Wrought Iron design
Custom Ornamental Iron Works, the specialist in crafting exceptional wrought iron, ornamental iron and aluminum products, offers clients a selection of the latest designs for stair railings. These hand-crafted iron stair railing designs create a wonderful, rustic look in the home. The wrought iron Spanish-Mediterranean style is popular in many stylish homes throughout the country. Architects and designers seek out this look for contemporary homes, both indoors and outdoors.
With a selection of beautiful stair railings styles, homeowners can create a variety of looks. Designers will be able to select from scrolled balusters, belly balusters, wavy baluster and more, to create a completely custom interior style, from classic or modern. Clients may also choose to work with Custom Ornamental Iron Works, directly, to custom design stair railings to any specification.
Custom Ornamental Iron Works is known for exquisitely crafted iron work such as wrought iron stair railings. The company designs and creates all stair railings onsite at their workshop in Arizona, with superior craftsmanship and individualized attention to detail. Custom Ornamental Iron Works uses only the finest, high-quality material that ensures stair railings are not only beautiful, but also durable and safe. The company also offers prompt shipping, so clients can start creating their perfect interior design with beautiful iron stair railings.
To help clients envision how these unique stair railings will look in their home, Custom Ornamental Iron Works offers an easy-to-use artist design tool on their website. With this stair artist design tool, clients can select from the range of stair railings available from Custom Ornamental Iron Works, and put different details together, to create the perfect look for their home. The simple “drag-and-drop” feature allows users to see how these stair railings will look in the home.
High heels and country life with Christian Louboutin
When he is not dashing around the world, fitting celebrities with his glorious creations, Christian Louboutin likes to kick back and smell the roses at his enchanting 13th-century French château
A house is very much like a portrait,’ says Christian Louboutin. ‘I cannot disconnect houses from people. The thought of arrangement, the curves and straight lines. It gives an indication of the character at the heart of it.’
So what does the shoe designer’s romantic 13th-century château in the Vendée region of France reveal about him? Each room is unique: a dramatic wrought-iron spiral staircase greets guests in the entrance hallway, filled with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows; the grand salon is crowded with Italian Baroque armchairs, Louis XV mirrors and delicate pencil sketches by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. ‘They were done early on in Ingres’ career but one of them is the exact profile of Meryl Streep! It’s quite fascinating,’ he says.
Shared with Bruno Chambelland, his business partner of more than 20 years — ‘one of my dearest, oldest friends’ — the property sits in seven hectares of enchanting landscaped gardens, with outhouses and a renovated oak barn that is used as an archive of more than 8,000 pairs of Louboutin’s most fabulous footwear.
The fanciful interiors are much more Chambelland than Louboutin. ‘It’s really Bruno who took care of decorating; he used to be an auctioneer. The château was owned by his family three centuries ago, but when the Revolution happened his great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Chambelland, was cut into 200 pieces and the property drifted from owner to owner.’ When Château de Champgillon came back on the market in the late 1980s, Bruno snapped it up and the pair set about restoring it, drawing heavily on 18th-century style. A number of pieces that had been kept in the Chambelland family, including an antique grandfather clock, were returned to their original home; other items, such as some 16th-century Spanish portraits and a woven tapestry by Alexander Calder, were purchased at Paris’ Drouot auction house, and more still were picked up by Louboutin on his travels (he spends more than half the year visiting his 70 stores, from Manhattan to Delhi).
Inside the barn conversion alone there are free-standing Indian rococo columns, Mexican totem poles and searchlights from the Suez Canal. ‘If there is something I like, I buy it and then find somewhere for it. I buy first then I think.’ The restoration of the château is an ongoing project — ‘restoration in France is never finished!’ — but of Louboutin’s five homes (an apartment in Paris’ ninth arrondissement and houses in Portugal, Egypt and LA), it is Champgillon that he holds most dear ‘because this is the one most painted with history’.
The fourth child of Roger Louboutin, a carpenter, and his wife Irène, Christian was born and raised in the 12th arrondissement of Paris with his three older sisters. Inspired by the dancers’ costumes at the nearby Folies Bergères, Louboutin’s childhood dream was always to design shoes and at 16 he dropped out of school to pursue his ambition. A chance encounter in 1982 with Countess Hélène de Mortemart, then fashion director at Christian Dior, led to a year-long internship at the atelier of Charles Jourdan, the brand that designed and manufactured shoes for Dior. After this, the fledgling designer went freelance, designing shoes for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. In 1987, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris announced a major exhibition of Roger Vivier’s work, and Louboutin became the assistant and secretary of this go-to shoe designer for chic Parisiennes.
