The sash window has been around for centuries. It appears in a famous 17th Century Dutch painting; it was the window of choice in all pre Victorian architecture, and features heavily at Buckingham Palace; and it's the feature that stands out most prominently on the outside of the few remaining proper English pubs. Those individual square window panes, the beautiful frames - there's something about sashes that you just don't get from any other kind of window. |
Unfortunately for the greater beauty of the English town, the poor old sash window fell out of favour at some point in the late 19th or early 20th century - replaced first by casements, and then eradicated entirely by the advent of double glazing and plastic sills. Fortunately, for posterity and for anyone who still likes to look at something nice when he or she is walking down the street, the sash didn't die out completely: it just vanished for a while. And now it's back, re-imagined for an energy hungry millennium but just as attractive as ever.
Going forward, modern houses fitted with a sash window will be getting the best of all possible sash window glazing worlds. They'll boast beautiful windows with good honest Palladian proportions; they'll have a classic old school look that no modern casement or plastic sill can ever emulate.
So what has brought about this welcome change of architectural heart? Mostly, it seems, a firm or two with a little sense, a little nostalgia, and a desire to see something beautiful re-incorporated into the British house. The new sash window is finding its way into the show rooms of respected architectural and building supply based firms - which mean that contractors and house builders now have the opportunity to fit it instead of their more usual casements and plastic bays. The sash can be installed as a milled wood frame; the wood is treated with all sorts of anti aging, anti bacterial and anti weather compounds to ensure long life and beauty. As milled wood, the sash lends an air of Georgian distinction to any house - from new build to renovation to an existing modern house having windows refitted.
The new style sash windows can be fitted into a regular window bay: which means there is very little disruption to the interior of the room in which it is being fitted. A whole property can be done in this fashion without much in the way of inconvenience: the old window is levered out and the modern sash is dropped into its place. When in situ, the pane of the sash (both upper and lower) can be removed at will, leaving the frame in the wall. That means self cleaning as well as easy repair.
So the sash window is back - and things are looking a little brighter for new housing estates. All hail the march of progress.
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