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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Classic Look for Commercial Space with Gallery Glass

 Last year we decided to do some problem solving with Gallery Glass at the commercial location where I get my "maintenance" work done--Joanie Parker's Hair Salon in Duluth, GA. It's a wonderful new shop, but the bad news is--it faces west and the afternoon sun glares in the front part of the space every afternoon. The lease excludes window treatments but Joanie was able to negotiate with the landlord to allow Gallery Glass. I wrote about creating the first phase of the project last year and we thought that we were done, but the door was still a problem, so we decided to expand the treatment to the door and create a 1/8" plexiglas panel that could be inserted on the backside--not an easy task to accomplish since it has a metal facing, and a glazing gun could not be used to hold the panel in place. We resorted to silicone glue squeezed between the edge of the plastic and the metal frame. The panel was taped in place until the glue could dry overnight. In spite of the high amount of traffic through the door, we are pleased with the results .

I took the original patterns for the bottom windows and adapted them for the door. The main issue was the printing on the outside of the door. Even though it wouldn't normally be read from inside the store, it was a consideration. I didn't know how much the stained glass design was going to show through from the outside, so I created to highlight the printing, rather than compete with it.

Another problem was the opaque panel at eye level that had her logo on the outside of the door. It was blank white from the inside and barely showed through. Rather than leave that area dark, I reversed the logo and painted it with FolkArt Extreme Glitter. That gives it reflected light rather than transparency, but it was a viable alternative to ignoring the logo box. Joanie says that people have made very favorable comments about the stained glass effect. Most of them think that it is "REAL" leaded glass, rather than glass paint. (Don't you just love it?) But it was a wonderful solution to a very tedious glare problem. In addition to solving a problem, Joanie feels that the traditional design contributes to the classic style and ambiance of her decor. It makes the shop unique and people really notice the project since we applied the technique to the door.

Here is the original article on the initial project--the 6 windows at the bottom of the window wall, under the divider. You might be interested in some of the details of that project, as well as the update.

Joanie Parker has been my friend for 20 years. I call her my Image Consultant because it is her unfortunate responsibility to make me look good. Not just on special occasions, but every DAY! She has held my hand through my reluctant career on TV, my daughter's wedding and now the unavoidable opportunities caused by deepening wrinkles and thinning hair. A few years ago, she got the courage to open her own shop and it has been an unbelievable success. As of March 1st 2011, she was able to move to a larger space with more room for additional makeover specialists. But there was one tiny problem. The building faces West and so they get grilled in the afternoon. The only answer is sunblock blinds for the top portion of the windows, but there is that narrow space under the larger top windows that present quite a window covering challenge. It's too narrow for 6 more sets of blinds because they would cost almost as much as the top ones, even though they're short. If they leave them open, their feet are still going to get the heat treatment. So I volunteered to solve the problem creatively with Gallery Glass.

I had one tiny problem. The windows were not all the same size. Two were about 7 inches deeper than the other four. That meant that the design needed to line up across the top, but be expandable so that the two longest ones would coordinate. I must have looked through 100 books and finally picked the best "expandable" design that I thought would go with her decor, which leans toward "traditional". I won't minimize the amount of calculations it took to make sure that both designs would have the same width, but varying heights. It is a mathematical challenge and only possible with an efficient copy machine for enlarging and stretching the design, as needed. But once I got it--I was excited. I could just visualize the classy appeal that the windows were going to add to the front of the shop. First I had to solve the problem of sourcing 2 panels that were large enough to fit the big windows. I learned something new. Glass distributors stock a thickness of acrylic sheeting that is only 1/16th thickness in 4'x8' sheets. It is thin enough to cut with a craft knife, but not as expensive as the 1/8 inch thickness (that you can't cut). The only catch was that I have to buy the whole sheet. No problem, if I don't use it now, I'll find something for the rest of it later, but I could get the sheet trimmed to my specifications for $85. What a deal!
Here is the pattern that I drew up of the 2 sizes and their relationship to each other.

Here is the way they are to be placed in the storefront. I couldn't wait to get started. Once I got my plexi, I was anxious to get started. She only wanted to have a few clear textures in the color scheme, so I chose Crystal Clear applied in a bumpy technique, Etching Medium applied lightly with a brush, Clear Shimmer and Hologram Glitter. It was the perfect combination and I must say that it looks as good from the outside, as it does from within. The sun glints against the glitter and reflects like crushed diamonds--really!

Here are some very dark pictures of the finished panels inside the shop. Sorry they aren't any better, but you can get the idea. She says that people notice it most when they start out of the shop after they have paid. They will come back and ask about it. They also sit and stare it while they are waiting for their color to process or sitting under the dryer. She says that most everyone that sees it for the first time--has to ask what it is!

These are the panels that will be hidden by the sofa, but we had to do them, also. You certainly see them from the outside when you're walking up the sidewalk. Maybe this will give you some ideas of what you can do either for money--or for a family member who has a small business. Be sure to check with the building owner to make sure that they will approve the window treatment. Some leases have restrictions about window coverings.
It was a happy ending to an extensive project, but one that was very satisfying. I was excited to see Gallery Glass solve a very hot problem!


  1. This is beautiful! Do you know of any classes for learning window glass art?

  2. This kind of glass design is surely an eye catcher.

    check this out

  3. I think that the type of glass used can make a big difference. I am going to be opening up my own small shop. I'm looking at all of the different glass options for the windows.