I first introduced you to this lovely West Virginia early Victorian porch in THIS post from March. I love the feeling of the ornamentation on this porch, and I am using it as inspiration for the design of the brackets and balusters for our front porch ... which currently looks like this:
The framing, the ceiling, and the floor are new ... and the 4 x 4 cedar posts will be wrapped with wood and painted.
The West Virginia house is in the hometown of a dear friend of ours, and our friend knows the lady who owns the house. On his last trip there, he and his wife visited her, bringing with them Sharpie markers and foam core board, and they traced the balusters for me. They would have traced the brackets, too ... but the brackets are larger than the foam core, so these will have to wait until a return trip later this month.
I traced the outline of the baluster onto paper, sharpening the contours which were obscured by 150+ years of paint and wear, and this is what I got:
It's good, but not quite good enough. Our porch is 10 feet off the ground, so building code requires that our railing be 36 inches high. This baluster is 24 inches tall. We could build up the railing with wider bottom boards and taller framing underneath the handrail, but I was afraid that this would look chunky and contrived.
As I let the dogs out this morning, I spotted this on our deck leaning against the barbeque:
It is an antique balluster that The Husband and I bought at Luckett's Fair a few years ago. When we bought it, I figured that I could use it as a pattern for something, or strip it and put hooks on it for hats. As I looked at it this morning, my thoughts started to whirl ... this baluster is 30 inches high ... the shape is very similar to the one from West Virginia ... Hmmmmm.
I brought the baluster into the house, traced it, added some of the cut-out details from the West Virginia design, and I came up with this:
I absolutely love this design! It's taller, which will make it easier for us to construct a railing that meets code requirements. The curved cut-outs echo the lacy design of the West Virginia porch, and the longer length makes it seem a lot more graceful. Here is a comparison to show what the two balusters look like side by side, taped to a yard stick and clamped 36 inches from the porch floor.
You have to use your imagination and picture a whole row of ballusters sitting on framing with a handrail on top.
Folks, I think we have a winner!