Before we taught overseas we had to take an online course about the International Baccalaureate philosophy. The first assignment was to describe what you saw out your window. There were people in the class from all over the world, so there were some pretty incredible responses to the prompt. I’ve thought about that assignment quite a bit over the years as my view has changed from town house parking lot to Caribbean cove to landscaped lawn. The view from this house had been somewhat distorted though. I have no idea how old our windows were. They had the ropes and pulleys and sash weights, which stopped being installed in houses around WWII, and some of the panes of glass were bumpy and wavy looking. According to my very brief research, US production techniques produced glass with wavy imperfections through the early 1900s. Some of our window panes had clearly been replaced over time, but quite a few had that slight wave in them.
Not, anymore. Window installation was almost three weeks ago! I’m still getting used to the new clarity of our view, but I love being able to whip those babies open on a cool evening or tilt them in to clean the outside glass. And there are no 70s era storm windows to have to deal with now. It’s glorious!
Reading about the techniques for making old glass by hand makes me a bit sick about having replaced all that history. I love the idea of the antique glass in our windows, but the actuality was a serious problem. I mean, we do have to live here! These are some “before” photos.
We had 16 of our 28 windows replaced, so there are several that still look like the images above, but doing two phases will allow us to pay for them all without interest. The process was incredibly easy. The workmen arrived in the morning, and Mom was there to greet them. When we got home that evening all the windows had been installed, the old ones hauled away, and there were just a couple guys finishing the caulk outside. It was a long day for them, as they pulled away from our house around 6:30pm, but the windows looked great.
The next evening, the company’s owner came by to check on everything. We noted a few places where more caulk was needed, so he set a time to come back on Saturday to recaulk and clean the windows. That was it!
The more time-consuming part was getting all the curtains back up. The new windows are thicker than our old wooden ones, so the brackets for our bedroom’s rollerblinds all had to be rehung further from the glass. And when the trim pieces right next to the windows were reinstalled, they didn’t all go in quite the same way as before, so three of the roller blinds had to be recut. I had an excellent experience when I took them back to Lowe’s, and they replaced all three free of charge!
The living room curtains were trouble though. I first made them nearly two years ago, just in time for our our November 2013 housewarming party. I’d had a very specific look in mind for those four bayed windows, but I couldn’t find anything like what I was looking for. So I ordered 40 yards of the perfect fabric and the same amount of lining material, and I made them myself. I was in such a rush though, I don’t think I ever prewashed the fabric. I also didn’t finish the bottom hem. I just pinned them with the intention of coming back to them after the party, but I never did. For the last two years they were just pinned at the bottom.
Since the curtains were coming down anyway for the window install, I decided this would be the perfect time to wash them and then sew the bottom hem. I washed two at a time, dried them 75% as instructed by The Internet, then layed them over chairs, tables, the drying rack, etc., and spent an entire Friday night ironing all 38 feet of curtain while watching Orange is the New Black. When Tony rehung the curtains they were six inches from the floor. Seriously, Bad Word!
I scoured Pinterest for what to do and came across a tutorial for curtain cuffs that seemed easy enough. I ordered 3 yards of coordinating fabric online and set to work sewing the cuffs. I pinned each cuff in place while the curtain was hanging, and Tony took them all down again so I could sew the cuffs on. All in all, it took about two weeks to complete this project, but now I think the curtains look even better than they did before. And I’ve been able to cross something off my To Do list that’s been there for two years!
So, window installation is done, and everything is back to normal. Don’t worry, though. They left me several of those old wavy-glass window sashes, so be looking for more window projects in the future!