Using Etched Glass To Create Amazing Interiors

If you’ve never considered using etched glass in your home, you’re missing out on an art form that’s as useful as it is beautiful. Glass can be etched for semi or complete privacy as in a bathroom window or a shower door, or used as semi-transparent “walls” in modern settings. Glass etching is a technique used to create patterns, translucence or artistic designs on glass by applying acidic, caustic or abrasive substances to the surface of the glass. The process removes minute pieces of glass to create the desired effect.

Acid etching, also known as French embossing, has been around since the Victorian era. It was used mainly for decorating windows and doors in public houses and bars where it gave a luxurious effect to sitting areas and afforded some privacy. In the 1860’s etched glass production began on a semi-industrial scale and was often used to decorate the front doors of homes of the era. Its popularity continues today with more intricate designs tending to be used in traditional interiors and more geometric designs in modern ones. Follow the links below for a look at several creative ways people are using etched glass in today’s modern homes and achieving amazing effects with it:

Bathrooms

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  • An entire glazed wall in this bathroom affords privacy when bathing, thanks to a translucent bottom half, but lets in a flood of light during the day and views of a starry sky by night.
  • A special silvery-effect etched glass partition creates a private area for the toilet and bathtub in this transitional bathroom.
  • An artful interpretation of traditional “frosted” glass shower doors that look like giant soap bubbles in this fun modern bathroom. Notice that they’re extended to create a private space for the toilet as well.
  • A beautiful arched window built into a shower in a traditional bathroom becomes even more extraordinary with a whimsical design etched into the glass.

Kitchens

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Partitions and Walls

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  • In a modern-style living room, an etched glass “wall” or partition defines the main circulation zone and disguises a stairwell. It also provides diffused light and helps contain sound within the room.
  • Etched glass framed in black serves as a half-wall for a loft space.
  • An artful etched glass wall in this hallway creates beautiful patterns on the opposite wall.

Doors

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  • An intricate tree pattern is etched into barn-style sliding glass doors that separate a modern dining room from the living room in this modern home.
  • A tropical entry door etched with banana leaves gives a whimsical nod to its island setting.
  • An Asian-style entry is uses etched glass to achieve a traditional Japanese shoji screen effect.

You may wonder about using etched glass for walls from a safety standpoint. These are usually made of tempered glass, a toughened form of glass which is stronger than standard plate-glass, and which breaks into small granular pieces rather than long sharp shards which could cause serious injury. Tempered glass is regularly used in a number of demanding applications such as passenger vehicle windows, shower doors, architectural glass doors and tables and even glass stair treads. It’s also a component in bullet-proof glass for armored vehicles. Tempering puts the outer surfaces of the glass into compression and the inner surfaces into tension, which toughens the glass and causes the safer breaking pattern.

Etched glass is sometimes pricey, but the benefits of added light, an open, airy look and interesting and unexpected applications make it worth the investment!

5 Warning Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Windows

As cooler temperatures start rolling in, you may be wondering if your windows are as efficient as they could be. Now is the perfect time to start replacing your dated and worn out windows. If you’re still not sure whether your windows make the cut, here are 5 warning signs that it’s time to replace your windows.

1. Your Home is Drafty

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  • While windows do let in a small amount of air, a noticeable draft points to signs that your windows should be replaced. As years go on, windows naturally deteriorate and let in more air.
  • Perhaps you have wooden windows that have warped due to exposure to moisture. This kind of problem can’t be fixed with caulking or weather-stripping, as the warped wood has created gaps leading outside.
  • If there are cracks in the window frame or panes, quick-fixes simply won’t do the trick. If you can feel a draft, it’s time to say goodbye to your old windows and have new ones installed. 

 

2. You Notice Condensation Inside the Glass

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  • Sometimes with double or even triple-paned windows there comes a time where the seal fails, and water is able to accumulate in between the panes of glass. This kind of condensation can also lead to white calcium deposits on the glass.
  • When the seal has failed in this way, your windows are no longer doing their job of keeping your home warm or cool, respectively. During the summer condensation can increase, while during the cooler months frost will form on the inside of the windows.
  • One way to test if your seals have failed is to touch your windows during the summer and see if they are hot to the touch. If so, your windows are no longer properly insulated. If this sounds like your windows, it’s time to put them to rest. 

 

3. Windows are Hard to Open and Close

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  • The first law of window replacement is: if you can’t open or close your windows, you need new ones. It’s as simple as that. 
  • Windows that don’t operate properly pose a hazard to everyone in your house. From the balance being off, windows can slam shut abruptly, which can injure you or your family. 
  • The inability to open windows at all, points to signs that the frame or locking mechanisms have either rotted or rusted. In either case, it’s time for new windows. 

 

4. Your Energy Bill is Really Expensive

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  • If your cooling and heating costs seem to keep going up, more than likely your windows are the culprit. Older or damaged windows simply can’t be energy-efficient, and it will end up costing you big to keep them in your home. 
  • According to the Department of Energy, “If you have old or inefficient windows, it is actually more cost-effective to replace the windows entirely, rather than trying to improve their efficiency. New energy-efficient windows, pay for themselves over time as your heating and cooling costs are reduced.” 
  • Some great options for new windows are anything that has at least two panes and is ENERGY STAR labeled. 

 

5. You’re Ready for a Change

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  • Perhaps your windows are not old or cracking. In fact you might be looking to replace them simply because it’s time for a change. 
  • A great way to revamp your windows is by installing new ones with different types of glass. One great option is glass block windows. These windows are break-resistant so they are an awesome choice for home security, but are also visually appealing and let in plenty of light. 
  • Maybe you are interested in replacing your windows because you would prefer new ones that operate in a different way. Instead of sliding windows, consider hinged or casement windows that open out. 

