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The view from the landing

Yes, Cocobop, today was the day my brain fell down the rathole. It was Day 2 of Week 2 of our Roofing Extravaganza, with mighty crashing and scraping overhead all day long (hey, at least the weather is permitting). And yesterday was New Windows Day.

Not all new windows, just 7 of them. Our house has some 50 windows; we have replaced almost all the century-old originals, and yesterday, replaced 6 of the first-generation replacements (which were cumbersome insulated wood-sash disasters that clouded up and lacked built-in screens; we got them under my deranged notion of historical authenticity).

And we bade farewell to one of the originals: the biggest window in the house, an 8-over-8 double-hung affair that flooded our first-floor landing with light, and drafts. Thankfully, we are not in a landmark district, so we can retrofit our Victorian house with vinyl tilt-ins, the greatest inventions since man cut a hole in his wattle-and-daub hut to let the sunshine in. The exterior capping looks a little cheesy, but we can paint it eventually...and now I can actually clean my windows without a scaffold or a ladder.

The old window could not be opened, although it was so loose in its frame that we stuck folded chunks of cardboard between the sashes to keep them from rattling. The old lead-weight and chain system for opening windows still gets my vote for low-tech genius; the mechanism (here, revealed in its casing) was indestructible. Some of the ancient windows actually work better than the newer ones.

That landing, by the way, is about the size of a Greenwich Village studio apartment that I almost rented for $450 a month back in 1983. Still un-plastered and unpainted, it communicates with the backstairs to the garden, as well as the main staircase, and is thus a nexus of confusion for people attempting to find their way around the Crazy Stable. The photo above, of Coco and the strange hole for some long-removed pipe, shows the oxblood-red paint applied by Mr. Chang, the previous owner. I usually keep a jungle of houseplants and some flimsy bits of salvaged furniture on the landing, but I am hatching more ambitious plans. Things are looking brighter already. Plus, now I can open the window and smell (and see!) my garden down below, for the first time in 23 years.  

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 11:19PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments1 Comment

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Reader Comments (1)

While I am a huge fan of museum grade restorations, I am also a fan of rehabs that make grand old homes liveable.

Congrats on your new home (It's gonna feel so different this winter with the new windows!)
December 6, 2009 at 02:47PM | Unregistered CommenterJenn

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