Form following function – beautifully!

This is the second in a short series of posts describing modifications we’ve been working on with Will Bruder’s office for about six months now. Today, I’ll share several images of the new stainless steel railing leading from the Main Level to the Lower Level, a glimpse of the customized exhaust vent hood cover in the Kitchen and I’ll wrap up with an incredible image Martha captured one evening in early June of the Gallery where we’d only recently installed a new ceramic piece from Bentley Gallery by the artist Mat Rude.

This first image, (below), was taken at the top of the stairs – notice how Will has tucked the railing against the wall and cleverly drawn the viewer’s eye with that dramatic sweep of the railing angling downward to the floor.


This second image, (below), was taken from the landing at the bottom of the stairs – while the original railing ended at the bottom of the stairs, this creative twist, (literally), has the railing wrapping around the corner and continuing down the two steps on the other side leading to the Lower Level. Recall this wall is set at a slight angle, yet the railing is perfectly level and the distance from the wall to the inside edge of the stainless steel tubing is consistent from the very first stair to the very last step on the opposite side of the wall, some 30+ linear feet away!


This third image, (below), was taken while Martha was standing in the Living Room on the Lower Level, looking back toward the landing. Isn’t the graceful downward angle of the stainless steel tubing as it descends toward the floor simply fantastic?! …and form following function? Yes, without a doubt – I’ve found myself reaching for the railing as I descend from the Main Level to the Lower Level, only to keep my hand firmly planted as I round the corner and continue down those last couple of steps into the Living Room!


Now we’ll move back up to the Main Level and into the Kitchen where the exhaust vent hood for the gas-fired cooktop was completely re-imagined. The stainless steel backsplash was extended to cover the entire wall and it was Will who suggested we consider an expertly-crafted panel of solid cherry which would be trimmed with stainless steel polished to a mirror finish on the very edge. This remarkable detail ties directly to design elements dating back 15 years – the use of stainless steel with both non-directional surfaces and polished mirror finish edges, (matching the countertops). Note how the grain of the cherry panel has been deliberately oriented so it looks like waves of water pouring into pots simmering on the cooktop below – when Will described this subtle, but carefully-considered detail, we both just stood there and marveled. The exhaust vent hood itself is hinged – if you gently pull the bottom edge out, the fan starts automatically and the angled front edge forms the perfect funnel to capture both the heat and cooking vapors coming up off the cooktop and whisks them though the duct to the roof. Additionally, there are two ideally-placed halogen lamps toward the back of the exhaust vent enclosure that illuminate the cooking surface perfectly – entirely functional and yet remarkably beautiful!


I’ll wrap up this post with one final image, (below), taken on June 7th or 8th, shortly after Martha and I decided where a recently-acquired ceramic platter from Bentley Gallery by the artist Mat Rude needed to go. We took the opportunity to add another lighting fixture to the cable lighting system to accentuate not only the two ceramic pieces themselves, but the angular volume they happen to be hung on! Notice the interesting patterns the lighting creates on the walls and on the floor – a perfect contrast – light and shadow, lines and curves, varied textures, the familiar and the new.

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