Stained glass panels are an interesting way to solve various challenges a home may present and turn them into solutions. Here are a few situations where glass can enhance your home's value and ambiance.
1. When the view is not what you might have hoped for.
2. When you want more privacy but still want more light than curtains allow.
3. When you have a pass through between rooms that no longer makes sense.
The Challenge: The back of our hillside home in Mill Valley looks into a steep, unlandscaped hill, and several windows are beneath large decks. The original home design concealed this unloveliness with windows using obscured glass. We found this type of glass more annoying than useful. They limited the light that came into the room and acted more like walls than windows. Windows in the two primary bathrooms, the entry, and a long hallway were affected.
The Solution: Bathrooms: We replaced the obscured sliding windows with clear awning windows and hung panels from very short chains in front of them. This allows the awning windows to be opened to enhance bathroom ventilation, while distracting you from the actual view. The designs and glass chosen allowed a view through some pieces, while focusing your eye on the design, not the bottom of the decks.
Hallway: We replaced the obscured glass in the hall windows with clear glass. I created light and open designs with some colored glass that is very transparent and background glass that textures the view significantly. This allows in what limited light is available and attracts the eye to the design. By looking out through the transparent pieces, the back hill is clearly visible.
While you can see the hints of deck support posts through the left side of the panel, and some clear glass leaves let you peek out, your eye is drawn to the design and not the view behind it.
These two windows have designs that continue from one to the other. A third panel in a second story window above the right one is the top of the tree. The lower two use clear background glass that blurs the view while the top window uses a less obstructive background.
In another situation, a client's hall window looked out at the close-by neighbor's house, which we hid with a clear patterned window.
The Challenge: Sometimes, a neighbor's home is too visible or there is too much visibility into a bathroom or bedroom and curtains aren't a good solution.
1) A client bought a condo with a bedroom overlooking a small courtyard and hallways with windows. While they installed blinds for privacy, they wanted more light in their room. The window they selected to for the panel was stationary, but was divided into two lights, creating a bar across the design space.
2) In another home, the privacy in a bathroom with a large shoulder- height showerwindow was impacted by aggressive tree trimming. Adequate natural light was also a factor.
The Solutions: 1)I created a panel of concentric and embedded circles using few colors and 5 types of clear glass, chosen for their ability to distort reality. This geometric panel was built with lead came, using zinc for stability around the outside and through the middle. Cove framing was nailed into the ceiling and sill of the window to contain it.2) I designed a panel using the border elements from a previously installed panel in the bathroom By giving the window the appearance of 3 separate panes, my design was able to be 'busy' on the ends (most exposed to the neighbor's decks and view) and open in the center without looking like the middle section had been forgotten. Adding the illusion of diamond-shaped lights throughout gave the panel some action in the middle and tied the three sections together. It also allowed the use of a lot of clear glass that did not distort the view outside while achieving the desired level of privacy.
The top shows the original view and the bottom demonstrates how the light can enter without prying eyes. You can easily see how much brignter the glass is than the shades while allowing no visibility into the room.
The neighbor's house has decks in the front and the back that look down into our bathroom. This was especially disconcerting when using the 'throne' in the evening with the lights on as it is at the opposite end of the room aligned with the blue flowers and the neighbor's front deck is behind and to the right of the pink flowers.
Unwanted Pass Through
The Challenge: Our home, like many in Marin County, was originally smaller. An addition created a large primary suite downstairs and a library/family room upstairs. The design is unique in that there is no bedroom door per se, only doors at either end of a short corridor, and a large opening from the corridor to our room, with an opening like a kitchen pass-through next to it.
The Solution: We felt that placing a panel in the pass-through would somewhat improve the privacy of the room. We chose glass colors to reflect our cherry cabinetry and furniture and textures that would impede the view while not hampering the minimal light available through the opening. We also used the diamond pattern in our bed headboard as a foundation for the background of the panel. We "installed' the panel using cove molding to hold it in place. We offset the panel to the outside of the opening, leaving space to use the sill as a small shelf. This project is the reason I learned to work with stained glass, and was my first non-class project. The small photo above shows the result.
Note the shapes of the glass
Those shapes are the background of the panel