Historic Architectural Elements – do they have a place in our homes today? Part II

April 18, 2008

I last wrote about the art and architecture of historic Savannah, Georgia, this segued into, the restoration of original, or installation of replica, tin tiles on the walls, floors and ceilings to add texture to any surface. In this editorial I want to reflect on the “network of iron” that connected walkways to the Savannah Cotton Exchange. Many similar historic towns, showcase homes that have been lovingly returned to their original state of grandeur: iron is always an integral part of that design. Iron has a enduring structure, multiple uses, and an appeal that keeps bringing it back into focus.

So again I pose the question Historic Architectural Elements – do they have a place in our homes today?
I found the answer at a restaurant I like for the atmosphere as much as the food, George, and the adjoining woman’s club, Verity, in Toronto (Canada) where the designers’ applications of iron were brilliant. The twisting fork of metal can be found at the entrance lapping over the glass insert of the front door, mounted on the inside of windows as faux coverings, as room dividers and murals creating interesting spatial arrangements against the contrary colour schemes of the two premises.

Ponder, if you will, the iron gates that enshrine the majestic homes in many neighbourhoods; reminiscent of “Terra” in “Gone With the Wind”. Recently we are seeing a resurgence in the use of iron railings on the grand, and not so grand, interior staircases of new home construction and renovations, evocative of a scene from a 1940’s Hollywood movie.  Iron is used in many interior compositions – iron beds, iron tables, window inserts, candelabras, wall art, vanity bases.

What current use can you make of a familiar iron piece of history – an iron door knocker mounted upside down as a towel hook, a fireplace grate juxtapositioned against a cargo of crisp white cotton towels, or an iron garden ornament as a table. .

In the next publication I will examine the use of “cobblestones” in the homes of today.

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