How Iris enjoys the dog days of summer

August is one of those interesting months in which summertime activities come to a screeching halt yet work activities have not picked up the pace.  I think people must be hesitant to let summer go so, even though school is back in session in many areas and lazy days are over, we just can’t seem to get in the mood to go back to work.

Iris, our pit bull, certainly agrees with the idea of enjoying one final month of summer.  Although, if truth be told her days are really the same all year round–eat, sleep, play, rinse and repeat.  Oh to be able to enjoy the dog days of summer for just a few more weeks!

Here is Iris barely able to keep her eyes open while she naps in the warm southern California sun.

Iris in August 2014 trying to stay awake Martin Pierce Hardware

Iris in August 2014 trying to stay awake
Martin Pierce Hardware

As you can see, her days never really change as here is Iris trying to stay awake in August of 2013!

Iris' summer of 2013 not much different than summer of 2014 Martin Pierce Hardware

Iris’ summer of 2013 not much different than summer of 2014
Martin Pierce Hardware

One of her favorite past times is to play with her boyfriend Hoyt the corgi.  She is looking longingly for  him from the front steps of the warehouse, their favorite spot to meet.

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

And, finally, Iris whiling away a sunny afternoon.

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin is making progress on the bust of Iris that he has been working on.  He decided to carve it out of walnut and it should be beautiful.  I will share details as the work progresses.

In the meantime, if you would like to view our entire collection of custom hardware, please visit our website at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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Live La dolce vita with our new hardware finish

Life is too short not to step out of the comfort box occasionally.  So, while we like the colors that we can achieve with both simple oil rubbed bronze finishes and with colored hot patinas, occasionally a client will have a specific location or project that warrants a different finish.

The most common request I receive is for a client who wants some of our bronze pieces but would like them cast in steel. If the design is relatively smooth with few hollows and undercuts then we simply cast the piece in stainless steel. However if the piece is, for example, a bamboo or orchid pull then we cannot readily cast and finish this in steel.  Steel is a harder metal and one that is not easily polished so trying to polish inside hollow or recessed areas is all but impossible. By contrast bronze is a softer metal and one that we can polish very well, even inside grooves and dips.

The height of elegance, Martin Pierce's silver plated orchid stem pull.  Notice all the grooved areas. Martin Pierce Hardware

The height of elegance, Martin Pierce’s silver plated orchid stem pull. Notice all the grooved areas.
Martin Pierce Hardware

So, when faced with this request we turn to our friends at Boyles Snyder who have a wealth of experience in plating in both nickel and silver.  When I asked James at Boyles Snyder what exactly is plating or, more accurately electroplating, he put it this way “ It is the art of bonding metal, utilizing chemistry with electrical energy.”

As with steel so to with nickel.  Some clients prefer a very highly polished finish while others prefer a more muted brushed luster. The desired luster is achieved by preparing the bronze before it is plated.  For example, if you want a highly polished nickel frog pull as recently requested by a client you first polish the bronze and, likewise, if you want a brushed bamboo or orchid pull you brush the bronze before plating.

Frog pull in polished nickel Martin Pierce Hardware

Frog pull in polished nickel
Martin Pierce Hardware

This all brings me to Biagio Forino Interiors, a wonderful and inventive design group in Milan Italy.  They chose this interesting finish for their client’s home and will be receiving quite a few pieces in a shipment due to arrive this Friday including both the bamboo and orchid pull in the satiny brushed nickel finish.

Bamboo pull in brushed nickel finish from Martin Pierce Hardware

Bamboo pull in brushed nickel finish from
Martin Pierce Hardware

These door and cabinet hardware pieces represent true customization and show how any one of our pieces of architectural hardware can be customized to meet your client’s exact specifications.

Contact us to discuss your special project or view our entire collection of bespoke hardware at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

 

 

 

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Gone to the dogs!

