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Ok, I know this makes me a rube, but I didn't realize that replacement windows are fitted inside the existing frame. Hence, you lose glass area when you replace.
Are there any viable alternatives to this (assuming original windows cannot be salvaged)? I keep thinking it will look weird.
You need to specify "brick to brick" or "new construction" installation -- which is the opposite of "replacement" in window sales terminology.
Also, thermal double-pane will have wider margins than most old windows, so you're already losing a little glass that way. Insist on brick to brick.
By the way, great eye for trouble. You ask the right questions. And I bet your renovation will turn out magnificently!
I think I'll just wind up wandering the streets in a barrel.
Barrel are all the rage on the runways of Bordeaux this season.
Are you sure your building and/or Landmarks will let you change the windows?
No landmarks. It's not that classy part of town.