Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design.
If you're new to it - although I'm celebrating 26 years as a top producing Toronto realtor - my passion for all aspects of shelter has led to my writing on many facets of housing and home.
When I was designing my vintage brick and beam loft at The Button Factory, my rule of thumb was to always use natural materials. Why? Because when you stick to a palette of metal, glass, stone and wood in a factory loft, you're honouring the honesty of its industrial heritage as a place of production, while reinventing the space into a place of contemporary domesticity.
Natural materials balance the masculine and feminine (think stainless steel counters with a white veined marble backsplash), while infusing some sheen, texture, warmth and reflection. And because they've been essential building blocks to our built environment since the industrial revolution, they assure some measure of timelessness.
Today I wanted to share a design tete-a-tete on the most reflective of natural materials - glass - and my delight for silver-backed slumped glass counters. Although glass is a common material used in interior design, it isn't often we see it used with inventiveness. Typically we see it used for shower enclosures, display shelving, in lighting, and for fixtures and fittings like door handles and cabinet pulls. It's unfortunate we don't celebrate glass like the Victorians or Edwardians, who often incorporated custom stained glass windows or etched glass in domestic architecture. Lately we see its growing use as an application on staircases, where floating glass railings have become very on-trend over the past decade. These are best suited to people who don't have children, or the inclination to touch things.
Glass offers the opportunity for transparency, reflection and refraction, which are important elements in design. The intelligent use of glass can extend sight lines, improve the filtering of natural light, or showcase a unique or panoramic view. Glass tabletops can help amplify the sense of space in a room (although be prepared to constantly dust the surface), while glass tiles can add a reflective depth to a washroom or kitchen (I loves me a mirror backsplash!). An interior glass wall can define a space without dividing it, while glass floors (like the one in the CN Tower) can create a point of view you may otherwise rarely see.
Check out this link for some ways to use glass in your home!
One of the more interesting uses of glass in décor is when it's been transformed. When glass is heated it becomes malleable, lending incredible shape and texture for a unique focal point. This practice is called "slumping". Above is a water feature incorporating panes of slumped glass.
When sheet glass is heated in a kiln and liquefies, gravity pulls it downwards. In this process, called slumping, a mold is placed to catch the liquefied glass. Once it has assumed the shape of the mold, it is cooled and solidifies in that shape. Pretty much anything is possible. In some cases, the glass may take several trips to the kiln, especially if you are using recycled bits of glass. In the final phase, when it is completely liquiefied and appropriate to mold, gravity will pour it into all of the nooks and crannies of the mold.
Many smaller projects can be done at local studios or art classes, like these glass bottles that have been slumped in a kiln to create bottle-shaped dishes:
Slumped Glass As A Decorative Art
The manipulation of glass through the use of a mold is how a lot of the glass decor items are created. The mold itself has to withstand the high temperature of a kiln so it doesn't melt, burst into flames or crack. In most cases (in particular with commercial slumping for larger pieces) the mold is constructed out of stainless steel, refractory fibre or ceramic material.
What sort of finished products use this technique? You just have to walk the aisles of HomeSense to see, where unique accent pieces and decorative arts like sculpture, bowls and the like are available to purchase.
Silver-Backed Slumped Glass Counters
I have to say when I walked into the kitchen of this Harbourfront condo I was absolutely mesmerized by the counters. They're silver-backed slumped glass. The surface is smooth and easy to clean, while they refract light and a visually-arresting!
You can see more at --> Quintessential Lakeside Living On Queens Quay West - Offered for $1,295,000
*Looking for inspiration on how to integrate slumped glass in your home? Check out these snaps from Houzz.com!
Thanks for reading!
Here are some of my other House & Home posts you may enjoy:
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
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