Introducing Judson Studios Stained Glass

Stained glass is kale (the vegetable a la 2014) – when its good its surprisingly delicious, but otherwise it’s not really my deal/style. It gets a bad rap because it’s often associated with churches, religious art or by the beach kitschy stuff. But in theory it’s just pretty glass colors that let light through – and ain’t nothing wrong with that.

When I first got my hands on the Fig House project I immediately wanted to do some stained glass. As a designer it’s always such a fun challenge to take an art form that is typically considered not terribly modern and see how it can be used in a way that is totally fresh and conversation worthy. As soon as I had muttered the words ‘stained glass’ Steve, the owner of Fig, told me that one of his best friends was/is a stained glass artist at Judson Studios – a stained glass studio not even a mile from The Fig House. Lucky us, indeed. So I went for a visit that day and was BLOWN away by how awesome the studio was.

Stained glass

Stained Glass

stained glass

It’s a 100-year-old building that has been in the Judson Studio family for generations. It is old, beautiful and totally inspiring. It makes me want to quit my job, go back to school, learn some skills and apply for a job here.

Stained glass

They have antique glass that is pretty much priceless and totally unsourceable now (unless you buy from Austria).

stained glass

I mean the space itself is just so weird in a good way .. look at those windows up there!!!!

stained glass

stained glass

stained glass

It’s been through five generations of Judson’s and stuff like that really tickles my sentimental bone. The artists make everything in-house and their skills are insane. It’s such a long, laborious, artistic, skilled, beautiful process.

stained glass

They have rows and rows of sheets of antique glass that they pull from, plus these little swatch cards of glass in front of windows that we designed from. The whole place is just visually inspiring. Above is the artist welding our ‘came’ together (and yeah… you know we used brass came which they thought was crazy, but of course it’s just incredibly beautiful).

Stained glass

They have walls and walls of colors to choose from – its like an instragrammers/bloggers dream space.

stained glass

stained glass

That room up there has all the antique glass that is one of a kind and just so incredibly beautiful.

Typically they do a lot of religious stained glass work – they do churches all over the world, and it’s totally impressive but yeah, just not really right for a residential project. But the thing about stained glass is that it’s just pretty colored glass, that can be in any color, any pattern, any shape – so why is it normally relegated to just religious or commercial projects?  You see it all the time in more mission style homes, too, but normally not in the colors that I would have chosen.

Stained glass

What is going on here above you ask? Well, here’s the deal – for churches or any more figural work where there are people involved they actually pose in the shapes of the people, then take a photo then draw/paint on glass … the whole process is insane. So yes, you can actually have a stained glass portrait of yourself.

Typically the clients they have ask for stained glass art like s0 …

Stained glass

But naturally we shook it up.

stained glass

But what was so exciting when I worked with them is the endless options – I worked directly with Tim Carey (who is incredibly talented and fun to work with) and we designed The Fig House windows which is still the most beautiful element of the space.

Stained Glass

That handsome man up there, Tim, is our artist and he is AMAZING. He looks very serious there, but he was so easy to work with, had so many creative ideas and was just so passionate about our project.

I know that many of you might have seen The Fig House stained glass and I will be doing a post about the whole process (we took the after photos yesterday) but for now here is a sneak peek:


Here’s my challenge for y’all – rethink stained glass. I tried to make it appropriate for our house and it just didn’t feel right and I wasn’t ready for the investment, but if I build a house or buy an older house you know I’ll be getting Judson to custom make some stained glass for me. I mean, just think about it as a room divider in a loft … ridiculous.


Photo Credit: Tessa Neustadt


  1. AshleyM

    Emily, I’d like to ask a question that might seem judgmental or snarky, but that’s not at all how I am intending it. I think it is something that could apply to lots of people and their design choices. (I hope you haven’t already answered this question elsewhere- if so, sorry for asking you to answer twice. Okay, done with pre-question apologies…)

    Do you worry at all that things will go out of style in a major way? Brass on the windows, for example. I feel like brass was really popular in the 80’s and 90’s and while I love it now and I think it feels more fresh and modern than it did then, there was a long time where people didn’t love it. With the stained glass being such a large investment did you consider something more “traditional?”

