A Frame to Fit

Sometime when we were living in the house on Jackson Street, we took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee so Doug could run a marathon. While we were there, we went antiquing, which is one of Doug’s favorite post-marathon activities (“You can walk really slow and there’s always somewhere to sit”). One of the pieces we came home with was a half-moon purple and cream piece of stained glass, which we hung in the window at the bottom of the stairs. Fast forward to moving to Martin Place and several marathons later, and the stained glass had yet to find a home here. But, it was really the perfect size for the window in the Library.

I wanted it to feel built in, so we decided to make a frame for it, and inset it in the window. In my quest to support local places during the pandemic (and to take something off of our plate), I asked the resident woodworker at Madison Street Salvage, Dennis, if he could build something. He was up for the challenge, and so I sent him a few pictures of what I found online, as a sort of “I think this is what I’m looking for.” (Shameless Plug! Madison Street Salvage has a lot of their inventory online, and all proceeds benefit Franklin Heritage, our local historical society. Go check them out!)

Here are the pictures I sent him. The first one, clearly we’re looking at just the top.


With those rough ideas in mind, Dennis made a plan, and sent me this drawing. It’s like a blue print for the piece!

PERFECT. He’s the best. He also sent me a couple of pictures of it being created in the shop, which was fun for me to see.

When we got it home, we held it into the window to see if it would fit. And if it didn’t, it probably meant that our measurements were wrong because Dennis would have built it perfectly to what we said. And we were hoping to not have a lot of clearance! AND IT WAS PERFECT.

So then, it just sat, abandoned on the floor of the parlor, waiting to be finished and hung. Our house is like an orphanage for abandoned architectural salvage.

Finally, I took it outside this summer and dyed and finished it. You can see in this picture how Dennis made a removable bottom, so we could take the glass out as needed. SO COOL.

The oak is so pretty!

I used the same dye mixture I used for the picture rail in the study. It’s just a hint darker than the window frame wood.

After the dye, I shellacked it. And then it sat abandoned again until this past weekend!

So, how do we hang this thing? The initial thought was a hook and eye, but we didn’t want it hanging down that far. I jokingly said, “Can we do like a French Clete?” and Doug walked around Lowes and……basically? That’s kind of what he found. These brackets – as I’ve looked online for their true purpose – are made to hand things flush to a wall, OR to connect sectional sofas together. WHO KNEW.

Doug created a story board with lath, so we could make sure the measures of the brackets were exact.

And we taped the bracket to the lath.

And just made sure it was basically the right size.

The second story board with the other brackets would be measures against the window frame.

To make it level, we had to install two blocks into the window.

Story board one is held up.

Then we drilled pilot holes through the story board to make marks on the window itself.

There are the holes!

And the brackets in the window.

Same process on the frame itself.

We made the holes from the story board, and then screwed the brackets in.

And then? It just slides right in. Perfectly.

In pictures the ivory glass really reads yellow in the sunlight. But it’s not.

This is better. I REALLY like how this plays off the wallpaper, both in color and pattern.

It’s very much at home in this Library.

If you look closely, you can see the brackets / cletes, and a small gap between the stained glass frame and the window. It’s barely noticeable, but still. We’re going to fix that.

You can see it a little better here. And that would just bug me.

This is why I recommend you never every throw any bit of moulding away. This piece was in a pile. I don’t even know what it’s from. But it’s tiny and plain and perfect. And I dyed and shellacked it.

It’s maybe a 1/2″ wide.

And we tacked it up, and the gap is gone! The window now is pretty beefy and chunky, but I like it. It feels how a library ought to feel, to me. It’ll probably feel even better when we have books, but we aren’t there yet.


Speaking of books, what is one book or series that you think every Library HAS to have? I can’t wait to read your answers!

My answer? The complete works of Jane Austen, and also the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. I’m complex, people.


  1. The window looks fabulous! You just gave me the best idea for hanging an old transom window i purchased at a local salvage yard back into the place the window should be! Thank you for posting this and all of the steps, you helped another DIY home restorer!

  2. What a beautiful piece of stained glass. And, what a creative and perfect way to use it. Every library should have the complete set of Sherlock Holmes.

  3. That window is incredible! I am in awe of your cleverness. Also, books by Plato and Socrates should be present. Also, all the works of Dr. Seuss. Just saying.

  4. First, that is beautiful. And second, here are my books:
    – David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
    – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    – East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Or the complete collection of all of those authors, though then I’d have to admit that I definitely haven’t read them all. But apparently I like really long books.

  5. Gorgeous window — I love reading your blog because of your dedication to bringing new life to your house and still keep it authentic to its period. For books: Mark Twain, Anne of Green Gables, Sherlock Holmes. But also very practical books on herbs, gardening and old school books

  6. We’ve dreamed for years of having a really good hardback collection of ALL of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. If we had a room dedicated to books, I think we’d splurdge on that. 😉

  7. The window is beautiful, and fits the library perfectly. As to series: I am the wrong person to ask, because I collect series books. So I think I need a complete set of everything, from Nancy Drew to Ruth Fielding to Cherry Ames to the Dana Girls. But for adult books: A complete set of Jane Austen is a must, If I could put one together, I’d have a complete set of D.E. Stephenson. She wrote books set in England and Scotland, and she loved her characters so much, she couldn’t give them up, and they’d show up in bit parts in later books. It’s fun to read them through and watch some of your favorite people make an appearance years from their happily ever after, frazzled, and with children in tow.

  8. Lyrical Ballads by S.T. Coleridge and William Wordsworth, the Poems of Robert Browning, The poems of Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, and all the novels of A.S. Byatt.

  9. OMG! Mary Stewart’s Arthurian series–Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills, etc. Marion Zimmer Bradley–Mists of Avalon. Harry Potter, of course. Game of Thrones. Maybe the Eragon series, or Anne McCaffrey’s Pernese books….Maybe even Redwall. I get a medieval/craftsman/Pre-Raphaelite vibe from what you’re doing 😉

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