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Sunday, June 23, 2013

don't you just love it when...



...something unexpected becomes your favorite part?!



That's what happened when I recently had this iron trellis made for the courtyard to go over the barn half bath window. 





It started with these two iron panels.  We found them almost 20 years ago at an estate sale in Dallas.  They were originally porch supports on a 1950's ranch-style house. These are the more desirable vintage supports since they are all iron;  the newer (1960's versions) had iron frames, but aluminum inserts.  In Dallas I hung them on a painted fence partition Dan made at the corner of our garage (photo below.)  It was built to block the view into our next door neighbors bathroom from our terrace- not pretty ;)  The staghorn fern was the size of my thumb when someone gave it to me!  Note the tongue-in-cheek "mount" that Dan made for the "staghorn" fern!  When we left Dallas I gave away all my outdoor plants.  I still miss them.  (Hey Prissy.... how's Mr. Staghorn doing?!)




The panels have been in the basement since we moved into the farmhouse.  I decided I needed some vertical height in the courtyard and one day remembered these iron supports.  I then designed a trellis that would encase the barn bath window that I could grow a vine on.  I've mentioned our wonderful neighbor down our road who does welding before, but he doesn't work on "cast iron" (did you know that is a totally different skill-set than a regular welder and very difficult to find these days?)  We were very happy to get the recommendation from an antiques shop of the nicest elderly gentlemen who welds cast iron.  We've used the man several times now to repair an antique urn, to repair both log rests on the barn room andirons, and one of the front brass legs that was missing on one of the andirons, and  to repair a bronze bird leg that broke when it fell off a table.  He lives in a charming town several miles away. While these particular pieces aren't "cast" iron, we have been using him lately for all our welding.  Note the piece on the right has one "leaf" missing.





This was my drawing for the welder.... the bottom of the pieces needed 34" legs to clear the window and be set in the ground with a cross-bar for support being close to the bottom and therefore not visible (i.e. not a visual part of the trellis); the missing leaf side goes on the right (I felt it would be less noticeable on that side);  the wall-mounting brace was 3" trellis to wall; there were 6" from the top of the pieces to the bottom of the arch and 6-3/4" to the top of the arch.  If braces were needed in the arch I wanted them divided into thirds.  Oh, and the inside measurements between the two iron pieces was 45".... be sure to take note of that measurement!   We discussed if a center brace would be needed for support, but I recall him saying it would be fine without one.  Good.
We discussed all the measurements with the welder, who is clearly an artisan, and I could tell he understood my drawing and what I wanted the trellis to look like.  He then asked me if I would like for him to make the missing leaf.  Told ya... an artisan.  Yes, please!





When he called to tell us the trellis was ready he told us it was tall at 11 feet!  And, sure enough it was really tall!  Except for the new weld, the new leaf was difficult to discern from the originals... same thickness, same leaf veining.





We drove up to the piece thinking it looked exactly as I had designed it...... except- what was "that"??  That piece in the middle between the two leaf supports?? 





This piece... the crossbar.






While first looking at the trellis we were questioning a particular measurement, so the welder went to get my drawing to check the number.... and as I'm looking at my drawing I said  "OHHHHHH.... I see where the crossbar came from!!"
Well.... turns out I inadvertently designed it!  I had drawn the "brace or curly bracket" into the drawing to note the measurement between the two iron pieces, not to be a crossbar!  To make it even more complicated our welder didn't have a metal bender, so he handcrafted the curly bracket by hand, inch by inch,  shaping it by hammering the iron on an anvil. .  After the initial scratching my head about it, I thought it was a charming little detail and somehow made the trellis look vintage instead of new.  Thank goodness I didn't draw a squiggly line or arrows between the two iron supports!!   Note to self:  be very careful what you draw or say in explanation!





The cross-bar clears the window at the perfect spot (the kind welder said he would come over and move it if it didn't)  and every time I see it makes me chuckle and smile thinking how the unintentional became my favorite part of the whole project!   The welder was also concerned how the arch wasn't uniform (equidistant across the whole arch), but went ahead and made it as I had designed it.  Thank goodness, as a perfect arch would have read as too new/contemporary and this seems older to me.  Don't you love a contractor who takes you at your word/drawing?!!
I have Moonflower vine growing at its base which blooms white and only at night!


If you hold your finger over the crossbar and imagine the trellis without it, you'll see how this little miscommunication really "made" the piece!
So, in closing... may all your pain be champagne, and may all your mistakes be good ones!
xxojoan


76 comments:

  1. I love it. Sometimes it's just serendipity, plain and simple.

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  2. :-) Luvly Joan. I agree, the mistake does make the piece.
    Happy Sunday.
    Hugs, Gee

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  3. What a cute story, Joan! Your trellis is lovely.
    Claudia

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  4. Joan, you are so right the cross bar is perfect...I held my finger over it and it looks so wrong. Beautiful. I hope your moon flower vines are doing well . This year mine are having a terrible time growing, last year nightly I would count them my totals were 9,13, 15. I love to sit and watch them open..I know "get a life".

