This post is sponsored by our friends at Andersen Windows + Doors. We’re sharing how we selected the sizes and shapes for an entire house full of beautiful new windows.
When we first purchased our Two Flat, we were fairly certain that we’d be able to salvage at least a handful of the home’s windows. Were we ever wrong. The ‘original’ windows, as we inherited them, were a mix of rotted wood from the late 1800’s and a handful of aluminum replacement windows likely dating back to the early 1970’s. While they mostly functioned okay, a large majority of them proved to be crooked, leaky and inefficient. As we continued to spend time in the space, it became abundantly clear that every window would need to be replaced.
Why We Chose Andersen 100 Series
Fast forward to today, when beautiful and functional new Andersen 100 series windows have been installed throughout the entire home! These stunners are made of a proprietary composite material called Fibrex that’s 2X stronger (!) than traditional vinyl. In addition to their strength and durability, they can also be ordered in a huge variety of colors to suit any style so they’ve got the great looks to back up their strength. We opted for white finishes on both the interior and exterior for classic simplicity since we knew we’d be utilizing contrast trim inside the home and a bold paint color on the exterior.
As some of the original window frames were still in great shape, we also opted to utilize their new 100 Series Replacement Frame. This allowed us to get the same benefits of window replacement while minimizing disruptions to the home – including trim, siding and interior casing!
So how did we get where we are today? How did we select the sizes, shapes and functions of each window? We’re answering all of these pressing questions below in the hopes that our decision making process may help anyone in the same situation – whether you’re in need of one window or a whole home!
Unit 2 Kitchen | Casement Window
Beginning upstairs in Unit 2, things were relatively straightforward. We opted to maintain all of the original window sizes and placements, with the exception of the expanded and slightly shifted kitchen window. The original window was large, but was placed too low to allow for countertops beneath it. In an effort to retain much of the original layout, the window was made wider, but also installed higher. This will allow the future kitchen sink to be centered directly beneath it, which is a look we absolutely love.
From a functional perspective, we opted for a casement window that swings out and to the left. This allows the window to crank open easily via the folding hardware and single-action lock. This casement style was recommended by our architect and makes opening the window much easier than reaching past countertops to lift open a traditional single-hung window. It also allows for completely unobstructed views, which is an added bonus!
Unit 2 Laundry Room | Picture Window
Directly adjacent to the Unit 2 kitchen is a small pantry-turned-laundry room. The window in this space retained its original tall but narrow size and shape. This will allow for natural light to fill the space and pour into the kitchen through the room’s frosted glass door. Since picture windows are stationary, the narrower frames allow for even more natural light, which is always a plus! We love the way the clean white windows play with the contrast trim.
Unit 2 Living Room | Single-Hung Windows
Adjacent to the laundry room and kitchen is the main living space of Unit 2. The angled pair of single-hung windows face out to the apartment building next door, while still maximizing natural light and passive cooling via the gangway between the structures. We actually love how the large proportions of these windows showcases that building’s vintage brick exterior. (City life!) Again, the goal here was to maximize natural light and the home’s original window locations did just that. Why change things that were done right in the first place?
Unit 2 Bedrooms | Single-Hung Windows
At the front of the unit, the two bedrooms also received new single-hung windows in the same sizes and locations as the originals that we replaced. In addition to brightening up the front of the home, these classic beauties are also a main focal point of the home’s exterior, so it was important that they looked great both inside and out.
The low-profile locks and simple lines of the 100 series windows allows the focus to remain on the view beyond. They blend seamlessly with our goal for vintage-meets-modern style throughout the home and as with the living room, the original placements were perfect for maximum light and room layout possibilities.
Unit 1 Den Bedrooms | Awning + Picture Windows
Moving from Unit 2 down to the lower level of Unit 1, the pair of bedrooms on the den level of the home provided their own set of unique challenges. The ceilings in this space are on the lower side, and we had to contend with soffits from ductwork. We ultimately selected a set of vertically short, but horizontally wide windows to allow for multiple furniture layouts. The square awning windows at the left and right of this three window combination swing out from the bottom to allow for ventilation even during inclement weather. The wide center window is a fixed picture window. This arrangement will allow for the room’s bed to be placed in multiple locations while still allowing for natural light into this unique space!
