Flip House Progress: New Windows

By Kate Riley May 24, 2017

It’s hard to say with a straight face “new windows are sexy” but you know what is? Major savings, extra money in your pocket, the dough you save on your monthly energy bills when you replace your windows and the value you add to your home when you do, now that (arguably) is sexy.

Today I’m sharing a progress report on the flip house. You’ve seen a peek at the new floors and I’ve shared the hall bathroom and the fireplace makeover. Another major change was an investment in new Simonton windows. I sung the praises of Simonton windows a few years ago when I installed them in my first Vegas investment property. I loved this brand so much I installed them again, this time in the second Vegas house.

For installation, we worked with Home Depot last time and that was fine but this time I had the windows shipped directly and hired the subcontractor installer which saved some cash since the installer’s bid was lower than Home Depot’s bid for installation. Thanks to these new windows and the other improvements being made, the future owners will be able to breathe a sigh of relief that the home won’t require any upgrades because it everything is fresh from floor to ceiling and the home will be move-in ready.

The five great reasons for investing in new windows that I shared here are the same but there is an additional benefit when it comes to this property. Marketing the home for sale with new windows is a huge selling point and when it’s staged for sale this summer, potential buyers will be attracted to the property because of it.

1) Better Looking. From the outside the new vinyl windows look a million times better than the old aluminum ones. The new white frames are modern and fresh with thicker trim. From the inside more light enters the house and the view of the trees and yard are visibly clearer. The new windows are from the Daylight Max line of products that have maximum efficiency and allow more light.




2) Temperature. With my hand on the old windows I could feel the heat from outside penetrating into the house. The new windows have insulating “low E glass with argon gas” which reflects long-wave infrared UV rays so the temperature stays much lower inside. So important in this high heat desert climate!


3) Cost Savings. New windows do cost thousands of dollars but they’re a worthy investment for a property you intend to keep or one you intend to sell since the home will have lower heating and cooling bills compared to neighbors who lack new windows, again that’s a major selling point with potential buyers.


4) Performance. Compared to the old, the new windows and sliding door are a breeze to open and close. The old ones were a pain to maneuver, the metal was heavier, it would catch and not slide smoothly, now they open and close with the push or pull of a finger.



5) Added Value. Aluminum windows have inferior insulation qualities and also a dated appearance. New efficient windows can add dollar for dollar value, depending on the the quality and price of the windows of course. Another advantage is that new windows have safety latches built in for greater security and protection.


What can you expect with new window installation? It’s not as time consuming or disruptive to your life as you might think!

1) The new windows are measured from the interior of the existing metal framing for both height and width. Once a professional takes the measurements, they are sent to the manufacturer to be customized to fit your home, this process takes anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.

2) For an average size home (this one is 1,600 square feet) most of the installation can take place in one day and it goes pretty fast. Once all the windows are delivered, they are matched up with their new locations within the home. The installation begins by removing the old window panes.

3) For each window, the existing aluminum frame is left in place and the new custom fix window is set inside the old frame using four screws and silicone adhesive. Any gap is filled with foam insulation and protective caulking is applied to the exterior.


Next the trim pieces go on top to give the window it’s new look. The new windows provide such a temperature different that our installer remarked “you sweat when you remove the old windows but not when you install the new ones.”

Installing a sliding door is a completely different process, I’ll share that soon it deserves it’s own post.

More to come on this home’s progress as the renovation moves along, the kitchen cabinets will be installed in two weeks then the countertops, appliances, and backsplash, I’m excited!

*This post in partnership with Simonton Windows, all opinions are my own.

Scandinavia Highlights

By Kate Riley May 22, 2017

Hello friends! As you know I love love LOVE to travel, and a few weeks ago returned from a 12 day trip to Scandinavia. That region had been on my bucket list forever and I absolutely loved every minute of my visit. I traveled there in late April so it was still cold and required a jacket every day. We had some foggy days and a little rain but also plenty of sunny (yet chilly) days too. Here’s just a sampling of what I saw on my travels through Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

On arrival I stayed with some friends who live an hour outside Copenhagen on my first night so I was able to see some of the countryside of Denmark. So lovely! I also spent two full days in Copenhagen and was so charmed by it. One can’t visit without a stop to the iconic Nyhavn where you’ll spy colorful homes along the canals, an abundance of cafes and pubs, and it’s here you can catch a canal tour.





Copenhagen is a very walkable city and possesses the charm of other European cities with its cafes, fountains, copper spires, and architecture. I walked around the city about 5-6 miles a day ducking down so many streets and past landmarks.




I stopped in a few churches as well and walked to the Church of our Savior to climb up the spire. While in Copenhagen don’t miss a stroll around Tivoli Gardens. There’s a really beautiful hotel there too, I was smitten with the interiors and floral arrangements in the Nimb Hotel, and especially the elegant bar.




One thing you can’t escape in Copenhagen are the marvelous pastries and breads, I recommend popping into one of the many bakeries to sample the deliciousness!


Who doesn’t love Danish design? I found myself browsing in several shops and wanting to take home so much!



From Copenhagen I took an overnight ferry on DFDS Seaways to journey to Norway which was so fun! I woke up the next morning peering out my window staring at the charming seaside villages and homes that you pass on your way to Oslo. It’s a nice view to take in while you eat your breakfast!

I spent two days in my travel companion’s hometown of Askim where we visited with her family and friends then it was back to Oslo to explore that city for a few days. Thankfully we had a lot of sunshine and spring was in the air.


We hit the ground running and walked all over this city too. We watched the changing of the guard at the palace that was interesting to watch.





A big highlight was Vigeland Park, it’s a popular place in Oslo and it’s filled with hundreds of sculptures completed by a single artist, each one unique and amazing.





Also worth your visit are the Folk Museum where you’ll see historic Norwegian structures and the Viking museum where you can see ships from the 1100s.




Oslo was very easy to walk around just like Copenhagen and around every corner so much charm, especially at twilight when the downtown area is all lit up and you can duck into pubs or cafes and people watch to your heart’s content.




Our last stop along the journey was Stockholm and we booked a train ride from Oslo train station directly to Stockholm and it was a gorgeous journey through birch forests past lakes and little towns in the Swedish countryside. Train rides through Europe are one of my favorite things in life and this trip had my staring out the window the entire five hours.

Stockholm is an vibrant city centered on many islands so there are waterways and ferries everywhere.



There are several amazing neighborhoods in this city, the most popular for tourists is the charm of old town Gamla Stan filled with shops and cafes, it’s a great place to spend a few hours and have lunch.



There is so much beautiful architecture everywhere you go in Stockholm and the beginning of spring was on display when I arrived.





I spent a fun afternoon in the trendy Södermalm neighborhood with its shops and cafes, that was a cool place to walk around.





If you’re up for a unique experience and like cocktails, make a reservation for the Ice Bar where they’ll dress you in a blanket coat and serve you your drink of choice in a glass made of ice (just like the rest of the room!)



Like I did in Copenhagen, I loved looking at all the shops in Stockholm, in so many I observed such great design and well curated decor.



Of course no trip to Stockholm is complete without dining on classic Swedish meatballs, these were better than IKEA ;)



What surprised me was I never felt a language barrier traveling in the big cities of Scandinavia because most people speak English as their second language. Not that you shouldn’t make an effort to speak basic phrases, I do believe that’s polite! I loved the people and the food and the sites of all three Scandinavian countries and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to explore more of the countryside. Hope you enjoyed the pics! Comment with any questions you may have. :)