The past couple of weeks have found us taking a respite from the mountains of work and sharing with you photos and recaps of some of our “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer”. But, sadly, it is time to get back to work.  Before that we wanted to share with you another fun project: We recently celebrated a birthday (but I will not say which birthday as we do value our friendship) with our very dear friend Tracy.  As our gift to her Martin carved a sculpture of her dog Dale, who is a 3 legged wonder and her loving companion.  The gift  was a very pleasant surprise for her and one that I know she cherishes.

dog sculpture in rough form Martin Pierce Hardware

dog sculpture in rough form
Martin Pierce Hardware

If you knew Dale you would understand what a spunky and funny and loving dog he is.  And while he may be a tad challenged by having 3 legs he is an extremely agile canine and could give us two-legged humans a run for our money any day. Dale was started from one large block of wood although Martin did have to add a separate piece for the tail for, if it had it been from the same block the end grain would have made this section too fragile. The wood he chose was Alder as it is a reasonable wood to carve and it has little grain allowing Martin to paint on Dale’s coloring.

Completed sculpture out of alder wood Martin Pierce Hardware

Completed sculpture out of alder wood
Martin Pierce Hardware

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Martin is thinking about sculpting our dog Iris.  Iris’ sculpture will focus only on her head.  But just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with her body (unlike her human companions, Martin and I) as she has beautifully defined muscles and a generally athletic physique.  To begin the process Martin studies photographs that will become drawings that are then properly scaled so that they can be traced onto a block of wood.

Martin Pierce Hardware

A beautiful profile!  Martin Pierce Hardware

We were wondering if any of our readers have any suggestions for a suitable wood.  We are thinking of walnut, which carves beautifully but the dark brown color will fade to a golden color over time.  Or perhaps white oak that, despite its name, is light brown in tone. We hope you enjoy our sculptures.  As you may be aware, the process of creating a sculpture and a bespoke piece of architectural hardware is quite similar.  To view our entire collection of custom hardware please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

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Summer getaway recap–Part 3

We wanted to give you one last opportunity to take a look at all that Santa Barbara County and the Simpson House Inn have to offer so you can plan your own trip.

As we mentioned in Part I and 2 of our vacation recap, the Simpson House Inn is a great choice for a weekend getaway, especially when you live in nearby busy and noisy Hollywood as we do.  We enjoyed relaxing and enjoying the beautiful gardens but we were also able to get out and hike the many trails that are nearby and even enjoyed a solitary day on Carpinteria State Beach.

Carpinteria State Beach Martin Pierce Hardware

Carpinteria State Beach
Martin Pierce Hardware

We also found time to visit a spot we often come to when we are in Santa Barbara, the Botanic Gardens.  The historic man made dam which is the life spring of these gardens was created back in 1807 to supply the local mission with water.  It remains as part of the gardens, which were developed in the 1930’s.

We have visited these gardens twice before over the last 15 years but have never seen them as dry as we did on this visit due to the drought in California.  However, the one watering hole we did find was home to a turtle who obligingly posed for a portrait shot.

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens Martin Pierce Hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens
Martin Pierce Hardware

Alas, as you can see in the photo below, water was not present in the creek and this poor tree was left suffering from soil erosion and exposed roots.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Martin Pierce Hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Martin Pierce Hardware

However, there is still plenty of plant and wildlife to enjoy as this little sparrow proves; offering Martin plenty of enjoyment as well as design inspiration.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Martin Pierce hardware

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Martin Pierce hardware

We were also able to take a longish hike along the Cold Springs Trail that takes one high into the local Santa Ynez Mountains.  We had escaped the heat of LA and exchanged it for the cooler climate of Santa Barabara.  But even this terrain is showing the effects of the drought as we found boulders and exposed tree roots in areas where the creeks should be flowing.
Cold Springs Trail Martin Pierce Hardware

Cold Springs Trail
Martin Pierce Hardware

The trail was almost empty on the eastern ascent and we saw few hikers.  Predictably , after our 90 minute hike we returned to Simpson House Inn for their cold lemonade.  The perfect finish to a perfect day!
To view our entire collection of architectural hardware, many pieces inspired by trips like this, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.
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An opportunity to find some design inspiration right here in southern California-Part 2

During our recent stay at the Simpson House Inn we were able to take advantage of all the opportunities to view and enjoy the natural areas that surround Santa Barbara in the form of hiking trails, state beaches and botanical gardens.