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  5. Your attention to details pays dividends in charm. Your hose and property are a generosity slice of paradise.


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    1. Oops, I meant your house (not hose) and property are a generous slice of paradise. Come to think of it, you probably gave a lovely hose, too.

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  6. I love when things like that happen!! He is a true artisan! Your little piece of serendipity frames that window perfectly.

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  7. Serendipity exemplified! Love it.

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  8. Even your "bad luck" is great!!! Love it!!

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  9. Perfect! I always say everything happens for a reason!

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  10. What a great piece, it looks amazing. I love it. Hugs, Marty

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  11. Even before reading your suggestion to hold a finger over the crossbar, I'd already done it and agree that it really does make the piece! What a fun story of how a "mistake" really turned out for the best. Love your blog & how you and Dan's love for your home really comes through in every post.

    Karen T.

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  12. Joan, Dan, and Ella: I love this piece! True craftsmanship. Cindy

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  13. Soooo charming, and your peek at the gardens looks amazing. I did so much gardening this weekend I need your welder to put my aching back back together!!

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  14. It is perfect Joan. I hope you take the time to entertain in your beautiful home. I got so wrapped up in "my house" that the seasons were coming and going, I had no time to sit, relax and enjoy our family and friends!!!

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  15. It is absolutely perfect! Well done by ALL involved!!!

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  16. Bless his heart! Such a cute story!

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  17. A truly enchanting addition to your beautiful home!

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  18. Love it. Please show some more pics of your garden.

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  19. What a gorgeous part of the garden. Lucky mistake indeed!

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  20. I DO just love it...I really DO! It is my favorite part too!

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  21. Great collaboration between the designer and welder. I love how it frames your window so perfectly. Can't wait to see it in action. Enjoy, Kathy

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  22. Excited you are back online! Look forward to reading your blog... Jane Kalpakis (Love, Nina Jane)

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  23. I love it -- it looks like the trellis is smiling.

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  24. You need to go back and give that elderly fellow an extra hug! Such a serendipitous mistake!

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  25. much older sister SusanJune 23, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    that's hilarious.

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  26. Joan,
    What a great story!!! I agree....the crossbar or "measurement bracket" absolutely makes the trellis. And, you have such a fun story to go with it.

    Happy summer!
    xoxo Elizabeth

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  27. Really fortunate that it is at the correct height...

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  28. What a sweet story...the trellis looks like it was always meant to be there, and finally found "home". Love it!

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  29. Hello Joan, I love how that trellis frames the window and the delicacy of the leaves. It is very unusual and the loving story of restoration and adaption makes it all the more special. Jennyxx

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  30. What a funny story! Love it and the trellis! x KL

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  31. I love good mistakes! Some of the best things I have ever done came from a mistake! Your "guy" is a talented welder, the younger inexperienced welders usually don't have much of an imagination. Mah

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  32. It's a lovely mistake! Great story and it looks awesome!

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  33. I love it !!!! Everything in and out o your home is just perfect !!!

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  34. Joan,
    It's lovely. Isn't it great to find an artisan. I always consider it a little extra prize in life when you do.
    Karen

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  35. It's just beautiful! I'll be looking for some for my garden now! LOL!!!

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  36. Oh, I love this story, Joan! Wherever we live, our local artisans and craftspeople can provide us with the best unique items. OK, I can't resist a deal from my World Market or Pier 1 or Lowes, but it's when we use our local talent that we obtain the most memorable pieces.
    Thank you for sharing this!
    Angela

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  37. Hello Joan, This is a wonderful story. All your readers are jealous of your ability to find craftspeople like your cast-iron welder.

    I love how the iron supports from a totally different era and style make such a fitting accent fro your old house.
    --Road to Parnassus

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  38. a lucky error - cross piece frames the window perfectly - w/o it, the trellis looks unfinished - this turned out very well.

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  39. Love your design...and the welder's mistake! It makes the piece! ;)

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  40. Oh that is too funny....and sweet! What a beautiful trellis you have now! :)

    Hugs,
    Gail

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  41. A very happy mistake! Looks perfect......

    Have a lovely week!

    Sophia x

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  42. How lovely. I wish I knew an artisan who listened that closely to what I wanted...or thought I wanted. Your happy accident is a lovely flourish.
    XO, Victoria

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  43. This is great, Joan! What a cool way to repurpose your old iron panels into something new and fabulous! Now you have me thinking about potential new uses for my own ragged collection of old metal porch supports. (three pairs, each different) I haven't looked to see if they are cast iron, or if part of them is aluminum.

