Stained glass presents unique challenge in church conversions

Original windows
You can see the etched glass transom windows in the sanctuary on the right. The transom above the former front door, which may or may not have been stained glass, has been lost to history.

That the little Methodist church didn’t have stained glass windows was a plus for us in renovating it into our house.

Incorporating such obviously religious architecture into a private home is tricky.

Here’s a church conversion that did it well.

stained glass example
You can see how the ceiling was adjusted in the bathroom design to accommodate the window, but it’s lovely.

I found this on Houzz under the banner “the best church conversions.” Located in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood, this former Methodist church, built in 1901, is described as a “dream project for a young couple who wanted an open, light-soaked home in which to raise their three children.”

Stained glass has been around for a thousand years, and it is typically featured in the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings. It has the benefit of allowing light without tempting parishioners with outside distractions during services. The most elaborate stained glass windows in churches tell stories, such as the stations of the cross or of saints.

IS23n2gjuc7vk01000000000
This image captures how the church, and its windows, looked when we purchased it.

The windows in our church were not stained glass, but they were clouded glass to keep worshippers’ attention within. We swapped that out for clear glass. The original transom windows were etched glass. A kind of decorative glass, etched glass is the result of a series of small cuts made to the glass, by acidic, caustic or abrasive substances, after the glass has been manufactured. The cuts normally appear white against the glass and can be made into patterns or images.

etched glass window
The etchings in our windows feature flowers and geometric designs.

One of our transom windows has a small crack, but we resolved that by installing storm windows.

At some point in the reconstruction process, Tyler hit upon a way to incorporate stained glass into our design—as interior windows on the balcony. All the stained glass windows we found in antique stores were too gold or red for our color scheme until we found these leaded glass windows. They were the perfect “stained” glass without stain.

leaded glass over tub

One of these windows overlooks the tub. It’s not as dramatic as the Chicago church conversion, but it suits our aesthetic.

 

One thought on “Stained glass presents unique challenge in church conversions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s