Our new window: Just six days! (And counting…)

How long do you think it takes to change a window? An hour or two? A day or two?

I suppose that’s about right, assuming that you were simply substituting one window for a similar model. (We had that done a few years ago, with double-pane windows replacing the single-pane versions.) But we’ve just learned that things aren’t so simple when it’s a new kind of window altogether. Have a look.

Our starting point was the little peaked window that you can barely see on our roof (below), above the garage and our large kitchen window. You’ll see a little triangle, sticking up from the tiled roof, and within that a small window.

The window was never of much use, except for our cats, who would sometimes sit on the ledge and look out. Finally, Jan decided it was time to change the window’s scope, and create what the French call a lucarne window — what you might call a dormer window.

Not much of a window, really.

I won’t drag out this story by detailing how long it took between getting a quotation and finally having the work done — but the delay went on for months. Finally Jan had a somewhat terse conversation with the carpenter, who said that he might possibly begin the work in March. Well, okay.

Then, with no further phone call or emails, the carpenter and his apprentice showed up at our front door on Monday, March 1, ready to go. Their van and trailer were loaded with equipment, including pipes and platforms to create scaffolding. And so the work began.

By Monday afternoon, they were in full flight — sawing, banging, drilling. The noise was horrendous, and it went on pretty much until dinner time. Here’s a look at the scaffolding in place, with the carpenter and his apprentice working away:

The worksite, in all its glory.

At the end of each day, Jan would ask the two workers when they would be done, but she never got an exact time — or day. Finally, around noon on Friday (March 5), the work team announced that they were stopping for the weekend, but would return on Monday. At that point, the actual window had not been installed — all the sawing and hammering had been to cut through our roof and create the structure for the lucarne window. (The fact that our house is several hundred years old and is constructed in large measure of limestone and heavy wood beams accounts for the heavy going.)

Before the team left, we made sure that they had put a tarp over the large opening, so that we wouldn’t be completely flooded by cold air over the weekend. And here is what the window opening looked like from the inside of the room:

A view from the inside of the room.

Sure enough, on Monday the carpenter and his apprentice turned up bright and early and installed the window, and then started dismantling the scaffolding. They disappeared for lunch (this is France, after all) but returned promptly to finish the clean-up. All in all, we were pleased with their work, and with the window’s final, and rather majestic, appearance. And here it is:

All done — at least on the outside.

So that was that — a total of six days of work to get the project done. Well, actually, not completely done, because there is still work to be completed inside the window frame, including insulation and wallboard and painting. But hey — we’ve got time. And Jan and I both like the light that now comes flooding into the room upstairs.

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4 Responses to Our new window: Just six days! (And counting…)

  1. teeber1 says:

    Do they charge you an outrageous extra for the scaffolding like they do in Italy? Our local joke there was that to replace a tile on your roof it was 999 euro for the scaffolding (ponteggio) and one euro for the tile.


    • loren24250 says:

      Good question! I don’t really think so — the carpenter needed the scaffolding to get up high enough, so he went ahead and built it. All part of the price (I think).

  2. Elisabeth Walters says:

    That looks amazing!!! Maybe we will be able to see your new window in July… xxxx

  3. loren24250 says:

    Thanks Elisabeth. Yes, fingers crossed about a visit.

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