A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Of Windows and Weddings

We just returned from a short trip to Philadelphia where our (Pete’s) daughter got married. It was a beautiful wedding in the gorgeous Knowlton Mansion in North Philadelphia. The house was built in 1881 as a summer home by William Rhawn, a Philadelphia banker. Later it was owned by John Powell, a wealthy industrialist, and remained in the Powell family for 100 years. Toward the end it fell into disrepair, and the manager, who grew up in the area, told me that she never knew the place existed because the trees and vegetation surrounding it were so overgrown.

Now owned by the catering company, Conroy Catering, they purchased the 13-acre property and its contents in 1996 and spent a couple of years restoring the house to its Victorian grandeur. They did an unbelievable job.

Stupidly I forgot my camera in the hotel so while we waited around before the ceremony I could have been taking pictures of the stenciled walls and ceilings which at first glance looked like wallpaper. Or the beautifully landscaped grounds. Or the really cool wine cellar where they offered wine tastings during the cocktail hour. (Not to mention pictures of the beautiful bride and the very dashing father of the bride.) I’m an idiot.

On the window restoration front, before we left for the weekend I was able to get shots of stripping in action:

Weird-looking, isn’t it?

We’re in the final stretch for the kitchen and family room. As I planned earlier, we’re having them refinish not just the windows in the family room, but also the baseboards, door frames, picture rail and chair rail (this is the only room with chair rail) so that at least one room will be completely finished. In the kitchen, the PO replaced the molding with pine that doesn’t match the style of the rest of the house, so we’re having those replaced.

I remember reading somewhere that kitchen molding usually had a lighter stain or was painted. Sure enough, the original window ledge and other parts did not have the dark aniline dye and looked like the natural wood. So we’re going to continue with the natural finish in the kitchen. It will match the current oak cabinets, and even though we’ll be redoing the kitchen at some point we’ll probably stick with lighter cabinet finishes.2007101702.jpg2007101701.jpg

A couple of other interesting discoveries is that the windows on the north side of the family room may have been added at a later time. For one thing, it didn’t have the dark aniline dye applied to the wood, but thankfully the molding style matches the other window. It also has a much deeper window ledge, perfect for the cats. And, duh, we never noticed before that the trim in between the windows is much narrower than the windows on the east side (you can see the differences between the two windows as marked in red). Finally, the windows there don’t use sash chains; they have more of a piston-type of mechanism. I’m interested to find out when this type of window hardware came about, but I haven’t come up with any information as of yet.

The window guys said they’ll probably be applying the finish today, so I would imagine that they’ll be finished over the next few days! The only other thing left in this phase is to strip the remaining basement windows and storms. We’ll be priming and painting them ourselves.

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