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Glass blocks for a house extension - do they add that designer contemporary edge?

Glass blocks were all the rage between the 1930’s and the 1950 for new buildings and then went out of favour for most building designers. Then suddenly about 10 years ago they re-emerged as a ‘must have’ item for new homes and are now a common requirement from householders having domestic house extensions.

Homeowners seem very open in using glass blocks in a very broad way from forming complete shower screens in a bathroom to whole internal partitions. They can be used in place of windows provided no opening sash is required. The clever use and locations of where to use glass bricks can be very effective in producing a very contemporary feel to any house extension.

The only times using glass blocks can appear to be a bit ‘kitsch’ within a house extension is when they are used as a token gesture - perhaps as a small side light to a glazed internal door or as a patch within a wall simply to obtain some borrowed light from one area to another.

The bolder you can be with using glass blocks for part of a house extension the more effective and striking the final design will be. Therefore consider using them carefully and as a bold statement. One of the best locations I have seen is for a full height two storey vertical narrow slice through a circular stair well external wall.

Many glass blocks can be multi-coloured but I would personally avoid mixing colours within any large panels of glass blocks. I would also avoid adding the odd coloured block ‘here and there’ as an empty pattern effect as these can often look like badly repaired units.

One new effect for glass blocks is to use with them multi-coloured lighting such as Led strips built into the top or bottom coursing on a controller where a whole glass block panel or wall can be set to any colour imaginable or to phase between a group of colour settings.


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