A Second Life for the Fence Balusters

One of the challenges of restoring an old house is that often there are great materials or architectural elements that no longer work where they are, are in partial disrepair, or just are no longer “right” in a particular spot. Often these features end up at a salvage yard (or even in a dumpster), but we like to re-purpose them whenever possible. For example, currently Patty is focusing on the balusters from the ornate fence that you see here:

Stepped balusters.jpeg

The carpenters from 1813 were incredibly clever when they built this fence. Within each fence section, the hand-carved balusters got shorter as the land sloped up in order to keep the railing level. Adding to the intricacy,  the balusters were carved with an alternating pattern that was maintained throughout the entire length of the fence.

Pickering House Inn fence balusters.jpeg

The fence is being restored for re-installation in the spring, but two sections closest to the house are being replaced by a front patio. This means that the wonderful balusters from these sections aren’t needed outside.

Where will they be? 
Incorporated into a railing detail for the two staircases in the rear ells of Pickering House Inn!

When guests enter the Inn, they will see the staircase to the second floor, featuring these AMAZING balusters! Patty sat on the floor of Richard Ferguson’s shop here in Wolfeboro and mapped out how the balusters would look as a railing detail laid out in an alternating pattern. She marked the two baluster sizes and two patterns with tape.  Richard then got to work creating rail sections with a custom handrail and simple square balusters alternating with the more ornate balusters from the original fence. (Thanks for your patience, Richard!)

baluster railing Pickering House Inn

The finish team from Carroll County Exteriors is working with us to complete the stairs and begin work on the unique staircase wall.

It’s unusual details like these that are going to give this inn its own, very special, personality!