How We Selected New Windows for Our Old House (& What they Cost)


Eek! Our laundry room windows and door are installed, trimmed out, and stained…and guys, they’re beautiful!

*this post is sponsored by Milgard. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

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Garrett and I designed these new windows and door with our local Milgard rep (BTW we bought them ourselves and worked with Milgard on this sponsorship afterwards). It took a lot of back and forth to hammer out every last detail, but I’m so glad we spent the time to do so. Because there’s a lot to think about when you’re installing new windows in an old house! 

Our aim with the new windows and door was to make them work withthe old, rather than match exactly. You can read more about the install here. Today I wanted to walk through the major considerations we made in selecting these windows. And also share what they cost. But before we get to that, here’s a reminder at what we’ve done to this space so far…

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Most of these old “windows” were just thin panes of glass held to the wall with molding. Ugh. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer in this little room. So we knew they needed replacing during this remodel. Let me back up a second and explain what this space actually is…

This little room, which is just off the kitchen, appears to have originally been a porch. Exterior siding wraps into the space and the stairway on the outside alludes to the fact that there was once an exterior door here. At some point, a previous homeowner took out the exterior door and walled-in the interior doorway into the kitchen. As part of the laundry room renovation we’ve restored the original flow. And the best part…we get SO much more daylight in the kitchen now!

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Our new windows

Our windows and door are part of the Milgard Essence Series. They are a solid, well-crafted product and installed nicely. It feels good to have seriously upgraded the quality over what was in room already and to know the windows and patio door have a full lifetime warranty.

The interior is Douglas fir and the exterior is fiberglass. They’re all custom sized to fit the original opening and they finished out better than I hoped. We gave some (small) consideration to going with vinyl because of the kitchen windows, but I’m so glad we didn’t as the stained wood window/white moulding combo is such a stunner! 

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Material section

We opted for wood windows with a fiberglass exterior. The Essence Series from Milgard has different options for the interior wood species and features a durable, low-maintenance fiberglass exterior with lots of color options. Though vinyl windows are quite a bit less expensive, all the other windows in the house are wood (excepting the kitchen windows which were installed by a previous owner) and we wanted the interior to match all the fir woodwork we have in our house. So we went with a fir interior and a Twilight (black) outside to match our (planned!) exterior color scheme. 

We worked for days to get the right stain on these windows. The existing millwork in our house has a dark, rich stain, and we’ve never been able to match it exactly. But we got pretty close with these. We used a few coats of oil stain (in red mahogany) and finished them with 2 coats of poly-stain (in espresso). They’re slightly darker than the original windows and millwork in our house, but close. And if I’m being totally honest, I like this color better than the other millwork!

keeping the original proportions

We’re not architects, but we do try to keep original proportions when working on a historic house. That’s why we installed the transom windows atop the door and casement windows. It takes our glazing all the way up to the old porch soffit, which should be a similar proportion to what was here in 1912. And if we weren’t dealing with a porch, we would have sized the window to match the dimensions of nearby existing windows in the house. They knew what they were doing in 1912…our goal is just to not mess up what they did!


I love the look of divided lights windows, the kind you find in so many old houses. But we opted for simpler windows to match the existing windows in our house. Almost all the original windows in the Farmhouse have just one pane of glass per sash so we matched that with the new windows and patio door. There’s beauty in simplicity!


The historic windows in our home are beautiful, but they’re not particularly functional. Of the 30-some odd historic windows in our house, less than half actually open, and only 4 have screens. Many of the windows were actually nailed shut and others are no longer weighted-correctly to stay open (the glass was replaced with heavier material so the sash weights are too light).

So we really wanted a functional window and door in this space. And that’s what we got! The casement window to the left of the door is operable (and has a screen!) and the door opens smoother than any door we’ve ever owned. 

budget and value

Budget is always a consideration with our remodels, and these windows were no different. When deciding between vinyl, wood, and fiberglass we thought through the impact the windows would have and the increased value they bring to the house. It’s hard to nail down an exact number, but in our small real-estate market, we felt like we’d get back the cost of these but wouldn’t recoup the cost of all-wood windows. In a higher value market like Seattle we would have considered an all-wood option. 

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What our new door and windows cost

You guys know I love to share numbers, so let’s talk about what these windows and door cost.

$1,784.34 Patio door

$631.15 Casement window

$511.87 Larger transom window

$492.83 Smaller transom window

$3,700.65 Total

This was definitely an investment! But the new windows and door make this space! So we’re glad we allotted a big chunk of our laundry room budget to these. Every time I open the patio door and feel the perfectly-smooth swing, I think “ahhh, so this is why people build new houses”. They really are that nice! 

Win a $50 gift card!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Milgard is giving away a $50 Visa gift card to one reader! To be entered in the drawing, just leave us a note in the comment section below telling us which part of our window and patio door renovation you loved or ask us a question! This giveaway closes October 3 at 5pm Pacific. Winner will be notified by email. 

Good luck!

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We can’t wait to finish out this space! Stay tuned for painted floors, a washer and dryer (we’ve been without for a week now!), marble countertop, pendant light, custom shelves, and maybe a DIY hanging drying rack too.