I last posted on this blog over a year ago - and since then, I’ve had a number of concerned emails from readers, asking if we’re okay, and if the house is okay?
The silence has been a sign of good things! The fact of the matter is… blog posts take a LONG time to write, and so does building a house! This blog has taken a seat on the backburner for the sake of progress on Jameswood.
Now, I am taking a few weeks away from the house to visit family and friends in Canada, for the first time since the start of the pandemic. With a bit of extra time while I'm here, I thought I would sit down and update you on our house!
So what have we managed to get done over the past year? Let's go back to December 2020, and fill you in!
2020 brought with it one of the most exciting and memorable Christmas’ I’ve experienced. We were finally completing the momentous step of getting Jameswood wind and water tight - with the addition of our beautiful new windows!!!
This was a HUGE deal for us. They could easily cost more than we initially paid for one of our apartments, and they were likely to completely drain funds for the project.
Even with these facts looming over us, we wanted to make a good choice for our home.We didn’t want the cheapest windows we could find - we wanted something that would add value to our home, help bring the original character back to our Victorian property, and importantly, choose windows that would last - so that we didn’t have to make this very large purchase again any time soon.
It was for these reasons that we decided it was important for us that we put timber framed windows into our home. Unlike UPVC, which have a life expectancy of between 15 - 30 years, timber framed windows can last a lifetime, if taken care of properly.
Though most of Jameswood’s windows had been broken by vandals, and damaged beyond repair, we actually still had three windows left, that were original to our home. With a good sand and paint, these remaining three 120-year old windows have become a beautiful feature on our new shed - and a testament to why we chose timber frames for our home.
The key to making timber windows last is maintenance. Everyone seems to be afraid of this word these days. UPVC, as well as numerous other parts of our home, are marketed as maintenance-free. But let’s rephrase that, and say it as it is: they’re unmaintainable. They can’t be fixed. When they get discoloured and brittle from the sun… that’s that. If a piece of the frame breaks, you have to buy a brand new window. And the old one ends up in landfill.
Timber windows, in contrast, will last a lifetime. If a section of window does get damaged, you can replace a piece of the frame, instead of the whole window. As long as the windows protective paint coating is maintained, the window should stay in good working order. We decided we would much rather paint our windows with a high quality coating every ten years, instead of replace them every 15-30. Once we had re-framed our perspective, the additional cost of timber windows felt a lot less daunting.
After lots of careful research, we finally chose a company, style, and completed the very daunting task of putting down a deposit and ordering our windows.
Days before Christmas, with our bank account drained, but our spirits high, we got the best Christmas gift we could ever imagine. We received an exciting delivery of brand new, beautifully built and finished timber windows.
With extreme care, we started unpacking and moving our delivery into the house. We were so thankful to have great friends help with this task - with bay window openings that are taller than us, some of our timber windows were extremely heavy.
At this time, we didn't have any flooring upstairs, just temporary boards laid over joists. Even more problematic was the fact that there was no proper stairway to access this upper floor. We had been getting up to this area via ladder. With no way of safely carrying these huge windows up a ladder, Cal set up a block and tackle from the roof rafters, and - inch by inch - we pulled our precious cargo up to the second floor.
Over the next few days, with the help of our incredible friends, we closed out the windy and rainy December air, window by window. By Christmas, we had all the upstairs windows installed, and we were able to enjoy a... still cold, but wind-free Christmas with friends in our future living room!
As each window was installed, Jameswood started to come to life. She was looking more and more like a real-people house! I kept stopping and staring as we pulled into the driveway, or came home from a walk, and were greeted to a building that was really starting to look beautiful.
We couldn’t have been happier with the company we found to design and build our windows. Bereco makes high-quality timber framed windows from slow grown, sustainably forested timber. They offer free online design consultations, so that you can speak with an expert, and get the correct style window for your price point. We chose their traditional sash windows, though they also offer contemporary styles. They even matched the horn detail from our original windows, which was an exciting feature for us, that would help us restore the building to its original beauty and character. For transparency’s sake, we DID receive a discount on our windows, for sharing them with our audience on Instagram. But I can whole-heartedly recommend this brand. Their windows are such high-quality, stunning pieces. Their company is responsible to the environment and infinitely helpful. Their windows have truly been an investment that has added beauty and value to our home.
We were finally wind and water tight, just in time for the new year, and Cal and I couldn't be happier.
What Have We Dunoon Blog by Claire Segeren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at whathavewedunoon.weebly.com.