“Rainbow with a Little Red”

Heber Springs, Arkansas

Jennifer Herron, AIA & Jeff Horton, AIA: H/H Architects, Little Rock

Casey Stone: Stone Custom Homes, Little Rock

Rainbow with a Little Red
2.2' w by 7.2' h

My brother, Ed, and his wife, Melinda built a gorgeous home overlooking the scenic Little Red River in north central Arkansas beneath soaring native hardwoods. They call their house “The End of the Road” and it literally is just that. When Ed and Melinda asked me to create stained glass for them, I was honored, but wondered if we could find a place where stained glass wouldn’t interfere with the unbelievable views. We put our heads together and found just the right spot:


ARCHITECTURE: When you’re at Ed and Melinda’s, you feel like you’re in a tree house. However, your first impression as you approach the house from the road above is deceptive. The front facade is attractive, but minimal. Then, as you pass through the front door everything changes. Vaulted interior spaces unfold dramatically. Spatial flow explodes through expansive windows down through trees to the river and up into a foliage-laced sky. Every window enframes a unique view into Nature – views you wouldn’t want to obscure with glass art. But we found an exception. The side window beside the front door looks out on steps leading down from the garage. It’s the perfect place for stained glass – the only place really. It’s the place where the magic happens as you pass through the doorway. For context, the walls flanking the recessed Entry Porch, Front Door and Sidelight are clad in rich, rust-colored Cor-Ten Steel.

NATURE: The Little Red is like a sparkling, hypnotic ribbon of aqua. Fisher-folk from around the world trek here to test their skills against it’s famous Rainbow Trout. The river winds through an impossible range of verdant greens in Summer. In the Fall, most of the greens give way to dazzling ambers, reds and golds. On sunny days the skies dapple the experience with cobalt blue.

INTERESTS: Ed and Melinda enjoy the tranquility and quietude of their new sanctuary from the City. Melinda is an avid angler and sometimes river guide on the Little Red. In addition to the many jaw-dropping views out, their brightly colored and impressive contemporary art collection vies for attention from the walls.

THE DESIGN: All of these cues and more are woven into “Rainbow with a Little Red”… I couldn’t resist starting the design off with a “Little Red” triangle of French opal glass at the bottom edge of the window… You might find a huge Rainbow Trout leaping vertically out of the water with tail a-swish… Maybe an aqua and blue-green river runs through the stained glass… Do the bright ambers and yellows give you the impression of sunlight breaking through at the end of the tunnel of trees that arch over the Little Red?… Is that a hint of a muted rainbow in the window’s upper corners?… Look closely – if you’ve ever cut glass, you may appreciate the fun I had while making this window… There’s more to find, but I’ll leave that to you. . .

Materials: European mouthblown glass, Austrian lead crystal prisms, lead, & solder under tempered protective glazing.