A Movable Wall That Makes Way for Dreams

Several years ago, we had an opportunity to buy into a dream we had: to own an old farmhouse that needed a little work, fix it up and create our own little paradise complete with lovely gardens and our own flock of chickens (reference the photo below). So, full disclosure, it wasn’t that straightforward – it never is, right? The house we landed on needed a lot of work (even as I type today, some projects have been done and some haven’t because…life!). As we walked through the house those years ago, I had no problem with its condition because it was ridiculously charming and came with a deep history. The fact that I was head over heels in love with the land it sat on probably did a little to keep my negative criticism at bay during that time too. This was the first working farm on our street and there were hints from its past on the property: a cement foundation where a chicken coop once stood, an incredible barn that clearly housed its share of livestock, a little meadow where horses once plowed the land for planting. By the time the possibility of living at “The Farm” became a discussion in our house, no one could talk me out of it.

image1Fast forward to today: It’s been a work in progress finishing interior spaces as we want (or need) to, but as we continue to check things off our master list, quite often more slowly than I would hope, I find myself daydreaming about the same thing: My Future Kitchen Garden. This “icing on the cake” project will symbolize the end of our long list of interior work and mark the transition to making the outside of our little slice of the world our own. In my mind, I know exactly where this garden will go and my daydreams are unaffected by the fact that the space is currently a pile of stones, branches and weeds encased, in areas, in a solid layer of poison ivy. This vision of a dream garden is my motivation to keep plugging away on the house – it gives me something to plan around and it motivates me to explore ideas for how we should integrate this outdoor space into life inside our home. Because, given the time I’ve had to think about this garden, when I do it, I am going to do it right.

Inside the house, abutting the “garden”, is a space that was transformed at the hands of various previous owners. It was kind of like a Frankenstein kitchen/living room/dining room/laundry/museum. Think cobalt blue laminate counter tops with cabinet fronts to match, a dishwasher, washer and dryer all in a row, the tops of which served as counter space for kitchen prep. This arrangement sat below a set of brand-name-not-to-be-mentioned casement windows that were very well on their way to the window retirement community, or a landfill somewhere. Within this very funky interior space, we created a “modern living area” including a real kitchen, laundry room, powder room and living room. The living room space used to be the actual farm kitchen when the family in residence still cooked over fire in a fireplace or beehive oven. It also happened to be where the aforementioned row of rotten casements lived, too. Now, I don’t know about you, but, as a member of the window and door industry, when I see a bank of rotten windows I don’t feel disappointed, I think “Ah, possibilities!” When the time came to transform this space, I knew immediately that this entire wall – from the kitchen to the laundry, powder and living room – would be a living frame for My Future Kitchen Garden. That fact led to careful consideration about how to maximize glass space and minimize plain, old wall. I spent a lot of time checking out other people’s ideas for inside-outside transitions (Check out this “Kitchen Gardens” Ideabook I created on the site Houzz.com – there are plenty that aren’t my style, but I couldn’t resist some of the creative ways people used doors to extend their interiors and bring their special outdoor spaces inside the home).

Today the Marvin Ultimate Inswing French Doors we chose serve as a frame for a (very special) patch of weeds, rocks and dirt, but they’re the first thing I see when I come through the door every day after work: and in reality, it’s the fact that I don’t see them that pleases me the most. These beautiful doors have allowed me to visually move through the living room wall in order to access my daydream. That’s the most pleasing promise that any design or construction element could offer: the ability to get out of the way to let my hopes and dreams be the star of the home.

Imagine the possibilities that some of Marvin’s more impressive doors, like the forthcoming Multislide, or the available four panel sliding door from Integrity will offer customers like me who want access to their dreams from inside their homes.

MHDMiana Hoyt Dawson
Marketing Brand Manager
A.W. Hastings

Hastings Signature Services “Quick Fix” Video Series: Marvin French Door – How to Adjust the Hinges

Hastings Signature Services surrounds the Marvin Window and Door ownership experience with a comprehensive suite of product care related services. We want to make it easy for you to find answers to common service questions for Marvin windows and doors.

In the third installment of the Hastings Signature Services “Quick Fix” video series, Becky Dorfman from the Hastings Signature Services Support team demonstrates how to adjust the hinges on a Marvin French Door. This adjustment can return a door to proper function after normal settling occurs.

Stay tuned for more videos in this “Quick Fix” series from Hastings Signature Services.


