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emily_carmichael

gable window is too small

Bean Haricot
6 days ago

Hello! It’s my first renovation and it’s going great, except I regret the window I picked for the bedroom. It looks too small to me! I should have gone for a larger size. It’s directly over the bed.
I’m wondering if it’s worth redoing the window—it will be a lot of labor to change. Any thoughts on what kind of window would be best? I was hoping for something breathtaking.

Comments (52)

  • Melissa R
    6 days ago

    you said your bed is going on that wall so I'd leave it as is. in the end...it's just a window.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    It’s not the only window, but it’s the only one you really see in that direction and the walls on the side are long and windowless.

    One vote for change it and one vote for leave it so far—thanks for weighing in

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  • Seabornman
    6 days ago

    If that's the only window, it's not a legal bedroom. A bedroom requires an operable window of a certain size and height in order to be able to escape (or be rescued) in a fire.

  • Melissa R
    6 days ago

    @Seabornman op said it's not the only window

  • SashaDog
    6 days ago

    I vote for changing the window if the budget allows. It looks odd from the outside.

    Put in a window more similar to the double windows below.

  • Rachel Lee
    6 days ago

    Change to a lower window that matches the others. It’s the wrong “accent”.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    6 days ago

    Monsieur Haricot,


    Would you mind posting a picture of the entire front elevation of your home so we can see the addition with more context? Thanks.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    6 days ago

    IMO the shape is also wrong and the addition IMO is out of proprtion to the house but at least change that window to match the others. I sure hope you got permits for this 3 rd floor and sign off from a structural engineer. Maybe explain why the octogon as a choice.

  • PRO
    Arlene Warda Architect
    6 days ago

    If you feel ambitious and are up to it you can do a couple new things


    1) Add skylights. See sketch below. You will have reframe out the roof cutout for each skylight. This will make the room much lighter and brighter.


    2) Add a band as accent have below the window. Either scalloped or cedar shakes would do. They make them as fiber cement board as ones with no maintenance. They did this in Victorian times. This can fill up the blank wall.


    See pictures below.


    Check with your local jurisdiction for any permits and drawings that may apply. Agree above with the escape window requirement for bedroom and window glass requirement.


    Good luck with your bedroom project!


    1. Skylight sketch


    2. Banding of shingles


    Bean Haricot thanked Arlene Warda Architect
  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Agree with others, it should have a larger window and if it's a bedroom the window has to meet egress.

    Looking at the 1st picture, I get a general idea of what type of a house that is, and whoever designed that addition made it look like an oversized bird feeder (if the gable only on that side) but assuming there is a garage with a gable on the other side, that might balance things out a bit.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago


    Here's the front elevation. The elevation on the left is what we have. The one on the right is with a bigger window, which I rejected and now regret!

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    6 days ago

    As others have posted building code requires that all sleeping rooms must have a means of egress that meets certain criteria - size, operability, height of sill above floor. If you are having this renovation permitted your inspector will catch this for sure.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    It would have been nice to see a photo of the entire home before pronouncing the addition as unsympathetic or inappropriate--which it certainly appears to be. I suspect the OP has turned tail and run at this point.

    Unless tearing it off and starting over is an option, I think the only way to salvage the exterior is to make it look whimsical: change the window out for a round window, install something that looks like a perch below it and maybe clad it in shakes in a pattern. Not a bird feeder, GN Builders, but rather, a bird house.


    ETA: Monsieur Haricot posted the above elevation view while I was typing, so my turn tail and run suspicion was dead wrong. Monsieur a la peau epaisse, which is a good quality if you're posting on houzz.com

  • PRO
    GN Builders L.L.C
    6 days ago

    Thank you, Charles is what I had in mind!

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Also for context, I believe the architect has always hated this window. It was my dream from the start and now, tragically, I also hate it. I mean, it’s actually gorgeous (hard to tell in the pix but the view out it is stunning), I just wish it were bigger, but it feels absurd to swap the whole thing for a slightly larger version of the same window given the expense of redoing it. I’m considering something like this, but I also appreciate folks saying I should relate it to the windows on the floor below.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    6 days ago

    You also need to consider the interaction between the exterior and interior. If you fill the gable with glass, would you have another wall against which to put the bed? If not, does having the bed in front of those windows work?

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    The ceilings are about 14’ at their highest point, so I’d fill the top half with glass and still have wall below for the bed to go against.

  • 3onthetree
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    I was hoping for something breathtaking

    Tough love is sometimes the best medicine, and you're getting many doses of it. Good for ya to stick around with thick skin. Sometimes architects cannot change a client's mind no matter the influence, but going back to them might resurrect some initial ideas they had that were overlooked.

    It looks like the window below wouldn't align, and I'm not sure what to do that wouldn't require major surgery. All I can think of is a "gingerbread" style that takes the "birdhouse dropped on the roof" to the nines.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Hey I’m glad for all the feedback!

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago


    What about this? This way we could keep the octagon but remove the boat feeling.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago


    Or this

  • 3onthetree
    6 days ago

    If the view is so great, why is the bed against that wall? Will you be sitting up on your knees on the bed to look out the window?

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Sometimes. :)

  • kudzu9
    6 days ago

    The photos you just posted certainly improve the interior appearance substantially. If it were me, I’d make the windows even lower. I know you’re talking about having your bed against that wall, but, unless it has a really high headboard, I’d make the windows even lower because I would want to maximize that view and be able to see as much of it as possible even when I was sitting down.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Oh to be fair—there is a house across the street. But it’s a wide-ish street and the view is mostly trees.

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    6 days ago

    What did the Architect propose?

