Glass: A Trendy New Way to Add Some Class

It’s quickly becoming a go-to finish in bathrooms and other home design. Here’s what you need to know before committing to sleek glass finishes.

The sunlight-filled showroom at Reflections in Glass’ Wauconda headquarters demonstrates some of the many possibilities for custom and semi-custom bathroom accents.

It’s sleek, it’s modern and it’s versatile. Glass is becoming a go-to finish for many a home remodel, and while you’re most likely to find it in your new bathroom, its applications are truly endless.

One walk around the showroom at Reflections in Glass, 1160 N. Dato Lane, in Wauconda, provides just a sampling of ideas, from mirrors and shower enclosures to room doors and railings. The firm has been in business for more than 30 years and specializes in the design, fabrication and installation of glass accents.

“Glass really opens up your space,” says Tim Meade, owner of Reflections in Glass. “About 90 percent of the glass we do in homes is clear, so it really opens up the room and makes it larger.”

Perhaps the most common starting point is the enclosed shower, a stylish and modern alternative to the soaker tubs of yesteryear. The sleek, minimal look of a frameless shower enclosure allows it to almost disappear into a landscape of angles and stone finishes.

At the other end, a new trend is the black grid shower enclosure. This industrial-looking alternative involves a thick, often dark frame dividing the glass into multiple panes.

Once you’ve selected your shower type, it’s time to select the hardware to match. Door hinges to move the glass, clips to hold it all in place, and handles for opening and closing should all match, says Meade, who carries a variety of styles by Portal and C.R Laurence.

There are also multiple ways of opening your enclosure, from a traditional swing-style door to the barn-style rollers and the open Roman shower that has no door at all.

To help make the hardware decision even easier, Reflections in Glass carries a full line of Kohler products, not just plumbing fixtures but the faucets and handles to match – because you’ll want them to complement your shower glass.

Mirrors are a must in any bathroom, and Reflections in Glass is accustomed to producing custom products that can fit a variety of settings. Framed mirrors are on-trend right now, but plate glass mirrors have never truly gone out of style. Meade has produced mirrors that can cover a full vanity and include room for lighting or other touches.

Depending on your new bathroom’s style, antique mirrors are becoming a popular choice. They have a specially designed film that replicates the clouding and speckles you’d find on a century-old looking glass.

Available in many styles glass can easily adapt to a client’s preferences. Clear is most popular, but there are also options for patterned, tinted and obscured privacy glass – even custom options that fit specific designs. Meade’s own office door is a thick pane of cloudy, wavy green glass.
“We can also sandblast patterns onto our glass,” says Meade. “We’ll re-create pictures, too, so anything that can be digitally downloaded could be applied onto glass.”

Reflections in Glass has performed custom projects all across the Chicago area, traveling from southern Wisconsin to northeast Indiana on out to Rockford and even working with HGTV programs in the area. From his Wauconda headquarters, Meade also runs American Garage Floor Systems, a specialist in durable floor coverings for residential and commercial applications.

“We’re working on a job right now where we’ll install railing around the pool and multiple shower doors,” says Meade. “This home has maybe six or seven bathrooms, and we’re doing both of the garages, plus adding some organizing systems there.”

Meade invites people to visit the showroom to learn more or to call for a free, in-home estimate.

“We stay ahead of the trends,” says Meade. “We’re also family-owned and we rely on quick service as well as quick turnaround of quality products.”