Hastings Signature Services “Quick Fix” Video Series: Marvin French Door – Removing & Replacing the Handleset Hardware

Hastings Signature Services surrounds the Marvin Window and Door ownership experience with a comprehensive suite of product care related services. We want to make it easy for you to find answers to common service questions for Marvin windows and doors.

In the next installment of our “Quick Fix” video series, Becky Dorfman from the Hastings Signature Support team demonstrates how to remove and replace handleset hardware from a Marvin French Door. Not just for malfunctioning hardware, this simple fix can also be used to change up the look of the door by updating the hardware.

Stay tuned for more videos in this “Quick Fix” series from Hastings Signature Services.


Hastings Signature Services “Quick Fix” Video Series: Marvin French Door – How to Operate the Multipoint Hardware

Hastings Signature Services surrounds the Marvin Window and Door ownership experience with a comprehensive suite of product care related services. We want to make it easy for you to find answers to common service questions for Marvin windows and doors.

Over the coming weeks, we will release a series of “Quick Fix” videos that you can share with your customers. In the first video, Becky Dorfman from the Hastings Signature Support team demonstrates how to operate the multi-point hardware on Marvin French Doors to ensure the door is properly locked.

Stay tuned for more videos in this “Quick Fix” series from Hastings Signature Services.


Keep on Truckin’ – On the Road with Hastings


Riding shotgun with Kevin P.

For years I was that kid (or in my case – that adult) who rode past tractor trailers on the highway motioning with my arm, begging to hear that air horn.

This was my chance.

My alarm went off at 3:55 a.m. on Thursday, March 19th. I was joining Kevin Perzanowski (one of Hastings’ finest CDL A drivers) for a ride-along. I could not have been more excited.

I thought long and hard about what I could bring my new friend at 5:30 a.m. to start our time off together right. The first thing that came to mind was donuts. Everyone loves donuts, right?

I arrived in a timely fashion at the Distribution Center to start my day with donuts in hand. Kevin arrived a few minutes later and looked a bit taken aback by my smiles, excitement, enthusiasm and energy. But I proudly said, “Hi. I’m Kim and we are going to get to know each other very well today.” At first he looked quite hesitant, but I think I had him at—donuts.


Bonding over donuts…

In normal woman-fashion, I arrived very prepared. Coffee. Lunch packed. Extra sweatshirt. Gloves. Sunglasses. Phone charger. With all my belongings in tow, I hopped into the truck. Okay—it was not really a “hop,” it was more like a climb up into the truck’s cab. I looked around and took it all in, placed the donuts down in the area between our seats, buckled up and off we went.

I was a bit surprised how loud it was in the truck, but nonetheless, I settled in and Kevin and I were not even on 91 northbound before our conversation was flowing and donuts were being enjoyed.

Today’s route was South of Boston. We had four stops: Chace Building Supply, Mozzone, Cape Cod Lumber and Hingham Lumber. Our truckload consisted of 113 units; 106 of them were going to Hingham Lumber.

As a member of the recruitment team, the reason for this trip was to gain a better understanding of the role of our drivers. I wanted to experience firsthand what their day looked like and what some of the challenges were. This will be extremely helpful information to have when speaking to future candidates seeking employment with Hastings.

Kevin and I spoke a lot about our time at Hastings, how long we have been working here and what our roles are. I had a lot of questions for Kevin and he was gracious enough to answer ALL of them. Kevin typically arrives at the Distribution Center at approximately 5:45 am each day. He looks at his route, obtains the appropriate paperwork, prepares his truck and gets on the road. Our first stop on Thursday was Chace Lumber in Foxboro, MA, which is approximately 95 miles from Enfield, CT. That was a very quick stop consisting of only a few units, as were our stops at Mozzone and Cape Cod Lumber. The big stop of the day was Hingham Lumber.


You know what they say – “Lift with your legs!”

Upon arriving at Hingham, a plan was immediately in place. There were 2 large orders to be unloaded from the truck—one would be stacked in the warehouse to the left, the other to the right. The back of the truck was lifted and our work began. Luckily for me, many of the smaller units were towards the front of the truck and I was able to jump in and start unloading.

I then transitioned to the “list checker”; as units were unloaded a number was read off to me and I would check it off from the packing list. A couple of employees from Hingham assisted in the unloading, which in turn made the job go much quicker. Once the job was complete and the list was signed off on—we hit the road.

It was time for lunch–finally! I had worked up an appetite.

The plan was to hit the nearest “nap trap” (for those of you who don’t know this bit of truck driver lingo—that is another word for rest stop). Now although I mentioned I had packed my lunch, Kevin and I worked hard and felt we deserved something better than the lame sandwiches we had packed in our lunch bags. So McDonald’s it was.

