By Max Mervis

Here in the beach communities we’re fortunate to have a vast amount of some really spectacular historic architecture. On any given street from Venice to Santa Monica you’ll find Georgian, Spanish Mission, English, Italianate, Craftsman and Neoclassical-themed homes. However, the hands of time haven’t always been kind and often we find ourselves in need of upgrades and updates, the most frequent of which is window replacement.

When considering replacing windows, one of the most important things to remember is that the windows in your old home are actually part of the home’s architecture. The types of windows selected when your home was built weren’t run of the mill standard windows, but were chosen (and often custom built) specifically for the style of your home. Ideally, try to have the windows rebuilt in their identical, original style (which can increase your sales price when selling). This option is expensive and isn’t always feasible, however, so if finances limit you to a more cost-effective alternative, here are some rules of thumb:

File source: your original windows are plain, keep them plain.
Many old homes were built with single, plain paned windows intentionally, often to place emphasis on other architectural details and create a balanced harmony. Therefore, although many windows offer French-paned muntins or panels, resist the temptation. In the end they can make your home look busy and disconnected. The same holds true for type – if you have casements, stick with casements, etc.

Materials Matter – Paintable vs Vinyl
By all means, definitely spend the small additional amount and upgrade to the paintable variety. Only the plainest of homes should have white windows, the most common and cheapest available of vinyl window options. Unless necessity dictates, avoid the white (in most cases) and go with the black or dark brown. Shockingly stark white window frames on a warm stucco, brick or clapboard home can ruin your curb appeal and may actually devalue your home.

If in doubt as to what to do when replacing windows, just give me a call. We have alliances with some excellent designers and architects who will help you make the decision that’s right for you and your home.


Max Mervis has amassed 18 years extensive knowledge of the resale market and more than 12 years of on-site new home sales experience. Most recently, Max conducted sales at the iconic Ritz Carlton Residences at LA LIVE. Max currently resides in Venice, and he is an expert in the beach communities of Venice/Marina del Rey and Santa Monica. He loves the architecture, the people and making new friends through his continued passion for real estate.

Should you need any assistance on on finding or selling a home, please feel free to contact Max.