Instagram @ fortheloveofahouse

Monday, November 30, 2009

My most important design element.....

clean windows!!
I think clean windows make a room sing!

We (and of course when I say 'we' I really mean Dan) have been busy for the last three weeks cleaning all the antique windows in the house. This is no easy feat. When we still lived in Dallas, and I would sit and fantasize about my "antique dream house in New England" and all the light it would have I failed to think that all that wonderful light comes from windows.... lots and lots of windows! Windows that need lots of cleaning!
My dream of an antique house with lots of light came true... the farmhouse has amazing light in the house all year long. In total (this includes the barn) the house has 45 windows and 4 sets of french doors! That's a lot of window cleaning!!
19 of the windows are the original 160 year old windows with gorgeous wavy glass. They have storm windows on the exterior, and it had been at least five years since any maintenance or window cleaning had taken place. Each antique window took Dan 3 1/2 hours to clean. The biggest part of the job was the scrapping of paint off of the panes; a fingertip-numbing job.
But, the good news is they all look gorgeous! It was as if we had removed a dark film off of each window, and the waviness of the glass increased ten fold!
I am one happy girl, as I fought long and hard to keep these original windows. Constantly hearing about how the new windows were so much more energy efficient, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, but do they have 160 year old wavy glass and character that you just can't buy?!

I'm a big fan of vinegar and water as a window cleaning product being that it's natural and green, but this job also called for the big-guns to come out and my go-to product is Invisible Glass.

Do you have any windows to clean?!!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was our first one here at the house, and it was very special!


  1. Joan,
    I'm in complete agreement about clean windows. Can't understate the importance of squeaky clean glass to let in the beautiful light any time of year. And, you were absolutely right to keep the old windows with the wavy glass that you did.

    Thanksgiving was great. Glad you enjoyed your first Thanksgiving at your new house.


  2. So glad you kept the old glass - there really is nothing like it. I insisted on using salvaged wavey window glass in the transoms in our new house and am so glad I did.

  3. I lived for ten years in what had been a little church in the 1800's - and converted into a house in 1920 - lots of old windows with wavy glass - many with storm windows - I waited a very long time to pay someone to clean all the many windows, skylights, etc.

    How foolish to wait! When I finally got around to having it done, it was only $95 and that included a little auxiliary building with french doors, a skylight and 3 windows...

    Suzanne on St. Simons

  4. Oh dear, I don't clean my windows. Sometimes with a broom for spider webs.

    Why? So many birds were crashing into them and dying. Seeing a brown thrasher crash, land, and quiver with his last breath was the defining moment for my windows.

    Hmm. Ideas anyone?

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  5. oh yipeeee you are back!

    two words (well maybe three...four)

    Squeegee and dishsoap. I had a friends daughter come do our sliders....The dog still smacks his noggin. I have never seen them so clean. Ever.

    Love wavy gravy glass...I'm with you energy efficiency schmenergy efficiency (when it comes to old antique glass!

  6. Hi Joan,

    So glad you are back! I love my old wavy windows too. Of course I don't have as many as you but it was still a big job getting them in clean, working order. But the sunlight coming through them is gorgeous.

    Alexandra Stoddard in Creating a Beautiful Home says, "Simplicity is no more than a fresh glint of sunlight in a room. Clean windows. Simple enough. Shiny waxed wood floors. Fresh flowers. Books. A writing desk. A beautiful painting. Some comfortable furniture. When we try to get too ambitious in the decoration of our rooms, we get off track.

    I have always loved that quote and try to live by it. Isn't it wonderful? I should do a post about it, shouldn't I?


  7. Hi Joan and Dan,
    So glad you are both back. It has been too long!!! Yes, I started to clean my windows, guttering, eaves etc., then the tractor came into the paddock, dust everywhere, need I say more...Looking forward to having to do them all over again (NOT). They have harvested the peas this morning, so I am expecting tractors back in the paddock quite soon. Think I'll leave it for a week or so.....downside to living on the farm. Hope you are both well.
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  8. Hi Joan and Dan! So happy to see your post, just now. I have been checking it daily.
    There is nothing like clean windows to let the sun shine in. We only have 25 windows and I know how long they take...but it is worth it.
    So glad that you enjoyed your first Thanksgiving here.

  9. This is a timely read as I spent a couple of hours two days ago cleaning the outsides of my windows, and then (I swear) twice that long on the insides. But, as you say, what a wonderful feeling to stand back and see them so clean. To whoever it was that posted about birds flying into them, I solved this by hanging something pretty in the windows that the birds were most drawn to - mostly stained glass ornaments. Worked a treat.

  10. I'm with you. Old wavy glass is the best. My townhouse has new windows so it's a breeze to clean but no real character.