Unit 1 Bathroom | Obscure Glass Picture Window
Moving upstairs onto the main floor of Unit 1, we head into the pink bathroom, which is located adjacent to the kitchen’s large pantry closet. While the orientation of this bathroom was reversed by 180 degrees, the original window placement remained perfect for our updated layout. Shifting the room’s floor plan, however, landed the window inside the room’s tub/shower nook. To address this unique placement, we opted for a picture window with obscure glass (one of many specialty glass options available on 100 Series windows) for privacy.
The window was cased in with tile and a beautiful marble slab that will do double duty as a ledge for shampoo and other shower necessities. We simply can’t underestimate how much light this seemingly narrow window affords the space!
Unit 1 Living Room | Picture Window + Single Hung Windows
The huge wall of windows at the front of Unit 1’s main floor is arguably the star of the entire show. The three-sided ‘coffin bay’ allows massive amounts of light to stream into the home from the South, East and West. To give you an idea of scale, the picture window at the front and center of the space measures almost four feet (!) in each direction, and it’s flanked by large single-hung windows on either side.
Additional single-hung windows flank this trio on each side, allowing for views of the leafy, tree-lined street in almost every direction. We can’t wait to fill this nook with a pair of cozy chairs and some sun-loving plants that will help it act as a bright and airy mini-sunroom on even the coldest of Chicago days!
The scale of these windows is hard to fully capture on screen, but for reference, the ceilings are nearly 10 feet high in this space. Did we mention we love natural light?
Our Andersen 100 Series windows have truly transformed this home. From both a stylistic and functional perspective, we’re absolutely thrilled with the end results. The clean, simple design coupled with the huge increases in the home’s energy efficiency have provided a massive foundational layer to the home’s renovation. Our Two Flat simply wouldn’t be the same without them!
PS: Here’s a whole post about our original and salvaged hardwood floors, and you can even catch up on our Two Flat renovation in this unit-by-unit guide!
We just signed our contract with Anderson last night! It was a pretty major splurge but we ultimately decided it was worth it since this is our “forever” home.
Yay! Can’t wait to see that home in person!
We ALSO just purchased the Andersen 100 series yesterday! Can’t wait for these 1970s aluminum windows to be gone!
Ooh, so excited for you!
Really like the classic look of these options! I Noticed that the Unit 1 upstairs bathroom window doesn’t open. Was wondering how you handled ventilation in that bathroom and the windowless one downstairs?
Both units have brand new ventilation fans installed.
This would be my most favorite sponsored item to ever get. We use Andersen 100 series in many of our custom homes because they are the best value – reasonably priced and a fabulous product. I have a question about the window in the shower – did you have to flash or waterproof it different and is the warranty voided because of the location? Windows in showers are a little tricky.
Hi Julie! It’s surrounded by cement board and an additional waterproofing membrane. The sill was also sloped down a few degrees (so water would run off) and then topped off with silicone caulk!
Thanks for this. I am always curious when I see windows in showers, because if we are ever able to redo our apartment, I think that would be the best place to put our shower (next to the window), but I always wonder if it is really possible! So these are great insights to hear.
Did you order the windows and have your contractor install them? Or did you hire Anderson to install them? Their website says they have a couple different options on the install side from DIY to a full service option.
Our contractor installed them!
This is a great post! Thank you for all the details.
A question: did you consider retractable screens at all (thinking especially for casement and awning windows where you have the screens on the inside). Did you see the retractable screen in person at all? And, if so, what were your thoughts? I’m curious about the idea, especially for our kitchen window (I hate the idea of chopped bits of broccoli getting caught in a screen!!!)… but wondering if I would like how it affects the window frame… the retracted screen has to go somewhere. :) Would love your thoughts if you looked into this at all. Thanks!
Hi Summer! Thanks for the kind words! We didn’t consider retractable screens for any of these applications since the screens for the casement and awning windows can be removed so easily from the inside. Our thought process is that during the colder months when bugs aren’t an issue, the screens could be removed and stored in a nearby closet if our tenants desired. Also, regarding the broccoli, the screens can be removed without opening the window, so they could very easily be rinsed off in the sink or tub as well! Hope this helps!
That does help, Scott. Thank you! :)