...because home doesn't happen overnight.
10.11.11 / New Windows & Doors

Notice anything different?

Look closely.  It’s subtle.  Here’s a ‘before’ to help you out…

The Underdog came to us with some newer windows and a newer patio slider door.  {Do you see where I’m going with this now?} But there were several original windows in need of replacing due to their horrible insulating properties and cracked glass panes.  Here’s what needed replaced:

  • large picture window
  • garage window
  • both bathroom windows
  • master bedroom windows
  • mudroom/dining room window

We hired a local window and door company to order {since the window sizes were all custom} and install these replacement windows. They started the job last week and we’re really happy with their work.  It’s been one of the more pleasant experiences we’ve had {notice no new roof just yet} with professional contractors so far.  We’re even more pleased with the results!

That’s the new family room picture window.  Before, the smaller side panes cranked out to open and it was difficult to close them back up. As much as I adored the novelty of the casement-like windows, they were cumbersome to open and close due to their age.  Plus, the window was practically a big hole in the wall letting outside air seep in because it wasn’t insulated properly.

The new window has the same look as the original but the side panes slide open.  Much more user-friendly.  This window is still my favorite element of the family room.  It lets in tons of natural light.

The garage window has been replaced too.  I love that there is a window in the garage – to let light in and to make it look less like a garage from the street.  Our previous home didn’t have a garage window and it was so dark.  Now, Handy Hubby will have a view to the outside when he’s busy DIYing.

Each of the two bathrooms have new windows.  HH actually smashed one accidentally when he was demo’ing the kids’ bathroom. Oops!  Good thing we were planning on replacing it anyway.

We went with an opaque pane for privacy but it still lets in natural light.  When you run your hand across the pane, it’s smooth even though it looks bumpy in the image.  The texture is on the reverse side of the pane.  Like the garage, I’m loving the fact that the bathrooms have windows. Only one of the three bathrooms in our previous home had a window, and I hated the dark, cramped, stuffy feeling that I got from those windowless bathrooms.

This is the exterior view of the master bedroom.  It’s located at a back corner of the house.  The previous homeowner used this room as her art studio {she was a painter} and the windows were original to the 1950’s home.  One window was cracked. I’m guessing the owner didn’t replace these damaged windows {even though the other bedroom windows had been replaced} since no one slept in the space. There wasn’t even a bed in the room when we first toured the house.

No more busted windows now.  We can rest easy.

Probably the biggest window makeover was this one on the garage side of the house in what will be the mudroom/dining room.  Since the Underdog had no central A/C, there was a hideous window A/C unit installed here.  {We’ve yet to remove the brackets that used to support the window A/C unit.} Let me remind you…

Removing the unit and upgrading the window makes the room feel so much bigger and brighter!

Since the window will be visible from the great room, I’d love to dress it up with some fun curtain panels…hung high and wide, of course, to optimize the amount of natural light that passes into the room.

But my FAVORITE part of the window/door upgrade?!  This…

{Layne was having a blast pushing a rusty wheelbarrow around the property.  I think he wore down a path.}

We had one of the kitchen windows knocked out and replaced with custom French doors.  It was an upgrade that we went back-and-forth on…’we know we’ll love it but should we do it now or wait?’  Well, we didn’t wait.  We were guessing that saving the project for a time after the Underdog was ‘done’ would cause a huge mess  – not that we’re against messes, obviously.  But we figured it’d be easier to just get ‘er done now as opposed to waiting and wishing.

So glad we took the plunge!  The door still needs painted {not sure what color yet} but I love it just the same.  Not only does it open up the kitchen and great room to the backyard, but it provides a whole new traffic pattern to emerge.  We’ll be able to take our meals outside directly from the kitchen!

The new French doors are located directly across from the front door, so the view pulls your eye all the way through to the backyard from the front door and family room.

Back in the mudroom/dining room, the patio slider is being replaced {well, it’s actually already been replaced by the time this goes up} with French doors as well.

The idea is to open up the house to the backyard since we plan on putting in a patio of some sort that extends from the mudroom/dining room doors all the way down to the new kitchen doors.  We think it will be a great extension to the house – perfect for al fresco meals, entertaining, watching the kids play and maybe even sitting around a fire pit.  We try to spend as much time outside as possible when the weather is nice.  We really want to make this house work for us and the way we live.

So, that’s the latest Underdog update.  A bunch of neighbors have commented on the new doors and windows.  They’re lovin’ the original-dining-room-window-turned-kitchen-French-doors idea. {Yep, those French doors once were a dining window. All that changed when we tore down the walls separating the dining room from the kitchen and relocated the dining area to the previous den.} I’ll have to remember to take some pics of the new mudroom French doors this afternoon when I get Layne off the bus.  I’ll share them ASAP!

