It started very innocently: we were examining our large bay of windows and noticed there were once hinges. At first I assumed they were for interior shutters, but then I decided to do a little sleuthing and discovered the original windows for the “enclosed loggia” with multi-pane swing-in casement windows and functional outside shutters. (I know you, like me, are salivating at the mention of “enclosed loggia” but we’ll get to that).
I’m very thankful for the urban planning that went into my neighborhood–without it, I probably would never be able to see the original design intention of my building. Since the whole block is nearly-identical buildings that share a common garden, I only had to walk down the street to find these. You can see remnants of the original shutters, and if you look very closely, you can tell the casements open toward the inside. And all those panes of glass! My heart!
After seeing those windows, I’m pretty sure I know what happened: Someone, probably a couple in the 1950s (“Ew, old things!” they said), removed the casements and replaced them with aluminum double hung windows, because progress. Historically speaking, the rest of the apartment is supposed to have multi-pane wood double hung windows, so I guess they were being sort of faithful, but they neglected the part about multiple panes and such.
Oh and the part where casement windows are basically the most expensive window you can buy so good luck replacing that on any sort of budget. Ha. Haha.
Why are casements so critical, you ask? Well, it’s that enclosed loggia thing. Our living room wasn’t originally the size it is. (See the very fuzzy floor plan above). There was a wall dividing it with some configuration of french doors, enclosing the area with all of the casements. It was a sunroom that on lovely days, you’d open all of the casements and have a quasi outdoor seating area. That you could alternatively use year round. Plus, you had your two-part exterior shutters, so you could precisely control the amount of light let into the unit. Roman shades be damned.
Are you picturing the wicker furniture? The settee? The bistro table for morning coffee and all of the plants? Good.
I am obsessed with this.
We are actually considering dumping our whole decorating budget for the year (and heck really, supposed to set us up furniture-wise for the next 10-20 years) into some damn windows.
And a wall. I want that wall back.
I know everyone is all open floor plans all the time these days, but guys, this is the city. You want some damn privacy. Rooms are good. A sunroom? Extra good. As far as the living room light, it would still have the one large window and then indirect light filtering through french doors. That sounds nice. I don’t mind losing some square footage in the living room either–I’ve pushed the sofa up to where the wall would be, because it was too far away to comfortably watch TV anyway. I was just going to plop a console back there and call it a day, but now! Now! A sunroom!
Originally, we were going to decorate the living room first, do the dining room at the end of the year, redo the bath a year after that, and maybe do a small update to the kitchen (appliances are inappropriately sized, I want the cabinets repainted, etc). That was the roadmap. Now we suddenly fancy ourselves champions of historical accuracy and therefore want really effing expensive windows.
So that is the new plan. Windows!