 

No matter your reasoning for replacing your windows, now is the perfect time to act! For more information on replacing your home’s windows, contact us today! 

7 Ways To Use Mirrors

7 Ways To Use Mirrors In Your Home Decorating

Use Mirrors In Your Home Decorating

Mirrors are so much more than reflective glass. They are decorative tools that can be used to create breathtaking aesthetics within your home. You don’t want to go with the same boring reparations that everyone else is using. Mirrors have been used for decorating walls and living spaces for centuries, and here are some fun ways for you to use them in your home.

#1. Collage of mirrors.

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Get creative with a wall. Rather than buying expensive artwork that may not have any kind of meaning to you, you can create a collage with small mirrors. You may want to try a variety of different sizes of a single shape, such as squares, circles, or even trapezoids.

#2. Place a large mirror within the opening of your fireplace.

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During the months of the year when you are not going to be using your fireplace, place a large mirror in the opening. You can then place candles in the front as a way of creating a beautiful light show. It won’t generate as much heat, but you can still utilize the beautiful feature that you have within your home.

#3. Create a “Window”

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You may not have as many windows in your home as you would like. Special placing of mirrors on the opposite wall of the window can help to provide a reflection of the outdoors. It will make the space look a lot larger, and potentially add in more sunlight as well.

#4. Have a mirrored table made.

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There are plenty of glass and wooden coffee tables. You can stand out and have a mirrored reflection instead, which can add beauty and make it a conversation piece. If you have a coffee table with a piece of glass already, you can simply replace it with the mirror. Following some dos and don’ts with furniture design can go a long way.

#5. Frame a mirror.

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You may have a very specific style within your home, whether it is Renaissance, New Age, modern, or anything else. You can choose a picture frame from that style and then frame a mirror. This can be used within your home as a vanity mirror, above your dresser in your bedroom, or simply on the wall of the hallway as a way of adding some decoration.

#6. Etch designs on walls of mirrors.

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You may have a wall or a closet door that needs a new and refreshed look. Creating a wall made of mirror glass can be absolutely beautiful. Rather than having the monotony of just glass, however, you can have the glass etched with the design. For example, you may want to have the design of a tree, leaves, or even a fleur de lys etched as a way of matching the personality of the room.

#7. Use a full length mirror as a runner.

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Forget about the cloth runners down the center of your dining room table. Instead, you can use a full length mirror to place on the table. You can then decorated with glass, flower vases, and much more. The primary benefit is that it will be extremely easy to clean. The secondary benefit is that it’s going to add a luxurious look to your dining room.

There are plenty of creative ideas to incorporate into your home. Mirrors are absolutely gorgeous, and they can be customized however you desire so that you can ensure you have a beautiful look within your home. Remember, mirrors do not have to be used solely in bathrooms. They are capable of so much more.

Custom mirrors can offer even more choices for decorating your home and it is easier than you might think to find the custom mirror you are looking for.

3 Reasons to Replace Your Old Sliding Glass Door with French Doors

In older homes, sliding glass doors are often a drain on energy efficiency. Before energy efficient doors and windows became the standard, sliding glass doors, especially those installed in the wrong direction, were often like having little to no barrier from the outside. Replacing old sliding glass doors not only adds aesthetic beauty to your home, but also saves money by improving a home’s energy efficiency. Choosing French doors to replace your bulky sliding glass doors offers numerous benefits.

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1. Improved Function – Although your sliding glass door may be 6 foot wide, in reality, it only provides a maximum of 3 foot of open space. The problem is even worse if your sliding glass door is only 5 foot wide. On the other hand, 6 foot French doors, allow both doors to be fully opened. This means your 6 foot door, provides a full 6 foot of open space providing sufficient space for moving large items or just allowing greater access to your home. Furthermore, unlike sliding glass doors that are extremely heavy and prone to troublesome openings due to relying on rollers that wear out and become clogged with debris, French doors are easy to open, clean, and require little maintenance.

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2. Increase Safety – Hinged French doors offer a large improvement in safety over the typical sliding glass door. Sliding glass doors operate on tracks and rollers. Unfortunately, these are can be one of the easiest entry point for criminals into your home. By simply prying the sliding door off of the rollers, a burglar is able to remove the entire door panel. An experienced thief can complete this process in just a couple of minutes. French doors, especially those that swing out, are extremely difficult to pry open or kick in. To further the protection properties, you can add a multi-point locking system that engages three points automatically when the handle is pulled up. Many French doors are also made with thicker glass than the standard sliding glass door.

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3. Energy Efficiency – Today’s French doors offer tremendous energy efficiency. French doors are made of high performance fiberglass that is Low E. The glass is over 1 inch thick and at least double paned and in some cases triple paned. The solar heat transmission of French doors with Low E glass is almost 4 times better than the average sliding glass door unit. On top of that, French doors have weather stripping that tightly seals the door making penetration from outside air and water nearly impossible. Unlike an average sliding glass door that fails to block temperature changes, fiberglass French doors prevent large temperature shifts in your homes interior due to outside weather changes.

Replacing outdated sliding glass doors improves the look of your home and offers money saving benefits. Many homeowners dream of replacing their bulky sliding glass doors and are greatly enticed by the number of attractive and efficient options to choose from. However, it should be noted that installing doors is a complicated business and faulty installation can lead to greater inefficiency than the original door. Having a professional in your corner to help select the correct doors for your home and properly install them is vital to receiving the largest return on your investment.

With numerous options to choose from, such as wood grain interiors and decorative hardware, an experienced professional will guide you through the process from beginning to end, so don’t delay. Now, is the time to get rid of that outdated sliding patio door. Choosing a fiberglass French patio door that brings out your personal style, saves you money, and helps to better protect your family. For more style inspiration, check out many of the professionally installed doors in the galleries on houzz.com.