Clear View

Several weeks ago I posted about using glass as a construction material or feature finish in your home, in the post Glass Half Full. We’ve now finished the work on the stairwell and I thought I’d show you what we’ve achieved. I mentioned that we had some frustrations with this project, but I’m so happy with how it looks – and so are the clients!

glass insert and balustrade

glass insert and balustrade

vision panel - or wall?

vision panel – or wall?

The feature wallpaper isn’t green but it seems to pick up the colour of the glass. On the landing, because the light is directly overhead it is the mushroom/stone colour that we expected – but the balustrade is 12mm thick and so the green tint is very dominant. You can get glass without the tint, its called low iron glass and is a little more expensive, but if green isn’t your colour, it’s worth considering.

Luckily the clients like green and it’s one of the colours that comes up in the stone they’ve used on their kitchen floor. Now that the room is linked to the stairs with the glass insert, I wanted to be able connect the spaces visually and the glass tint helps with that.

handcap and handrail

handcap and handrail

Because so many developments use glass on their balconies, I really wanted to stay away from that ‘sea-side feel’ and because we’ve used oak elsewhere in the interior, I was keen to use this to finish our balustrade. We could have left it without a hand-cap, but that too could have looked rather more commercial than domestic. I did want to achieve that balance of modernity within this home, but given the way people naturally run their hand along a balustrade, glass doesn’t really lend itself to being held and as the balustrade is formed of two panels, there is an air gap of 10mm between them which would really hurt if you caught your hand on it, hence the decision to use a hand-cap on the balustrade and a handrail on the opposing wall.

air gap between panels

air gap between panels

balustrade and handrail

balustrade and handrail

What’s really nice is the tunnel effect that the handrail and hand-cap create. At the top of the stairs, you’re in bright light and at the bottom in much more subdued conditions, but the glass and the handrail lead you down. They create that visual link and because the wall has been replaced with the glass insert, the kitchen borrows the light from above and now feels lighter and less enclosed than it did.

Despite the problems that using glass can throw up, it gives the most wonderful finish, increases light and updates the style of your home all at the same time. This is the sort of refurbishment that will add value, it’s unusual, stylish and practical, just the sort of thing that estate agents like to push as a key feature on a listed property. Because of this, give of a lot of thought to how you spend your money when you start doing refurbishments. If you are mindful of your property’s resale potential – and with the way London house prices are rising right now, it’s hard not to be – its important to remember that bathrooms and kitchens don’t really add value, but something that ticks boxes like light and practicality will.

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