When I first saw
these wrought iron railings...
...I wanted to incorporate something similar
into my exterior renovation.
I love the whole presentation. The granite steps, the door and the railings. But after researching all of the "appropriate" details of a Greek Revival house, I'm not so sure they're right for the house. I think I can do wrought iron but these feel maybe a little too artsy, if you will, for a historic house.
So let's go look at some options.
It seems like most Greek Revivals have wooden railings that rise up to posts that sit just inside two of the front four columns.
I think these railings feel a little clumsy and interfere with a rhythm and statement made by the four, perfectly spaced columns.
Here's another example that feels way too narrow. It's more like a corral that herds your guests up to the front door. These are even poorly centered between the two columns.
I had my front stairs designed to be much wider....
...with railings that rise up centered on the columns.
I'm not saying this is historically correct; in fact, I think there were probably no railings at all, I just think this looks better.
I later found something similar on a Greek Revival in Cambridge....
...on this house, and I have to say, I like it. The wider staircase makes a much grander entrance. I don't even mind the wooden railings. I like that they've painted the handrail the same color as the front door. It almost pulls you right up to the front door.
Here's the entire house. This house has railings across the front (which is unfortunate) because the porch is much higher than mine. Cambridge Building Code requires railings on any deck or porch higher than 30 inches off the ground. The front fence is a very typical style; in fact, one local fence company calls this the "Cambridgeport."
My thought in choosing wrought iron is that it would disappear more than wood painted the same color as the trim and columns on the house. I also thought with a black door and shutters on the front porch, having black iron railings would tie everything nicely together. But there's an awful lot of really bad wrought iron so I want to proceed cautiously.
Here are a few examples of Greek Revivals with wrought iron railings....
...but I don't love the style. The rings under the rail seem too heavy for the skinny little posts.
And look at the placement. I guess it's centered on the door?
Here's wrought iron on one of my favorite Greek Revivals in the city...
...and another one.
Although I don't love any of the styles of these railings, I do think they're less obtrusive that the wooden railings.
Let's head in to Boston where almost every house has wrought iron railings for a little inspiration.
Many of the railings on the townhouses of Back Bay and the South End have these fancy wrought iron railings that go up to the double-doored front entries.
They're beautiful but I think a little too fancy for my little cottage.
I like these simpler balusters with just a few knobs in the middle but don't care for the newel on the end. I think that center spiral is called a "basket."
I think the style of the balusters on this one feel right but I think the chunky newel post might compete with the columns too much.
So using these as a reference let's head back to Cambridge and look at a house that was recently renovated that has incorporated wrought iron.
This house was just recently restored and for the most part, they've done a fantastic job. This is a color combo that I'm seeing a lot lately...dull yellow with kind of a tan trim. I'm not a big fan of the yellow-tan combo but this one looks okay with the cottage red door. Check out the major brackets that flank the front door. They're HUGE...and gorgeous! The simple railing leaves the focus on the details of the house but I feel it's a little bit of a cop out. And maybe a little too light weight. Couldn't it be a little more interesting and slightly more substantial with posts that have a few knobs like the ones we just saw in Boston?
Maybe like this?
It's kind of like an old hitching post but it would have a rail along the top.
I don't want to cop out so I think I'm going to have a to forge my own path (pun intended) on this one. I risk making a mistake but I don't want to miss an opportunity to make something fantastic.