I recently reassured a friend who is working on her first home renovation by saying things like “the decisions I stressed over don’t seem like a big deal now” and “I’ve found it very easy to live with my ‘mistakes’ because overall the places still looks awesome.” And for the most part, this is totally true and I wasn’t lying to her because I haven’t regretted any of the design decisions I made in my renovation.
Except that I was lying a little bit, because there is one decision I have regretted A LOT: getting raw wood windows, rather than white.
We had originally planned on getting the windows that came already in white, and figured we could live with any slight difference from our trim color. However, our contractor (who was extraordinary and overall gave amazing advice and did really beautiful work) talked us into getting wood. It was cheaper, and we were doing a lot of windows, so it was definitely tempting from a budget perspective. It will also be really easy to paint yourself, he said. Just slap some paint on there, and you’re done, he said.
Well, it is true that it is easy, but it is a time consuming and big project! We painted the trim when we painted each room, but didn’t paint the sashes because we knew how long it would take. So for literally years, we’ve lived with the window sashes still raw wood. We always had more fun and interesting projects that we’d rather be working on. But it drove me slightly crazy because it was an incomplete element in every room, and snuck its way into some of my favorite pictures of my home.
I regretted this one so much because, to save just a little money, I was costing myself a whole boat-load of time. And time is what I have the least of, it seems!
However, I’m thrilled to say that we’ve finally put this one behind us! As part of my “slow but steady” bedroom makeover, I vowed to finally paint the window sashes in that room, and I figured that it would be most convenient overall to tackle this project all at once. I’ve been chipping away at it over the course of the last month (don’t judge… I’ve been busy) and they are finally all painted!
This was definitely a pain. I started by taping 104 separate panes because all of our windows are divided light.
That is a lot of window taping.
A lot of window taping.
Hopefully that gets the point across. I had six regular windows to do (with twelve divided panes each) and four that were in our bay windows (with eight divided panes each).
I decided to tape, rather than paint right on to the glass and scrape off with a razor after, because I think it is faster overall and leads to cleaner lines. I know some people swear by that trick, but I’ve only regreted it at the end if I don’t tape. I think that time investment at the front end makes the rest of the project so much easier.
I hit them with a coat of primer and then two coats of paint (my white is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore) in semi-gloss to match all of my trim. I had to do this in stages to paint the part of the window that is covered when it is closed.
It was also tedious because of all the detail work. I used a normal brush for most of it, but a small craft brush to paint around all of the hardware.
As my final coat was drying, I removed the tape. THIS WAS SO SATISFYING. All of you “scrape the paint off with a razor” people have no idea what you’re missing!
Also, because I had used the last of several different rolls of tape (so as to avoid having to run out to the hardware store) I got to take advantage of a little natural experiment and test out which type of tape did the best job on windows. The results will surprise you!
I had three kinds on hand, Scotch Blue, the regular green Frog Tape, and the yellow Frog Tape designed for delicate surfaces.
The Delicate Surface Frog Tape worked the best by far! Perhaps because it is extra thin and a bit more flexible, it was easy to get it to tightly seal on the glass and then to pull it up without tearing. I was pretty surprised by this, I had actually thought it would be the worst of the bunch and that it would be tough to remove in one piece, but it surprised me. I had virtually no “after work” to do on those sections, while on the others I had to go back around with a razor to clean off the small leaks and cut out a few places where tape had torn and been left behind.
After that, the green Frog Tape and Scotch Blue were pretty comparable, but the Frog Tape was probably a little better.
Because I had done all of this taping, painting, and scraping, I was able to convince Brad to go around afterward and clean the windows. Win! I am so happy with them now that they are all fresh, white, and clean!
It makes such a big difference in making our house look finished. I actually had no idea how unfinished it looked before…
I can’t believe we waited this long to do this!
But while I am thrilled it is done, I do wish that I had just had it this way from the start. It was tempting while in the middle of a big renovation to try to save as many pennies as we could and do as much ourselves as possible. But time and sanity are valuable, too!