You guys! Since I’ve been soooo busy with the move and getting our house on the market, my good friend Melony from Sledgehammer Queen offered to write a guest post on a fabulous trick she used in one of her recent flips! You are gonna LOVE this remodeling hack. And be sure to check out her blog for more details on her awesome house renovations.
Hi, I’m Melony from SledgehammerQueen! I want to thank Christy for allowing me to guest post on The Harper House! I love reading about the flips that she and her husband do. I’m currently on the prowl for shiplap so I can recreate some of the projects Christy does!!
My husband and I also flip houses in the little town of Hooversville, PA. Our town was a mining town, and like lots of little communities across America, the world has moved on to bigger and better. People tend to look down on communities such as this, but I’ve lived here for 34 years and I have to say, it’s a great place to live.
We have the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains all around us, and for a community of 700, we have a hardware store, two grocery/sundry stores, a post office, a bank and an eating establishment!! Our goal is to encourage others in surrounding communities to see the beauty in this town and to want to live in such a wonderful community.
Today, I want to share with you our solution to one of those nagging problems- how to eliminate a window in a brick house and make it look great on the outside of the home; so here’s our take on this dilemma:
When renovating houses, sometimes it becomes necessary to eliminate windows to reconfigure the layout of rooms. I find this most often happens with kitchens. My hubby and I tend to work on old houses, so often, in the kitchen, there are doors to the basement, doors to the the dining room, doors to the hall and maybe even the back door! Then there are 5 foot tall windows and old fashioned hot water radiators to work around. This leaves about 3 feet of usable wall space to hang cabinets on (I exaggerate a bit, but not much).
We also tend to knock down a lot of walls to create open floor plans, but then you have even less wall space to work with to configure the cabinet arrangement. The good news is, since the walls are down, now the light from other rooms’ windows tend to light up the kitchen, so you can eliminate a window and there is still plenty of sunlight streaming in.
Now, here’s the dilemma- what do you do when the house is brick? I’m okay with taking windows out when I know I will be re-siding and no one will ever know a window used to be there. What are your options with brick? Put a piece of wood in the opening and paint it to match the brick? I have always felt that it wasn’t an option to remove a window in brick because I just don’t like this look. Then, inspiration struck!
In our Water Street House there just wasn’t a logical place to put the kitchen cabinets unless we removed this window.
Now, we actually eliminated this window a couple of years ago. It was located in the corner of the room beside where the tall white cabinet now resides.
Since we can’t go back and show you exactly how we did this, my awesome hubby, Bill helped me do a mock-up of the procedure. We did the mock-up in an old house (the Riverhouse) that we haven’t renovated yet, so hold on to your hats, the following pictures are a little scary!! Here’s an overview of the kitchen (beautiful isn’t it?).
Here is the window we “eliminated” in our demo.
I chose this window to do this demo on because it was one of the only ones in Riverhouse that still had a mini blind in it. The mini blind is an important part of this procedure, so even though it’s dirty and gross, at least I didn’t have to buy one 🙂
We re-installed the mini blind brackets to the surface of the window so that we would have the maximum amount of room left after the next step, which is to install particleboard over the mini blind. When we did this technique at Water Street, we painted the outside of the particleboard black (You will see this down below). For this demo, we just installed the particleboard unpainted.
For those of you not super familiar with circular saws, we thought we’d also show you how to adjust the circular saw for the correct depth to cut through the plywood. In the above photo, you can see how far the blade is below the guide. This would be the proper depth to cut a thicker piece of wood.
Adjusting the blade is accomplished by releasing the lever at the back of the saw, and then moving the blade up or down depending on what you are doing. We wanted to cut through the plywood without cutting through the sawbucks, so you can see, the depth of the saw needs to be very shallow as our particle board is only 7/16″ thick.
After we got the correct depth (above), we then measured the opening of the window and then marked and cut the particleboard to fit. Disclosure– the window opening was REALLY crooked, so it took us 4 adjustments to get the particleboard to fit. Hopefully your house is much straighter than this old beauty.
We then attached the particleboard to the stops at the side of the window with screws. At Water Street, Bill also caulked around the edge of the particleboard to keep dust and bugs out of the house.
Here’s an overview of the window covered with the particleboard. Please ignore the white paneling! (Hello 1970’s). This house has this great bump-out on both sides of the house. Obviously, I would never cover up a window in such a cool feature, but again I picked this window because it had the blind 😐
We then installed insulation over the particleboard. At the Water Street house, the walls are 15″ thick so it was really easy to install a nice thick layer of insulation. At this house (and at most houses) the walls are a standard thickness, so I removed half of the thickness of the insulation and then installed it.
Here is a close-up of the drywall then installed over the installation. We used a spare piece of drywall to just give you an idea of how the window opening would disappear and you would have a new blank surface to work on. You can see a glimpse of the insulation (and of course the particleboard) under the edge of the drywall.
Here’s what this window looks like from outside now. It looks like you have the blinds closed, but read on because at the Water Street house, it looks even more realistic.
At the Water Street property, first we installed a brand new window so it would match the other windows we replaced, and deliberately left it unlocked. We then installed a brand new mini blind. Leaving the window unlocked allows for future maintenance, such as keeping the inside of the window opening clean or replacing the mini blind.
I’m sure we will have to be contortionists to address these issues, but worst case scenario, we can simply remove the window panes, fix what needs fixing and then reinstall them. I know eventually the mini blind will suffer from dry rot, but the good news in this case is that the window doesn’t get much direct sunlight because it is shaded by the garage next door. So, if you’re reading between the lines, this window had the worst view of any in the house. The other windows have nice views of the yard and the Stonycreek River which runs along the back yard, so it would have been a much harder decision to decide to remove one of those windows.
To finish the kitchen walls, on the inside we cut a sheet of particleboard to fit the opening and painted it black on one side. From the outside, doesn’t it just look like the window is open? You are looking right at the particleboard.
Just like in the mock-up, we then insulated the opening that was left on the interior side. Over all of this, we drywalled, painted and finished the kitchen.
Right where the refrigerator will go, the window is still there, you just can’t see it!
On the outside we have what looks like a perfectly normal window, with the blinds open (and no lights turned on). On the inside we have a complete kitchen with room for a refrigerator. Do you have a situation like this at your house? Will this help you to solve the problem? Let me know!
If you would like my Free Printable on “How to Buy a House, and not a Lemon“, you can find it here. I hope you enjoyed this post and again I would like to thank Christy from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share this post with you, her awesome readers!
Melony @ sledgehammerqueen.com
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