Vintage Home Focus: Stained Glass

By Marianne Walsh  

Chicago has a long and storied history of stained glass. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, builders overwhelmingly embraced this majestic element of design for more than half a century. Famed architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan along with countless others ensured these creations brought beauty and escapism into the living rooms of thousands of everyday Chicagoans. Unfortunately, the financial turmoil of the 1930s slowed down its usage and many damaged pieces were often discarded instead of repaired.  

With a current resurgence in Beverly/Morgan Park residents looking to restore their homes to their original glory, owners are often at a loss as to where they can commission new pieces or repair older ones. When providers are located, there can be issues with customizing, sizing and creating a unique piece that reflects the client’s vision. 

Enter Tim Jacobs. Jacobs is a BAPA business member, carpenter and owner of Glass Etc. He is also a member of the Frankfort Arts, the LaGrange Arts, and the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce. When questioned about where his keen interest in the artform originated, he is quick to answer.  

It all started 35 years ago. 

“I became enthralled with the Tiffany windows on display at the Walker Original Pancake House [Arlington Heights]. I just remember feeling like I was looking at something magical. The details, the light, the incredible number of individual pieces that made up one window, it was all so perfect. Right then and there, I knew this was something I really needed to do.” 

Over the next four decades, Jacobs honed his skills. One of the projects he is most proud of is a window he built following a Tiffany design with over 750 pieces entitled “Magnolias and Irises.” The piece has been displayed at various venues around Chicago. 

“I simply love the homes that have the unmistakable Frank Lloyd Wright windows in the front room, it adds so much character and grace. Over the years, I have rebuilt and built about ten windows in the Beverly/Morgan Park area and am currently in the process of finishing a few more. It is such a rewarding experience I think for both me and the owner to reintroduce some old school craftsmanship back to a home that was really designed to present in a certain way,” Jacobs said.  

In addition to windows, Jacobs fabricates half rounds for entry doors, cabinet inserts, fan lights, mirrors and lamps. For some residents who are hesitant to replace newer, non-stained windows, Jacobs also creates free-hanging pieces that accent vintage homes impeccably. Jacobs’ website (glassetc.net) provides a comprehensive outline of what he can create for clients along with samples. He is quick to add that all products are a collaborative effort with clients who really want to add their own touch on what they hope will become a family heirloom. 

Jacobs recently started a Facebook page called “Stained Glass Around Chicago” to share designs and celebrate artisans from all over Chicagoland. He says it hopes it will serve as a place of inspiration and help for those who love stained glass. With Jacobs’ passion and a revived neighborhood interest in what was once a waning artform, it looks like stained glass will have a home in Beverly/Morgan Park for many years to come. 

Find out more: Tim Jacobs, Glass Etc., 815-274-6325, tim_jacobs77@yahoo.com, glassetc,net.   

 

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