Unconventional Window Alterations – Part 1

An early 20th century commercial building, though modest, still retained its original wood double-hung windows until recently.  Built in 1917, the Commercial Style structure is typical of many storefronts of its era.  The large double-hung windows, an integral part of the style, had been relieved of an obtrusive air conditioner and repainted in a manner typical of the period a few years ago.

Then, new owners opted to replace the century-old wood sash with vinyl units (I can’t tell if these are actually sliders or double-hung units placed sideways).  The vinyl units have been stacked on top of each other in order to fill the opening.  It remains to be seen what sort of finish will ultimately cover the awkward voids between the vinyl and masonry; exposed plywood and insulation has been the default finish for many months.

The following three photos show the transformation sequence:

 

Though a bit blurry, this photo from around 2008 shows the building with all of its trim painted a utilitarian white.  Image courtesy Google Street View.

 

 

A few years later the building was treated to a color scheme which made the windows an attractive feature, distinguishing the sash from the jamb in period colors.  But, as the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

 

 

New owners with a new vision for the building have doubled up on horizontally-oriented vinyl windows – adding more visual confusion to an increasingly cluttered storefront. The loss of the center mullion in each bay erodes the verticality expressed previously. Oh, and please mind the fluorescent green sign… you wouldn’t want to hog any of the multiple empty parking spaces in this sleepy downtown.  At least the building had a couple of years to enjoy a period-correct look.

 

 

4 Responses to Unconventional Window Alterations – Part 1

  1. That is a high bar of atrociousness. I’ve seen plenty of poorly-fitted replacement windows in buildings like this, but this is one of the worst. Usually it’s just smaller double-hungs and infill plywood around them, or small sliders, awning, or casement windows.

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