Window Shopping Again


Our Tiny For Two (T42) will have LOTs of windows for natural light and views! In case you missed A Tiny Announcement from Lina & Isha, The Guy Next Door and I are building ourselves a tiny house, starting this spring. We ordered our brand new PAD Series trailer from Rob at Iron Eagle Trailers a few weeks ago. So the time has come for us to do some window shopping.

Windows and doors can take up to 6 weeks to arrive (especially if any of them are custom). So it's a good idea to get moving on windows long before you're ready to start building. Although the only non-standard components of our glazing package are Our Hobbit-Sized Outswing French Doors and the transom window above them, we needed to have our windows dialed in before we could submit our design to Patrick from Artisan Tiny House, so he can turn it into a SIPs kit. As you might imagine, our timeline nudged us to make our windows the top priority this week since I returned from the Cilantro Poncho Build Blitz in Tucson, AZ.

So here’s a little about window shopping. A few years ago I had a bout of Successful Window Shopping when I was helping Jane collect materials for her Tiny Barn. My Tiny House Started with a Window, too. It’s a beautiful arched window I acquired for free from my alma mater, Whitman College when they were replacing windows a few years ago and I decided to build The Lucky Penny around it. My Beautiful Arched Door has a leaded glass window in it and I have a massive skylight running the length of The Lucky Penny, so I knew I’d have lots of light. I was only looking for two more windows and I ended up finding My Kitchen Windows at the ReBuilding Center just before I was going to order custom windows. Several of my design clients have also pieced together their window packages using high-quality salvaged windows, especially if they are fond of a hodge-podge look. So most of my previous window shopping experience for tiny houses – and by this I mean actually acquiring windows rather than browsing the bazillion amazing products that might go into a highly-designed small space – has involved salvage.

On the other hand, over the past couple years I also helped the Marshlains and the Meyerhofers with their window shopping as part of the project management we did leading up to their build blitzes. Both of these couples decided that they didn’t want a hodge-podge look and they didn’t want to spend time scouting for windows at the rebuilding centers. Isha and I are currently in the same situation for the tiny house we’ll be building. We want a cohesive look and there are some particular sizes we’re after to make our design work well, so we’ve decided to go with a collection of new windows.

Once we had determined which window sizes we wanted (big!), what material we wanted (fiberglass!), and how we wanted them to open (every which way!), we turned this into a list of windows (called a "window schedule"). We sent our window schedule to a couple of companies in our area for quotes. We ended up having great conversations with Sue at the NE Portland Home Depot and Todd at Parr Lumber. Sue recommended Milgard windows because they’re locally made, have a lifetime warranty, and have a reputation for good customer service. Todd recommended Marvin because they have a good reputation for quality and the price point is pretty reasonable. Both of these folks have a passion for tiny houses and they were both amazing to work with, so if you're in the market for new windows in the Portland area, give them a ring!

Once we had enough information to compare casements to awnings, we realized that the Marvin quote was about $1300 less than the Milgard quote. However, Marvin isn’t able to do any colors other than white for the interior and neither Isha nor I particularly like white nor felt like doing a bunch of detailed painting. So we took a walk around the block to discuss. Isha and I both agree that if it's something we're going to interact with daily and never planning to replace, we'd better get what we like best. So we decided to go for the Milgard windows even though they were more expensive than we'd originally planned to allocate for windows. As we refine Our Tiny House Budget, we'll need to figure out where to make up for the splurge. We’ll be finalizing our window order this morning. Hooray! It’s another great tangible step towards our tiny house dream.

Next up: Ordering Our Tiny House SIPs Kit!