With the end of the exhibition came an unexpected sideways move into landscape gardening. In his book, Christian Louboutin, he explains, ‘The garden allowed me to see blends of colours and materials, juxtapositions of gloss and matte surfaces… It was highly instructive.’ The change of direction coincided with the purchase of the château and, while the interior was left to Bruno, Louboutin immediately commandeered the gardens and began restoring. His enchanted idyll was inspired by the great gardens of history, from the Mughal astronomy garden in Jaipur to Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire. The grand project consumed all the pair’s energies and they ditched the Paris party scene, which revolved around the famous nightclub Le Palace where Helmut Newton and Grace Jones were regulars, for weekends at the château.
‘I never entertain people here — it’s not in my nature. A good host is someone who really takes care of everyone, from the food to their daily programme. I can’t. If I’m in the country, my big idea is to do nothing. It means talking, it means cooking with the leftovers in the fridge — l’art d’accommoder les restes — it means gardening.’
In the early 1990s a chance vacancy in Paris’ historic galerie Véro-Dodat compelled Louboutin to abandon topiary and return to high heels. He opened his first boutique in 1992 and his earliest clients included Princess Caroline of Monaco and Catherine Deneuve. Louboutin’s designs have since become a celebrity fashion staple, with fans including Victoria Beckham, Daphne Guinness and Inès de la Fressange. He still has the original boutique at Véro-Dodat.
These days Louboutin is happiest growing kumquats and mandarins in the 19th-century orangerie, and each season he assiduously selects seeds from catalogues (‘Thompson & Morgan, and Baumaux — between those two I hope to create miracles in the garden’) to cultivate by hand, no doubt under the watchful eye of his partner of 15 years, Louis Benech — one of France’s most fêted landscape architects.
Louboutin’s continually expanding business (there will soon be more menswear and a make-up line) requires constant attention from its creator, and Champgillon offers a much-needed respite. He has just flown from Mumbai to New York and will continue on after the international fashion weeks to Bhutan and Cuba, before taking a well-deserved rest at the end of March: ‘After that I don’t plan on travelling much more this year. It will be summer in Portugal and weekends here. But I have to be careful — I find that if I spend more than four days at the château, I could never leave.’
Cool in the tube: the terrace house stands the test of time
by Elizabeth Farrelly
The terrace house gives a whole new meaning to the idea of the London tube. London’s standout characteristic, as you trek in by taxi or train, is neither its veiled beauty nor its vile weather, though both are in play, but its countless rows of conjoined houses; mute, serried, identical.
I like London in winter. Also in recession – a city should be seen doing what it does best. But London’s loveliness, partly in defiance of these threats, is subtle and fugitive, set deep within a tough crusted carapace that is, in its way, as disciplined as a Bach cantata. The atomic particle of both the discipline and the beauty is that tube of space we call the terrace house.
It’s no accident that Sydney, too, is a terrace-house town, especially in its lovely inner reaches. But the Sydney terrace, which many consider dour and restrictive, is positively flamboyant, positively expressionistic, compared with London’s.
London is made of terraces as bread pudding is made of bread. There are raisins and custard, to entice the eating, but the basic tissue is row housing. From Bedford Square to Tufnell Park, London is the terrace house.
This wasn’t always true. Had Sydney spun off London at some other moment in history, Glebe, Surry Hills and Paddington might have comprised jut-jawed half-timbered Norman townies or semi-detached brick bungalows. As it is, Sydney’s entire centre, and increasingly its aspirational new-burbs, are also terrace-based.
It shouldn’t work. The theory of thermal building specifies lightweight, thermally responsive construction for warm, humid climates. But, having lived 20 years in Sydney terraces, I can report that they suit Sydney, if anything, better than London.
The brick terrace’s two-month thermal lag makes my terrace warm for most of the winter and cool for most of the summer. (I just have to spend February in Europe!)
This saves heating and cooling energy, makes walkable neighbourhoods (also saving fuel) and establishes a comfortable balance in the tug-of-war between the individual and the collective.
