For more than 150 years, the Mansion Hill Inn’s ornate exterior has radiated stately elegance. Thanks to recent restoration efforts, the Madison, Wis., bed and breakfast’s ornamental ironwork will continue to charm guests and passersby for years to come.The 9,000-square-foot inn served originally as a single-family residence. Constructed in 1857 in the spirit of the Romanesque Revival, its distinct exterior wrought iron has never been altered. Maintaining the 19th-century artistry and design of the Madison historic site while restoring its ironwork was essential.
In the spirit of preserving historical integrity, the Mansion Hill Inn contracted Wolfgang Schweizer, of Milwaukee-based German Blacksmith LLC, to dismantle and repair the ornamental wire on the building’s iconic balcony. Schweizer, who works in the tradition of old world craftsmanship, approached Banker Wire, a manufacturer of woven wire mesh for architectural and industrial applications, for help with the task. The company offers fully customizable wire weaves.
Banker Wire created a unique die to duplicate the original ironwork’s slightly irregular decorative crimping pattern. The crimped wires were then assembled individually by hand in a process reminiscent of their 1857 creation. The restored pattern now sits again where it has for more than a century—atop the balcony over the inn’s front entrance.“Guests always comment on the balcony, as it speaks to a time gone-by. We’re grateful [we were able to] recreate this wonderful detail of the past that you don’t see in today’s buildings,” says Margaux Stutz, general manager of the bed and breakfast.
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