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 Y'all come back now, y' hear.

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