When you are creating a particular style in a home, it’s all about the details. This recent home remodeling project was exciting for us because the details never stopped. Turning a 2001 Indianapolis home into an homage to French Architecture required a great deal of vision, craftmanship, communication and organization.
The designer, Raymond Turner, provided great drawings for the vision of the home. Bringing those images to reality required a top level of experience. The design called for unique materials, engineering feats and problem-solving. We were creating vintage-looking architectural elements and working with antiques that needed to be repurposed. We enjoy these types of projects.
While we could write about this project all day, we thought we would highlight some of the particularly unique aspects.
Our client was looking to replicate a particular style of column in their main living space. Fortunately, there is a company in California that specializes in these types of architectural column details so we did not have to build them ourselves. Entrusting someone not on-site to build such imposing pieces required highly detailed specs and good communication.
Although the home had existing columns, we still had to enhance the substructure so that it could accommodate the new larger, heavier columns. We achieved this by pulling up the flooring and subflooring, placing additional structural support and replacing the existing floor to ensure it would be level to the new column base. Placing a second set of columns on the second floor required a beam to support the structure, to which we added decorative details.
Once the structure was complete, we were ready for installation. The new columns are tapered, which made them more difficult to line up. It takes time to get the columns set because there is only one chance to make the final on-site cuts. The bottom ones went up first, then the second level. Once installed, Blice Edwards custom finished the columns to look like they had been outside for 100 years. The effect is stunning.
Similar to the beams, Raymond drew out the staircase design on paper, including each leaf. Every element of the ironwork was then handmade and welded together by Sculpture Artist Ryan Feeney with Indy Art Forge. Staircases involve a lot of geometry to function correctly. Our team dismantled the existing curved staircase, added support for the new design, and replaced the treads and risers. We then installed the new custom iron railing and curved newel post. Staircases are unforgiving – It is always important to have everything perfect.
Using antique architectural elements in a newer home comes with many challenges. For example, we built a custom door entering the office to showcase the antique hardware that was found and refurbished to ensure it functioned properly. Each vintage hand-made hinge required a different mitering which had to be completed during installation to ensure the door hung correctly. We had the same detailed installation for the antique chandeliers. Each fixture was completely refinished and rewired to accept LED bulbs and a new style dimmer. Finally, our clients had lovely antique French cabinets that they wanted to look built-in to the office wall. We hand-crafted the trim around each to provide that look.
We added many architectural details to the outside of the home. The entryway featured an existing brick arch. We crafted by hand a radius timber beam to fit below the existing opening. Each piece was put together with mechanical fasteners, but to keep with the antique look, we created pegs to conceal the fasteners and give an authentic look. The final touch was a new shed roof featuring copper with a patina added to keep with the old world look. Other exterior details include the rounded custom downspout.
Each detail in this home required a lot of attention. We were able to create exactly what the designer and clients envisioned. This project allowed us to use our expertise to blend new materials with antique items to create a unique project. We enjoy each project we do, and the opportunity to reflect on what our team is capable of.