We have a room with a high ceiling and a set of four windows.

enter image description here

The windows start at about 7 feet.

The person who lives in the room is not tall and currently has to use a ladder to open and close them.

They are essential for that room's ventilation so she needs to be able to open them completely. It does, however, not matter which way they open (to one of the sides, or up, or down).

What affordable approaches exist to open a window in this height, from down below?

We realize we will probably have to replace the windows in any case.

To make it even more challenging, underneath the windows is a bed so there are limits to moving sideways to open and close the window.

It would be acceptable to have only one or two windows open-able.

They have to be reasonably secure against intrusion (i.e., they need to snap shut somehow.)

What we've considered:

  • a lever system that leads up to the window, like so I think. Not suitable because these systems typically only tilt the window and we need it fully open (80-90°).

  • sliding windows - an option, but how would we slide them from below, and how can we prevent opening from outside?

  • an approach using a motor - an option, but we can't think of a concrete implementation.

  • a rope winch-like approach, with a winch opening and closing the window - interesting, but how could the window snap shut, and be opened again, from below?

Ideas would be most welcome.

3 Answers 3


The usual approach is a "crank-type" casement window with a loop in place of the crank handle, and a hook on a pole (try "clerestory pole crank" as a search term) that engages the loop. There are also hex-type versions that use a flexible shaft inside the pole. Or, these days, motors. I'd suggest the hook on a pole, I view motors in this sort of application as things likely to fail and then make the motorized windows useless as they will probably be hard to replace when they fail. Or they'll leave you with inoperable windows during a power outage.... But it is an option.

A hook or hex style operator pole (image from BlaineWindow.com):enter image description here

I can't make out how the current windows are operated - they might be able to be retrofitted with operators of that type, rather than replacing the whole window, if the only reason for replacing them would be to make them operable from below.

The style that @TDHofstetter mentions, with a catch that's operable by a hook (image from calaifornia-classics.com): enter image description here

  • Very similar to a casement window, but operating in the horizontal plane instead of the vertical plane, is an awning window. Awning windows may be operated with either a crank or more simply with a latch and a pole-mounted hook to latch/unlatch the window. Aug 24, 2014 at 12:24
  • Velux has a very similar crank pole with a hook or hex end for their operating skylight windows.
    – DaveM
    Sep 11, 2019 at 12:53

enter image description here

The above image is of a transom window. A similar concept could be used with some modifications. Once the window is in closed state use a locking mechanism for the lever near the spring so that window is secured


Remembering back to my school days, there were windows that had spring loaded catches on. The handle of the catch had a ring on it.

the teachers had a pole with a tilde '~' shaped hook on the end, which could push or pull the ring as required.

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