What do you think?  Do you like the idea of having direct access to the outside via a kitchen? Have you ever replaced a window with a door to totally change the way you use a space?  Share!

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Love it, especially the french doors! Looks great. It’s so fun to be able to watch your house come along:)


The french doors are fab! I bet your neighbors are so excited to see the Underdog getting fixed up!


I think your house is going to be amazing. I just discovered your blog on YHL and I am so impressed with all you do. You are inspiring me to completely re do a house- but I honestly don’t think I am as talented as you all!
Thanks for sharing, cannot wait to see more.


Replacing the windows and doors are on the to-do list for our project house as well. We’ve got an old sliding glass door leading out to the patio that I want to replace with french doors — not only because this one is painfully difficult to open but for the added security, insulation, and overall updating of the house. The front door and carport doors need replacing as well, so we’re watching Craigslist for a good deal.

Like your house, replacing the windows will require custom pieces, so that’s a project for further down the road (and more money). They’re all single pane, original to the house (1950s), have cracking asbestos caulking around the outside (thus we aren’t opening them), and many are cracked. Definitely in need of replacing!

City Roots, Country Life


That’s a great idea-easy to take meals outside and for flow of a party too…makes sense to me. :) Congrats on Baby #3 btw too!!


What a great upgrade! We ordered replacement windows for our original 1950’s single pane, cracked windows two weeks ago. They should be in this week. We can’t wait to get them installed!

And I absolutely love having outdoor access from the kitchen. We have a door to a screened-in porch from our kitchen. It’s great for grilling and entertaining. Totally worth putting the french doors in now! :)


I think adding the french doors to the kitchen was a great idea!! You will be glad you went ahead and added them!! We recently had a similar dilemma when we were redoing are deck. We live in a older house where the kitchen is on the side of the house and not the back. We added a walkway to the kitchen side door connects to the back deck area to avoid having to go through our den/study to get to the backyard and we very are glad we did! Not quite the same, but similar! It will certainly change the way you use the space, and help “modernize” the home for today’s lifestyle! I’m sure you will get the return on your investment!!


I love to be able to go in and out of the house from as many rooms as possible ! And having a patio is a must (have you considered wood for it ? maybe with the same color as in the inside, it would make an interesting unity).
And since we’re into French stuff, I’m French, and those French doors are just great !! (don’t ask me why, we absolutely don’t call them “french” here –.we call them “porte-fenêtre”, which is pretty much “door-window”).


well, we didn’t replace a window with a door, but it sure felt like it when we took one tiny window & turned it into a wall of windows for our kitchen remodel:
feels like our kitchen is outside now! we used our deck a lot before, but even more so now!


love watching your progress – thanks for sharing! :) i was wondering about your french door as we are in the market right now to replace our old door. does the door to the right open? one of my set backs is furniture placement & am thinking that something like yours would work. thanks!

p.s. yay for the baby news!!


Kate – Yes, both doors open even though only one is shown open in the picture. The bottom lock was sticking and the window company is replacing it so that it will open correctly. Both doors will open into the kitchen.


DeNacho – Wow! That really opened up the kitchen!


thanks so much D! i’m new to your blog but have enjoyed following. our kitchen has been a 10-year odyssey in the making. we always knew that wall had to go – when you live on the water like we do, why on earth would you not fill that side with windows? like most people, i don’t think we’ll ever be done. but i’m always watching your blog for keen ideas & inspiration for other rooms in my home.


It looks sooooo wonderful!! I can’t wait to see pics of the newest set of french doors! You seriously make we want a fixer upper just so I can demo it to the studs {or bricks!} and start fresh! Thank you for posting about your remodel so dreamers like me can read and dream :) I also can’t wait for your Q&A on friday about your newest addition :) :)

Can’t wait to see the pics of the new french doors.

I love the idea of direct kitchen/outside access. Our only backyard access is on the opposite corner of the house from the Kitchen. More than one plate has been spilled going to eat outside.


In our first house we added french doors from the kitchen to our deck and I loved them! It was so nice in the summer to open both sides and feel the fresh air. Plus, I loved how open it felt (as our house was narrow) when you opened the front door and could see all the way to the outside.
In our current house we just replaced all of our ground floor windows, which were original single pane, horrible windows that didn’t even open. It was a huge project, but this is our first fall with new windows and we can already feel a difference.
I am so happy for your new windows, and for the baby on the way! How exciting!


