Saturday, October 23, 2010

window pains

Once we decided that we were going to put an offer in on this house, we immediately began pulling together a huge list of things that we wanted to do, as soon as we moved in.


On that list of things to do included an entire renovation of all the bathrooms and the kitchen and the landscaping. We planned to refinish all of the hardwood floors and replace the carpet. We also planned to replace all the doors and the windows and paint every square inch that could be painted.


But, now that we're here and we've had scores of contractors come through and give us bids, and we are tallying up all the totals and we can see just how much everything will cost, we are seriously pacing ourselves. We're doing our best to prioritize our work activities and live with (certain) things as they are - until we can comfortably afford to make the improvement.


So things like the blue, yellow and pink bathrooms and 50-year old single-paned windows, with triple track storm windows, will be sticking around for a while.


Now the only reason that we would upgrade the windows is because we'd like to get something more energy efficient. Although, with a triple track of storm windows, these might do very well in the winter. We prefer the style of the wooden panes and compared with our cheap windows in San Diego where the panes were within the two plates of glass and tended to collapse INSIDE the window, these windows are quite beautiful, in my opinion.


In the process of getting these windows ready to paint, we are sanding and taping and this effort has been so gruelingly slow it actually hurts.

I was feeling so frustrated with how time consuming this process was, when I have so many other windows to paint and so many other important home-improvement projects to tackle, I questioned aloud if perhaps there was lead in the paint that had been used to paint these windows, originally?


While I'm certainly concerned for the well-being of my family, I'll admit that my first thought wasn't so much from an exposure perspective, but rather - if there was indeed lead in the paint, we definitely shouldn't be sanding it and should instead, hurry up and paint over it and be done.

(Yippee! We could be DONE!!)

But Noooo.

Because Charlie, Mr. Has To Everything Right, dropped his sanding paper and rushed out and bought a lead-base paint kit and promptly tested all the paint in the house.


Turns out, there is no lead-base paint. Which is definitely good news, from a health perspective, but my husband informed me that EVEN IF there had been lead-base paint, we'd STILL have to remove the paint before we painted the windows, because apparently, the prep is "important."


Yes, the prep is important. Although at this rate, by the point we're finally ready to paint the windows, we'll probably be moving in to a retirement home.


  1. It's much faster to scrape off excess paint on the glass with a razor blade, than to tape every pane!!

  2. Those windows don't look too bad for a 50 year old house. Especially if you don't have to take out the storms and replace with screens in the spring/summer. Don't forget the tax credit for new windows.

    I'd test again, BTW - almost unheard of for a 50 year old house not to have lead-based paint.

    When are we gonna get to know the layout of this abode? It looks like an awesome house - I love a good ranch house!

    PS Why do you still need baby equipment? I'm getting excited for you over here!

  3. Oh Jen, I just discovered the most awesome product - no taping of windows required. It is "masking liquid" and I got mine at Sherwin Williams - it is expensive - over $60 a gallon, but soooooo worth it in time saved. It is a primer, clear in color, but you brush it on the wood parts and also right onto the glass, very generously and you have to work fast. Once dry, you paint your wood without worrying how much paint you get on the glass. After the paint dries, you run a utility knife around the edges and the masking stuff peels off the glass in one big sheet just like a piece of saran wrap, leaving you with gorgeous trim. It's magic! Try it, you'll love it & you'll save the $60 in the cost of all that tape. Don't use it on plexiglass - it doesn't come off.

  4. I so love the colors!! Basketry is on the bottom and what's on the top?? BTW, you guys are so productive and hard working. I really wish I was more like that! Keep up the good work. All your efforts and hard work will pay off!! Deb

  5. You've got a lot of serious questions there, but what I really want to know is . . . how in the world do you talk that man into such poses?

  6. I love the blue on the windows!

  7. oh my goodness I can't believe you have to tape off those wooden grids. Our home is the same era but the wooden grids in the windows pop off so the windows can be cleaned more easily (and the grids can be painted way more easily too, we found). that has to be a bear! good luck!

  8. those are really pretty windows - love the squareness.

    that room in the photos looks like a giant candy corn - surely you're waiting until after halloween to repaint it?

  9. Unless you are certain that all the painted surfaces have been replaced post 1978, I would still assume that you have lead paint, only it's mostly/all encapsulated by new non-lead paint. Did you test the interior of the window sills and door jams? Those places are where you're more likely to see trauma to the paint and get the flakes and chips of leaded paint.

  10. I can't believe how much you all have already gotten done! It looks gorgeous!

    Okay, a list of questions to answer in an upcoming blog:

    1) any more suspicions of ghostly activity?
    2) how are the triplets doing in school? Do you like the school?
    3) Is Henry in preschool?
    4) How do you all like Virginia?

  11. Yikes.........that is alot of sanding, cleaning, taping, painting and removal of tape clean-up. But, it will all be worth it! Question: so, what color is the top portion of the diningroom? It doesn't look like the red anymore, what color is it? BTW: I like it!!


  12. I think I said this once before - please do NOT replace those windows. It is extremely difficult and very costly to find true divided windows like you have. For the two painfully cold months you can cover the inside with shrinking plastic (my sister in Maine uses this) and hang lined drapes.

    If you need any help with your windows, please talk to some of the bloggers on

  13. Candy Corn?!


    Oh no ... now you've got me rethinking the color on this room.