Day Two: Window Restoration

Category: Restore & Repair

Wow. Between yesterday and today, based on what they found when they took out the windows, John and his son, John Jr., replaced the broken glass in the windows that we had.

The windows in our house aren't one pane of glass with wood decoration sitting on top of the glass. They are actually 6 panes of different sized glass squares separated by the wood in what they call "Prairie Style". Very pretty. And classically bungalow.

I didn't know this until John explained it, but he makes the new windows out of cypress wood. Frank Lloyd Wright used cypress frequently because of its durability, resistance to the elements/decay/insects and longetivity.

Our house is 90 years old. That boggles my mind. If the storms and screens had been properly kept and the window air-conditioning units had not been left in the windows, all of our windows would still be in great shape. Water and humidity are not good to wood over time. Both windows in the upstairs bathroom had to be replaced because there was no fan to draw humidity out. The frames of the windows were crumbling.

But they look beautiful now. (Remember to double-click on pictures to get a closer look.)

The old ones are stacked against the wall to the side.

So where is John and his team today? Yesterday, they were moving so quickly, I could only snap a couple of John, Jr. Where is "Shy Frank"...?

Looks like we're going to need a new nickname for Frank :)

Camera in hand, I stalk what Kitschywoman has told me is the "elusive Contractoring Ventanalis"...the scientific name for Fine Wooden Window Craftsperson. Slowly, I creep up the stairs, not making any noise.

Ah HA! Captured on film!

Oh, hey 'dere (as we say in Chicago). It's John, explaining the finer points of restoring and maintaining old windows. (One way to be sure that it is a member of the Contractoring species is by the large "Dunkin' Donuts" coffee cup. A very obvious sign.)

After you remove the stops and unhook the chain/rope that holds the weights from the window, the frame around the window looks like this:

Our windows have a piece of wood that pops out so you can see the weights and where the chain attaches to the weights in their "well". Up top, you can see the pulley for the chain. John has attached a piece of metal to the chain to keep it from sliding around the pulley and into the well while they work on the windows.

Once he has worked on the window, replaced broken glass and so on, he reconnects the outside window (the top one) to its pulley chain and sets it in the frame. He replaces the "parting bead" (which separates the two halves of the window) and then hooks the bottom half to its pulley chains and swings it into place. I think it's a little more complicated...especially the "making a new window" part. (In a few days, I'll recap some more advice John gave us about cleaning up and maintaining old windows...this entry is getting LONG! We're going to have to get John his own website.)

John Jr. came upstairs to ask a question...and "Shy Frank" is not one to be left out of a group photo!

These guys have it under control, so it's off to basement for pour more water in the drains (this is a daily thing--we need a long term fix) and to bundle scraps of wood together for disposal. After the guys have left, I wander back upstairs to look at the progress.

Just one more new window piece (we found some unexpected wood rot) and these will be the future Master Bedroom windows. The sun here in the morning is so nice...they face east.

The house is getting some new eyes. Pretty good for a 90 year old gal.

If you are into restoring your old windows, please give Just Sashes a call:

Just Sashes - John Videckis
5952 West Addison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60634

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'sources' on this site. Search for 'sources' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'sources' on Google. Search for 'sources' on


Wonderful, wonderful! Colorful photos of Contractoring Ventanalis in its natural habitat. And three of them, no less! You should count yourself lucky that they chose to den up in your area. ;)


Email this Entry to a Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

a neighborhood of home improvement blogs

Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet Refacing:
Face Your Kitchen | Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing