Monday, August 27, 2007


I counted my windows today. The house has 41 windows, and that doesn't include the windows enclosing the front porch. Murphy says that if I have that many windows and the house is older the one thing the house will need is windows.

It's an interesting dillemma. I've been doing a lot of reading on the net, everything from house blogs to to real estate sites and home improvement sites. When I bought this house I was looking for a place to recover and nest and to make my own. I hadn't thought about renovations or preservation or historical accuracy or anything beyond moving in, taking care of the few things that needed fixing, and painting the walls pretty colors. I bought the house from a small local company that buys wrecked houses, renovates them, and then sells them (ideally) in a ready to move in state.

One would think that replacing windows would be fairly straight forward. I've seen some vinyl windows I like and that I can afford but now I'm wondering if perhaps I should try to restore the original windows that are still in the house. The sills are rotting in about three of my windows so I'm feeling a little pressure to do something.

A small part of the affinity I feel for this house is the fact that it's been abused. The previous owners lived hard lives and the signs can be found throughout the house. It's obvious that the windows have been broken multiple times, all of the original interior doors have been replaced, and I can see where the renovators replaced moldings and placed new pieces of wood in an attempt to match the old. I'm sure I'm over identifying with the house, at least in terms of my own current battle with cancer and the signs I can see in my own body from my treatments.

So, take the modern, easy way and use modern replacements? Or start what will probably be a never ending process of restoration? And how far does one take these things? I already have modern heating and air conditioning, a new modern kitchen that I like, and modern bathrooms. I have no desire to change those. My mother, who was a Depression Era baby, used to always laugh about how they couldn't wait to replace old furniture and household items with newer more modern things. In the 70s she couldn't wait to cover our beat up hard wood floors with wall to wall carpet. In the past few years she went back to her hard wood floors, but loved her updated vinyl windows. Her house was a 1959 square tract house so the windows looked good in it, but I wonder if 40 years from now someone will buy the house and want to go back to the old less efficient windows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you have decided to repair the old windows rather than replacing with vinyl. Even writing the word makes me squirm. It's really not that hard to take out and repair the windows--my problem is that I haven't painted/papered the rooms yet, so what stain do I use on the windows, or do I paint them?
Anyway, I dismantle them, take out the glass carefully, clean off the old grout and paint, square them back up, repair the rot with reconsolidant and epoxy, sand, re-glaze, stain/paint, re-hang, admire!
I haven't had the money to investigate new storms, but am leaning toward interior storms downstairs and new wood storms upstairs. Problem being--how to design them to be able to open and screen some of them without a ladder. Thinking two-part windows or removeable glass.
Good luck!
Good luck!