Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Security Gates on Fire Escape Windows Can Be Pretty!

I don't know if this is a problem for many people living in the suburbs but for those of us who dwell in urban areas, securing your fire escape windows is serious business. 

But, why on earth is this the standard choice:

When you've just spent thousands of dollars renovating your home and endless hours on DIY projects to make things look beautiful, why would anyone put bars on the windows? And it's unfathomable to me that any realtor would "show" an apartment with bars on the windows.

Our new home had both security gates and child gates. Every window was literally covered in some kind of metal bar when I first viewed it. How inviting!

The bars were the first things that I removed in the renovation.

Then I spent days poring over typical iron works catalogs for some type of aesthetically pleasing fire escape gate. And there are NONE out there.

Luckily, I am in a book club of resourceful New York women, most of whom own homes in historic Brooklyn. So, I turned to my go-to's for advice. And Sharon hooked me up with iron works artist Vallessa Monk.

And this is what Vallessa designed for me:

She met me at my apartment to get a sense of my style and what I was looking for. I had looked at her website and admired her "nature" line. On the spot she sketched a rough draft of iris and roses, not even knowing that iris are my favorite flower!

I paid her a deposit of 50% of the project cost. And she got to work. A few days later she emailed me the "plasmas":

Already, I could tell I was going to love it.

I couldn't believe how she could achieve such delicacy with metal:

The day it was ready, Vallessa emailed me a photo of the finished gate and said that she was on her way over from her studio in Williamsburg.

Luckily, Dad was here to assist with the installation. He helped carry it up the elevator.

And here is the final piece, blending right into my interior design -- just another work of art.

I love the way it filters the light coming through the window when I wake up in the morning. 

Form and function.

Who said a security gate on a fire escape window has to look like prison bars?