After lunch, we got back on the road with our dead-head truck (this is a truck operating with an empty trailer). We were approximately 120 miles from our starting point in Enfield, CT. This gave us 2 full hours to talk about the day’s work we had just completed and life in general. I promised Kevin I would not fall asleep on the ride home and I kept my promise. However, I was VERY tired—it was a long day at work.

Kevin is wonderful at his job. He is a safe driver and we are lucky to have him out there representing our company. Being a CDL A  driver is not easy work. There are challenges such as long days, traffic, weather and problems with the performance of the truck. Yet, Kevin takes it all in stride and does his job with a smile on his face.

Although I never got to hear that air horn—I made a new friend, learned about his job and enjoyed his company—all 275 miles worth. I would be honored to take another trip with Kevin P. any day.


kim v

Kim Viviano
Sourcing and Recruitment Support Specialist

Marvin’s Ultimate Double Hung Next Generation – Where Technology Meets Tradition

I’ve had the opportunity to see the Marvin brand grow now for 23 years. Each time Marvin develops a new generation of product to replace an existing product, they challenge the industry and set a new level for size, performance, aesthetics, innovation and operational excellence. By doing so, Marvin essentially makes every other product that claims to be in their class obsolete.

When they came out with the original Ultimate Double Hung, Marvin did it again.

The Ultimate Double Hung was the first double hung window to:

  • Be performance rated
  • Eliminate visible vinyl jamb liners
  • Truly be easy tilt for cleaning

I knew our competition was obsolete because for the last 16 years I’ve watched as they have tried to either copy or upgrade their products so that they could continue their field marketing of being “just like Marvin” – but they are not.


Marvin’s Ultimate Double Hung Round Top – Next Generation

So now Marvin is introducing the Ultimate Double Hung – Next Generation. Again we are going to challenge the industry. Marvin conducted numerous “Voice of the Customer” in person meetings while in the development of this product. They listened as customers told them what they would like to see in a new product. The result is truly beautiful and revolutionary.

The idea was to come up with a very traditionally styled unit; one that would remind you of the double hung units of your childhood. Styled with all wood interiors, no visible jamb hardware, and a simple sash lock. The unit is very clean and crisp – the only thing it seems to be missing is a pulley and cord system to balance the sash.

All that is very nice, but what makes it revolutionary? Let’s start with the operation of this unit. When you push the sash lock till it comes to a hard stop. You are actually retracting a multi-point locking system in both the top and bottom sash. You have an opportunity to either open the top sash first or the bottom sash. If you operate the bottom sash, “Listen for the Click.”  What has happened is that your top sash has relocked itself. You can operate the bottom sash as you normally would. Now close the bottom sash, watch the sash lock, and “Listen for the Click.” The unit locks automatically, and when locked the units are in “Performance Mode.”

There is an amazing peace of mind knowing that when your windows are closed they are locked, automatically. I believe that as you look into the future of window development that self locking units will become the norm, and units in semi-luxury to luxury markets which do not self lock will become functionally obsolete.

Marvin has included some other nice options to tailor the operation to the customers’ needs:

  • Vent Mode, which when engaged locks your unit at 4”  – again giving that peace of mind that your window is locked even as you allow for ventilation
  • Single Hung, for clients who are only looking to vent with their bottom sash, simplifying the exterior aeshetics
  • Integrated operator control devices for those with child safety concerns or where required by code
  • Non-Tilt Lock for those who want to limit the ability to tilt their windows for cleaning to professionals.

Additionally, Marvin has made this window scalable, available in sizes up to 60 x 120”. The hidden balance system automatically scales from simple block and tackle balances to class 5 spiral balances which take up 70% of the sash weight.

And of course all of this comes with what has always been part of the brand promise from Marvin. handcrafted

All Marvin products are handcrafted in America, built to your specific needs, with the options that you want, one at a time.

The next time you visit a Marvin showroom, ask to see the Ultimate Double Hung – Next Generation. By bringing technology and tradition together in a way that’s never been done before, it will change the way you think about the Double Hung window.

Mike Klahr bw2013 LARGE-2Michael Klahr
Marvin Business Development Manager

Let the Sunshine In!

sunCoaxing the perfect amount of light into your home certainly sets the stage for how you will be able to utilize the space.

Your lifestyle should dictate the invitation.  If you’re lucky enough to have input from the beginning stages of space planning, the manner in which natural light illuminates the rooms should be a driving force in your decision making. Lighting is no simple matter and how you choose to frame the natural light invited into the various areas of your home will dictate how the rooms will in essence be used.

