When you live by a lake or a river, cathedral windows are darn near a necessity for full enjoyment of your property. But unless you're 10 feet tall, keeping them clean, along with the ledges and the must-have ceiling fan, can be challenging.

Dust and cobwebs and spiders, oh my!
How to live on the waterfront with !#?! cathedral windows

I’ve often wished I were taller.  

If I wasn’t a mere 5 feet, 3 inches, I could stand in a crowd at a concert and never have anyone blocking my view. I could reach right up and grab that perfect apple out of a tree, without having to make do with the leftovers thrown to the ground by Mother Nature. And in the grocery store, I wouldn’t have to ask tall strangers to get me that last can of chick peas that is just out of my reach in the middle of the highest shelf.  

If I were taller, I could also operate my home more efficiently by saving a few steps. For example, I wouldn’t have to go fetch my stool every time I needed the cheese platter — the one that only fits in the cabinet above the fridge. I wouldn’t have to get the step ladder out to change a light bulb. And I wouldn’t have to pretend I didn’t see the cobwebs that seem to grow overnight on the very top corners of my cathedral windows.  

There’s no denying that cathedral windows are beautiful, especially when they look out on a lake view like mine. And when you live by a lake or a river, cathedral windows are darn near a necessity for full enjoyment of your property.  

But with cathedral windows come tall ceilings, which also necessitate the need for a fan to circulate all the air that escapes up to the heavens. Which leads us back to those cobwebs. And dust on the fan blades and window sills and spider webs in those can’t-reach corners.  

The fan I inherited when we bought the house is a bit shabby looking — a yellowed white with a few knicks here and there. But I’m living with it because I’m afraid to hear my electrician tell me he doesn’t do cathedral ceilings (just like the furnace repair gal said she didn’t do roofs) because he just didn’t have a ladder tall enough and had never mastered scaffolding.  

But the dust and the cobwebs?  Well, that’s something I just can’t live with.  

Look way, way up ...

So here’s my solution: For the cobwebs in the top windows, and the dust that inevitably builds up on the ledge up there, I use my trusty Swiffer and my kitchen stool.  

For the dusty fan blades, I use the step ladder and the Swiffer, being careful not to lean back too far in my zeal to clean the next blade that I fall off my perch and land on my glass coffee table (another dust catcher designed for a clearer view of the water, but that’s another story).  

For the corners of the cathedral ceilings, where the cobwebs and spiders love to hang out, I attach a Swiffer dry cloth onto the end of my telescopic window-cleaning gizmo. It’s not as effective at getting right into the corners as the straight-edged toggling Swiffer head, but it’s the only thing that can reach that high. It gets the job done.  

If you’re on the hunt for a waterfront home and find one with cathedral windows, you just might find yourself blurting out, “I bet those ledges up there are really hard to clean!”  

That’s exactly what I thought when I toured the house before we bought it. But then I looked out to Lake Erie and that gorgeous view. All thoughts of scaffolding vanished instantly.

It’s hard to explain. But gazing out those soaring windows at that big blue sky, I felt 12 feet tall that day. And I knew, this house fit me perfectly.  

It still does. Even if I’m really only 5 feet, 3 inches and have to carry a foot stool and step ladder around with me.  

It’s just all part of living on the waterfront.  

MyNewWaterfrontHome.com – July 2010