As you well know if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, a lot went into our kitchen renovation. Our list of projects was loooong, and even though it took us almost 18 months, we finally got through it…almost. Can you spot the one that remained incomplete?
- New fridge
- Remove The Wall
- Remove floor
- Paint walls
- Paint ceiling
- New switch plates, new outlets, cap off ceiling lights
- New corian counters
- New floor
- New trim along floors & caulk
- Paint radiators
- New floor grates
- New dishwasher
- Built-in bench and cushion
- Dining chairs
- Buffet/credenza for storage
- Mud room storage
- Paint door
- Remove microwave and cabinet
- Remove backsplash
- New backsplash
- Range hood
- Stained glass
- New chandelier
- New pendant light
- Remove buffet, turn into island
- Mount glass cabinet
- Fridge surround
- Finish back of island
- Pantry and sliding shelves
- Open shelves
- Recycling center
- Finish side of L counters and gap next to pantry
- New butcher block counters
- New cabinet hardware
- Crown molding along cabinets
That’s right, I still was on the hunt for stained glass for our big picture window. It’s the only window in the kitchen (thank goodness we opened things up to the sunroom!) so we treasure the light it lets in, but the window also opens right up onto our neighbor’s main door, living room, and kitchen (hard to fully appreciate because of course it’s difficult to photograph without it getting totally blown out).
Because of our house’s layout, that means that our neighbors can see us whenever we’re walking in and out of our bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room — kind of a lot of our house! That means that a lot of the time, we keep the blinds closed, which isn’t very nice looking from the outside or inside.
I thought about privacy blinds that would still let light in, but from almost Day 1 of buying the house I was pining for a big stained glass panel that we could hang to provide privacy while also continuing to let light in and add color and interest to our home (which is otherwise not the most architecturally exciting space). I loved the architecture of our old apartment (a classic Somerville triple-decker) and we had a stained glass window in our living room like so many houses of that style (of which I sadly appear to have zero good photos but have many good memories). The idea of bringing some of that style into this home was very appealing.
Of course I knew that it might take a very long time to find a piece of stained glass that was the right style, size, and price point. I was willing to splurge a little (knowing I might need to spend $500-$600 to get something decent that was large enough), but if I was going to spend that much then the style and size needed to be perfect.
For literally years I kept my eyes open on trips to architectural salvage stores and flea markets, and checked craigslist regularly. The closest I came was this past spring at Brimfield, when I came across I few pieces I liked. I loved the style of these, but the dimensions weren’t right and they were too clear to provide much privacy:
Since I knew it might take me awhile to find the right thing, I stopped thinking about this as an integral part of my kitchen makeover, as I wanted to be able to call that DONE even if I was still on the hunt for the right stained glass. Fortunately, the purpose of this post is to announce (a mere 600 words in) that I finally found it!
One day recently I was checking craigslist, and came across this posting:
The dimensions were right (though on the smaller end of the range I’d identified as workable), the price was most definitely right, and I really liked the style — it’s what the stained glass windows in the Boston Area typically look like, so it felt somehow authentic to our space even though it’s not our specific house’s style. I immediately sent an email to see if it was still available, it was, and I trekked up to near the New Hampshire border to pick it up.
The thing about stained glass is that it looks downright depressing when it’s not in front of the light…especially because it was in dire need of scraping and new paint.
But I knew from looking at it in the light that it would be great for the space with a little TLC.
The first thing I did was test the paint for lead. The owner wasn’t sure quite what time period it was from, but suspected 60s or 70s — meaning it definitely could have lead paint. Rather than sending off a sample for analysis, I used a well-reviewed self-tester kit that I got from Amazon (affiliate link – read our policies).
The thing to know about this kit is that you can get a false positive — that is, if it comes back negative then you can be confident there’s no lead, but if it comes back positive it’s possible that there isn’t really lead. I was willing to take this chance because I knew that it would be safe if it was negative, and if it was positive then I’d just need to send a sample out for more testing which is the only alternative I would have had to self testing in the first place.
The test was quite easy, I just followed the directions and used swabs to test both sides of the window (since the paint was different on each side).
I was quite happy when it all came back negative, which meant I could scrape and repaint it myself!
The back especially was in really rough shape, which I wasn’t too concerned about since this will be facing out and really not seen that well (since it won’t actually be on the exterior of our house, it will be hanging in front of our existing windows). I used a screwdriver to remove loose paint and molding.
If we were installing this as an actual window, I would probably need to get the frame completely redone because it was really coming apart in places, but for hanging it decoratively that wasn’t an issue. I still might do that someday, but for now it’s okay.
Then I painstakingly applied a coat of primer and two coats of white paint to both sides. It took a good long while…. Hanging it was super easy, I just used some S hooks and chain I bought at Home Depot; I cut the chain to length using my dremel.
And here it is!
I love how it looks in the space, and it gives us the privacy we were looking for without blocking much light. Here’s what you see from the hallway outside our bedroom now, instead of our neighbor’s living room:
Much better! And I love how it adds a little interest to the outer wall of the kitchen, which before was feeling a little dull compared to the rest of the newly renovated space.
Notice Murphy’s ghostly figure enjoying it, thanks to my long exposure.
Here’s another one for you Murphy lovers:
So there you have it — while we’ll always keep puttering in the kitchen, I think the long list of projects we set out to accomplish way back in January 2016 is finally finished!