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Bowen House Vintage Bar

The historic Bowen House was erected in 1874 and was the home of an early settler of Dallas. For approximately the last 35 years it housed a vintage clothing store named after the original owner Ahab Bowen. The new owners have opened a vintage bar named the Bowen House and they asked CRD to help them achieve their vintage aesthetic for this Texas landmark.

This chandelier was custom created to compliment the timeless essence of the historic Dallas landmark “Bowen House.”

Carlyn Ray Designs, Dallas Texas, Glass Blowing, Bowen House

I originally worked with the owner of the bar in creating a timeless and ‘renaissance’ look. Each rod is colored with sparkly gold flakes and pulled out, almost giving it a wood grain effect. The glass rods are different lengths and polished at both ends to let the light transfer through them, similar to fiber optics.

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The process of designing a piece like this is straightforward. First, from the idea we create a drawing within the space as well as glass samples. Then a specific drawing to scale, a model and the final product!

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There are many customizable details involved while designing a chandelier. For glass samples, we made a variety including some with gold leaf, gold flecks, others with bubbles, and others just clear. For Bowen House, I really liked these long slender glass pieces with sparkly metallic flecks which come alive with any light!   So that is what we choose, with the client’s approval.

We checked out the different styles in a mock-up as well as saw the desired length of each rod.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Dallas Texas, Glass Blowing, Bowen House

For the specific drawing in this piece, we incorporated the curve of the bar and produced a CAD drawing which also laid out each piece of glass with the spacing for possible lamps above.

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The metal team of John Christian Designs created the metal insert and support box for the glass out of aluminum.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

What Mr. Staub “Hollywood” is doing is ‘counter-boarding’ or cutting into the metal a series of different steps. One step is for the rubber grommet to set into so there isn’t metal and glass touching, and also this holds the glass tightly into place. The other hole is the support of the grommet. Each glass piece is measured by this inside diameter and cut to fit.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

Then the glass is pulled out individually, all cut and polished to fit perfectly into his hole.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Dallas Texas, Glass Blowing, Bowen House

I love the crystal tips and how the light travels down the rods and illuminates below.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

I am very happy how it fits with the existing decor and brings about such an energy to the room. This house is very special and has quite the history to go along with it. The transcendence and symbolism of this piece is very fitting with the story.

History of “Bowen House”:

Interesting enough, one of the descendants had been in my studio and became a very close friend of mine! She personally told me the story of Ahab Bowen of “Bowen House”.

The house was named after the patriarch Ahab Bowen who was one of the few original families who settled in Dallas in 1865 just after the Civil War ended.

He and his wife drove an ox-drawn carriage from Tennessee pulling all of their belongings while their daughter rode alongside most of the way on her horse.

Ahab Bowen bought the house and the first 6.5 acres for under $400. Eventually, he would buy close to 3000 acres.

The family’s expansive vineyard was reported to grow more grapes in that era than California vineyards did at the time! And the best apples in Dallas were said to come from the Bowen orchard!

The Installation Process

From the Cad drawing, CRD’s fabricator Carlos was able to cut out the space for the chandelier box to be lifted into.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

Above the box, there are a series of different metal cables attaching the structure to the ceiling joist for added support.

There is a sub-level for the lamps to be placed into and then a ventilated cover for the entire box.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

Each rod was placed into the structure from the attic and moved around depending on the length of each rod until I liked the overall feel of the piece.

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House

And then the piece is installed! Everyone celebrates… almost every night!

Carlyn Ray Designs, Glass Blowing, Dallas Texas, Bowen House