Does not painting new windows save money?

This is a moot point now, but for the record, the email discussion of blue vs. white continued:

Tuesday 4/10, 9pm

Dear all

I recently spoke to Matt from the window company that some residents are using for replacement of second floor windows. Having just replaced all of the windows with high-quality dual pane windows in our former residence last year I was frankly a bit surprised by the much higher quote that he was giving me. He explained to me that the high cost of the estimates he was providing was in part due to the requirement that all the new Windows be painted to match with certain HOA requirements. He explained that this resulted in a significant increase in price to the windows. (instead of the windows coming from the factory directly to West campus to be installed, they must first be sent to his shop to be painted with several coats of paint. By the time they even arrive for installation there is already a significant labor cost attached to them). So if we could be allowed to install windows with the original color and not have them repainted that seems like it would be much more cost-effective for residents and less labor for the window contractors. I wasn’t going to bring this up originally because I assumed this issue had been decided before we moved in, but since we are now being given options for window color, it seems to make more sense to mention this.

(To give you a sense of the price difference, last year we replaced six windows, four of which were very large with high quality dual pane Milgard windows for a total cost of approximately $3,400, whereas a quote to replace just three upstairs windows here at WCP was more than a thousand dollars more for half the number of windows! If lifting the color requirement can significantly lower the cost, I would be very supportive of that option.)

Best regards, Michael Berry, unit 921


Dear neighbors,

If the price difference is this significant, I agree with Michael that we should revisit the issue of painting the second-floor windows blue.


The ARB has already ruled (some 6 months ago) that anything visible from the outside MUST conform to the existing (despite the exception of 917/918 with all white). They were quite clear in their discussion and decision.

Buying condos in this development limits individuals’ options. And given that the ARB has final decision making power about over=all aesthetics, even the collective will of WCP residents cannot overcome the vote of the ARB, dominated by university representatives.

Sarah Cline
914, former member of the ARB

Thank you Sarah for this information,

As I do not recall receiving any such communications from the ARB regarding this matter some 6 months ago, I am requesting that the former or current ARB please provide the rationale for 917/918 being an exception to the ruling that anything visible from the outside MUST conform to the existing.

It strikes me that WCP residents are also University representatives (i.e., faculty)…

Thank you,
Shane Jimerson

Could someone remind me who represents WCP on the ARB?

My apologies if this was already mentioned, if it was I obviously missed it.


Okay Neighbors.
Admittedly, I am a bit out of the loop on the topic of replacing windows.
Still, I do remember a piece of information I was told when Tony and I were considering replacing the windows. That is, the cost of replacing one of the three very little windows in the second upstairs bedroom was just about the same price as replacing the large operable window in that room.
The explanation I was given is that it is the prep work, not the size of the glass and its frame, that accounts for the cost. For example, one of those 3 little windows was priced at just under $1,000, an amount very close to the amount for the big operable one.

Dear Sarah and neighbors,

As someone who has lived for the past four years with a huge and hideous water meter valve assembly directly outside my dining room windows, I am very aware that owning a condo here limits individual options. Yet exceptions to the ARB requirement that anything visible from outside must conform to the existing look seem to be made in some cases (installation of meter valve assemblies, white windows in 917/918, new kitchen window in one unit visible from street) and not in others. I realize that these are often tough decisions, but I think we should ask the ARB to weigh uniformity carefully against expense. In the current economic climate it seems absurd for each homeowner to pay thousands extra so that all the windows are the same color.


I am not advocating for the ARB’s decision on color. At the ARB meeting there was a discussion of the all-white option and the university ARB members categorically rejected the rationale, seeing architectural / aesthetic unity as being the top priority. They envisioned the imagined aesthetic chaos of mismatched clusters and sought unity (harmony?) via mandated blue. I reported to the WCP board and likely there is a record in the WCP minutes. I think Gail was at the ARB meeting as well.

Probably from the university’s point of view WCP is below market-rate housing for a select number of UCSB faculty and that by their deciding the live in WCP, homeowners accept the downside of the arrangement, i.e., lack of autonomy on a number of issues. Most home owners associations have some restrictions on individual choice.

I am no longer on the ARB, since I plan to retire soon and move from WCP (into a single-family house elsewhere). I don’t know who the current members are.

Basically the university can always out-vote the two WCP members, as they did on the color issue.

Sarah Cline

If we keep the white color of doors on the outside it is going to clash with the blue color of windows from the outside. Not everybody is changing their windows.

Also, the two houses that were redone last year have all their windows and doors in white are they going to be painted blue from the outside as well? I am talking about the units in 911.

Dear neighbors,

I respectfully disagree with Adrienne. I believe the price difference was clear and a thoughtful cost-benefit analysis was done by the board in the course of initiating the project (I remember it was even discussed pretty thoroughly in the very early stages when I was on the board). I think it would be counter-productive to re-open the discussion because (1) I do not foresee unanimity on the matter of the overall appearance of the complex (I, for one, find white-rimmed windows far less appealing than the existing blue) and (2) any savings to be had could quickly fritter away in time delays created by further debate. Match-existing is a pragmatic and coherent choice (since we all accepted the units and the complex with this color scheme at one point).


About hmarcuse

I've been an environmentalist since my college days in the 1970s (May 1977 Seabrook, New Hampshire occupation) , and am now a professor of German history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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