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The design world is buzzing with excitement to explore the use of glass as a functional and dramatic style element. Glass is a fluid substance allowing tremendous variations and range of artistic expression. From kitchens to baths, bar tops to juice bars, and even onto the outdoor patios, this eye catching element is hot! With glimmering surfaces and a depth that no other material can offer, glass is timeless.

Functional and extremely attractive, glass countertops make it possible to integrate art into the kitch en. Light, color, and organic texture can be incorporated to bring that “Wow” factor to your countertops. The market has exploded with options for glass primarily for the kitchen island. You can get clear glass, textured glass, back painted glass in transparent, translucent, and opaque varieties. They are perfect for a modern look due to their sleek and elegant appearance.Kiln formed glass is created by placing glass in an oven (kiln) and melting it to form different textures and thicknesses. Kiln fired glass is resistant to scratching. It requires no sealant and is stain resistant. You will not worry about wine or pasta sauce. It also does not show fingerprints or water spots. Also, glass i made from silica, which is the main element in granite, offering a similar hardness and long useful life. Kiln formed glass countertops often come from one of two sources, ThinkGlass located in Canada and UltraGlas located in the United States. Each offering is different, and we believe there is something for every need between the two sources.

ThinkGlass was founded in 1999 by two passionate individuals who are totally dedicated to the creation of world-class glass work. Bertrand Charest is a certified engineer and President of the company. He takes full responsibility for his products and makes sure the clients are satisfied. Michel Mailhot is the master glass artist, and for over 27 years has worked with glass Thermo-fusion resulting in him being the most experienced craftsman in this medium. Bertrand and Michel, with many other talented employees and glass artisans, produce pieces that command your attention. Equipped with over 17 custom made ovens, the crew can create almost any shape and thickness currently up to 18” thick. The finished product has a fluid surface that makes it look like water, and the variations of the bubbles are considered part of the natural beauty of the product. The textured bottom and dimensionality of the glass make fingerprints a non-issue. No two pieces are alike, and the end effect is a luminous and modern looking way to introduce functional art into your space.

Ultraglas founder and owner, Jane Skeeter, started out in the early 1970’s with stained and etched glass but soon found a passion with the process of kiln forming glass. Jane is a glass artist, licensed interior designer, and a licensed glazing contractor for over thirty years. Today her company employs many talented glass artists who work to produce the finest embossed glass products. Ultraglas features glass that allows for privacy by distorting the image and still transmits light. The pallet is unlimited when it comes to Ultraglas. Whether it is standard or custom colors applied in opaque or translucent manner the textures are the stars of the show. The subtle lines of the linen texture can be transformed by applying the texture to the top of glass creating the Taffeta texture, which now reflects lots of light to give a sparkling appearance to any surface where it is applied. Each texture can be applied to either the top or bottom or the glass. When textures are on the top of the glass (debossed) it is important to remember the patter will make shadows below which create oodles of visual interest. This application also conceals smudges and other signs of contact. When the textures are on the bottom of the glass (embossed), the beauty of the glass draws you in further. Once back painted, the bubbles and texture take on an amazing definition not typical in thinner glass products.

Custom architectural glass does require custom installer. Your local glass vendor can be invaluable for the measuring, fabrication, and installation. The structural details can be critical to the success of the project. Lighting experts can also bring ideas and techniques to help illuminate the glass. Because glass is clear, it is strongly recommended that the bottom surface be painted or that the cabinet the glass goes on be completely finished so that the client does not see into the cabinet below.

Back painted glass colors can be infinite. When painting on glass, use a low iron product to get the truest colors. Samples are a good way to confirm colors, but as always, every piece of glass is slightly different in nature. How the paint is applied can also affect the results. Ultraglas has recently added the Ultralite option for back painting which gives the glass more translucence due to the light application of paint washes. Just like painting a car, if you do it yourself it will be obvious. We recommend you hire a professional for back painting any glass project, especially countertops.

Antique mirrors are creating an air of excitement with newapplications in award winning projects across the country. These fabricated antique mirrors are available in many different flavors and are used on walls anywhere in the house, with rosette detailing at times. Walls in the bar, in the master bedroom, in dining room niches, and in powder rooms are common applications. One of the most impressive uses of the antique mirror is the ¾” thick countertops with beautiful polished and Ogee edges installed with under mounted sinks. This thick counter is also perfect, like a piece of exquisite jewelry, for the island in the master suite closet. (See image above). The reflective surface gives an air of elegance wherever it appears. Other uses include drawer and door fronts and reflective surfaces in the back of cabinets to lighten up spaces.

Glass countertops have many advantages over granite. Glass is a non-porous material, and therefore, there are no chances of bacteria and mold thriving on the countertops. Glass countertops are recyclable, sustainable, and LEED approved. If you are looking for a powerful impact in your design, the unique fusion of function
and style that only glass can create may be the right answer.

Glass is the beautiful and artistic choice for a kitchen or bath. The kitchen island a good place to splurge for your luxurious statement piece, as it is in the heart of the kitchen. The addition of LED lighting for illumination really takes glass to the next level, and sure to deliver on the “Wow” factor. Depending on what color and effect you prefer, the choices for lighting are numerous. Typically, the lighting is done on the edges; this exploits the fun property of internal reflection where light gets trapped inside a transparent material and reflects off the edges. This is the same concept that makes diamonds sparkle and optical fibers work.

Lastly, but not least, if you follow Feng Shui, glass is a great way to add the water element to your kitchen. The element of water is said to attract wealth.

Glass Countertops …a good investment.