Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Replacements


Dominic, the Pella window rep with slicked back hair, looked carefully at Nora's bedroom windows and said, "These are the original windows."

The young contractor looked at me and told Dom, "You're not helping." She knows when I hear something like that, I think, "Precious antique!" She also knows when Randy hears something like that, he thinks, "Time for an update."

True, the new windows will be Energy Star efficient, not just for the insulating factor, but the glass itself these days is made to repel damaging rays, blah blah blah, I've stopped listening.

My eyes feel full and I have to go downstairs to check on the girls for a minute. The glass in the windows of our nineteenth century house has pops and ridges and permanent smears that turns the outside view wavy. Our treated views, like the patina on the doorknob and the ornate iron grates over the heating vents, make me think our house has history and character, even if the doorknobs stick and the wide holes in the grates catch pennies, crayons, Polly Pocket shoes and dust.

When they say "They just don't make em like they used to," they must be talking about replacement windows. No longer can you find individual panes of glass fitted inside wood mullions. New windows are typically constructed with one large pane of glass that has a grid fitted over the front or back to give the look of mullions.

It's killing me that we are taking out wood and glass that has served for a hundred years and replacing it with a product that has a mere twenty-year warranty.

Then I read this. And today I saw an old Evanston house with wooden painted storms. Beautiful. I'm not ready for replacements.

3 comments:

2KoP said...

We also have beautiful, leaky, energy wasting windows that let in all the UV rays that ate right through the fabric of my sofa and completely faded the oriental rug in the dining room. Some don't open at all because the house has settled. When we looked into getting storm windows (not even replacements) for the 72 windows in our house (each a different size), we decided to live with beautiful glass and lousy insulation.

Cindy Fey said...

Seventy-two windows? Geez Louise! Maybe just get storms for the bedrooms?? Or the cold bathroom?

Julia Buckley said...

You are a woman who loves history, which is noble.

Our entire house, windows included, is too--how do you say--"crappy" for me to worry over whether they are old or new. But I could see how in a graceful old home with character this would be a tough decision. :)