I’ve been having more frequent conversations with my nextdoor neighbor, who has shed more light on the history of my house. For instance, the three trees along the street in front of our houses were planted by the previous owner. He’s told me stories of how homes on our street traded hands. And just the other day, he told me about the missing window in my stairwell.
When I bought the Sullivan House, the giant window overlooking the stairwell was completely absent, the elements held at bay by only the storm window. One of our first tasks, the spring before last, was to install a cheap vinyl window there. A previous owner of the house commented on this blog and revealed it used to be a stained glass window. It made me immensely sad knowing some scrapper likely tore it apart for its lead. I wrote it off as a bold theft and tried not to dwell on it.
My neighbor told me differently.
Not only was the stained glass window removed safely, it had been fully restored. The person I bought the house from had never reinstalled it after the restoration for fear of what would become of the house. The design, I was told, was of a large sun. On its southern exposure, it was made to fill the stairwell with warm tones of light in yellows and oranges.
At this point, to fully appreciate my reaction, you must remember the color palette I live with every day. That same stairwell the stained glass belongs in was, without any of this knowledge, painted “knockout” orange and “citrus” yellow. The coincidence is unnerving.
It didn’t take long for me to pull out the deed to find his address and write an old-fashioned letter. Do you still have it? Are you willing to sell it? And for how much? were my anxious questions. I knew it was a bit of a long shot that after several years someone would be holding onto a stained glass window with no practical application for it.
And today I got my reply. Yes, he kept it. Yes, he’d be happy to sell it to see it brought home. And the price is right: reimbursement for its restoration.
The Sullivan House’s stained glass window is coming home.