Thursday, January 31, 2013

Glass Up Your Home (Part IV)

glass counter minneapolis

If you’ve been keeping up with our “Glass Up Your Home” blog series, then I’m sure you’ve noticed a common thread running through the posts: OPTIONS. There are a vast range of glass types available, each with special properties that will modify your home décor in unique and surprising ways. It’s all a matter of finding what best suits your stylistic leanings. Today’s post is no exception. Because of the great variety of glass counter tops available, you’re sure to find one that jives with the look and feel of your kitchen space.
What you’ll gain from incorporating a glass counter top into your home, is a lustrous surface that gives the impression of delicate elegance yet is deceptively robust and durable. You might think that a glass surface in the kitchen would be a disaster due to its susceptibility to cracking and scratching. In truth, glass used for counters runs thick (generally 3/8” to 1”), so even you klutzes and butterfingers needn’t shy away. Additionally, the glass can be treated with an anti-scratching treatment that keeps the surface as pristine as the day it was installed.

Stand-Off Counters
glass counter top minneapolis
Let’s get back to OPTIONS. Like the glass backsplash discussed, here, you can choose from an array of glass styles, such as: back painted, tinted, obscure, etc. Homeowners that want a touch of The Strip in their kitchen can use LEDs on the counter’s underside to create a resonant glow. Another cool direction to take is to use stand-off glass counters. These surfaces seem to hover in air with the help of metal pegs, and allow the character of the material below to shine through. At the risk of sounding redundant, there are options with this item, as well. Some people prefer to raise the counter only a few inches to form the primary counter surface, while others like a narrower glass counter raised six inches or so, that provides a secondary surface, perfect for a bar area or an auxiliary space when your food prep area gets crowded.

back lit glass minneapolis
stand off counter minneapolis

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glass Up Your Home (Part III)

glass wall minneapolis
Matte Glass Wall
Glass Partitions

Our latest blog in the “Glass Up Your Home” series, focuses on one of my favorite vitreous additions a person can make to their home.  Glass walls and partitions are a smart choice for sectioning off a room, adding structure to a space, or giving your home a needed shot of the MODERN.  Plain old sheet rock walls can feel so confining, especially in smaller rooms, but a space that’s too vacuous can be oppressive in a different way. We want it all. We want our homes to feel open and flowing, but we still want a sense of structure, rhythm to the flow, and designated and defined spaces for our daily rituals.

 glass slider   home glass minneapolis

creative glass minneapolis
Repurposed Factory Window

You can have all these things by incorporating glass walls or partitions into your home interior. The brilliant thing about glass is that, because of its transparency, it seems to hover in some indefinite realm of matter. It is almost like the suggestion of physicality. OK, let’s not get TOO deep here. Simply put, with glass dividers you get the structure but not the restrictiveness. Light will move about your home freely, while the eye will note the subtle lines that inform the space.

There are a lot of interesting directions you can take with glass partitions. They’re perfect for sectioning off conjoined rooms, creating charming nooks, or giving just a modicum of privacy. As you'll notice from the photos, there's also a lot of options in terms of glass finish and thickness. Get creative with it, like the home in the photo on the right. They repurposed an old factory window to serve as a divider between the kitchen and dining/living room. The grids do a lot to emphasize the division between the rooms, yet the space retains its sense of openness.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Glass Up Your Home (Part II)

glass panel minneapolis

Glass Railing

The next item we want to feature on the American Glass & Mirror blog is the glass railing system. This product is useful both in the home, giving your staircase a contemporary edge, or outside on the deck, opening up your view to the backyard. In your home’s interior, glass railings allow the charm of surrounding materials to shine through and create light, clean lines that subtly break up a space. Outside the home, glass railings are the perfect way to enjoy a vista unimpeded by wood or metal railings – if you live lakeside, or on a hilltop, it’s a must! We installed a system in our family home about five years ago and have been thrilled with the results. Now, in the mornings I watch the birds frequenting the feeders with ease, and can enjoy the backyard football matches without rising from my deck chair.

With an impressive variety of styles and designs to choose from, glass railing systems can be used to fit into any design scheme; it’s just a matter of finding the one that will work for you. If your tastes tend toward minimalist, there is an assortment of austere systems that lack top and bottom rails and are secured only by utilitarian hardware at the base of the glass panels – well-suited for a chic loft or modernist dwelling. If you want something warmer and more resistant to abuse (kids love to climb…), go with wood or metal on the rails and framing posts.

glass railing minneapolisYou also have options in terms of glass – thickness and style. We went with ¼” glass at our home because it was the cheapest, and we chose a system with a metal top rail, where the top and bottom of the glass were not exposed. If you want something more regal, or if the top and bottom edges aren’t secured in a channel, you might want to go with 3/8” or ½” (remember: the thicker the glass you use, the more cost the project will incur.) In addition, you can choose from a multitude of glass designs. There are endless varieties of pattern, tinted, and cast glass that can be used in your system, not to mention the option for customize sandblasting. That said, clear glass is by far the most popular, because of its pellucid properties and the reasonable price.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Glass Up Your Home

Glass Counter Top
Glass Counter Top
We've been seeing a lot of non-traditional uses of glass in new homes, of late. Gone are the days when glass was relegated solely to the realm of windows and picture frames. People are incorporating it into their interior design in inventive ways and achieving bold and captivating results. The popularity of this material has grown in recent years because of state-of-the-art scratch-resistant coatings and a slew of new products on the market. Of course, the timeless appeal of glass is the ease of maintaining it (just need a mild cleaner and a rag) and its luminous surface that reflects and amplifies the character of surrounding materials. This month our blog will feature a series of stylish glass items that can give your home a contemporary edge. First up, the backsplash.

Cut Glass Minneapolis
Clear Glass

Glass is a great solution for keeping your kitchen or bathroom walls grime-free. You have a couple of options to consider with a “glass splash” – you can either let the glass merely protect what exists behind it or you can make it the star of the show. Say you have chic wallpaper or the perfect paint color behind your oven range and you don’t want it getting steamed, spattered with grease, and the like – clear glass is the ideal barrier between the destructive by-products of cooking and your kitchen’s aesthetic. It allows you to have the design elements you want to bring you décor to life, yet keeps your cooking area functional.

Art Glass Minneapolis
Cast Glass
The other direction you can take is imbuing the glass with character and making it an integral part of the kitchen’s look. Back-painted glass is simply clear glass painted on the reverse side with a color you select. It offers a space the same qualities of a painted wall, while adding a lustrous sheen and, of course, the protection you require. Another option is using a pattern or cast glass, which can give your wall surface a subtle or arresting effect, depending on your personal tastes and the style of glass you choose. Because these types of glass offer a variety of patterns and textures, you can match them to a paint color, wall paper, or back-paint to create a staggering range of effects.

Specialty Glass
Back-painted Glass
Glass tile can also serve admirably as a backsplash – it looks really sharp and can create a nice accent on your kitchen walls. There are, however, a couple of drawbacks to using glass tile, the first being price. Glass tiles exceed the cost of ceramic, porcelain, and even natural stone, so you can image how quickly the bill on a sizable job adds up. Another disadvantage of glass tile is that it needs to be grouted in. Without special attention from the person cleaning it, that grout line can become discolored with time, or a breeding ground for bacteria. Glass panels, on the other hand, don’t have seams that harbor gross elements, like mildew, or cooking grease.