Sunday, 23 June 2013

Renovation blog - windows

I've been giving some thought to it, and decided to start a brand new blog dedicated solely to the renovation of our new old house. I have another blog, not very active, in which I sometimes post about my jewellery and knitting and other random stuff.

We recently bought a house built, approximately since there aren't detailed records, in 1935. The house has kept many original features, like the doors and the terrazzo tile floors:

First story terrazzo floor

Others, like the original windows, though not the front door, have been lost. The house itself is a rather modest two story + attic townhouse with relatively large (read narrow and long) backyard and a more uncommon side driveway. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a fancy herenhuis, but it is a little nicer than a factory worker's house from the time.

First story façade
It has been a while since we got the keys, but since there was no hurry to move out of our apartment in the center of the city, we have perhaps been a bit slow in setting the renovation in motion.

The windows have already been ordered and are now being built, which can take up to 3 months. The current windows are single glass, white PVC of rather low quality and abysmal thermal and noise isolation properties, from the 80's or perhaps 90's. No doubt they had to go. We shopped around a lot and paid close attention to other houses' new windows. Not often do you see a nice job being done. This is one such case in our city, in a rather fancier house:

Herenhuis in Leuven
The same contractor that placed these is taking care of our windows. We went for FSC afrormosia wood in an oak finish, double glass, which will look very similar to these. Also the shape. For the front façade, we went for fully arched inside and out, with the "Napoleon hat" shape dividing the fixed head of the window from the lower, opening panes. This will mirror the original door, which is oak and we will restore.
The windows in the back are also arched but with no division.

I saw a few examples in Brussels, where I work, of windows and doors painted a blue-green-grey shade, similar to copper patina, which I really loved in combination with the brick:

A house in Brussels
My partner did not love this quite as much as me, and our window contractor does not offer a different colour for the inside and the outside of the window, and since we want to keep the oak indoors, we decided to go for oak all over, for now anyway. We can always paint them, but with so many other things to do and nice brand new windows, I don't see it happening, not any time soon. Perhaps I could paint the iron grill on the front door in this colour? The grill is not particularly pretty or well preserved anyway, so I may perhaps order a new one.

The grill is now black and rather difficult to see on the picture of the façade above. Let me upload a picture from the inside:

The glass is a, rather common here, purplish textured glass, which is quite dark. Single of course. We should isolate the door as well as we can, it really needs a good restoration and the glass will probably be changed for a double one, perhaps frosted or textured.

As mentioned it will still take a long time for the windows to arrive and be installed, but I'll be updating as soon as I can.