The Cross House
The Cross House has like a zillion windows. OK, maybe not that many. Maybe there are actually only a billion. OK. Maybe not that many. But surely there are thousands. At least it feels like thousands.
Luckily, the windows are all original. Praise the Lord that nobody in the 1970s decided to tear out the windows and replace them with vinyl —and you know how those would look today.
I will later do a post on the evils of replacement windows, suffice to say for now that it is almost ALWAYS better to retain your ancient windows and restore them rather than opt for incredibly expensive replacements. For example, vinyl windows have an effective life-span of like a dozen years. They do not tell you that when you hand over a check.
That said, I can understand why people regularly tear out old windows. I mean, just look at what I inherited:
ABOVE: One of the curved-glass windows of the round tower. I know! TERRIFYING! Absolutely, shockingly, and without-a-doubt TERRIFYING. No sane person would do anything other than toss such a window (and ALL my windows look like this) into the dumpster and run to the nearest home improvement store to place an order, STAT, for nice, new, shiny windows.
NOTE: I am not sane.
ABOVE: The terror continues.
I have a very odd brain. When I look at windows in this condition I have two reactions:
1) RUN! RUN for your life! There is no way — no way, man! — that this piece of rotted crap can ever be made to look even half-way decent! RUN!
2) Then there is this very small voice in my head. It whispers: Hey, what if you just scraped a little on one corner? What does the wood look like under?
So, letting that quiet voice guide me — after all, what is the harm? I am just going to scrape a little bit. Just a little bit — I scrape just a little bit.
Oh. Cool. The wood is not scary under. Actually, it looks…great.
So then I wonder: what if I scraped just a bit more? Just a bit.
At this point I am doomed.
However, do you hear the drum roll? For this is the result, below. Be prepared to gasp (scroll way down; I am delaying your seeing the After image):
ABOVE: Every time I look at a restored window my heart skips a few beats. It seems a miracle that something so awful could be made to look so good. Truly, a miracle. And a thrill! A delight! A joy!