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    1. love that Connie! You can use a magnet to check- a magnet will stick to iron, but not to aluminum.

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  44. All in all a wonderful interpretation Joan... xv

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  45. So funny! And so perfect!

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  46. On first looking at the picture, that crossbar was the first thing I noticed...before reading about it being a "mistake"! My favorite element too, and the entire thing is so pretty.

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  47. Even when you're wrong ..... you are right!!!! Makes a handsome window!

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  48. Oh what a charming story...and trellis! Best, Beth C.

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  49. That's a cute story. When I saw your drawing, I thought that was a piece you wanted added in too. I can only imagine your face when you first saw it. All's well that ends well though.

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  50. Just want to say how glad I am that you are back. I smile when I see "for the love of a house " in my mailbox. And then I tear into it quickly!

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  51. Too pretty to cover up with a vine. Love it!

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  52. It's all in the details,! .......including the two small stones on the larger rock. Are they heart shape? Love it all! PJ from Fort Worth

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    1. They are PJ! Dan found the first one and placed it on the large rock as a love "note" for me and then I found one and placed it there for him!

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  53. that "mistake" actually frames the window to perfection! Give that man a plate of your very best warm cookies and a big hug---he totally improved the finished product.

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  54. You write THE BEST BLOG!!! I was almost in tears over the "mud room". I have never seen a more beautiful space, I am completely inspired by it. And your entire house.

    I really respect your attention to detail. Thank you for sharing your home and style with us.

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  55. I love how it frames your window. Lucky you!

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  56. It's as though serendipity conspired so that the trellis is giving the window a hug.

    I've been cruising through some of your older posts for a while now and am utterly charmed by your blog. Thank you so much for inviting us into your home and your life.

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  57. Oh my gosh, I love this story. That is why "Serendipity" is one of my favorite words. Have a great day! N.G.

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  58. I can tell it is a labor of genuine love Joan..each detail you consider for your house. When you have passion in your life, I do not think it get's any better than that. I love all that you have done...it has been for the love of a house..and it is beautiful. You have a gift...you show it in every post and we all thank you for that.

    Hope we have a chance to meet over the summer...our journey begins..where you did all those years ago, next week. You give me faith...thank you. :)

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    1. I hope we can meet too Jeanne! You will love New Hampshire.

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  59. Hilarious! I'd better be careful what I draw for my welder! The "crossbar" could also be a fantastic frame with dripping vines underneath the window. Can't wait to see what nature does!

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  60. What a happy accident! It is absolutely charming. Love it! :)

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  61. Oh, that's so funny! The end result is lovely -- how nice that the unplanned detail has such charm.
    Claudia

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  62. Just found you again! Used to read you all the time and then you went on hiatus. This is a treat so I can spend this am catching up. I live in Texas and my in-laws live in Auburn. As a matter of a fact - my Mister is there this weekend helping them with a yard sale. Glad I found you again!

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  63. Oh my goodness; lesson learned (and here I thought I knew every thing ☺) as I often use the same symbol and have never given it any thought of it being misinterpreted. So happy it worked out for the best. Loving how it turned out. -Brenda-

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  64. Hi Joan. We have been away so I am TRYING to ctach up on my FAVORITE blogs. Also, while away we found out that Joe has pneumonia! It was not a good vacation for him:( I just LOVE the trellis and the crossbar is perfect! Serendipity! Your attention to EVERY detail of your home is so inspiring. I love every thing you do. Have a wonderful 4th. XO, Pinky

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  65. What a cool story behind an accent piece! I love it, and it does look wonderful there. And isn't it wonderful to have a craftsman that make your ideas come to life?!

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  66. Joan, it's just perfect, and what a nice story behind it
    Fiona x

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  67. Oh my gosh it's perfect! The best pieces in a home are the ones with a story, and this has a great one!

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  68. What a wonderful blog!! Two cups of coffee later I'm still here reading it!!
    Since you lived in Dallas, could you recommend any antique or flea markets in Texas? (I'm in Austin)I have been looking for sconces and tables to turn into vanities for bathrooms with no luck (I may have to wait for Round Top in the fall). Thanks a lot for sharing your home and so many beautiful things.

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  69. I haven't quite yet made it through your archives (7 more months to go!) but was wondering if you would ever show us your garden in Dallas? I'll patiently continue to read through your old posts if you have indeed featured your Dallas garden, but from what you've wrote it seems quite lovely and my curiosity is piqued. Having lived in Texas for a few years myself I am dying to see what you did with it despite the wicked heat. See that New England reference I snuck in there? Hehe

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  70. haha Joan! I missed this story the first time around - wow. that's hysterical! when i first saw this - i went to the curvy bar and thought - how cute is this!!! amazing story!

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