100 years old · 1916 · addition · before and after · changes · construction problems · Dallas · family · framing · garage · Highland Park · historic home · home · home restoration · kindness · kitchen · Kolbe · life balance · Master bathroom · Master bedroom · mudroom · neighborhood · new windows · old house · patterns · photography · Prairie Style · preservation · renovation · restoration · sisters · staircase · Texas · transom · Uncategorized · windows

Windows…they don’t make them like they used to.

No really, they don’t. And even when you ask for the new windows for your addition to match the old as perfectly as possible, well, that doesn’t always work out completely as expected either.

We have 101 year old windows in our home; one of my favorite features of this magical home. We are keeping as many of the original windows as possible. Each of these restorable windows will be carefully removed from the wall, refinished by hand on site, and then gently replaced into their original locations. Our original windows are single panes with glorious organic waves of age, double hung with ropes and weights, heavily painted shut, and certainly not energy efficient. They feature a geometrically pleasing enlarged Prairie Style light pattern, with the corner squares measuring 5 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches. This is larger than a typical Prairie Style window corner. The standard Prairie style corner squares measure 4 inches  by 4 inches. I did not know this until a few days ago when our new windows, which were custom ordered to perfectly match the old windows, at least as far as light patterning was concerned, indeed were not perfectly matched.  Please see a close up of our original windows below, each corner square measures 5 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches:

Our new windows were delivered about a week ago and installed within the next two days. Last Friday night (date night), Bunker and I walked into our house and I had a little panic attack. Those massive big openings in the addition where the new windows were going to be installed, became actually enclosed and encased spaces. It was a shocking change and I was just not prepared for the drastic difference between those gaping holes into the smaller structured enclosed feeling of installed windows. The casings were bigger than I expected, the plastic wrap was still on the windows, the Spring breeze was gone, the sticking (wooden dividers between the panes of glass) were thicker than I expected; gosh, I was just overwhelmed. So, Bunker and I left the house, went on a long walk around the neighborhood, took big deep breaths, came back to the house, had sizable glasses of wine, and looked again. We agreed that our new windows are indeed in the Prairie style and physically fit into the allotted addition spaces. All that being said, something about the new windows just didn’t seem quite right.

Extra large openings in our kitchen prior to window installation:

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Below: New windows installed in the kitchen. The large arched transom window is still to be made so this area is still a big opening above the installed windows.

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We have a weekly meeting with our building team. They were visibly unsettled. Almost immediately the new windows were on the table for discussion. Bunker and I voiced our unease, but that we couldn’t quite figure out why we were not in love at first sight with our new windows. Well, once our builder agreed that something was just not right with the windows and then we walked over to the most perfect visual comparison, well, we all felt like we were on the same page and knew how to fix the problem and make the new and old windows as perfectly harmonious as possible.

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Above: Can you see the difference between the old window (to the left) and the new window (to the right)? The corner squares are different sizes, thereby altering the entire geometric rhythm of the light pattern. Is the new window geometrically equal and harmonious within itself? Yes, but it does not match our original window patterning, the one thing we said over and over to the window contractor, especially because old and new will sit next to each other for the next 100 years and we want them to speak the same language. Anyways, Bunker and I could not quite figure out what was wrong, but our builder could, and brought it to our attention and to the attention of the window manufacturer. Apparently the manufacturer went with a standard Prairie Style window light pattern, 4 inch by 4 inch corner square rather than perfectly matching our 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 inch corner unique 100 year old windows, as we had requested. Needless to say, our new windows will be reworked to match our original windows, at no cost to us. This is one of the millions of reasons a solid builder; one who has an eye for detail, an always listening ear, and a heart for his clients’ best interest, is of the utmost importance in a delicately intricate project as our 100 (and 1!) year old home.

Please enjoy some further pictures of the new windows, most of which will have the corner squares reworked to be more balanced to the old home.

Below: Girls balance beaming next to some of the to be installed windows.

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Below: Den view with the back staircase, large window over the future reading built in nook, warm fireplace, and then tv (I would say area, but I think the whole area to the right of the fireplace will be taken up by a large tv) space.

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Below: Hi Bunker! He is looking out the mudroom window and out onto the side area where the new air conditioning units will live.

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Below: Hi again Bunker! He is standing on the back patio where the grill will be located. This is our kitchen to grill pass through window. I love this (and him!).

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Below: Doorway and windows from the den to the covered patio.

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Below: Girls checking out the view from the master bedroom.

Below: Window fixture on the new windows. This is antiqued pewter on our Kolbe Heirloom wooden double hung windows.

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Below: Three exterior addition pictures with new windows installed and new downstairs and upstairs patio fireplaces in place.

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Below: Garage windows are also installed.

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We had a hard week. The house was by far and away the easiest part of the week. I have needed love from my loved ones more than I have in a long time, so, thank you to those that have loved on my little family this week.

Conclusion for the night. Just like in life, home construction projects cannot go as planned. There will be surprises, there will be problems, there will be miscommunication. These problems are mostly adjustable, whether the adjustments are physical or emotional, we can move forward without undue distress and without inappropriate unkindness. Generally we all want to feel fulfilled and happy at the end of each day. I believe that the more we love each other, the more that we treat each other with helpful and kind respect, then we are all given the gift of that deep sense of calm satisfaction at the end of each day, a feeling we all need so that we can start each day fresh and ready to face this not so gracious world.

Love and extra hugs tonight,

Suzie

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3 thoughts on “Windows…they don’t make them like they used to.

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