Picture Windows


My former boss, Curt, was devastated when I got the job at Whirlpool. We were just starting to do some really good work together. But he was very supportive as it was completely obvious that the state of Louisiana could not offer me what I could get here. When I showed him the picture of my house, he said, “The first thing I’d do is get rid of those three windows in front and replace it with one big window.”

I wasn’t sure I’d take his advice. I sort of liked the style of the old windows covered with storm windows to keep the cold outside. They had charm. This house is 98 years old and was built by one of the lighthouse keepers in St. Joe. It was passed down to his daughter who was a teacher at the local high school. According to my neighbors,  that family lived in this house until the 1990s when two women bought it to flip. Unfortunately, it needed so much work that they couldn’t sell it for what they had in it, and they put it up for rent. Eventually it made its way to my list of potential Michigan homes.



After ripping up the mauve carpeting and exposing the wood floors, I let myself settle for a year before deciding on next steps. The inspector told me I needed to “glaze” the windows as soon as possible. I started calling around, and there’s one guy that does it in this area. A year later, my neighbor and I still couldn’t get him to come out and give us an estimate. The thought of glazing all of my windows on my own on top of a full-time job was too overwhelming.

Randy, my decorating expert

My friend Randy turned me on to the window company that recently did his windows. The price was much more reasonable than I expected, and when the salesman told me that he could remove those three windows and make one big picture window, I heard Curt whisper from heaven, “do it”. All I had to do was cough up the money and wait for my installation day.


They were quick and very nice with the exception of the supervisor chewing out one of the young installers with an expletive-laden exchange.  And the windows look beautiful. They work. They open out to clean, and I can open the top half so the lake breeze blows over me instead of right into my hair. Curt’s support aside, I started to get a little buyer’s remorse. Did I ruin the character of my house by removing the original 1920s windows? I kept going outside and looking at my house side-by-side with my memory of what it looked like before. Hmmmm... just not sure I did the right thing.

I came back from walking Ashok and three of my neighbors were standing in my yard. They coveted my new windows. Our homes were built around the same time, so the windows are cookie-cutter sizes. When I mentioned I was afraid I had spoiled the character of my house, my neighbor across the street said she hated those three windows in the front of her house. She’d love to get a big picture window. I gave them the tour of my new windows, and two of them have appointments for estimates today. It seems I’m a trend-setter.

I find myself looking at the windows in the houses in my neighborhood. Most are upgraded. Some have original windows. Some look horrible. Others have been restored to their original beauty. I suppose I could have done that, too. I have no idea if it would be in my budget. But, I didn’t like those aluminum storm windows that were necessary to keep the cold out. Half of them didn’t work right. And the thought of all that glazing…. Yeah, I did the right thing.


The only downside is I’m going to have to be much more cognizant about running around naked in my house. These new windows leave nothing to the imagination. I’m looking for ideas for window coverings. I have two of these beautiful picture windows! Any ideas?




5 Comments on “Picture Windows

  1. One of the favorite things that I did in this house is to convert a set of double windows to a picture window. It gives me great joy to look out to my backyard. I installed top down bottom up cellular shade from blinds.com at a very reasonable price.

    • I’ll have to look that up. Never heard of it. BTW.. I’ll be passing through knoxville the weekend before Labor Day. You around?

  2. Wonderful read as always. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. It is a tough call when you live in an old house. If each owner tears out a bit of the original how much will be left down the road?
    But, it is your home and you do have the right to be comfortable and happy in your own home.

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