The Committee to Save the Bird Homestead, the non-profit that operates the Meeting House on Milton Road, is pleased to report that they’ve checked the first phase of the window restoration off their list. A member of the committee responded and her response focused on the importance of window restoration.
The Committee to Save the Bird Homestead, the non-profit that operates the Meeting House on Milton Road, is pleased to report that they’ve checked the first phase of the window restoration off their list. A gift from the Friends of the Meeting House, a former group, provided funding for the project.
Three types of historic windows help tell the story of the building’s evolution. Historically, the impressive, rectangular seven-foot-tall, six-over-six windows in the south wing provided generous light for the reading room and library. The distinctive bell tower, which was added two years later, features two-over-two, double-hung windows, sharply pointed at the top. Pointed arches are characteristic of the Gothic Revival style. In 1928, according to the Vestry minutes of Christ’s Church, “… a number of new frames of ecclesiastical design,” replaced some of the simple double-hung windows on the sides of the building. These 1928 windows open by pivoting and are the third window type included in the present restoration project.
Under the direction of preservation architects Walter Sedovic and Jill Gotthelf, the project emphasizes conservation of the windows’ historic materials. If any new construction is needed, it is done with reused wood or glass to keep the restoration sustainable and authentic. Some panes on the façade windows had previously been replaced with modern plexiglass and vinyl. According to the benefits of energy efficient replacement windows, vinyl and other modernized windows help in conserving the energy efficiency. These were restored with authentic period glass obtained from dealers in salvaged building materials.
Sedovic and Gotthelf are leading proponents of saving wood windows — for residences, as well as historic sites. When properly restored and especially with storm windows added to the exterior or interior, the architects’ air infiltration tests have revealed that old windows are far more efficient than commonly realized — and much more cost effective.This has to be done in association with the right designers like NuEco.
A second phase of the Meeting House window restoration project, funded by an individual donation, consists of fabrication of interior storm windows with low e laminated glass. These will be installed during the heating season. In addition to reducing heat loss, the low e glass will help protect photographs or artwork on display from the fading effects of ultra violet light. Salvaged lumber will be reused to build the storm-window frames.
“The interior storm windows will allow us to improve energy efficiency, while serving a curatorial purpose and preserving the authentic historic character of the Meeting House. They are a wonderful solution,” said Anne Stillman, president of the Committee to Save the Bird Homestead.