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Stained Glass Gives Retirement A Rosier Hue



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Stained Glass Gives Retirement A Rosier Hue

By Kendra Bobowick

A sunlit house can take on a pastel hue tinted with pale green, soft blue, buttercup yellow, or any other shade after consulting with Russ and Joanne Didonato.

The couple’s recently established Designer Glass of Western CT LLC occupies a studio space at 136 Huntingtown Road, where Katherine O’Connell manages the studio.

A full-time accountant and Newtown resident, Mr Didonato wanted something different than the regimented commute. Thinking about his regular drive to Meriden, he admitted, “The drive is getting tedious.”

For a change, he said, “I’m looking for something local, something fun.” Mr Didonato is also looking toward retirement. Laughing, he said, “I’m looking for something to keep me out of trouble.”

In fact, he had learned about the stained glass business and realized Fairfield County had not seen much of the decorative work.

“This area hasn’t really been marketed,” he said. Starting the Designer Glass of Western CT on their own, he and his wife will have a business to run on quiet days in the future. Picturing retirement, Mr Didonato said, “I can say, ‘Well, it’s raining today, I’ll go to the shop.’ It’ll keep me busy.” Although his studio is already opened, he is not yet involved full-time. Currently Ms O’Connell is “running the show,” he said.

Designer Glass of Western CT LLC offers all glass applications for doors and entryways, windows, decorative panels, cabinet doors, overhead domes, fixed accent windows, bath mirrors and shower doors, privacy windows, commercial and religious applications, and more.

“We will soon be adding full in-house sandblasting capabilities to create ‘etched’ glass designs for all of the above applications. Sandblasting will also allow us to expand into the trophy, award, and giftware market in the future, although for now we’re concentrating on the residential and commercial glass market,” Mr Didonato said recently.

To date, Designer Glass representatives have worked with private homeowners, and Mr Didonato is hoping to generate an interest among commercial organizations.

“We are really just beginning to expand our direct selling effort throughout Fairfield County,” he said.

Focusing again on homeowners, he said, “The sky is the limit as far as patterns on a window.”

The product, unlike traditional stained glass, is an overlay.

“We use the tempered glass at custom sizes and fix various colors and textures and come up with a finished product that slides into the window space.” The method allows for easy installation, he said.

According to a news release, the process uses a Mylar overlay from computer-generated, custom designed patterns. Along with a palette of more than 300 color and texture selections, patterns can also be highlighted with bevels, tiles, or clusters. Hand-drawn or photo renditions can also be created. An extensive library of standard patterns is also available.

The Mylar is a professional grade film using water-clear, permanent, pressure sensitive adhesive. The end product is filled with lead beading to produce a look identical to traditional stained glass.

Katherine O’Connell has studied graphic design at Gibbs College and has held various positions in the creative sector. Her work has been displayed at the C.H. Booth Library. Artisan fabricators Kathy Hydek and Karen Grosso join her.

The studio is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, or by appointment. Call 304-1267, and ask for a free CD slide show of design ideas. The studio’s website, designerglassnewtown.com, is currently under construction.

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