It’s not really a secret that more and more people will choose to make at least one career change at some point in their lives. The days of staying in one job – let alone one field – and working your way up over many decades are long gone. And that second (or third or fourth) career can mean someone really tapping into a passion and putting what they love to do into full-time practice.
That’s certainly the case with Peter Madias who grew up in Brooklyn, where he still lives. Peter left his career as a commodities broker/trader on Wall Street to work as a craftsman and now spends his days restoring antique wood windows through his company .
“I’m a very mechanical guy. I see things and understand them on certain levels naturally from a mechanical standpoint. I used to build engines as a kid, restore motorcycles and that kind of thing. I was a very hands-on person and the financial world was the wrong world for me.”
So how did he land on restoring old windows?
“I like being able to touch what I make and that aspect of it. Bringing something from the clutches of a landfill.”
That green aspect of his work is one of the reasons he gives for why homeowners should consider restoring their windows rather than purchase new ones. Surprisingly, replacing can be as expensive as restoring but you’re getting a superior product.
If you’re fortunate enough to have antique windows in your home, it’s because the windows are built to be restored. Unlike new wood windows, antique ones are made from old growth wood and will last for as long as they are maintained.
Peter explains that old growth wood is from forests with very densely packed trees. “The more densely packed the trees are, the more they struggle to get light. So they grow slower and their growth rings are tighter. Tighter rings means they’re more impervious to moisture. Modern ones fail in 15-18 years.” By contrast, the windows he restores are from the 1920s and earlier.
Even if you own an older home with metal replacement windows, he says to revert back is usually just a matter of making new sashes. It’s best if the original windows exist but he already fabricates many things on site and has set up a situation in which he can fabricate new old-style windows.
By their nature, older windows will tend to be a little fussy but Peter points out that “we add weather strip — original style and modern weather stripping. No matter what, they’ll be a bit quirky but that’s part of the charm.”
Most of Peter’s Brooklyn work is in Park Slope or Ditmas Park, but he also does work out in Long Island. If you’re interested in working with Peter, you might have to wait a little while though.
“Typically all our work is on site – it’s an undertaking and takes a while. The fellow I’m working with now for waited a year. I have a shop in the Catskills if I need to do jobs off site. Jobs typically take a few months.”
For the value you get though – both aesthetic and practical – it’s worth giving him a call and seeing what he can do for you and your home.