• October 12, 2004

Slowly Moving Along…

What a difference wood windows make

Restoration Diary

Our windows before
Our windows before.

Two more salvaged wood framed windows are in.

I can’t believe what a big difference they make, especially from the inside. The windows stand out and really frame the views. Our old windows had fake window panes running through the glass. I didn’t realize how distracting that was until we put in the wood framed windows.

Salvaged wood windows
Our new-to-us wood windows that were purchased from a local salvage yard.

I wish I could say that more has been accomplished but that’s about it for now. Only one more window to go…

Comments { 19 }
  1. sean

    Just LOVE the new (old) windows – They make such a huge difference. It kills me every time I pass an old house that the windows have been changed, How can one possibly think that those fakey window dividers (muntins) actually look good?! One of the really cool things about old California wood windows is the little decorative bracket on the top sash, which I found out is called a ‘lug’. If you notice double hung windows in other states, the top sashes do not have those. I have always wondered what their purpose was, and why they are only on California windows….

  2. Kasmira

    The windows look super! I also hate the fake “multi-paned” windows. I guess they are a reaction against the “picture” window trend.
    The neatest thing about old windows is that they are counterweighted. What a nifty concept!

  3. Kent

    The windows are wonderful! Who says that old is not beautiful.

    Antique Furniture Restoration

  4. Greg

    I want to do the same for my house – a 1909 psuedo-Craftsman. A previous owner replaced most of the original windows with aluminum sliders. I want to replace those with salvaged wood windows. How difficult to install were the two upstairs windows?
    Was there a lot of reframing to be done? I worry that replacing even one window might turn into a major project…

  5. heather


    Hi! Is the original wood window framing still intact? The 2 windows in the picture above still had the wood frames and windows weights intact. All the interior and exterior molding was there, too.

    From the outside the trim was removed (and reattached later) so that the windows could be dropped into place and attached to the string and window weights. No reframing.

    The windows were a standard size so finding salvaged windows was not difficult or expensive. If your windows are an odd size you can have new wood windows made to order. We found a hardware store in our area that would build wood replacement windows to spec.

    The other window (my last window post) had no existing framing and was not easy. Our carpenter is going to recreate the wood molding to match the other windows.

    I hope this was helpful. If you have more questions please feel free to ask.

    I’m still surprised at how big of a difference swapping out the windows makes!

  6. Jean Camp


    The windows look great! Hope your weather is holding out. It has rained here all day.

    39 for a low tonight, with 20 30 mph winds.

    That thing at the bottom of your page is strange. I clicked on it and some kind of advertisement came up. I didn’t really look at it, maybe it is yours.

    Well, it sounds like you guys are typical married homeowners. WORK AND WORK ON YOUR HOUSE.

    Joe and Gayle started their house last week. The basement is in. I sure hope everything goes easy for them. I know the house building will go OK It’s just that there are so many decisions to make.

    It is a 2,800 sq. ft. on a full basement. They need the room with two boys.

    Well, talk to you later.

  7. Greg

    The interior and external moulding is all there, though I suspect at least two of the windows no longer have their original moulding.

    I won’t know how much of the original framing is there until I remove the aluminum windows. It looks to me like I’ll need to replace the stops and the parting bead at least – the jambs and sills look original to me. I think what was done was the original sashes were removed, and the aluminum windows were inserted into the existing frame. But I’ll have to disassemble one to be positive.

    Our house is in Pasadena. We have a few places that specialize in salvaged building materials. I know you’ve said in the past that you’ve found salvaged windows at a place near Boyle Heights(?) – I searched your site and can’t find the place anymore… Can you remind us?

  8. heather

    Our windows came from Santa Fe Wrecking Company (down town LA).

