Exterior Reno: Paint! No, Stucco! No, Windows! The Best Thing That I Didn’t Know We Needed.

By Melissa

Is it just me, or has this week been 482 days long? Between kids being off of school for Spring Break (and possibly longer?), doctors appointments and dealing with insurance nonsense, potty training a stubborn 3 year old, and now figuring out how to best handle the Corona Virus madness, I don’t even remember what happened on Monday. All I know is I’ve had a headache since then. I also know that a lot of these factors will continue to plague our time and thoughts, and since I’m not emotionally equipped right now to write a post about it, or give any helpful information, I’m going with pretty stuff. So instead of serious nonsense, here is a reprieve and distraction for you. Let’s talk about my house! 🙂

It’s been said that the windows are the eyes of the house. Now if that’s the case, I like my windows like I like my eyes, with HEAVY mascara. 🙂 We got black windows and I could not love them more. This step made the biggest difference! (If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I say that about EVERY step.)

This is where we landed after the roof and landscaping were done.

But let me give you a little more background. So our windows weren’t great. They weren’t terrible by any means, but it was on the 10 year list of things to do. So after we finished the roof, and the landscaping, we decided to paint. But did you know painting a house is super expensive? And before you put really expensive paint on something, you kind of want to really love it…which brought us to the stucco. We just didn’t love our stucco. It had a really thick texture that screamed, “I’M A STUCCO HOUSE IN ARIZONA!!!” After talking to some friends (who coincidently used to own our home), we decided to get a quote for redoing the stucco.

The guy came out, gave us a quote, but before he did said, “Have you ever thought about replacing your windows? Because if so, you should definitely do that before the stucco.” Coooooool. Cool cool cool cool. One more thing to think about and spend lots of money on!

Since I didn’t know anything about window companies or replacement, I did what every normal human does and googled, “window replacement AZ.” Next thing I know, I have an appointment scheduled with Renewal by Andersen windows.

That appointment was HILARIOUS. The guy came over, gave us his very long shpeal, showed us that these windows will keep us safe from every flood, fire, famine, tornado, whatever, and then started measuring. He gave us a quote of over SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS! For windows! But even better, if we committed right then, that day, we could knock that price down to a cool $52K. For the record, we’ve never paid that much for ANYTHING but a mortgage in our lives, so the last thing we were going to do is pay that for windows! Apparently they are encrusted in diamonds or something because good heavens, that was A LOT of money. (And legitimately, they are really good windows, but I’m not a millionaire, so I just couldn’t justify it.)

Luckily, we knew a guy. I mean, we knew a guy who knew a guy. We asked around and were referred to a contractor who does window and door replacement. He was exactly what I hoped, mid-fifties, been doing this for 30 years, a little on the rough side, but was also just so so nice. He was able to order Andersen windows (not the diamond encrusted ones though) and he and his small crew installed them. I’m not going to lie and say it was cheap, because hot dang, windows are still freaking expensive. In fact, they were the most expensive step of our renovation, but it was a lot less than fifty grand.

The other great thing about our contractor, is that he could tweak things to make them what we wanted. For example, when he was measuring the three arched windows on the front of the house, he let us know that arched windows are very expensive to have made. So then we realized, well hey, we don’t love the arches anyway, could we just square them off? Sure enough, he could do it! And since he was a general contractor, he was able to repair the drywall inside the home also! When it all shook out, it ended up being about the same price to have them squared off, the drywall cut and repaired to fit the new window shape, and retextured inside, all for as much as those arched windows would have been! And I feel like it moved our house right out of 1991 and into modern times.

Needless to say, I LOVE OUR WINDOWS. Like I said, I feel like it makes the biggest difference! The funny thing though, is that this was the project that looks the best, but in the middle of the renovation, made the house look the absolute worst. Due to changing the arches, they had to pull off the existing stucco pop outs that surrounded the windows. Which meant that the after pictures were such an eyesore still, because your eyes can’t stop seeing torn off stucco!

In this phase also, we ordered a new front door. It has windows, which I wasn’t sure how I would feel about living with, but I AM OBSESSED. I keep a wreath on it most of the time so we don’t feel too exposed when people are on our front porch. But even when I don’t, the door is just such a pretty detail. We kept it black to match the windows, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

The whole window replacement process took about two weeks. It was a very dusty two weeks, and gave me some good insight into what it is like to live through a renovation, as this was the first (and only) step that required workers to be in and out of our home. And man, it is not for the faint of heart! Or for the toddlers and babies! But we survived and now that we are on the other side, are just so glad that we did! Next up, stucco, FOR REALS THIS TIME!

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