But how did this inspired device, this tube for urban living, come about? Tubes are everywhere. Guts, veins, rivers, worms, trees, tracheae, people; trains, halls, sewers, roads, tunnels and houses. The tube is one of nature’s favoured morphemes, and where nature goes, culture follows.
But history does not record the first-ever terrace house. English scholars make it Vicars’ Close in Wells, dated 1363.
But the huge preponderance of the London terrace starts, like so many things, with Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell’s trashing of the monasteries in the 1530s freed roughly a quarter of all England and Wales – including vast tracts of the City and Westminster – for handing out to the mates. In Sydney terms, this is the Obeids being gifted Macquarie and Bridge streets.
There were no planning statutes to speak of. London’s first building assize (or regulation), issued in 1189 by its first mayor, required neighbours to contribute equally to metre-thick stone party-walls between properties but there was little enforcement and, half a century on, most buildings were still timber.
As the Elizabethan stability allowed noble families to decamp to the countryside, London flooded with the new merchant classes from all over Europe. This influx, reinforced by Elizabeth’s opening of the new Royal Exchange in 1570, produced the cultural explosion of the English renaissance.
It also produced rampant inflation, with the parvenus jostling for Royal proximity and in turn generated the city-building force we now take as given: speculative development.
By 1580 development pressure was so extreme that the Queen banned all new dwellings within three miles of the city gates. The prohibition was well meant, but actually effected the endless rebuilding of existing wooden buildings, and their endless subdivision into ever-smaller apartments. London in 1665 – much like Bankstown, 2012 – was a disaster waiting to happen. Development, meanwhile, became the privilege of those who could afford the Royal licence – namely, nobles.
The Bedford Estate was amongst the first. In 1630, almost a century after the initial land-grant of 1551, Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, paid the Crown a massive £2000 before commissioning Inigo Jones to design Covent Garden on the old convent garden.
Jones copied his design from Paris’s lovely Place des Vosges. A church fronted a grand central square that was otherwise formed by four-storeyed terraces. But where the Vosges was a Royal palace (modelled in turn on Palladio’s 1542 Palazzo Thiene in Vicenza), Covent Garden was divided vertically into terrace houses for the nouveaux riches.
This brought benefits. It increased density and profit while giving relatively modest houses, shaped to English individualism (each having its own ground and sky) the collective look of a palace.
This set the model. When the worst-ever plague of 1665 was followed by the worst-ever fire, the first terrace house Act made that model universal.
An Act for the rebuilding of the City of London 1667 required all buildings to be stone or brick. It established four sizes, or rates, of terrace house, specified all party-wall thicknesses in relation to their height, and all building heights – up to six storeys – in relation to street width.
It also banned facade projections and load-bearing timber. Non-complying properties could be demolished and resumed and their owners whipped ”… till his body be bloody.” Et viola! The plain Georgian terrace.
Hence, also, the Sydney terrace, since our own first Building Act of 1837 closely replicated that two-century-old original.
The elegance of this new device was two-fold. Linking building height to both wall-thickness and street-width made the terrace easily scalable according to means. It also gave even the most modest street a collective dignity and drama that could never accrue from individual dwellings.
Of course, Sydney’s patience with Georgian stricture was never going to last. We were soon decorating our own with balconies and wrought-iron lacework that owed more to a 19th century sensibility and probably came via the terraces of New York.
Since then, we’ve also become adept – through adaptations by Alec Tzannes, Glenn Murcutt, Richard Huxley, Clinton Murray, Tone Wheeler and others – at flooding the terrace with light and space while maintaining the original street-making discipline.
The Sydney terrace, at once expressionist and cohesive, is our very own: one of the few housing forms that is unmistakably Sydney. We should treasure and refine it, as a sustainable city-making device of genius.
Part Of This Brick Stable House Still Stands Today
by Jessica Dailey
This arched brick building was built more than a century ago as a stable and carriage house for a wealthy New Yorker. It was praised for its design when it was built, as it had carved woodwork, burnished wrought iron details, and the stalls were kept “clean and trim.”
The carriage house could fit “every style of pleasure vehicle that a gentleman’s fancy can picture,” and the building’s second use was solely for cars. Today, only a portion of the building remains. Do you know where it is or who it was originally built for?
