A Historical Craft
Stained glass is an ancient art form that unites color and line in a glowing display. Today, stained glass is usually found in three basic types: leaded, enameled, or faceted.
In leaded stained glass, small sections of glass are secured in grooved strips of lead to create a design. Metal oxides added to the molten glass yield the classic jewel-tone colors. For enameled glass, on the other hand, color is applied to the surface of the glass and fused to it under intense heat. Faceted stained glass, in contrast, involves one-inch-thick chunks of colored glass that have been cut to shape and chipped to enhance refraction. These colorful pieces are arranged into a design and then epoxy resin is poured between them to form a matrix. The resulting effect is bold and geometric, reminiscent of a glittering mosaic.
While we tend to associate stained glass with places of worship, the art has a long history in private homes as well. It’s as at home in a farmhouse as it is in a stately mansion. It can complement a minimalist aesthetic as well as it can the fussiest Victorian. See for yourself in this roundup of 10 houses from various eras that demonstrate just how stunning stained glass can be.
Sunny and Screened
A combination of stained glass and etched or frosted glass enhances privacy while still keeping this entryway bright and welcoming. The floral motif of the transom pairs well with the more modern design of the stained-glass window on the landing.
The stately stained glass on the doors and transoms of this opulent dining room is merely the icing on a magnificent cake. The leaded tracery of the windows echoes the curving geometry of the ceiling and the sinuous frieze along the top of the paneled walls. The transparent glass of the doors allows light to flood the room, while the rich color of the transoms stands out against the wood-swathed walls.
A Minimalist Approach
Stained glass doesn’t have to overwhelm to take center stage. The large leaded windows set into the solid brick wall feature just a hint of color, and yet they inject a touch of relaxed formality into an otherwise casual space. The result? A room that feels as comfortably modern as it does traditional, striking a perfect balance in this old house.
Narrow, arched stained-glass windows complement this imposing, fortress-like facade. Their golden nighttime glow provides a bright counterpoint to the skyscraping palm trees, wrought-iron gates, and climbing ivy.
A clean-lined stained-glass window introduces a little color and pattern to a sophisticated white interior. It also helps define functional areas in this fresh, open-concept space while artfully screening out nearby buildings.
With paneled walls, a comfy couch, and a cozy ceiling height, this renovated cottage is a snug retreat. The bones of the past are still clearly here, while modern touches bring an airy, bright vibe. Breaking up the series of windows circling the room, a single stained-glass panel serves as a translucent, refined piece of art in this easygoing space.
Neutral carpeting provides a backdrop for the rich, dark walls and furnishings of this poised, traditional living room. While the decor is a medley of 20th century styles, the stained glass of the transom and graceful arched window recalls an earlier era and a timeless aesthetic.
The simplicity of this farmhouse entryway lets every element shine. The gorgeous grain of the front door, the molding on the white walls, and the warm interplay of the many woods gleam under the glow of the ornate chandelier and the light that streams through the stained-glass transom, the space’s sole source of color.
A Dramatic Climb
Moody elegance sets the tone in this 1910 Queen Anne-style Victorian. Walls and floors are covered in pastel and golden hues, and given the home’s layout, interesting nooks and crannies abound. But the showstopper is certainly the steep, sculptural staircase with staggered stained-glass windows that add light and drama.
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