I’ve been a little obsessed with stained glass for as long as I can remember, and as a designer I’ve always wanted to create something of my own. When we took on the renovation of our maisonette, it was clear that we would need to replace the rusty, lead, single glazed windows with modern double glazed units. We had a large (1x1.7m) west facing window on our landing which felt like the perfect opportunity for stained glass.
This window is on the corner of two roads (with a clear view straight down a busy street), so privacy was a major factor in our decision to opt for stained glass. We wanted to combine a mixture of frosted and small coloured areas to mask the interior of our house from passers by, without reducing the quantity of light entering our landing. The previous design was predominantly clear, divided into four sections with a traditional motif in the centre of each (and was then covered with net curtains). It was traditional, subtle and pretty, but I was keen to incorporate something bold and modern that would allow us to leave our stamp on the property. Our renovation turned the property on its head, so it felt appropriate to leave a bit of our personalities behind. And why block out light with heavy frosting, net curtains or shutters when you can utilise materials and expert craftsmanship!
The other thing I should mention is that the westerly direction of the window and flat suburban neighbourhood mean we are blessed with utterly stunning sunsets. The shades of yellow and orange develop as the evenings progress and they radiate through our hallway and into the rest of our house. We are extremely lucky to be able to play with the light in such a rare way.
All these reasons meant I had a fairly clear picture in my mind of what I wanted to achieve with the window design. I was keen to incorporate my love of maths and physics, so I opted to tie the golden ratio (Fibonacci sequence) into the design. I wanted to include a wide range of colours in a fairly random configuration, but I wanted to show a progression of colour throughout the spiral. You can see my design and the final installation in the image above.
The supplier of the other new windows in our house had a preferred stained glass company, and they were happy to produce my design with sufficient lead time (I think it took 8 weeks from design submission until installation). I’m honestly really rather impressed with the result. There are a few points where the colours of my design had to be tweaked a little, but overall the final product is an astounding likeness to my original artwork.
Now the window is in place, we have received a huge number of unprompted compliments; from the window fitters, to our neighbours, friends and family, and even passers by. I particularly enjoy it when we have visitors that don’t notice the window when they come up the stairs into the house, but upon leaving they turn and see the window at eye level in all of its glory. Comments from others aside, all that really matters are our feelings towards it… and it is both Adrian and my favourite thing in the house. Nothing compares to the feeling of entering the house after a long day at work and climbing the stairs to reveal a perfect sunset; the colours and shapes of the window projected onto the walls with a firey orange tint. It never ceases to make me smile.
I’ve certainly contemplated taking the window with us when we move and replacing it with something more traditional, although that feels a little mad. Maybe a new house just provides the perfect opportunity for me to design another, and maybe this piece deserves to live at this house. I just hope any future residents love it as much as we do.
If you’re interested in creating a stained glass window and need a hand designing it, please get in touch. It was a totally awesome project and is certainly something I’d love to do again.