    I love everything you do, so I imagine we will all still love these windows 20, 30, 40 years from now, but I’m curious.

    Thanks for all the wonderful design inspiration! (And for sharing your adorable-should-be-a-baby-model Charlie with us!)

    • AshleyM

      Dang! Also meant to say …so cool that you incorporated true craftsmanship into the design of the Fig House! Seems like that talented team was a dream to work with!

      • gina

        I think the brass is beautiful. I think Highly polished shiny brass was overdone and ‘went wrong’ in the 80s/90s and it has so many people still feeling weird about using it now, BUT brass has been around for FOREVER. like centuries. And when it is done properly it is timeless and classic and tasteful and amazing. Quality brass done with quality craftsmanship will stand the test of time. (same for stained glass; Im OBSESSED with these windows. They are perfect.)

  2. tammyCA

    I’ve always loved stained churches, in’s beautiful art and craftsmanship and jewel-like when the light comes through. My dream is to someday go see the beautiful cathedrals in Europe.

  3. What an incredible space and artistic legacy the Judsons are continuing. I’ve filed them away in my artisan file for future art consulting projects! Thank you for giving us a look into what they do!

  4. Brooke

    I grew up watching my Granddad work with stained glass and I’ve since inherited all his equipment and the remaining glass. I haven’t lived in a space that allowed for setting up a decent glass studio but now that I have a house it’s something I’m going to make a priority (I have a room in the basement set aside for an art room – it has big windows and great light even in the basement!).

    While my Granddad’s work was beautiful it was mostly traditional style Tiffany lamps etc. I always imagined when I got into working with glass I would create more modern pieces like the one you had made for the fig house.

    The window really is beautiful and I personally love the brass with the colours you chose (not to say I don’t see a point in the comment above about the concern about something dating itself). I can’t wait to see the rest of the post.

  5. CynWaide

    Emily, Thank you for this. Great story. Beautiful photographs. Wonderful to learn that this amazing art form is being passed from generation to generation.

    I wouldn’t worry about the brass going out of fashion. If the art is good enough, the work will transcend fashion.

  6. Fi

    Wow. How good are their windows in the fifth photo down with the teeny corners of colour? So so good! I’m obsessed!

  7. Cassidy

    Beautiful! And how amazing that such a studio with all that talent and history was right in your neighborhood.

    About your room divider idea . . . I accidentally ran through my grandmother’s sliding glass patio door as a kid — 72 stitches. Maybe having a big pane of glass in the middle of a living space would work for some people, but not for clumsy me . . .

  8. erin

    Emily! It so warms my heart that the event space is able to have permanent, beautiful, trade – driven art. You da best.
    I’m curious if you gave specific instructions to the studio or if they came up with that killer design with looser guidance from you.
    Thanks for showing it off!

  9. I rented an apartment once that had a bathroom window facing an alley. The previous tenant painted the window panes with fake stained glass for extra privacy. Even though it looked fake, I loved it.
    I think that even though styles come and go, stained glass is traditional enough in itself to withstand some contemporary design without being too trendy.

  10. Crystal Pearl

    I Love this post! Would you ever consider asking them if they would like you to refresh the exterior of the building, landscape.

    It could use your touch….


  11. Jihane

    Yeeees! I would love some stained glass as a room divider!

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  13. Lori

    I love love LOVE the stained glass for the Fig House. People make fun of me because I’m all about color, but I figure they can comment when they start paying my mortgage. If I had the money, I’d love to do something like this. Maybe some day…

  14. Sonel

    I love seeing artisans in action. How cool would it be to work with your hands creating beauty like that every day?! Thanks for showing us this space.

  15. Amanda

    We took a stained glass class at the local Junior College night school and made two windows for our contemporary home. The last window was never finished. But it was fun while it lasted!! It could be a DIY…

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