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Community and Q&A

How to reach over kitchen counter to open “outie” windows?

Gordon Taylor | Posted in General Questions on

After years of toil and GBA-reading, my wife and I getting close to a decision about building. We’re in Zone 4c. We want thick walls (probably double-stud) with “outie” windows for deep sills. But now we’re designing the kitchen. My wife, looking at the window over the sink, is asking how either of us can possibly reach across a two-foot-plus countertop and a 10-12″ sill to unlock and open a window. I don’t have an answer for her.

I know there are 12″ brass stays for casement windows, but I don’t think those are of use when we can’t even reach the window. Is this a non-problem, or have other people dealt with it? Shall we give up the idea of an opening window over the sink? Any ideas appreciated.

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  1. Jeff Nelson | | #1

    Fold-out stool in the sink cabinet. Bam!

  2. Gordon Taylor | | #2

    Bummer when that happens, isn't it? Same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago, but the GBA site didn't give me an option for deleting the extra posts. Anyway, thanks for the reply, but I don't think that will work. My wife is not steady on her feet (Mr P's disease) and it's still a long reach. The kitchen sink is on the north side of the house, so we may have to leave the windows fixed.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Window hardware manufacturers offer motorized window openers, and (as far as I know) these are an available option on Marvin casement windows and Andersen awning windows. A motorized opener can also be installed as a retrofit option on many other brands of windows.

    Here are links for more information:

    Truth motorized operators

    Win-Trol motorized operators

    Biddeco motorized operators

    Andersen electric window opener

  4. Dan Kolbert | | #4

    Perhaps you could use skylight hardware - the eye fitting and a short pole.

  5. Gordon Taylor | | #5

    Great ideas. Just what I was looking for. I may be underestimating my reach. But if I'm not it's great to have these suggestions. Many thanks!

  6. Dick Russell | | #6

    I have double walls with 12" cavity and "outie" windows. The window over the sink is a wide awning window, with a latch on each side and a handle to open the window at center/bottom. I measure 33" from edge of the counter to the handle, and 35" from edge to either side latch. I find I bend a bit at the waist to reach latches or the handle, but I don't find it terribly awkward, and I'm only 5'-6" tall (or maybe less at this point).

    As noted, not every window has to be operable in a house, and fixed glass leaks less than an an operable window. Still, depending on the kitchen layout, it might be useful at times to have an operable window near the range, especially in a tight house and with no range hood makeup air inlet. Pulling outside air from a window elsewhere in the kitchen could result in a cold draft on anyone in the path of the air in winter.

  7. Gordon Taylor | | #7

    Great answer. Thank you, Dick Russell. I'm going to copy your answer and email it to my wife.

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