and thoughts wander.... enjoy it, it looks lovely and very inviting!
belated a happy new year to both of you!

Quinn said...

We are living parallel lives!

Mama Pea said...

Can hardly believe the huge change to the look of the front of the house! I can only imagine the difference it will make inside the living room. Everything you and Dan do not only improves the appearance and infrastructure of your house, but is done with such expertise. Great pictures!

Unknown said...

This was very interesting. You are lucky to have someone so talented to do it. It is beautiful!

Michelle said...

Even MORE curb appeal! (I know you aren't doing it for that, but it doesn't hurt.) You will soon be able to enjoy ALL of your house, ALL year, and that is wonderful. What a merry Christmas gift!

tpals said...

Is he available for hire? I'd love to have a greenhouse attached to my house. ;)

Seriously, it's the perfect addition to your house: practical and attractive.

Leigh said...

Tuesday, thank you! We're really pleased with how the front porch is coming along.

Harry, that is so true about the uniqueness. I'm going to say that thinking of our house as our permanent home rather than an investment makes all the difference. It gives us the freedom to do what we want.

Fiona, that's assuming the cats will let us have a turn. ;)

Dani, I love it too. Dan (as always) sees the flaws in his craftsmanship, but with an old house that is neither square nor level, I think he did a fantastic job!

Mark, what I read about bay windows is true - they really open up the inside and make the room seem larger as well as lighter. Both bonuses in our small house!

Bettina, window seats really do that, don't they. :)

Quinn, fun, isn't it!

Mama Pea, it's pretty amazing to see the before and after. I'm pleased that we can both make a sturdier, more energy efficient home while making it pretty too. Win-win!

Brittany, I am very fortunate and never forget to be thankful for it. :)

Michelle, as you can imagine, the neighbors must be ecstatic to not have to look at the old porch any more! It will be so much better once we finish the rest and get some color on.

tpals, LOL. Actually a greenhouse attached to the house would be a wonderful idea.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Looks brilliant Leigh! I can see you sitting there looking out on your piece of earth.

Farmer Barb said...

How delightful! It looks like a perfect place to sit and contemplate. Since you two spend so much time sitting and contemplating. NOT!

1st Man said...

How lovely that is. I've always liked a bay window and love a window seat. Are y'all going to put hidden storage under the window seat in that space? We have a window seat in our house in town that has, when you take off the cushions, these two doors that lift up and give us access to that otherwise dead space. It's great for storing not often used things.

I sure wish I (or 2nd Man) had the talent your hubby does. It would be much more affordable, ha.

Martha said...

Great Look! It was wise to make the improvement along with the porch repair. I do love a Bay Window! A window seat also provides hidden storage.

Simply Handmade Farmhouse said...

That is so nice...we use to have one and loved it.

Unknown said...

Seriously beautiful window. Its going to look so grand when its all painted up. Well done Dan

Amanda said...

It already looks great; will look amazing when you get it all primed and painted. The improvements you're making are fantastic. We invested in insulated windows back when they were doing the "Cash for Caulkers." We have the opposite problem in Florida - we are desperate to keep the heat out - but changing those windows basically made the back half of our house livable in the afternoon. Some of the smartest money we've ever spent.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Wow. And you've gained a bit of square footage on the inside now, too. It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You sure do have a clever husband there. Well done Dan and I can't wait to see it all padded out with a cushion and a cosy cat, painted up and in use. :)

Leigh said...

Gill, thanks!

Barb, well put, LOL. At least the cats will have a nice vantage point to watch the front garden. :)

1st Man, I have to admit that Dan's talents mean we can do so much more. My grandmother had storage under hers but so far Dan hasn't committed to making ours that way!

Martha, I've mentioned that too him but so far he's only talked about stuffing it with insulation!

Teresa, I love all the light. :)

Lynda, I hope to slap some primer on this week. Then, hopefully, we'll get the rest of the porch done soon so I can paint it for real.

Amanda, we have that problem in summer too. In fact, I've had to keep the entire old window heavily draped all year long because of cold in the winter and heat in the summer. These windows should take care of that problem too!

Jaime, thanks!

Jessie, better make that three cats. ;)

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Beautiful job Dan and Leigh. Love all the detailed pictures. Bit by bit you have built yourselves one awesome home!!

Cat Eye Cottage said...

I love the way you did that. I would never have thought to put a window seat on the porch. I saw your front porch in another photo. It's huge. We would love to have a porch like that.

Unknown said...

The window looks fabulous! You two never cease to amaze me. I only bounce in here every once in a while these days as life is so busy and as always you guys are busting out BIG moves. Your place looks great. Your 2015 list is inspiring. Aren't we lucky girls that our guys can do everything. Happy New Year Leigh, blessings

Ed said...

You did great work! It certainly adds a lot of curbside appeal to your porch.

Sandy Livesay said...


Between the new front door, and this new window the front of your house has changed so much. I don't recognize it, it's gorgeous.

Great work you two!!!

Sarah said...

It looks wonderful! It's so much fun seeing all the changes you're making!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Very nice looking and I am sure you ae really going to enjoy it! Nancy

Karen@ onthebanksofsaltcreek.com said...

Great window!
The previous owner of our farm built the house himself. It is quite amazing the shortcuts he took.
Just means more projects for us.

Mama Mess said...

Fantastic! That is so beautiful and I can imagine the difference it made on the inside of your house!

Cassandra said...

I love it! That's quite a lot of work and it turned out so well.

Melodye said...

They are simply beautiful!!!

Bag End Gardener said...

That's going to look outstanding when finished, kudos to Dan! We changed a couple of windows last year and being able to sit and look out makes so much difference.

You said that Dan did not want to cut the living room's cement board wall. Will you make part of the windowsill removable for storage underneath the seat?

Bag End Gardener said...

Oops, sorry - just saw that 1st Man already asked this.

Leigh said...

Donna, thanks. I love it too but if you ask Dan, he says it would have been easier to build our own from scratch!

Candace, good to hear from you! Yes, we do have a nice front porch. Originally I thought we'd use it more but it gets the afternoon and evening sun in summer, making it too hot to enjoy. :(

Jen, good to hear from you too! Thanks! I know all about life being busy and from reading your blog lately, I'd say you top busyness.

Ed, I'm guessing the neighbors are ecstatic, LOL

Sandy, it's almost hard to believe it's our house! :)

Sarah, it is fun. :)

Nancy, I hope so. It's going faster than we thought, but we still have to do the ceiling, which is threatening to fall down in spots. That will be another big job.

Karen, thanks! Oh, I can empathize! So many times we've wondered what the builder was thinking of. Then we've had to make make-do decisions and wonder if someone in the future will ask themselves the same thing of us. :)

the Goodwife, thank you! I can't wait till it's done so I can show before and after pictures. :)

Cassandra, it's a relief it's looking so good. I always wonder whether the idea in my head will look as good in reality.

Melodye, thank you!

Jayne, the window seat is still under discussion. I mention storage but he hasn't been real enthusiastic. My own hesitation is because of the humidity we have to live with. I'm not sure I'd want to store anything in a closed space without air circulation for any length of time. But we'll see. :)

Kirsty said...

Looks great Leigh, how wonderful to be so handy!