Sunlight is a beautiful and necessary element. However, it can wreak havoc in a historic house, in fact, in anybody’s house. Villa Finale is no exception. Ultraviolet rays are the single largest cause of fading and material degradation in any setting, home or elsewhere. In years past, when Mr. Mathis lived at Villa Finale, he very often kept the interior shutters closed in order to protect his collections, carpets and furniture from light. But now, for visitor comfort and the stunning appearance of the museum rooms, the staff decided to leave the shutters open for tours -a decision that necessitated installing ultraviolet light blocking film.
This past January, we invited brothers Don and Mark DeLisle to come to San Antonio from freezing Stockbridge, Massachusetts where their company, Capital Energy Co., is headquartered. Mark and Don specialize in installing films in historic buildings. The pair is able to work around furnishings and in tight quarters, and are sensitive to the non-standard sizes of old windows and hand-made glass panes. Villa Finale asked them to install window film on 347 panes of glass in the main house and in the carriage house, and they completed their job, cheerfully, in two weeks from start to finish.
Months before they came, I measured each window pane down to the eighth of an inch, noted the type of glass – flat, beveled, leaded, etc., where the window was located – as different exposures require different film intensities – and sent all dimensions and specifics to the DeLisles. They, in turn, shipped everything on to Villa Finale before hopping on Amtrack and moving southwest for two weeks.
Villa Finale chose a ceramic-based film from the 3M company’s Prestige line. The film is applied using water and a squeegee, which makes it completely reversible, and it is nearly undetectable from the inside or outside. It will reduce the heat entering the house by almost 80%, and it blocks 99% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Enjoy pictures of Mark (who does all the cutting) and Don (who does all of the application) and their outfit of the Pewter Room in the main house and then in action as they “film” a window in Villa Finale’s Carriage House.