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Hillsborough, on newsstands now

Since I have a blog, you may have surmised that I enjoy writing, and you’d be right. The gift of gab is one I never got. Instead, I prefer to deliberately shape my thoughts by setting pencil to paper or fingertips to a keyboard. Aside from the daily barrage of e-mail at work, I don’t find many opportunities to exercise my writing muscles. Before I began recording my thoughts here, I was searching for other ways to make the written word a part of my career.  Several years ago, I was fortunate to write about the kitchen renovation project in our previous house in the pages of Fine Homebuilding magazine. Writing the piece was so enjoyable, that I’ve since penned several more articles for that publication, including a recent guide to designing a classic fireplace mantel. My talented former colleague and friend, Jim Compton, did the illustrations.

Most architects would like clients think that their designs emerge fully-formed from the depths of their genius. But, truthfully, we all borrow liberally from the world around us, assembling familiar elements in new ways to meet the design challenges of a particular project. In the article about mantels, I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Five feet from the couch where I did most of the writing is a beautiful fireplace and mantel, with an unfortunate color:

living room 1

Below is an illustration excerpted from the Fine Homebuilding article.  Notice any similarities?

FHB mantel

I’m not ashamed to admit that I took inspiration from my own home. Until recently, architecture had a long tradition of pattern books, which recorded the details of great buildings for anyone to emulate.  There’s no arguing that our mantel if a fine example of a traditional design, so why not enable others to replicate it elsewhere? Hillsborough has a remarkable built heritage and I’m proud to share this small slice of it with folks nationwide.

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