Turns out that writing on windows was something they did at the Gatehouse, too. Thanks to Lindsey for waiting for just the right light to capture this shot from their dining room window.
In the west parlor window, Charles E. Rudd (the seller's grandfather) carved the date into glass on Feb. 22 1896, exactly 93 years before our younger daughter was born. Happy birthday, Katherine!
South-facing windows in the den have had to be taken apart and sashes repaired. The house was unsettled here and there were gaps below the sills. "You could see right out below the windows," Ellen says. She and Rob speculate that perhaps a limb of the tulip tree fell and hit the back of the house, breaking windows and unsettling this part of the house a long time ago. The sash fixes and replacement hardware were about 100 years old.
We've replaced broken, peeling panes in the tower with vintage stained glass. The trim is scraped and repainted. The floors are oiled. The banister is cleaned. The walls are replastered. It's a place to dream.
After marking out reference points, Bill cuts thru plaster, removes wood laths, launches into two layers of brick.
Ah, renovation. People who have been through it know you can't change one thing without altering another. Like, putting in a bathroom on the third floor. We discover this requires adding a new window. Three challenges:
1. Approval by Historic District Board (check)
2. getting through two courses (layers) of brick, and
3. centering the window (for aesthetics) inside the wood trim that wraps around the house, so when you see the window from outside, it'll appear to have been there since 1853.
Matt cleans and fixes window sashes so that Jason can glaze panes. Windows are original, he can tell by the old paint. "All in all, these old windows are doing good. I only had to fix 2 out of 103."
There are 103 windows in Holleywood. Consisting of 1000 panes of wavy glass from the 1850s. About 50 of the panes are cracked or broken; the previous owner didn't want to replace them, knowing the value of 150 year old glass. There's only one new(ish) pane of glass in the house and the painter suspects it was broken by some carpenter who quickly replaced it so the owner wouldn't know it had broken.
This week, a serendipitous occurrence: one of the roofers is supplying us with old glass taken from his family's 1850's farmhouse being restored in Bantam, CT. They'd offered the glass to the local church; the church didn't want it. They brought it to the local glass seller who refused it, saying, "Old glass is a pain in the neck, I don't deal with that anymore." The roofer was about to throw the glass into a dumpster when Rob, our contractor, suggested he bring a pane over to Holleywood.
"It's an exact match," Rob said, shaking his head in disbelief. "The same waviness, the same ripples. One of the panes is exactly the size we need in the breakfast room." Then, the perfectionist in him amended, "Well, within a 16th."
Who knew they came in so many colors? We decide on a brown brick to match the front sills. Note the gorgeous panes of old, wavy glass, which isn't made anymore. Broken panes are being replaced with glass from old storms.
Glancing through the west parlor window at Donald on the side porch, his dark shirt makes visible writing I hadn't noticed before: the signature of Charles E. Rudd (the seller's grandfather) dated Feb. 22 '96, exactly 93 years to the day before our younger daughter was born.
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.