Kim Oleary

Kim and Steve O’Leary purchased 4 Dix St. in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2013. Built in 1849, the Greek Revival house sits in the heart of one of Worcester’s historic districts and is listed on the National Historic Register.

A few years ago, the O’Leary’s thought about selling the house and even put it up for sale for a short time. Kim, who operates Meridian Pilates from her home, said they had a change of heart and decided “to care for and properly preserve it.”

The Problem

In the 1980s a previous owner had installed 33 vinyl windows, which Kim said “weren’t historically accurate and were all broken. Some had to be held up with sticks. They were really an eyesore. Every time I looked out a window it bothered me. I hated those things.”

Given the size of the job, along with operating a home-based business, Kim was concerned about two things: She wanted the new windows to “be right. I’m a bit fanatical.” And she wanted to minimize the amount of time her business would have to be shut to accommodate a work crew.

A Pilates client recommended Andersen windows. Kim said a very nice salesperson visited the house, but she and Steve found the quote high. She and her husband had heard good things about Northeast Home & Energy from another client Dave Glispin, owner of Sunshine Sign Company in North Grafton, and placed a call for an assessment.

The Job Assessment

Northeast Home & Energy salesman Michael Goldstein visited the house and reviewed window options with O’Leary’s. He discussed their needs with Northeast Home & Energy owner Richard Prunier to ensure any windows installed were visually compatible with the historic nature of the house.

Richard recommended Harvey Windows Tribute Double Hung windows with external grids to match the look of the period. Besides having the right appearance, he said the windows are foam-filled and have an Energy Star rating.

Kim said she and Steve visited a showroom to check on the Harvey product and approved of their quality and the window’s look. They chose to get their Tribute line because it looks like wood even though it’s vinyl. She liked that they were in keeping with the historic nature of the house.

Selecting Northeast Home & Energy

Richard opened Northeast Home & Energy in 1980 in Shrewsbury, Mass. Currently located in nearby North Grafton, the business serves customers throughout central and eastern Massachusetts.

Kim liked that Northeast Home & Energy “is not a chain. It’s a local business. I really try to be a conscientious shopper in terms of where the product is coming from and where are my dollars going. I try to put thought into what I am purchasing.”

“Northeast Home & Energy offers personalized service,” explained Richard. Part of that personalized service is prepping a job site — even it means moving furniture to get the job done. His main concern for the O’Leary’s was “fulfilling their needs. We wanted to make sure they were happy with our work. That’s our mission. We’re not perfect, but we try.”

And Kim said she was very pleased with Northeast Home & Energy workmen Tom Rahaim and Ray Ferschke.  “From the very first time they visited to do measurements you could tell they were experienced; they knew what they were doing. And they’re easy to talk to. They wanted to make sure I was happy with the job.”

 She was also impressed when Richard came to the house during the installation time to check on some locks. “To me, this was the old way of doing business. As a business owner myself I value when someone does their job with pride, integrity and a connection to their client.”

The Installation Process

With COVID slowing down deliveries Richard said it can take seven to eight weeks for products to be delivered from the manufacturer. The shipment time allowed for a job date close to the holidays, which suited Kim because she had to close her Pilates studio for the duration of the job. The windows were available for a start time of the Monday after Thanksgiving, but Kim requested between Christmas 2021 and New Year’s.

Tom and Ray showed up to start the job of removing the old, vinyl windows the Monday after Christmas. Kim said she was really happy to see them because of the trust that was built during the measuring phase.

Plus, she was relieved that she did not have to leave her home in the five days that it took to remove the old windows and install the new ones on three floors.  Although she couldn’t run her studio she said that “at the end of the day we could still eat in our kitchen.”

“This house is almost 200 years old and nothing in this house goes easy. There were a couple of tricky windows,” Kim explained. But Tom and Ray made sure everything went smoothly. “They were very efficient and kept the house clean.”

During the installation process she said that she and her husband built such “a nice rapport” with the two Northeast Home & Energy workmen that they “actually liked having them here. It didn’t feel like we had strangers in the house. It was like friends coming over. I was sad to see them go.”

The Results

“My husband and I agreed that this was the most dramatic change we made to the house. We were wowed by this, from the inside and the outside.” Kim said, adding that the cost of the job “was worth it.”

“It was an outstanding experience. The results were above and beyond expectations. That company is a real gem.”