Designer’s Own Home: Stained Glass Window

In my new kitchen, the north wall will be a big time focal point. The kitchen configuration is a widened galley kitchen, and all eyes will be on the wall straight ahead.   Could I hang a painting there?   Or choose some decorative wallcovering?   Sure.   But why not stained glass instead?

My house is made of stone.   Every wall is stone except for one.   It happens to be the north wall of my kitchen.   That north wall is woodframe construction, covered in shingles.   So, unlike any other wall in my home, it is actually possible to add a window.   There isn’t any view to speak of, but it would be nice to let in more light, especially given the fact that I am eliminating a kitchen door that had little peekaboo windows in it.

 

First step was to gather inspiration:

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Amy’s Pinterest board is full of inspiration, check it out.

Next step was to shop around.   I stopped by the Architectural Antiques Exchange in Northern Liberties, and found a Belgian cabinet door that piqued my interest for a while.

 

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But when I realized that it would need some repair and fortification, it seemed like I’d be better off starting from scratch with a stained glass artist.

I reached out to someone on Etsy, who seemed fantastic but was in Maryland. I always like to support local artisans if I can, and collaboration is easier and better in person.   I was pursuing a lead on a local stained glass artist that I got through my architect when I received a cold call from Andy Meoli, of Further Stained Glass, wanting to know if I ever needed stained glass for my clients.   The timing and the chemistry couldn’t have been better, I told him I was actually in need of stained glass for my own kitchen interior design.   Thus began a fruitful collaboration.   We originally riffed of the Belgian cabinet door idea and started playing around with geometric shapes and options for different glass colors.   But before going too far, we put the design on hold because I was going to Barcelona, home of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral and, I would argue, some of the most stunning contemporary stained glass windows in the world.

The chromatic sequencing of the Sagrada Familia windows works on multiple levels.   There is the color variation and design of each window, each of which stands on its own as a piece of art in its own right. Each window has color variety, but sometimes that variety occurs within a narrow band of the color spectrum.

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As these windows progress along each side of the cathedral, the colors slowly transition so that their overall effect transitions gradually across the color spectrum.   The ceiling facing the windows is angled down, so that the light shines onto this sloped ceiling surface and creates a partial rainbow. There is the blue/green/yellow side, and the yellow/orange side.   Another section is red.  Learn more, click here.

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In addition to the stained glass windows washing the perimeter of the cathedral with rich color, diffuse white light filters down through branch-like columns that support the ceiling.   Once I experienced the light of the Sagrada Familia, every other European church I saw seemed dark and somber. Learn more, click here.

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I do not have multiple windows to play with in my own kitchen design, but I do have this one 24” x 24” square of northern light.   Purple is my thing.   I have a purple front door (voted on by you, dear readers and friends, check out that post here).   My new back doors to the mudroom are a matching purple color as well.

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Check out Amy’s instagram @down2earthdesign for more great inspiration!

So the new stained glass window, inspired by Sagrada Familia, is intended to center around purple, with sections that span into the blues and the pinks, maybe with a minor pop of yellow or teal, but mostly focusing on the narrow part of the color spectrum around purple.   Mouth blown glass, used at the cathedral, lends itself to more color variation than the glass Andy is able to source for me, but he came up with clever laying techniques to get the variation and intensity of the plum color I was looking for.   The design has been truly a collaborative process, with renderings going back and forth between us, and several working sessions in my kitchen.   Andy is careful, accommodating, funny, and a true artist at heart.   We are a week or so away from final installation and I couldn’t be more excited.

Here are some beautiful images of the building process:

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Here is a great video Andy put together of the process we just showed you from Flipgram:

Stay tuned to see the finished window installed in the kitchen!  We’d also love to hear stories of your personal touches you’ve been inspired to add to your home.

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