    1600 South Santa Fe Avenue
    Los Angeles, California 90021
    Phone: 213.623.3119
    Web Site: http://www.santafewrecking.com/index.html

    8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday-Friday
    8:00 AM – 3:00 PM Saturdays
    9:30 AM – 3:00 PM Sundays

    Here is a place we haven’t tried yet that is located in Pasadena:
    Manchester Sash and Door Co.
    299 N. Altadena Drive
    Hours: 9-5, Tuesday through Saturday

  9. Dawn

    I was searching the web for craftsman style windows for my 1925 craftsman bungalow and saw your site. You are living my dream!! The transformations are incredible and your whole neighborhood should be forever in your debt for rescuing this home. I was fortunate enough to find a home where the woodwork was never painted. I do have interest in the window restoration. I live near Cleveland OH and it gets pretty freakin’ cold up here. What do plan on doing about the draftiness? I was going to see if new wood windows were available in vintage style, but if you know something I don’t know please share your info. Thank you and keep chugging along- it will be the greatest accomplishment of your life-second only to staying married through this!

  10. Sarah

    Just came across your website. I am also restoring a craftsman bungalow. Built in 1927, no storm windows :(

    We’ve been looking all over, we’re in western mass. Any advise?

  11. heather

    Hi, Dawn! Thanks for your message.

    I grew up in Indiana so I know how cold it can get. My dad and stepmom have a 1920s bungalow and they use storm windows during the winter to keep out the draft. It works well for them.

    In Southern CA we don’t have the issues with harsh winter weather but David and I are going to use weather stripping around our windows and doors. We are also caulking around the windows and have put spray foam insulation in the gaps in the framing around the salvaged windows.

    I think, in the end, that it has to be a personal decision. I feel that keeping the original materials and windows intact gives the house an identity and charm.

    I saw a show on HGTV called “House Detective” where they talked about wood windows from the 1800s. The House Detective said that wood windows can be fixed and repaired indefinitely. Considering how much windows can cost, that seems like a good point to consider.

    In our case, repairing the original wood windows and buying salvaged replacements was much, much cheaper than getting new windows. So, I guess it is lucky for us that we like the old windows! :)

    Best of luck with your house!

  12. heather


    Hi! I’m sorry that I don’t know of a good source for storm windows. When I need help finding a resource I usually post to oldhouseweb.com and http://www.ambungalow.com (American Bungalow magazine’s online forum). Someone is usually able to point me in the right direction.

    Could you find a carpenter to build the wood frames for storm windows?


  13. Nathan

    I don’t know that there’s enough of a market in any one given area to support too many of these companies… but this one does ship and just happens to be the next town over from where I grew up, too! They also make screens… though I may go with Roll-Away screens… still torn.


    BTW, In my favorites tab, they’re right next to 1912 Bungalow!
    The bungalow folder is getting FAT, too.

  14. Robert

    I have an intact wooden window with frame (but no glass) that I removed as part of our remodel. I was gonna re-use it in the garage, but now I doubt I will ever get to it.

    It’s about 36″ x 42″. It’s sitting outside right now. If you want to use it for your project, just send me an e-mail.


  15. heather


    Thanks for your kind offer. We were able to find all the windows needed for our project but maybe someone else out needs a window that size?

    Thanks again,

  16. marie

    Do you know where I can find knee braces for a California bungalow? Or a carpenter who would make them? I live in Pasadena.


  17. heather

    Hi Mary.

    You should speak with Steve Pallrand. He is a contractor who does lots of work in West Adams. He should be able to do the job or put you in touch with someone who can. We spoke with him about doing our kitchen and will definately use him when we tackle that project.

    phone #: 323.734.0497


    I do not care for the plain replacement windows in craftsman style bungalows. They do not look authentic, at lest in the many houses I have seen. I would like windows the look like the divided 4 and five top divided panes, double hung windows.Does anyone know of a source for these? We have steel siding, so I am not that much a purist, but those plain windows just dont look like the style.Winfield floods as usual,we didnt get much this time and have I needed new basement windows a long time, any ideas about that?

  19. Everett hurst

    I too have a 1912 bungalow and I have nearly made it around the whole house re building them all. Nearly a hundred years later I have just had to replace rope and some of the rollers. There is nearly no rot anywhere ( I am in CA) and with the exception of me breaking the glass while I handle the windows they are of a very sound build. Over and Over people tell me just go get some new windows.
    I would have bought a new house if I liked any of the modern windows.

    I cannot tell you though how happy I am that someone is replacing the “new” windows with a period window. You guys rock!

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