  11. Oh Joan, my windows.... are so in need of a clean and I have hundreds of them too. We've had all the red dust storms over Spring and now the afternoon summer storms are mixing the red dust into a paste on my white window sills. It's going to be a big job to get these babies clean. But I agree...they are the most important design element! A-M xx

  12. We have lots of big ones & on one side of the house, they are very high up. MOTH & I had a slight lover's tiff (read as huge fight) last December & in a fit of pique I grabbed the ladder & all the cleaning stuff & started. I completed almost all of them before I calmed down. It's amazing what one can achieve when one is EXTREMELY ticked off! They are desperately in need of a clean again, this time though I'll phone the Window Cleaner!! Lovely to have you back!
    Millie ^_^

  13. I posted this in the comments section of my blog but wanted to make sure you saw my reply.

    Thank you for your wonderful comment! Yes, I do use only my singer feather weight sewing machine shown in pictures for all my projects. It was my Grandmother's and it the only sewing machine I have ever owned. I have thought many times about "upgrading" to a new machine but this one has served me so well and the new machines are so expensive. I will definitely do a post on my machine.

  14. Hi Joan! The windows are beautiful! The wavy glass, also so beautiful! And then there's the extra streams of very, very beautiful. Three cheers for Dan! xoxoTrina

  15. Happy for you for your windows! Invisible Glass is fabulous. Tara gave me a bottle a few months ago and I couldn't believe how great it works on glass and mirrors! Lowe's now carrys it, but you can also find it in the auto department of Walmart. (Thought your blog friends might like to know.)
    Kiss Dan's fingertip for me.
    (I'm Joan's sister, so I can say this)

  16. I so agree. We have 15 sets of french doors with shutters. If we don't open them regularly we get little microcosms of all sorts of creepy crawlies, which is just about enough incentive to keep them clean! So lovely to have you back - hope you're feeling better. Leigh

  17. Hi Joan, I just found your blog and I love it! I am a blogger from Europe( Holland)and I spent a couple of months in New England a long time ago. New England is such a beautiful and charming region, oh boy, I wish I could live there! I really enjoy your posts, your home and your interior. You are like Bunny Williams :-) , the interior designer who wrote the beautiful book "An affair with a house".

  18. Hi Joan, I just found your blog and I love it! I am a blogger from Europe(Holland)and I spent a couple of months in New England a long time ago. New England is such a beautiful and charming region,o boy,I wish I could live there! I really enjoy your posts, your home an your interior.You are like Bunny Williams :-),the interior designer who wrote the beautiful book "An affair with a house".

  19. Joan , glad you're back and posting. We have in our new home 25 windows and it does take time, but looks so nice when it's done. Happy Holidays.. Julie in Holland :)

  20. That is a lot of windows to clean Joan, but it looks worth it! So nice to have plenty of natural light. Wish my house had more of the original glass. The only old glass that was left was on the side lights on either side of the front door!

  21. Could not resist a comment. You were kind enough to stop by my blag a few months ago and leave some really really helpful suggestions on colour.

    In our first home. Our 1860s home in the country I too fought long and hard (and endured more than one sideways glance) to keep the wavy glass. So beautiful. There is really nothing like it. I smiled wide when I read this post.

    And the structure of your old windows is just wonderful. Lovely lines.


  22. Hi Joan!Thanks so much for your kind words on my recent post! You gave me hope and encouragement. I hope all is better for you these days. We have tons of windows and I have not cleaned them yet! I know we need to and that it would make the light so much prettier in the house, but it may have to be a project for the spring. I love the fact that you insisted on old glass for your dream house - it just wouldn't have been right to use new!

    Oh, and about that mixer.....that is so funny that you would mention it! Every time we pull it out of the pantry to use it, I remind my family that one of my best friends gave it to me in 1976 and I marvel at how it still works so well! It has become a standard joke in the family and the reply is something like "yeah, yeah, Mom, we know you got this mixer in the dark ages!" It really was good to get your comment and hear from you - stay in touch and enjoy those gorgeous windows! xoAnn

  23. P.S. Do you have a place to subscribe to your blog? I check it regularly but love getting the emails when someone has a new post. Is it here and I am just missing it?

  24. So many times a house will catch my eye as I'm driving by it. I slow down and try to figure out what I like about it...almost always, it starts with beautifully clean windows. My windows are SO not clean right is a huge ordeal to clean ours. I'm going to put that on my list right. now. done. Thanks for that Miz. Joan! :)

  25. I am with you! Clean windows make me very happy, unfortunatly some of our windows are 3 floors that means waiting for the pros....and $$ we wait...smiles.

  26. I agree...they are working on our street and there is lots of dust and dirt and our windows are not staying clean. Your look fab. We had an old house with that wavy glass too. i miss it:)


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive and read it. joan