Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shop 4 Classics Reviews Beaux-Arts Architecture: Victorian Hardware and Plumbing


As a youth, I dreamed of fame and fortune. Lacking any prized talent or skill, I assumed luck would play an important role in realizing my dream. I watched reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies and hoped for Jed Clampett's good fortune. As you may recall, Jed Clampett was a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. Then one day, Jed struck oil and found himself a millionaire. His kinfolk told Jed to move away from there so Jed loaded up his family and moved to a Beaux-Arts mansion in Beverly Hills.

The Beaux-Arts architectural style originated at the L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts (school of beautiful arts) in Paris. The style favors large multi-story symmetrical structures. Walls are usually limestone and roofs are typically flat. Grand entrances often feature massive columns. Sculptures, garlands, and floral patterns are integrated into stonework and architectural elements.

Beaux-Arts style Nelson Atkins museum in Kansas City.
The influence of Beaux-Arts principles is evident in buildings designed in the United States from the 1880s through the 1930s. Many American architects studied at the famed French school of architecture around the turn of the 20th century. When they returned to the United States, they implemented the Beaux-Arts style in their own designs. The Beaux-Arts style was particularly influential in the design of museums, libraries, train stations, and public buildings. In residential construction, Beaux-Arts architecture is limited to mansions such as the one belonging to Jed Clampett. The elaborate designs and grandiose architectural elements that are integral to the Beaux-Arts style dictate buildings of monumental size.

Like other homes from the Victorian period, the interiors of Beaux-Arts style mansions are ornately decorated. Brass was in vogue. Fanciful Victorian door hardware with crystal door knobs adorned interior doors. Richly embellished furniture featured elaborately detailed Victorian cabinet hardware in the Baroque, Rococo, Italianate, and Renaissance hardware styles. Bold tapestries hung on walls with Victorian themed tapestry hangers perhaps sporting the Fleur de Lis. Vents were covered by Victorian brass grilles and heat registers with artistic scroll designs. Baths in Beaux-Arts style mansions often included large clawfoot style tubs accented with lions paw feet. Like hardware of the time, plumbing in Beaux-Arts style mansions was highly stylized. The Strom Plumbing Royal Aqueduct standing water delivery system is the epitome of Victorian era plumbing typical of Beaux-Arts estates.

Victorian Hardware and Plumbing
Whether your home is a quaint Queen Anne or an impressive Beaux-Arts manse like Jed Clampett's, Shop 4 Classics has antique reproduction Victorian plumbing and hardware for any budget. Visit Shop 4 Classics online at www.shop4classics.com. Y'all come back now, y' hear.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cast Iron Shelf Brackets & Coat Hooks for Affordable Mudroom DIY


As far as rooms go, mudrooms have a unique history in the evolution of the American home. Unlike all of the other mainstay rooms like kitchens and bedrooms, the inclusion of a mudroom in the home's original floor plan often depends on when the home was built.   They were common in homes built in the early 1900’s then essentially disappeared from floor plans of homes built in middle and late 1900’s only to be reintroduced towards the end of 1900’s. Today, mudrooms remain a popular request for new homes being constructed and creating mudroom spaces in homes built without them is an increasingly popular renovation project.

Mudrooms are created in small spaces often off a secondary entrance to the home. Compact built-ins that include shelves, cabinets, and storage cubbies are a hallmark fixture of modern mudroom design. Pairing the right hardware with good design makes the mudroom a highly efficient, attractive and a naturally uncluttered space.

School House Coat Rack and Storage Shelf

Old-School School House Shelf
Reminiscent of coat rooms of elementary schools throughout the country, this classic design includes cast iron school house coat hooks and simple arch style cast iron shelf bracket. Mounting the coat hooks to a wood backing rather than directly to the wall helps to ensure that the hooks stay firmly into place in addition to making the installation a much more simple process. Keep in mind that the spacing between hooks must fully accommodate the width of heavy winter coats. Sturdy black cast iron shelf brackets provide support for the shelf and create a highly finished look. Remember, attaching hooks and brackets to their mounting board prior to installation makes the entire process much, much easier.

High Utility Mudroom Shelf
High-Utility Mudroom Shelf with Ceiling Hooks

Replacing traditional coat hooks with ceiling hooks mounted to the bottom of the shelf adds even more utility for the small space. Antique Revelry’s triple cast iron ceiling hook is unique in that its three hooks rotate on its base. This added feature makes it the ideal hook for simultaneously storing light and heavy coat options or several styles of umbrellas to fit your mood and wardrobe choice of the day. Again, we recommend affordable cast iron arch shelf brackets as they coordinate well with the cast iron utility hook hardware.

 Small Drawers with Distinct Purposes

Multiple Small Drawers vs. One Big Drawer
The “junk drawer” is an all to frequent designation of a large drawer in the kitchen or entry. Here you will find the oddest collection of items hastily tossed in there over years of cleaning out coat and pants pockets or organizing the visible spaces of the home. It can be argued that junk drawers serve a necessary purpose but they have no place in the mudroom. Incorporating multiple small drawers in place of a single large drawer helps serve that distinct purpose and ensures that the drawers remain uncluttered. Cabinet knobs, rather than drawer pulls, can be used for very compact drawers while cup pulls are ideal choices for small and medium size drawers. In keeping with the cast iron hardware theme, consider using Antique Revelry’s cast iron cannon ball knob for compact drawers and their cast iron scallop cup pull for small and medium size drawers.

Do you have unique of helpful ideals for creating mudrooms?  Share your thoughts by replying to this post!