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    6 days ago

    Too many shapes that don't play well together. Octagons smooshed up to triangles or trapezoids just don't make visual sense. I looked at a house that had altered their façade in their master to have the original double hung in the center flanked by two triangles- nice enough from inside but looked terrible from outside and would be impossible to hang a blind on (second floor south facing master in dense urban setting...) In your case a double hung in the same scale as the windows downstairs would reduce the mass of the gable addition. Minimally a square window the size of the current framing wouldn't compete with everything else. A larger octagon does not help.

  • Beth Allen
    6 days ago

    I think it will look nice-

    Beef up the trim around the octagon on the outside; and I like the ^^^^ idea to add banding trim on the gable.

  • SashaDog
    6 days ago

    No circle, no octagon, no triangle, no trapezoid. Simple, rectangular double hung windows to match the rest of the house. :)

  • Shannon_WI
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    So, no window treatments with that bedroom window. I guess you are OK with rising with the sun, in summer that could be 4:30 am. I would not be OK with that.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Hmm that’s a good point about window treatments.

  • Sammy
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Change it to a rectangle, if possible. The size, if not a bit small, and placement is fine.

  • barncatz
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    If it's any consolation to you, I don't think the larger window would have been an improvement.

    When we built our home, I thought the (architect specified) gable windows on our top floor bedroom were too small once the house was framed. 16 years later and I still regret not halting everything and fixing the issue.

    I'd also change the window to a rectangle(s) that mirrors the lower windows, possibly with banding or a decorative shading element above. Look at farmhouse exterior photos until the octagon love is banished.

    You can always use roman shades for sun control.



    Bean Haricot thanked barncatz
  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    So I hear ya, everyone proposing double hung windows to match the ones below, but the windows won’t align with the ones below—the peak of the gable is not centered w/r/t the second floor windows. So the harmony produced by the sameness of the windows will be offset... by the offset.

    I think I don’t want to change the window just to “fix” it or make it look “less wrong” from the outside. I’d only fix it to make it look more spectacular inside. I don’t mind being wrong I just mind missing out on the spectacular, know what I mean?

    Thanks to everyone who said a larger octagon would not have helped. RIP larger octagon.

  • kudzu9
    4 days ago

    According to the plan you posted, the facade is not symmetrical, and the windows on the second floor don’t align with the windows on the first floor, so I’m unclear on why you would be concerned that replacement windows for the existing octagonal one “won’t align with the ones below.”

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Holy cr** you're right

  • SashaDog
    4 days ago

    On one hand I understand what you’re saying about changing the window to improve the interior view. However, if you plan to sell the house ever, you might want to reconsider spending a little more now to make any improvements you can to the exterior.

  • btydrvn
    3 days ago

    I like the drama of the triangles and octagon....might consider a layout that will offer the view from the bed...perhaps a wall of closets below the windows?...really not enough info to offer more than support for your goal and possibilities...

  • btydrvn
    3 days ago

    Closet top would offer a spot for potted plants ?..for instance...

  • olychick
    3 days ago

    I would replace that with three windows like the two below it. I think three could be aligned with those below and not throw off the balance/symmetry.

    People are correct about trying to do window coverings on your original shape window. Whatever you do to control light is going to affect anything "spectacular" about that shape.

    I would also have the windows placed so you can see out of them from other parts of the room and reconsider your bed placement. Having your backs to the view of the trees out that window, while staring down two long windowless walls is not going to bring you any joy. Place the bed so you can lie in bed and see the trees and the sky. Maybe put on motorized blinds so you can still darken the room and open the blinds when you awaken to enjoy the view. Or do like I did and just learn to sleep with no window coverings.

  • Val B
    3 days ago

    I don’t mind the look of it, but also wonder about window shades.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    So the room actually has a gorgeous sunny window nook that can be seen from the bed! So the view FROM the bed is all set. I’m obsessing about the view OF the bed since it’s what you see when you walk in and I love to make a good first impression. (And of course it impacts the front of the house).

    The architect advised we wait until the windows OPPOSITE the bed are in place (right now they’re boarded up with plywood) before deciding about the window over the bed.

    All told, I think I want to stick with my original intention of keeping the window high in order to completely hide the houses across the street, since I think it’s kind of a neat trick. The trees are also beautifully framed by the octagon shape. So, I don’t hate my octagon. I basically just want MOAR GLASS.

    I AM still considering adding the triangles, or doing something like the below. But I don’t think I’ll do any normal rectangles or anything. There are enough rectangle windows in the world already.

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    (What it’s like now)

  • 3onthetree
    3 days ago

    I’m obsessing about the view OF the bed since it’s what you see when you walk in and I love to make a good first impression.

    To each his own shenanigans, but I gotta ask, just how many "first impressions" are you going to be cycling through?

  • btydrvn
    3 days ago

    Personally i don’t think you can overdo the drama...but then this is what we live with every summer

  • Bean Haricot
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Omg that’s gorgeous!

  • suezbell
    3 days ago

    Looking at the framing, the double side studs on each side of the octagon window appear to go well below the bottom of the octagon shaped window -- likely all the way to the wall plate or floor? You could remove that octagon shaped window -- perhaps use that window in another room -- and add a pair of hinged swing-in doors and Juliet balcony in that "attic" space with a minimal amount of framing. With a screen so you could open these doors, your room would be a lot more comfortable in warmer weather before it is time to turn on the AC full time or after you can turn it off before winter requires heat.


    https://www.wayfair.com/home-improvement/pdp/ltl-home-products-glass-bi-fold-door-ltld1011.html

  • suezbell
    3 days ago

    A Juliet balcony could be an additional fire escape safety measure and with glass doors, you'd have more of the view from the room -- be able to see out from a seated position rather than only if you stand on your toes.

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413134965796234510/.