Lily Windows

These are our “lily windows” and they’ve been a hotly debated topic for a few years.  As the hubster and I continue our remodeling adventures, one feature in our home gave us pause.  Unlike other musings – to tear down this wall, or that wall or reconfigure spaces throughout the house – the ‘lily windows’ were troublesome.  Not because we didn’t like them, it was an issue of placement and a need for preservation.

My paternal grandmother’s name was Lily and although I never met her, the stories about her, from my dad and cousins, provided a glimpse into her life.  She died before she was fifty years old and did everything in her power to provide comfort to those she loved, even as she was on her way out of this world and on to the next. 

Grandma Lily was a prolific baker and my dad often said he retained his ‘baby weight’ 😉 well into his teens because of her penchant for pies…and his appetite for them.  He’d say, “Thank God I played ball so I could burn off the paunch.”  It was Lily’s way of showing love and her kitchen was her happy place. 

This is the last photo we have of her, taken in 1959 not long before she passed away.  My grandfather’s in the pic, too, with my cousin Dan on his knee.  If you look closely, you’ll see Lily, despite being frail and ravaged by cancer, wearing her favorite accessory, her apron.  Dan said it was because she had pies in the oven that afternoon.  It was the last time he saw her before she died.

Our “lily windows” were situated above a ½ wall in the kitchen when we bought our house. Lovely, but boy did they close off the space, visually, in a big, big way.  As friends and family visited, looking over our new space, everyone seemed to have an opinion about what to do with the lead glass trio. Some were quick to say, “Dumpster – those are old remnants – aren’t you spiffing up everything else?”.  Others would step back and consider the possibility of retaining one – the center glass with the prominent lily depicted. 

We were unsure what to do, but one thought persisted:  How do you discard lead glass windows when the design screams the name of a loved one you admire but never met, my Grandma Lily? I couldn’t.  So, we did nothing for several years as we pondered and debated the options. If we’ve learned anything as we’ve fixed up other homes across our forty plus years of marriage, it’s better to wait if you’re unsure, especially when it comes to remodeling decisions.  Once you tear something down, you’re done, done, done.

One of the things we love about our house is the two-story entry way but when you have a feature such as that, I feel you need to do visual justice to the view ‘up top’.  I think once or twice a year we’d play ‘art installation’ games – moving pieces from elsewhere in the house to see if two or three paintings, drawings or assorted wall art might nestle nicely at the top of the stairs.  Everything we placed there was okay in a shrug-worthy kind of way, but not just right

As we’re working through our kitchen remodeling project, we needed to make a decision about the lily windows, and I began to fret.  I needn’t have; the hubster came through with a terrific solution. Although I complain – often and loudly – about his slow roll with projects (he has ambition but will not be prodded by my impatience – he just gives me that ‘look’) he had the best-ever idea about how to showcase the windows.  “I can see it”, he said one rainy day last fall.  He leapt from the kitchen to the front door and stood at the bottom of the stairs and declared, “See – can’t you imagine it?!  The windows go right there!” as he pointed toward the upstairs wall.  I didn’t ‘see it’ but I tried to squint and consider what he had in mind.  He continued and said “It’ll be like a triptych – a three panel art piece and I’ll paint the wall behind them white so it will really look like a window!  All I need to do (famous last words) is build a new frame for them.”

I was dubious about the ‘paint the wall white’ behind the glass business.  It sounded hokey, like something done for set design for a low budget play.  Too much trompe l’oeil spoils the decorator’s vision, I sniffed, but the hubster was inspired.  Capital “I”.

It took four months, but yesterday the lily windows found their new home.  They’re happy – I think – and so are we.  Our new friend Keith who’s an expert in lead glass helped the hubster move each panel into carefully crafted, brand-new frames and I sighed with relief.

This morning as I lumbered down the stairs, I paused to take the pic I’m sharing with you.  I so hope you like it – and I hope the story of keeping Grandma Lily near, symbolically, was a Vicki story worth sharing. 

xo! 💗

P.S. My post today on my personal blog, Victoria Ponders features more photo and design evidence of how pervasive lily imagery has been in my home decor choices. I had no idea how many examples there were until I snapped some quick pics and put them together. 😉

41 thoughts on “Lily Windows

  1. Vicki, your ‘hubster’ has come up with a loving solution and your lily windows look happy in their new position. What a loving tribute to your Grandma Lily. It does take time sometimes for an idea to float up. Beautiful. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jane! Nice to meet you — and I love your thought about ideas ‘floating up’. Oh my — that so perfectly describes our experience…waiting for the right option to arrive. Big smiles to you for reading and commenting about Grandma Lily. 😉💕😉


    1. Oh, Michelle! The hubby will be SO happy to hear that news — that they looked like actual windows! Thanks for that…thanks for reading and for allowing me to introduce Grandma Lily to you. xo! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Todd — great question! My photography skills might be lacking — but if you look at the middle panel, the design in the center is that of a lily – not quite in bloom. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This falls into a category of childhood communication I had with my kids: “If mom’s happy, I am happy.” Now, I’d say I am happy for you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a sweet, sweet story. I love all things interior design and I love repurposing things and I love anything that reminds you [in a good way] about family. You’ve charmed me with this one. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh — your comment makes me happy, Ally. I know you have quite the design eye…knowing that you connected with the “lily” things made my day. Yes, yes to repurposing…with love. xo! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect place for them Vicki, and like Michelle I too thought “amazing windows above those stairs” which I also love btw. An incredibly special way to honor Lily 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like Michelle and Deb, you had me fooled, Vicki! They look like real windows on a slightly overcast day–just lovely. What a great way to honor your late grandmother. 💕 Now you have me thinking about all my family’s heirlooms. There’s something incredible about being in the presence of something used and loved by an ancestor, or even just something reminiscence of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Erin…the hubster is so happy to hear that they look like real “windows”!
      And I want you to be in a place that’s yours, yours, yours again so you can nest and do all of that honoring, cherishing of family in mementos and keepsakes. I keep thinking good thoughts for you — sending oodles of love and good wishes. xoxo! 💕💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! We had some promising conversations yesterday, so I’m feeling hopeful that, even it takes time, things will work out in our favor. xoxo 💕💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The windows look great in their new home and it’s wonderful the two of you were able to preserve not just a beautiful window but one filled with such sentimental depth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ab! It took a while for us to find the ‘just right’ spot, but we think it was worth the wait. Appreciate you giving a ‘thumbs up’ as well! And cheers to preserving “sentimental depth” — what a terrific phrase. Thank you for that, too! 😘😉😘

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing these nostalgic memories Vicki, reminiscent of my own grandmother. Someday we too will pass through Eternity’s window to be reunited with them and our Lily of the Valley Savior.
    Be blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Go Hubster! Yes, a win for husbands everywhere! Yes, sometimes, we move a little slow or tortoise-like, but we’re really noodling and thinking in our head. Yes, true, we’re watching the football game or even NCAA basketball (today), but we’re really mapping out our plans. Give us time!!! Ha, ha, love the windows. They look beautiful. Love too that you’re honoring your heritage and grandmother. Such an awesome way to remember!!!! Happy for you guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I got the shivers reading this and imagining you descending the stairs this morning and feeling that glass above you. It really does look like a window and for all the inspiration, planning and painstaking measures – wow, it’s beautiful. Add in the history and the presence of Lily. Marvelous.

    Such a beautiful post for bringing all that together. Thank you for making my morning with a beautiful story well-told, dear Vicki!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love this Vicky. I think the white walled background for the windows is perfect, and you can think about your grandmother each time you go up and down the stairs. They’re a focal point for every day.

    Liked by 1 person

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