In January of this year I received a call from Joan Furlong, a designer with Davies Associates Landscape Architects, LLC, inquiring whether I had any interest in participating in a designer showhouse. Mansion in May is a fundraising event held every few years by the Women’s Association of Morristown Memorial Hospital, offering interior designers and landscape architects an opportunity to design and execute a vision that represents their firm’s best work. As the number of interested designers far outstrips the number of spaces available to them, Mansion in May presents an opportunity to view the work of of many of the most talented firms in this region. Davies Associates was interested in one particular space, a courtyard located between the main building and a guest cottage. Joan’s concept was to present a theme for this space as “a Blacksmith’s Garden”, and invited me to create the ironwork that would fulfill this vision. Davies Associates was awarded the space based on this concept. We met at the space one brisk January day to view the site, and began shaping our work:
When designing work for a specific space, I usually begin by searching for existing elements that I can use as inspiration, both as a way to give my work relevance to the space, but also as a tool to expand my thoughts about design possibilities. When we were visiting the site, I observed that the ground was littered with seedpods from the Honey Locust trees surrounding the patio.
I decided that these seedpods would be my inspiration for two of the pieces I would create; sections of garden railing at one end of the patio:
and an arching arbor at the other entrance:
Clicking HERE will show how each of the hundred or so leaves in the arbor was forged.
Davies Associates brought in 4th generation stonemason John Cortese to work with them on the design of the patio surface. John had recently returned from a visit to his native Italy, and proposed a patio design based on the simple beauty and geometry of ancient stone paving he had seen in Sicily. It was the geometry of the paving design that informed my designs for the other pieces I would ultimately create; an outdoor dining table with bench seats:
and an iron trellis for the cottage wall:
Davies Associates collaborated with Stonegate Landscape Professionals on plantings to compliment the patio design and my ironwork. Karen Waldron of Classic Home and Garden provided the stoneware pottery and tableware. Michael Deo of Naturescape Lighting worked to illuminate the Blacksmith’s Garden at night. The patterns of shadows he has achieved with his creative lighting of our work adds a whole new dimension to the Garden for evening visitors.
THE BLACKSMITH’S GARDEN