Office: (805) 924-4004, homewindowrepairs.com
Specialties: Restoration and replication of any style of wood, aluminum, and steel windows, as well as a wide range of new and antique glasses
Notable Projects: Bradbury Building in L.A., General Phineas Banning Residence Museum, Laguna Beach Hotel, more than 3,500 residential homes along the South Coast, and many historic buildings
Upcoming: Briggs Elementary School in Santa Paula
“The jobs I feel best about are people’s homes,” says Ed Sanchez, owner of Home Window Repairs, as he looks over one of his current job sites and explains that he has already once eschewed retirement. “I get a thrill out of it. Look at the cranks. They swing in; they are very romantic. You’ll never see these windows again.”
In Santa Barbara, Sanchez works on many houses from the construction boom of the 1920s, but he uses techniques that restore the look and function of any kind of window, including unusual historic ones, steel windows, and newer aluminum versions from the ’50s and ’60s.
Sanchez professes that he enjoys getting a full life out of things. “I just feel good that way,” he says as he admits to holding onto his cars until they pass the 300,000-mile mark. “And I feel the same way about windows. It bothers me to see [homeowners] pull out their original windows and replace them with something of lower quality that doesn’t quite fit the particular style of the home.”
Sanchez has a long history with materials and windows, including a stint at Jet Propulsion Laboratory studying the plastics used on many new windows, and more than 12 years replacing original windows with newly manufactured ones. However, eventually he realized that the new windows he was selling customers were of lower quality, would go out of style quickly, and would soon need to be replaced again.
“If they stick with the original windows that were made for the home, that were designed to actually work with that home, then they never need to change them at all,” explains Sanchez, whose restoration work can extend the life of the original windows for up to 85 years. “Then there’s no keeping up with the Joneses.”
Sanchez restored the windows on the standout Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. The former office building was built in 1893, and it is the city’s oldest landmarked building and has been the setting of many fictional works, movies, and music videos. “Sometimes they care enough to keep every component,” says Sanchez of working on National Historic Landmarks and other museums. “If there’s one piece that’s not rotted, they want that piece in there. They treat it like a dinosaur.”
Sanchez did similar work on the General Phineas Banning Residence Museum, a historic Greek revival-Victorian home that is now a historic site that offers public tours. “The windows were the originals from 1865, and we worked on these weird round windows that looked like a wagon wheel,” he says of a project that required special attention to the components and blending the old with new.
Sanchez warns homeowners to take their time replacing their windows, saying that most original windows simply need to be fixed. “I’m the guy that tries to keep them from filling landfills up with these beautiful, original windows,” he says with hopeful excitement.