Monday, September 27, 2010

Creating windows with Character

I would love to have a new house with all of the character of an old one.  (My house is only about 25 years old).  I like to drive past the homes in the area from the late 1800's to the early 1900's to study their architectural details.  Sometimes I come home with inexpensive ideas to incorporate some of these details in my own house ~to add a little historic charm.  For example, we have white removable window mullions (grids) in most of our windows like these...

I don't mind them, but they are kind of ordinary.  As I study at old homes, I notice that many of them look like this. (Notice that this one is missing the grids on the bottom half of the window)

So, I decided that I would pop out the bottom grids on my windows to recreate that same look and add a little character.

While on a trip to Utah I stopped at a store named Rodworks and picked up the iron piece that you see above the window for $25 to dress it up even more (I painted it black first).  Since we have a colonial, I bought four of them to go above the windows that line the bottom of the house.  With four iron architectural details in my suitcase, I was praying that I wouldn't go over the max weight limit at the airport!  I actually barely made it after transfering some things to another suitcase.  (My poor dear husband. ~what he puts up with!)

Anyway, on the side of our house we have this monster air conditioning unit smiling at us through the bottom portion of the window.  So I knew I needed to cover up that eyesore.  This was a problem because I like to keep the window coverings open during the day to let in as much natural light as possible.  So, I picked up a cafe rod from walmart and sewed a quick white sheer covering for the lower half of the window. 

Then, after looking through magazines, I got the idea to PAINT the mullions and window sashes BLACK to really add some character.  I love how it turned out.  I just got out my 1/2" paintbrush and painted them while they were still on my window with my black acrylic craft paint (I was too lazy to take them out!)  Probably the easiest thing to do would be to pop them out and spray paint them with a glossy black spray paint. 

Small touches of black paint can really do wonders.  Many people think that black is a color only used in "modern" style homes.  But if you look through pictures of older houses in magazines, many of them have dark wood or black mullions in their windows!  I love the look, and it is an easy and inexpensive way to add character to existing windows!


  1. Bonjour! I just came across your blog from a link on Nester...and I'm so glad I did! I'm a Realtor so I see (and consequentially fall in love with) lots of homes, but it's the details that make me swoon. Like your iron decoratives over your windows....fantastic! Read you again soon :)

  2. Love the black to make the window pop, your right that is very popular with old homes. I think its funny we all try to make new homes look like old homes, why did they ever stop building the old homes, He he =)

    Im in the process of adding as much character as possible to my cottage style home. Again, build waayyy back in 1989 =) would have much preferred 1889 but what can ya do. Come check it out at

    Thanks, Angela

  3. It's often the little touches that make the biggest impact. You added such nice character to the inside and outside of your window.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  4. Love how you made this window so very pretty! Love the tie/ribbon around the lampshade too.

    Just going thur your older posts and admiring everything♥

  5. I love all your ideas! I kinda giggle at some because I have done the same thing!
    I am re-building my house (old 1 1/2 story farmhouse) I am trying to add the little details to make it mine and look vintage.
    We got all new windows and did not order any grids for them since we are on a tight budget.
    Do you know of or can you think of a way to add a grid?
    I want the style you have on your house, but with only ONE row of squares.
    Any ideas?

  6. Hello Nevermore! Hmmm, good question. My first thought is to look in the back of home decorating magazines (like country living) Usually they have an ad for pop in grids and I think I called them once and they were pretty reasonable. If not, you could always use 1 inch or 1/2" white duct tape!!!!! Not sure how it would look though!!! good luck~I'll keep thinking...


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