We have a love/hate relationship with this wonderful stained glass window that the previous owner of Drumlin Farmhouse had removed from his home in Toronto, stored in the barn during the 2006 renovation/addition and then installed in the peak of the kitchen's vaulted ceiling. It is a beautiful piece of art that he had commissioned by Canadian artist (whose name we have recorded somewhere and I'm looking into - will update soon!). The previous owner prized the piece so much that he had a theatrical light placed outside on the roof line of the old stone house so that it would shine through the glass and bounce the colours around the room at night, and another one installed inside the house to cast the colours out onto the lawn (or snow depending on the season!)
One of the many benefits of removing the staircase and wall dividing up the kitchen space is that it would allow us to better enjoy the stained glass window and the goal all along has been to make it a feature of the new kitchen. So, you can imagine my dismay, when our contractor advised us late last week that he believes the stained glass window is the main culprit of our leaky ceiling and strongly recommended that it be removed!
The kitchen ceiling has leaked since the day we bought the farmhouse and we knew it needed to be dealt with before we installed the new cabinetry, but we were hopeful that it would be a relatively easy fix. Unfortunately, the leak did even more damage than we thought and we've had to use up some of the budget replacing a severely damaged structural laminate beam that runs under the stained glass window. Once we removed the drywall, we could tell that the prior owners had also tried to address the leak and had already replaced a portion of the laminate beam at some point before we bought the farm in 2012 (you can see the pieces that were replaced in the below photo).
The stained glass window is more decorative than it is functional and it's definitely not an energy efficient window, so I can only imagine the heat loss that escapes through the window (let alone the rain that comes through on a windy and wet day!). So, the logical step is to remove the stained glass window and replace it with a proper thermal pane window. We're going to replace it with either a large window or one with three panels and, in any event, with mullions to echo the ones in the windows below and elsewhere in the space. The last thing we want to happen is to finish renovating the kitchen and have to deal with another leak! And, having a proper window on this South-facing wall will help bring even more light into the kitchen (the stained glass window blocks much of the natural sunlight).
Although I'm disappointed with this turn of events, we're making some good ole' country lemonade out of these lemons! I tasked my hubby with coming up with a solution that would still allow us to showcase the stained glass window and he's come through for me! I've always loved the below farmhouse renovation by Washington, DC-based designer Darryl Carter (a former lawyer ... there's hope for me yet!) and his clever suspension of mullioned windows to disguise the 1980s style skylights. His unique design solution has inspired us and we plan to suspend each of the three stained glass panels from chains secured in the recesses of each of the three kitchen skylights!
Crisis averted! Let me know in the comments below what you think of our solution!