Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Vintage… Maybe?

March 13, 2022 In a bit of sideways move from modern contemporary, I dropped into a salvage yard in Exeter, Architectural Salvage. They are only open on Fridays, and I’ve always wanted to see what’s inside but the timing was never right. Next door is Cam’s Antiques, a consignment shop chock full of interesting stuff, with a lot of vintage lights, and his wife has 2 rooms of vintage clothing, handbags and jewelry. As I drove by, my head swiveled to the right… It was Friday… and Cam’s is only open Fri-Sun, so it was a 2-fer! Look at some of this stuff… Where else would you find oak choir stalls, old porcelain sinks, carved lion corbels and so many stained glass windows all jumbled together? There were quite a few people poking around, and there was lots to see around every corner. I especially loved the door knobs. Think of how many people have turned them through the years, in how many rooms, in how many houses or buildings… all that history. Now they are just in a box.

My interest was in stained glass windows, or some type of window with etched or frosted glass. There are two interior windows in the house that we’ve been thinking about. One is on the 3rd floor between the guest bedroom and the “waiting room” at the top of the stairs. It is an odd place for an open interior window, until you understand that it was originally an exterior window! The waiting room and long narrow room with the sky lights were originally an outside deck with a 3′ wall surrounding the deck (and the open windows between the great room and the narrow room were also exterior windows). Hard to visualize… but in the end the deck plan was abandoned because the deck was basically like a little swimming pool up there when it rained, and it kept leaking down into the office and kitchen, so it was framed in to become a room. Leaking you say? Hmmm, seems like a theme for this house, eh?

So the window on the left will need something such as etched or stained glass or shutters for privacy, as there will be a bedroom on the other side. You might ask, well why didn’t you just wall it up? I don’t know…. except that we really like the light that comes in, and that room won’t be used a whole lot. The other “transom” windows on the long wall will be trimmed and stay open for air flow and light.

The other window we would like to make unique is between the 1st floor half-bath and the stairwell-entryway. It was hard to visualize before the drywall went up, but now you can see it more clearly. It is square and approximately 36×36, although it will be smaller when trimmed. The idea is that light from the front entryway will illuminate the bathroom, and that light (from fixtures) in the bathroom will be seen through a unique (and hopefully beautiful) glass window in the entryway as you enter the front doors.

There will be a chandelier light fixture hanging in the stairwell to the lower level, with 2 of the 5 staggered lights (black trim, clear glass) visible in front of the window. So there’s that to think about.

I have a whole Pinterest board with all types and styles of stained glass, glass blocks (clear and colored), and so on. The options are many, but the idea of clear glass that is textured or etched is appealing as it will be more timeless as compared to a colored stained glass window, even if it were merely an abstract composition.

Remember our Architectural Salvage place? Don’t you love the window in that door on the left? Well, here is something else unique. It is called Luxfer prismatic glass and has quite an interesting history beginning in the late 1800’s. The purpose of the ridges on one side of each pane is to take sunlight from outside and refract it inside of a room to increase the lighting efficiency of the window. It was commonly used in storefronts and especially in factories with large windows, where special installations were done based on the location. Interestingly, many of the small panes were made decorative with patterns, and famously the pattern on the right was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. There’s lots on the web about this glass, and it is pretty interesting if you want to know more! The glass is originally clear but turns a pale lilac color as it ages. So, while this is all fascinating and maybe something we could use in the house, these particular windows would require a lot of work to fit our needs… essentially you’d have to take apart the whole window and reassemble it. He wanted $200 per window which was way too much… I might have paid $50. BTW, on etsy and ebay you can find the individual panes of Luxfer glass to make your own stained glass windows. Anyway, the sizing wasn’t going to work and while it was extremely cool, it just wasn’t right for us… but I’m glad I learned about it!

Well, there’s more, but it’ll wait another day. ūüôā

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