Looks great. I would love to replace the windows in my house and it would be so nice to have direct access from the kitchen to the backyard. I have to go through a formal dining room and sunroom to get to mine.


Looks great but I am curious, so pardon the dumb questions…. What is the hole in front of the french doors?…it looks like a place for a/c venting but I know you are on a slab…..

Also, I see a line from the outside electrical box going upward…..I remember your husband putting in underground utilities so I am being nosey about that as well :-)


It looks AWESOME!!!


We just replaced some windows in our house due to air that came in. http://the2seasons.com/2011/10/06/on-a-clear-day/

Love, love, love that you went ahead with the french doors they are great and you will get lots of use out of them. We will be replacing a door to our backyard hopefully very soon and now I am thinking a french door after seeing what you have. Thanks!


You’d probably love the fact that my kitchen actually has TWO sliding doors to the patio! My house came to me with new windows (replaced a year before I bought the house) but the two sliding doors are original to the house and come from the early 90s. I know that I want to replace those doors in the next couple of years because they let out a lot of the warm air in winter, neither one truly locks, and they’re extremely difficult to open. I absolutely LOVE having tons of natural light in the house though! The doors open onto a nice-sized patio with a built-in bench and plenty of room for a larger outdoor dining area, so you will definitely love having all of that in your house too!


Everything looks so great! How exciting to make such a step in progress! We have a (single) door (with a full window in it) in our kitchen that goes to our patio and it is SO great. The grill is right outside the door, and we just built an oversized picnic table and have been loving having our dinners out there!


A few years ago we remodeled our kitchen and took out a window and put in french doors. That was the best decision we ever made! But it didn’t stop there, we added a built in island grill, pergola and my HH built a fireplace. So we fabulous outdoor living area that we use all year round. If I could figure out how to send you a picture I would.


We did the same thing to our house last year (put in a patio door that gives backyard access + allows you to see the backyard from the front door.) You are going to love it! By far one of my favorite upgrades we have ever done! Yours looks awesome. Not only does it totally change the flow of the house but being able to see the outdoors from a whole bunch of other spots inside rocks my world!


Rosanne – I’d love a pic if you get the time! You can always email me one.


Jordan – That’s so great that you were able to DIY your window install! You saved a ton of money! And I think the tile floor in your Florida room is actually kind of fun. Very geometric.


Nina – You’re right. That hole in the floor is a register for the heating/cooling duct work. All of the original duct work is contained within our slab. I like it because it looks less messy than a register on the wall/ceiling. We are having to add an air return vent in the great room on one of the walls per code requirements…in fact, my dad worked with HH to DIY that project…more on that later.

The wire you see in the backyard coming off the house is an old cable line. It will get buried underground at some point by the cable company. The electrical service line is buried underground now after HH DIY’d that project. Good memory!



Love what you’re doing to your home and having direct access to the outside via the kitchen is great to have, had it in my prior home. My husband and I just recently replaced a sliding glass door in our master bedroom adding a french door accented with two side windows. It really opened up the room and will now give us more air flow in that room.


Wonderful! Love the doors in the kitchen and new windows are great to have! Glad you had an awesome experience with a local company and custom – that is great! I love the attention to detail of having the windows that open in the picture window still appear to have 4 panes each as was original to the house and common in it’s time. I didn’t get to do that in my house with the new windows, because I bought off the shelf and the few that had already been replaced (badly and I had to re-replace some) were not that way. I have 2 original windows and 2 originals doors left, but am probably only changing the windows if I can keep the doors going!


I know I’m totally late to the party with this comment but I *just* found your blog and have been reading for a couple of hours now. Love it all! Anyhow when we were deciding whether or not to purchase our current home we realized there was no access to the back yard from the kitchen; you had to go out through the attached garage. With the genius of my dad, we quickly decided to replace the kitchen window over the sink with french doors. It required totally gutting and rearranging the kitchen, but was SO worth it. You made a great decision!


I am late to the comments but we are looking into getting new windows and I wondered if you were pleased with them and would share the companies name? We love locally. Thanks!


Window Depot did the windows. They are a national chain, local franchise. Our custom french doors are by Dayton Door Sales, a local company.


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Are your French doors in the kitchen wood, vinyl or clad ?




Dana, I know this post is old but did you guys get the aluminum wrapping on your replacement windows? We have a mid century ranch and I can’t decide if I should spring the extra $$ for aluminum wrapping..


I know this post is old but I was just wondering how your windows have held up? We’re thinking of putting in vinyl replacement windows in a mid-century ranch we just bought but I’m worried how they’ll hold up. And did you wrap the exterior trim in vinyl? Thanks!