Our landscape architect friend, Rick Griffin, says that the best way to add personality to a house is by doing something a bit special at the entrance. I like visiting Shrewsbury – I’ve written about it before – but of all the wonderful places there, the one I’d most like to receive an invite to is this private house. I know nothing at all about the people who live there, but by looking at their gate (plus a few peeks over their garden wall) I’ve formed an impression about them.
I think they are discerning and suspect that their garden gate isn’t the only interesting thing about them. But it’s a small world and before I get in trouble, I’ll turn my attention back to their gate, pictured here for your delectation. So far as you can make it out, that is, as my shot doesn’t isolate the gate too well from the interesting backdrop of the house.
Usually that would be a big disadvantage, but when this particular house is in the frame, perhaps it’s not. For instance, you might admire the gorgeous pediment over the classic front door as much as I do. And noticing that bricked up window behind the birdhouse might just start you thinking that the building itself might have a story or two to tell. But we’d better not let our imaginations run riot – back to the gate.
That can really speak for itself. It’s craftsman made, perhaps a one off, custom made for this particular opening. We see the mind and heart of the designer at work in the design, inspired by, rather than copying nature. I love the subtle play between symmetry and asymmetry, always so important a part of what designers do. The gate panel is a tree with a central trunk, branches and roots. You could call the leaves heart shaped – my guess is it’s a gingko biloba – that ancient fossil of a tree.
The whole thing has a delicate, sinuous look, despite delicacy not being the norm for its wrought iron gate peers. I love the way the functional bits flow so naturally from the design: the gate posts grow into the stone pillars; the latch is a leafy flourish; even the bolts that allow the gate to swing are well camouflaged.
The tag on the right of the latch is an unobtrusive maker’s tag, like a leaf, but slightly bronzed so it stands out, with the name Will, a date and a phone number.
Thanks Will! I’m sure the house owners love your gate and it always makes my day a touch brighter when I pass by.