A million dollar preservation project can be a little daunting– but thankfully, due to a $50,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission the decisions on where to start became a little easier. The Massachusetts Historical Commission, through the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, provided much needed matching funds to the Save America’s Treasures grant– specifically for window conservation.
And so the summer of surveying windows ensued. Beauport began as a small weekend retreat in 1909 and over the next 27 years was expanded upon until, basically, Sleeper ran out of land. Today, the house is over 14,000 square feet and houses approximately 40 rooms. Sleeper was a master recycler– even before it was termed ‘green’– by reusing windows from earlier versions of the house in the newer additions and even installing sash units from buildings slatted for demolition. Today, the house includes 106 window openings with approximately 249 individual sash units in 60 different dimensions and over 5000 individual panes of glass. The house also has 10 skylights and 10 exterior doors. During the meticulous survey, each unit was numbered, photo documented from the exterior and interior, and a conditions assessment was performed to categorize the units into phases of work over the next three years.
The current conditions of the wood windows at Beauport indicate surface glazing failure, cracking and flaking exterior paint, and deterioration of the bed glazing, which allows water to enter the building and deteriorate the interior paint on the muntins and sills. The first phase of window conservation work is tentatively scheduled for this fall.