Decorating With Glass


In remodeling or redecorating, no matter the budget, we all like a little something that says, “This is MY home.” Decorative glass may be just the way to achieve that custom touch. This article gives an overview of practical and beautiful possibilities to help put your signature on your home—from the outside in.

From the curb, your home makes its first statement of “Welcome,” as well as affecting curb-appeal and value. Landscaping as part of a home improvement project is important, and you might want to contemplate a little something different than the usual shrubs, lawn, and mulch. A short trip to and their “GlassScape” gallery is an excursion into a realm of landscape design where the possibilities are endless. With recycled glass ‘mulch’ you can create special features—from the sublimely understated to a more exuberant proclamation.
As you walk up the path, the front door speaks yet another dimension of your home’s personality. No matter the size of your door(s), Vee Osvalds of Osvalds Stained Glass can create the dramatic or subtle, traditional or contemporary, tried-and-true or personally-designed entrance you want. For 30 years Osvalds has worked in this artistic medium and has done countless projects in new and restorative work. He delights in walking through your project with you—whether the front door, stained or leaded glass windows, a special panel, glass sculpture, or artwork. 
Adding decorative glass panels to a door that has glass provides even more insulation, but leaded and stained glass panels can also be cut into solid doors to let light in and to create privacy. At Osvalds’ studio you’ll see many glass options (wavy, antique, etched, water glass, etc.). He also has created projects using Dalle-de-verre glass, which is much thicker than standard glass. With richer and deeper colors, displayed in strong and direct sunlight, it allows the facets in the glass to sparkle.  
Even in this economic and building downturn, Osvalds notes that many people still opt to customize with glass in their homes: entrances, dividing walls, shower enclosures, back splashes, skylights, and, of course, windows and doors, but he does not recommend it for flooring or stair treads. It’s a special treat to visit his studio in the McGuffey Art Center (please call first—434-293-9547), and his website is an excellent introduction.
Possibilities for enjoying the beauty of glass continue once inside your home. For many years, frameless glass shower doors have been a cost-effective way to add a high-end look. But when you speak with John Pleasants of Glass Innovations (540-765-2955; 434-878-0025) you will immediately become aware of the exciting range that glass can provide throughout your home. A quick visit to ( shows the varied array of uses for every room in the house. Importantly, they have always used a clear polymer sealer applied to every shower as part of standard, high quality installation–preventing damage caused by hard water and making cleaning much easier.
With 16 years in the business and a degree in Fine Arts, Pleasants is highly adept at implementing custom designs and notes that, “…our focus is on shower enclosures, sandblast imagery and design, color coated glass for back splashes, shower walls, and even some countertops on bath vanities and bar areas.” For these applications, in addition to color, clients have a choice of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ blasting. Pleasants tells us that positive blasting is the most typical method, in which the design (positive) is blasted, while what is not the design itself (negative) is left clear. Negative blasting blasts everything that is not the design (negative space), leaving the design itself (positive space) clear. 
With a portfolio brimming with examples of fine work, Pleasants says, “I also put ‘stock designs’ on the website—to spark the imagination of customers and to show lower cost options of designs that have already been created.” As homeowners considering custom touches to cost-effective remodeling, a call to John Pleasants of Glass Innovations is on the must-do list.
About nine years ago, several types of glass countertops for kitchens (some recycled glass) became an instant hit for persons who wanted a unique, high-end look. However, John Cogswell of Cogswell Stone ( agrees with others that this ‘hit’ might have partially capitalized on the ‘recycled’ label. While natural ‘green’ stone has continued to hold its value as practical and beautiful, along with some engineered stones, the use of glass has declined—especially for kitchen countertops. However, Cogswell Stone has installed some of these products, specifically “Ice Glass,” a terrazzo-like combination of recycled glass and cement, and Enviro Glass, which is a glass and resin mixture. Cogswell tell us, “We’ve done Enviro Glass countertops that are translucent and can be backlit. It makes a beautiful vanity application.” He suggests that 
homeowners visit their website and give him a call to discuss options (434-213-9547). 
Francesca Toscani (Interior Editions) specializes in reworking and remodeling difficult kitchen, bath and other interior spaces to unlock their potential.; 434.823.1817.