Our fascination and interest in birds was certainly satisfied on our daily nature trips.  One such outing found us on the nearby Carpinteria State Beach.  We actually had the place all to ourselves for most of our visit.  With the exception of one lone human being,

Carpinteria State Beach Martin Pierce Hardware

Carpinteria State Beach
Martin Pierce Hardware

the only other living creatures we saw were those with wings, pincers or fins.  For example, the ever-present seagull.  Have you ever noticed how they always seem to strike a pose?

Ubiquitous seagull at Carpinteria State Beach.  Notice how they always pose! Martin Pierce Hardware

Ubiquitous seagull at Carpinteria State Beach. 
Martin Pierce Hardware

Curlews flying in formation near the ocean’s surface–no doubt hunting for a tasty morsel

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

and the prehistoric looking and always fascinating to watch Brown Pelican

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

This part of the California coast features outcroppings of rocks that are home to many species including this little crab Martin found in one of the rock mounds.

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

We certainly came back with plenty of design inspiration as well as an appreciation of this beautiful country and state we live in.

To view our entire collection of architectural hardware that includes birds, lizards and other creatures from nature, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.  We can also design a bespoke piece that will personalize and customize your next project.

 

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Recap of our summer getaway–Part 1

While the details of our stay at the lovely Simpson House Inn are still fresh in my mind I wanted to share them with you.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, we decided to treat ourselves to a short getaway in Santa Barbara.  The days were heating up in Los Angeles and a trip up the coast would allow us to escape not only our current workload but the heat that sometimes strikes southern California.  We were not to be disappointed!

Simpson House Inn dates back to 1874 and went through many years of decline before being totally and lovingly restored to its original glory by Glyn and Linda Davies.  It opened its doors as a refined B&B in 1985 and can boast being the winner of the prestigious City of Santa Barbara Structure of Merit award.  The low key charm of the staff make you feel like you are spending the weekend as very welcome guests in a dear friend’s home.  We began each day with a breakfast of roast potatoes and scrambled eggs with asparagus served on dainty Victorian China.

Breakfast at the Simpson House Inn Martin Pierce Hardware

Breakfast at the Simpson House Inn
Martin Pierce Hardware

We enjoyed this breakfast on the veranda every morning and were entertained by the California towhee birds bathing in the garden’s water fountain turned birdbath.  The gardens have received the same level of restoration attention as the house and other structures on the property.

Fountain turned birdbath in the formal gardens of Simpson House Inn by Martin Pierce Hardware

Fountain turned birdbath in the formal gardens of Simpson House Inn
by Martin Pierce Hardware

Another view of the beautiful gardens at the Simpson House Inn Martin Pierce Hardware

Another view of the beautiful gardens at the Simpson House Inn
Martin Pierce Hardware

After this hearty breakfast we set out for a daily hike on one of the nearby nature trails, only to return to homemade lemonade and freshly baked cookies each afternoon.

We certainly learned that there is no need to travel far and fight the crowds in order to get away from your daily routine and relax.  Communities across the country offer opportunities for those who live nearby to enjoy a day or two away from the daily “grind”.

You can view our entire collection of custom hardware, often inspired by nature, by visiting our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

 

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Summer travel

Summer is about many things, including the enjoyment of a slower pace and an occasional overnight trip.  We have decided to take advantage of both and head just 90 minutes north of Hollywood to what is often called the American Riviera, Santa Barbara.

We have decided to treat ourselves with a three night stay at the Simpson House Inn. With unique accommodations and lovely gardens, we should be able to unwind just a bit.  And Santa Barbara has so much to offer in the way of hiking trails, ocean vistas and historical buildings that are sure to provide us with plenty of inspiration for future hardware and art projects.

Speaking of inspiration, Iris will not be joining us on this trip but Martin is “thinking” about sculpting a bust of her to display in our home.  Before Iris joined our family I would never have believed that I would want a pit bull head sculpture adorning our dining room!

photo by Martin Pierce hardware

Our beloved pitbull, Iris. photo by Martin Pierce hardware

As we prepare for our miniature vacation we hope that you are finding the time to unplug for even a short while and enjoy the lazy days of summer, as the fall and winter will be upon us before we know it.

To view our collection of custom architectural hardware, please visit our site at http://www.martinpierce.com.

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