Are Stained Glass Windows Out of Style?

At Optima®, we’re always fascinated to spotlight the unique elements of architecture and design that have had a profound impact in history. This time, we’re focusing on the renaissance of a timeless art form that is seamlessly bridging the gap between the traditional and the contemporary — Stained Glass Windows.

Stained-glass windows, or art glass windows, often appreciated for their utility and beauty, have roots tracing back to ancient Rome. They blossomed into prominence between 1150 and 1500, adorning the cathedrals of Europe with intricate, vibrant patterns. But the modern era is experiencing a resurgence of this art form. Today, stained glass windows aren’t confined to churches or Victorian homes but have made an enchanting comeback in contemporary design.

Arthur B Heurtley House. Photo: yooperann

Famed architects have leveraged the beauty of stained glass in their designs. Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, frequently incorporated art glass into his iconic works, including the remarkable Arthur Heurtley House in Oak Park. Here, he integrated stained glass windows into the home’s design, creating intricate geometric patterns that brought warmth, privacy, and an unparalleled aesthetic charm. The use of art glass also reveals itself in the Oak Circle Historic District, a small grouping of 15 early twentieth-century houses, built primarily in the Craftsmen style with magnificent detailing from the Prairie School of Architecture.

Craftsman style house with art glass windows in Oak Circle. Photo: Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

Stained glass windows are more than just pleasing aesthetics. They are crafted with a fascinating process. The basic ingredients for glass, sand, and wood ash are melded into a beautiful symphony of colors with the addition of powdered metals. These pieces of colored glass are assembled into captivating designs that tell stories, highlight themes, or merely add an artist’s touch to any space.

Why are stained glass windows reclaiming their spot in modern design, you ask? Their versatility, for one, is unmatched. Customizable to fit any stylistic preference, they can embody soft, subtle color combinations or bold, elaborate displays. But their versatility extends beyond just aesthetics. Though windows are the most common form, stained glass has been creatively integrated into room dividers, doors, and even fireplace screens.

In the Szafraniec Chapel at Wawel Cathedral, by Jozef Mehoffer; 1908.
Photo: Slices of Light

Moreover, these artistic installations are a boon to privacy. Stained glass windows can block unattractive views without compromising on natural light. This interplay of privacy and luminosity creates intimate spaces infused with a stunning spectrum of colors.

Stained glass windows also serve as a profitable investment. They’re known to increase the value of your home in more ways than one. From enhancing your home’s curb appeal to augmenting its market and perceived value, stained glass windows serve as an alluring asset.

Miami Airport

We’re thrilled to see the innovative ways in which stained glass windows are being used in modern design. Every architectural element tells a story and contributes to the overall narrative of the space. Stained glass windows are a testament to this belief – a beautiful blend of art, history, functionality, and design. In the end, they give us pause, reminding us that while architecture serves as a canvas, it’s our creativity that paints the picture.

The Health Benefits of Natural Light

Architecturally speaking, Modernist design is often defined by expansive windows and plenty of natural light, something we’ve incorporated across our properties for decades. There’s certainly an aesthetic benefit to large windows and entryways; they invite the outdoors inside, giving residents a full view of the surrounding environment. And as we’ve seen from this year, there’s certainly a wellness aspect to the design feature as well. So what exactly are the full health benefits of natural light?

Physical Benefits

When exposed to sunlight, our skin absorbs vitamin D, which helps prevent bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, weight gain and various cancers. You don’t have to sit by the pool in order to get plenty of vitamin D; soaking in some sun while you work from your at-home office or sipping coffee by your window in the morning works just fine. Natural light exposure also helps improve productivity, immune system strength, mood and sleep. Especially during winter months, it’s important to get your daily dose of natural light. 

Mental Benefits

And speaking of winter months, with the days getting shorter and darker, many suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. During that time of year, natural light is even more impactful on our mental health. Sunlight actually helps produce serotonin and endorphins, hormones that can significantly improve our moods. If you’re looking for a natural way to beat the winter blues, natural light is a great method to do so.

If you want to maximize natural lighting in your own home, there are a few ways to do so without any major renovations. Arrange mirrors to reflect light, move furniture as to not block windows, avoid heavy or dark drapes and keep your windows clean. You can even try light therapy or synthetic light lamps for an extra boost. No matter your method, natural light is a great way to stay happy and healthy this winter. 

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Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL

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