Large open windows on a southern exposed wall in the kitchen isn’t a very well thought out placement. They say, “If it’s too hot, get out of the kitchen” but that advice falls flat for the culinary enthusiast! Save the large southern exposed windows for the areas of your home that you want to have an endless supply of bright light and passive solar heating. The living room or even the home office, where we tend to spend a good portion of the day reading, entertaining and working, is an area where we crave bright lighting.

Unfortunately we aren’t always able to dictate the placement of the rooms in our homes, and if we should find ourselves with a southern placed kitchen, windows are the perfect way to control the light and heat filtered into the space. Throughout the day the kitchen temperatures will rise above the set temperature as we use our appliances, above what we may find comfortable. This is where Marvin Windows can help to soften the burden of the hot southern sun with the appropriate size windows to control the level of exposure. Marvin also gives control back to the homeowner with our light filtering shades. Truly no situation will find itself without the perfect remedy.

Unlike the southern walls of our home, the eastern skyline ideally calls for large sized window placement to ensure the best possible start to the day, every day. There is nothing quite like greeting the morning sun, sipping a fresh cup of coffee in your cozy kitchen nook while you plan out the day. Equally as inviting for the early riser is to have the morning sun ascend through their bedroom’s eastern exposed windows or to set appropriately on the western side, catching the last rays and warmth of the sun. Large well placed windows are not simply a beautiful display with a sense of style, but the manner in which we merge the interior and exterior in a perfect balance.

sun2As the sun travels across the sky it affords us the perfect opportunity to use our knowledge of the various degrees of illumination and passive heating it presents throughout the day. We can use that information to choose the appropriate size, shape, placement and inserts of the windows to set the stage to enhance the lifestyle of the occupants within. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Eastern exposure: Best for capturing morning sun in a breakfast nook, or a wake up call for the early riser. Big windows welcome in the first and less intense light of the morning sun.

Southern exposure: The brightest of rays should be saved for the space that gets the most living – the “living room.” Good news for those whose driveways face the south… less snow shoveling! Window size is dictated by the room that opens into the world. This light can be controlled by sizing, placement and window inserts to filter out harsh lighting if necessary.

Western Exposure: Excellent for the bedroom, dining room or family room as it catches the setting sunshine and brings the last bits of warmth indoors before the sun finally extinguishes for the night.

Northern Exposure: This side of the home gets the least sun exposure, perfect for spaces that don’t need natural sunlight in the home. Consider a theater or family room with a big screen tv, the movie buffs dream spot, or maybe a nice place for garage placement or the even late morning sleeper.

Remember, this is your home. Ask yourself: how will I live in it? What is my lifestyle? What tasks and activities play throughout the day within these walls? Our Marvin lifestyle experts will help choose the right windows to the let the sunshine in, perfectly!


naomiYour A.W. Hastings Representative
Naomi Mancha is a Products and Services Consultant at A.W. Hastings. She comes from a diverse background in the field of interior design and sales. Her focus is on the development of relationships with architects, contractors and institutions as well as keeping home building and renovating projects advancing to a spectacular conclusion.


Focus on Affordable Housing: Rockview Terrace

Rockview Terrace is a new construction affordable luxury living development in New Haven, CT. The 77-unit mixed-use development consists of 2, 3, and 4-unit buildings, each with its own building style and color-scheme. Infinity and Marvin windows were used throughout the development.

Read the full Rockview Terrace case study at awhastings.com/project-profiles.

Focus on Affordable Housing: McConaughy Terrace

As we continue our look at some standout affordable housing projects using the Marvin Family of Brands – today we highlight McConaughy Terrace, one such community in New Haven, CT.  McConaughy Terrace recently underwent major renovations that included both roof and window replacements on close to 40 buildings – with beautiful results. Infinity windows were chosen for the 200-unit neighborhood to save on energy and maintenance costs.

Read the full McConaughy Terrace case study at awhastings.com/project-profiles.

Focus on Affordable Housing: Wilmont Crossing

Wilmont Crossing is a new construction mixed-use affordable housing complex. It was built to be a secure, reliable, and aesthetically appealing residence option for the growing population of residents in New Haven, CT who need handicap accessible housing. It contains 47 apartments, a community center, and 9,000+ square feet of retail space. Integrity All Ultrex Windows were used throughout the four-story facility.

Read the full Wilmont Crossing case study at awhastings.com/project-profiles.