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by Scott Bridges
Beginning in 1876 as a two-story adobe guesthouse, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in historic downtown Riverside, approximately 55 miles east of Los Angeles, now occupies an entire city block that encompasses 320,000 square-feet.
I made the short trek out the 60 Freeway to the 91 interchange recently to get my first glimpse of the hotel as it celebrated its 110th anniversary. I had not expected such grandeur. The mission-style structure is the crowning jewel of a charming downtown. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a State of California Historic Landmark, and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.
Tours of the property are available through the Mission Inn Foundation, which operates the on-property museum. Docents are available to give 75-minute presentations of the history behind the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. While touring the property, I careened back and forth between being educated and awed.
More than $7 million of antiques and artifacts adorn the hotel. The museum displays an extensive collection of artifacts from around the world, including Craftsman period furniture, 16th and early 20th century paintings and Far Eastern historical pieces.
In 1903, original owner Frank Miller began to expand the original facilities, a process that took more than three decades to complete, and which incorporates design elements from across the southwestern U.S. and the Mediterranean, with a particular influence from the California missions. It incorporated the work of notable California architects like Arthur Benton, Myron Hunt and G. Stanley Wilson, whose work blended several architectural elements, such as flying buttresses, domes, a bell tower, clock towers, interior courtyards and patios, a five-story open-air rotunda and a circular wrought-iron staircase.
In December 1992, the hotel reopened after a seven-year, $55 million renovation. Today, under the guidance of owner Duane R. Roberts, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa includes 238 guest rooms, including 27 suites. The property also contains 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, 5,000 square-feet of outdoor courtyard space, an outdoor swimming pool and two wedding chapels.
Over the years, the Inn has hosted numerous dignitaries, including five acting presidents. It was the site of Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s honeymoon, and has been the site of countless weddings, including both Bette Davis’ and Richard and Pat Nixon’s. On-property staff coordinates weddings large and small at the ornate St. Cecilia Chapel and the breathtaking St. Francis of Assisi Chapel.
With some $17 million in renovations over the last five years, every room has been revamped, and all feature distinct architectural details like domed ceilings, wrought-iron balconies, tile floors, stained glass windows or carved pillars.
The hotel features pampering, restorative and wellness treatments at Kelly’s Spa, a luxurious, serene European-style spa. The 7,000 square foot spa has a dozen treatment rooms, a pair of spa villas and a nail salon. It offers a variety of variety of therapeutic massage and revitalizing treatments, as well as soaking tubs, outdoor patio.
There is also an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, as well as a fitness center. In addition, there are recreational activities nearby including tennis, golf, shopping and wine tasting.
The Inn featuers several dining options, none more impressive than Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, the Inland Empire’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. It recently earned the Golden Bacus Award for outstanding wine selections. Duane’s embraces a farm-to-table philosophy and features a menu that includes many small plates and shareable dishes.
Duane’s steaks are a reminder of why human beings took up meat-eating in the first place. The Porterhouse and the Filet Mignon Oscar are worthy of song. And the scallops are the size of hockey pucks and practically melt on the fork. Furthermore, the lobster bisque is so rich and creamy with chunks of lobster meat strewn throughout, it is like liquid love.
And for dessert, nothing beats the chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier and whipped cream. It’s proof of a devil. But for something heavenly, there’s Kelly’s apple pie — a small, full pie made with Guinness-soaked Granny Smiths.
54 Degrees at Duane’s: This interactive wine bar accompanies Duane’s, and offers an eclectic menu of wines and small bites in an upbeat, sophisticated setting. Impressively, there are more than 450 wines on the list and upwards of 7,000 bottles from around the world located in and under the restaurant (the catacombs beneath the Inn are the stuff of legend). There are an incredible 32 wines by the glass, and even by the 1.5-ounce and 3.2-ounce pour.
A handful of other restaurants offer something for every appetite. And for your sweet tooth, there’s Casey’s Cupcakes, winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Casey Reinhardt’s confection boutique is reminiscent of a Parisian café, and features glass cases full of colorfully decorated cupcakes, each topped with Casey’s signature chocolate medallion.
Having lived in Southern California most of my life, I now consider it a travesty that I had never taken the opportunity to visit Riverside until now. I found its downtown to be an oasis of culture in the midst of a suburb-spotted desert. And the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is the city’s finest attraction.