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Old House Windows

Janice Calpo, who lives not far from me in the great old Curtis Park neighborhood here in Sacramento, is the subject of an article in last weekend's Sacramento Bee - "Seeing the Light: When it comes to windows, Janice Calpo praises restoration over replacement."

SMUD, the community-owned utility here in Sacramento, has a long history of offering incentives for the installation of poorly made vinyl replacement windows, even when restored wooden windows would be longer-lasting and just as energy efficient. Unfortunately, many homeowners can't take a longer view of the life of their home and opt for vinyl - hurting the value of their historic home in a market where authentically period means $$.

Janice Calpo, who is otherwise polite, radiant and sweet-tempered, is the self-appointed "window czarina" of Curtis Park. No shard escapes her scrutiny.

She is a champion of rippled glass, regards complex mullions as though they were the Elgin marbles, is a patient advocate for those sometimes-geriatric double-hung windows that open (if they open) and close (begrudgingly so) with a wheeze, or a rattle, or a sudden thump.

In a world increasingly devoted to energy efficiency, reduced utility bills, whispering appliances, snug windows that speak Tuscan and obey with fingertip ease, hers is a one-woman crusade to keep the window faith, to let the true-divided light shine in.