Q: I want to add a big window to a small sitting area at the far end of our kitchen, past the dining table. Is this a good idea? We use the area like a family room, and, although it's cozy, it doesn't have any windows. My husband doesn't think anyone should cut a hole in the side of a house once it's built because it might leak. But I want the light!
A: I love windows and doors, so I am on your side with this idea. My husband jokes that I hardly need a house at all, because I have everything open as often as I can. I've even had birds flying around inside.
Unless there is something unusual with the construction of your house, adding a window is likely possible. However, it's not a DIY project. There is a lot more to it than cutting a hole.
Talk with some licensed contractors. They'll know about how to deal with the structure of your house, how to make it hold up to weather, and your local regulations and codes — in some places, you'll need a permit. A historic district or homeowners association might have rules about this, too. It's always best to check first.
For your new window, go as big as you can to let in more light and air. Also consider the view — good or bad — and any privacy issues. In some cases, a window high on the wall will be better than one that reaches almost to the floor. Unless you're replacing all the windows in your house, choose a style that matches the others.
If, for some reason, you can't add a window, fake one with a big architectural mirror. I also love the look of an assembled rectangle with several smaller square antiqued mirrors next to each other. This will bounce light around your room, make it feel larger, and add sparkle.
Good luck and keep me posted.