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Riverwoods Prairie Ceiling

The riverwoods prairie style home was designed by architect, Edward Humrich, and was built in 1959. The curved front entry hall featured an eight panel, illuminated white plexiglass ceiling when built. When the home was purchased a few yrs. ago, the new owners asked me to design/fabricate a new prairie style stained glass ceiling that would replace the original white Plexiglas. Upon examining the Plexiglas panels, I discovered that no two we exactly the same size and some differed in size by two or three inches. The owner did not want to re-frame the ceiling supports. The designing challenge was twofold.

  1. Create a prairie style design that could be slightly altered, and adjusted for the eight different sized panels. This was accomplished by keeping the border of the ceiling the same in each panel, and slightly adjusting the six center pieces of each ceiling section. If you lie on your back and look up, you will notice a slight difference in panel size. But if you stand up and view the ceiling, all eight panels appear the same.

  2. Give the ceiling some definition in lighting consistency. Often when back lite, stained glass ceilings can appear flat. The customer had chosen border recessed neon tube lighting to illuminate each ceiling panel. Neon does not give off a lot of heat, is virtually maintenance free, and this particular type can be dimmed. I used opalescent glass for the entire ceiling, but around the border where the light was the strongest, I used less opaque glass, that was a bit more transparent. I think the contrast with the very dense center opaque glass gives the ceiling a very nice definition, while still offering enough light to illuminate the entry way.

The pictures I have included were mostly shot with the ceiling at full illumination. A few show the ceiling in various stages of dimmed lighting. [Please click a photo below to view a larger version and to launch the photo viewer.]


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