Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update. Landing window restoration

It has been a long week of a lot of hard work. As I had mentioned in previous posts one of our projects has been the restoration of the landing window in the staircase area. When the house was first built there was a large window that faced the wall when the house had the curved staircase. Some time during the many additions and remodels that original staircase was taken out and a stair/landing/stair set put in it’s place. We think it was when the addition was added between the house and summer kitchen but it could have been done as a response to house being built next door. In any event they had left the framed opening and had added some 2x4’s and sided the outside and plastered the inside so we know this was closed up years ago. Of course thanks to metal thieves, who had opened up this area up, presumably looking for pipes we saw this opening was there.

This is a huge opening 46x64 inches and we can only guess that a stained glass window was once there. Our plan is to put one there, but practicality dictates that we need a real window there, not only for our heat bills but also for security. So we put in Simonton double paned argon filled unit with a low E coating as this window faces due west and will get sun all day. As we all know I am not a fan of double paned windows but its pretty much called for with that size opening. This window is energy star rated and because of the UV tint it will protect antiques in the hall upstairs from light fade. Our plan is to mill wood to overlay the plastic so it will actually look like a wood window on the interior. This is far cheaper than ordering one with a wood finish which is neither wood or looks like the real thing. I will be covering that in posts as we get to that phase.

We decided since we had an unusually warm period now was the time to do it, but it involves a lot of preparation. These windows have to have a wood frame around them because of the wall depth and we constructed a frame for this. Even at that we will still need to do some jam extensions in order to for the proper exterior trim to be installed and I took some careful measurements and will be milling the extensions and the frame on the outside which like the original windows is a 2x2 milled trim because this house has shutters on most windows. Now because this is a prominent window it may have has a larger top trim (indicated by the siding cuts) and we plan on doing this, as it appears historically appropriate. The best time to paint the outside is while the window is on the ground and we painted it prior to install and did extensive caulking of any place two pieces of wood meet.

There is something quite satisfying about restoring an old window opening that has been covered over for a hundred or so more years, and when we say the light stream in to the otherwise dark staircase the original intent of the builders was apparent. When we get the stained glass in front of this and the afternoon sun streams in this will be a remarkable space. More to come on this project..

We were not the only ones taking advantage of the warm weather and our neighbors across the street began painting their cottage with the colors I helped them pick out. They still have more trim colors to go but as the white primer disappears that house is really coming to life! Can’t wait till spring and the block really takes off

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