One Room Challenge Week 3 Windows and Walls!
For those of you that have been following me, you know how silly it is to do this right now. For those of you that are new, welcome! My name’s Betsy and I’m an architectural historian and community development professional by day, and a crazed woman by night, restoring my 1892 home in the historic East Wheeling neighborhood of Wheeling, West Virginia.
And for those of you new to the One Room Challenge, it's a design challenge sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens. Twice a year 20 featured designers and hundreds of guest participants transform a space in six weeks. The progress can be tracked via blog posts as well as on Instagram.
For more information about The One Room Challenge you can visit the official website here.
To the Windows
Oh the windows. What a saga.
When I first bought the McLain house, the bedroom windows were by far in the worst shape. As in they pretty much didn’t exist. The two large windows and sashes were completely empty, and I think two pieces of plexi and a shower door were screwed into the walls to cover the opening. The two side lights actually had semi functional double hung windows in them, but they were clearly a later addition, as the original windows were curved, as evidenced by what remained of a scrap of casing.
I decided right away, (when my loan was largely unspent and my motivation was high) to put the curved glass back in its rightful place in those side lights.
Then, I had the two huge windows replicated based off of the one historic photo I had available to me.
The large, flat windows went in fairly quickly. They’re almost perfect reproductions, except instead of having one pane of wavy glass as there would have been historically, I opted for a fancy double pane, with an interior wavy glass and an exterior sheet glass. Because again, it was early on in the process and I was feeling freer with my money. But in all seriousness, this does help what essentially amounts to a wall of glass feel a little warmer in the winter.
But then we have the issue of the sidelights. The curved windows on either side took much longer to construct, mainly due to the incompetence of the carpenters hired to make them, but also in small part to the curvature of the frame. The glass has been equally challenging, because when you’re custom bending glass to fit two windows, you want to make absolutely certain that they fit.
The flat windows went in before Christmas, but these curved suckers have been a constant thorn in my side for the better part of the last year. When managing a construction project like this you learn there are certain battles you might pick up if you were living in a house that you ultimately can’t force yourself to fight when you’re not actually living there. And so in the case of these curved windows I’ve been uncharacteristically patient. Which has mostly been fine, except my otherwise really coming together exterior had two giant sheets of plywood bumming everyone out.
Last week, we finally got some light to shine in! Glass! But wait… not so fast. Actually just plexiglass. Because we had reached a point where I could no longer stand to have my house semi sealed from the elements, and because my contractor insisted that the sashes settle before installing the final curved glass. This last part is likely bullshit, but again, we pick our battles. And I got windows with something resembling glass, and a tight seal from the outside world.
I must admit, it’s been a game changer. My real glass is shipping from New York this week, but in the meantime, it has been a real pleasure to see what looks like a real window in this room. And the curve. Oh the curve. Seeing the way the glass bumps out has really reaffirmed the frivolous expense, and brought so much joy to me, and Marshall.
The curve bumps the window out just enough that I can see the whole way down the street, and look towards downtown. I’m actually glad I blew so much of my budget on this corner of the house, because in all reality, it’s where I’ll spend a lot of my time. Plus who doesn't love to take a nap with the afternoon sun streaming in?
Hi there, I'm Betsy. I'm a historian, dog-mom, yogi, and preservationist. Join me as I navigate the field of cultural heritage, and rehabilitate my home in historic East Wheeling, WV