I don’t get it. In my mind, windows can make or break the beauty of a house. And I’m not just talking about stained glass, or leaded-glass, or 24-over-1’s or any other fancy-pants styles. Plain old historic windows can be just as beautiful as a Tiffany if done well and placed correctly. Window placement in a home used to be an art form. Now it’s like an afterthought….at best.
Now I’m not going to tear into those suburban cookie-cutter homes about their windows because that’s like picking on the slow kid in grade school. It’s just mean.
But, after driving around town these last few months looking for content ideas, I have to say I am a little bit disappointed in all of the examples of “Windon’ts” that I see in Indy.
These aren’t even some of the worst offenders I’ve seen. I mean honestly, how do you top this one? But they certainly qualify as offenders and they certainly make you hang your head in shame a bit when you see them.
““` These examples, while good illustrations of the “little death” aesthetics die every time inexpensive/modern/”low-E” windows replace historic/original/vintage windows, do not appear to me to be caused by bad taste. I assess them as desperate last-ditch efforts by owners who have given up on maintaining their wood siding. These owners don’t know what to do then except cover the problem up with vinyl (ugh,) but can only just barely scrape the money together to complete the project, with a bare-bones minimum of frills.
““` As a retired restorationist/preservationist housepainter (who worked with Old School tools and Space Age materials) I would love to offer encouragement to owners faced with this dilemma. It IS possible to scrape prime, and caulk small areas at a time, if that is all one may manage, and paint to any house, no matter how big, with brush and roller. I dearly loved using Porter’s fantastic 100% Acrylic Bonding Primer and Superacrylic House Paint system, and there are many houses I painted so that still display that paint job, even approaching twenty years later, even houses was built in the Roaring Twenties—or earlier! You don’t necessarily save money by siding; if your paint “blows off” early, it’s because water is getting into the wood. If water is getting in, covering it up won’t solve it, and in fact conceals the wet until the whole wall rots.
““` And have you noticed that the “blank facing walls” approach that cookie-cutter homebuilders have been using out in the suburban subdivisions is creeping into new construction in historic neighborhoods? I’m horrified. Their excuse? Privacy concerns, when houses are placed on narrow lots. Window treatments are good enough to supply privacy without blocking light; and windowless walls mandate use of artificial light in those interior spaces . . . forever. They take residents’ choice away. Can this be “green”?