I have found that there are certain shapes that just make me happy.
Round is one and I incorporate many "round" shapes into my designs (think fishing floats ;) and another is the baluster. Wood, metal, stone, glass, or concrete... there is just something about the curvy shape that I find beautiful and classic. Besides the fact that the shape makes me happy I like the repetition throughout the house.
When I did the post on the ivory escutcheons that Dan made for the antique chest of drawers in the guest room (here) I was asked about the baluster lamp that sits on the chest...
The lamp is made from an antique green glazed-terracotta baluster from Singapore.
(I see this term misused often, so for the record- a baluster is a single, individual upright support in a rail whereas a balustrade is multiples of balusters topped by a rail. This is not a balustrade lamp as I see them called, but a "baluster" lamp. Pheww... I feel so much better now! :)
We purchased all of our balusters from a wholesale importer in Seattle (for those of you about to ask for the business name, he has since retired, sorry.) He would travel the world and bring back the most wonderful treasures. We first found him while living in Portland, Oregon and even after moving to Dallas we would fly up to shop his warehouse. We would carefully pack and carry the balusters (two per person per trip) in our carry-on luggage to protect them and check our clothes. (Just like carry-on now, yes?!!)
Since they were all handmade, no two antique balusters are alike- they each have their own personality and color combinations and I love them all!
Unless you have inherited an antique and have the good fortune to have a family photograph that includes the item, you rarely know where an antique actually came from. So, when I was presented with photographs of the building that was being taken down where the balusters were from I was ecstatic! We sold many of these baluster lamps in my business (Dan would make them into lamps) and I always included a copy of the photo so that the new buyer would also know the origin of these little gems.
Above the street light in this photograph you can see the rooftop balustrade made up of the glazed terracotta balusters.
Here is a closeup of what they looked like in the railing during demolition. I'm so grateful that they were saved.
You might have noticed that I used them a lot around the house!
As a candle holder in the master bath...
As a lamp in the living room...
As a candle holder in the kitchen (love all the oxblood red in this one)...
And, on the terrace table...
And then there is the beautiful, unusual much-coveted blue baluster; much coveted by me!
The blue baluster has its own story.... I spied it early on at our importer's warehouse and I asked how much it was- I was told it wasn't for sale. Don't you hate that?! He only had one blue baluster in all the years we bought from him . It became a running joke that every time I was writing my check for all my new treasures I would ask the importer if he was ready to sell it yet. And, for a good three years the answer was always no. Then, one day- totally out of the blue, as I hadn't even asked, he asked me if I still wanted it and sold it to me! I think I shed a tear or two and I'm sure I looked just like
THIS on the plane ride home!!!
And, just in case you're not totally convinced of my love for the baluster ;) here are a few more!
This iron baluster on Dan's bedside table was found at the Scott Show in Atlanta. In Dallas it sat outside (under the eaves) on our patio. This table was also found at said importer's warehouse! It too comes with a good story (here)!
This wooden baluster with its original painted patina from an old estate in Highland Park in Dallas is in the South guest room...
And, its cousin is on the bedside table in the North guest room!
This vintage concrete baluster serves as a table base for a copper tray in the master bedroom.
Told ya... I love them everywhere!