When Christie Zerbe and her husband, Todd, moved into a 6,000-square-foot, 30-year-old home on Morse Lake in August 2021, they knew they had a fixer-upper on their hands.
They hit the ground running, painting many of the rooms, updating the wooden stair railing to wrought iron, removing all of the stark and humming fluorescent and canned lighting, redoing all of the switches and outlets, upgrading the chandelier, and installing new ceiling fans. Outside, they put in a new retaining wall, redid the dock, and built a new boardwalk and patio area. With a never-ending to-do list, they knew they still had one giant project ahead of them: replacing most of their windows.
“We have two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows in our great room that overlooks the lake,” says Zerbe. “Because we’re right on the water, we had some rotted, aging wood and trim.”
With such a massive undertaking, they wanted to be sure they hired the right people to install the right product. The couple got quotes from window companies that were, frankly, exorbitant. Then they met representatives from Hometown Window & Door Company at this year’s Indianapolis Home Show.
“We knew Andersen was a really good product, so when Hometown gave us their background and explained how they know a lot about Andersen windows, that put us at ease,” Zerbe says. “Then when they came out and gave us a quote, doing a full-on window replacement was still less than what we had been quoted by other companies.”
The project, designed by Scott Dorrell, was costly, but Hometown worked with the couple to get them to the price they wanted. They also did financing, plus a down payment.
Ultimately the Hometown team presented some great ideas, including converting the homeowner’s great-room windows.
“There were three windows, three transoms across, and all had wood in them and then a half-moon at the top,” Zerbe says. “It’s now one giant piece of glass in each of those. It looks amazing.”
In addition, they converted the bathroom window to frosted glass, enabling sunlight to pour in while still preserving privacy.
“That’s wonderful because we used to have regular windows in there with blinds that I never opened,” Zerbe says.
The Hometown team also suggested installing several picture windows throughout the house, including in the bedroom sitting area and basement storage room.
“We were so pleased to get rid of the old windows that were in such bad shape, and update them with more modern, energy-efficient ones,” says Zerbe, who notes that the Hometown staff also helped them select the outside color as well – a darker bronze that nicely complements the brick color.
The original homeowners had three French doors in the basement, but only one door functioned. They removed all three and installed sliding glass doors so that less of the view would be lost by door trim. Now the entire basement can be opened up to let in abundant light, not to mention fresh air.
Despite the size of this project, the Hometown team completed it in less than a week. They returned the following week for final steps such as cleaning up, touching up and filling in nail holes. When the owners weren’t happy with the cleanliness of the big windows, the Hometown team agreed to send out professional window washers to get the job done.
Given that the couple has dealt with numerous contractors as they have made improvements to their house, they know what they’re looking for in a hire: quality workmanship, a high degree of integrity and honest communication.
“Responsiveness is key,” Zerbe says. “When people don’t call back or show up when they say they will, that’s really frustrating. We wanted to work with someone who would give us an answer when we asked for it and keep us updated on progress.”
For instance, the Zerbes ordered their windows in March and they didn’t come in until August, but the Hometown team was upfront about the fact that it would take a long time.
“They gave us a ballpark,” Zerbe says. “The goal was to have them in by September.”
Zerbe was impressed by the installation crews, who were both courteous and kind. “We had two crews working almost every day, so at any given time we probably had between 12 to 15 people in our house,” she says. “And it was during the hottest week of the summer when it was 98 degrees.”
Living on the lake proved helpful, as the crew occasionally jumped in the water to cool off.
Zerbe’s favorite part of the project is the transformation of the great room’s view.
“It’s the same-size window opening, but by removing the wood separations and transoms, the view is so much nicer,” she says. “I just love it.”
Hometown Window & Door Company is located at at 240 West Carmel Drive in Carmel. For more information, call 317-773-2100 or visit hometownwindowteam.com.