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A bespoke Art Nouveau inspired balcony

12 July 2022

When creating pieces for period properties, capturing the original spirit of the building is often a key part of the design process. That was certainly the case when we were approached by a homeowner looking to replace the balcony on their early 20th century costal property. We worked with the owners to create a bespoke balustrade profile which brought the home closer to the original design intent.

The home featured a timber balcony which wasn’t part of the original design and required considerable upkeep in the challenging costal environment. The owners began looking at metal as a more robust option and it was at this point that they came across our range. The homeowner explained:

“British Spirals and Casting’s work looked impressive, and they had excellent range of cast options to choose from, like a big meccano kit. Richard from BS&C, on his first visit, brought a Victorian pattern railing and various floor plate patterns to show us. When discussing the designs, Richard mentioned that the steel railing panels were CNC cut and that, ‘If it can be drawn, it can be cut’.”

“The options available when working in metal are different from that of timber; for instance, steel can be cut to a much finer pattern due to its strength, and the process of CNC means curves are simple. It is easy to create a laciness that is not easy with timber, and I wanted to explore this more.”

The design process

Armed with this new design freedom, the homeowners began researching design trends from the early 20th Century (when the house was built) in more detail – and specifically the Art Nouveau style. Victor Horta’s house in Brussels, Hector Guimard’s Parisian metro entrances and the balconies that adorn the French Quarter of New Orleans all formed the mood board for the project.

“It became clear that a softer, curved pattern would suit our house.” The homeowner explained. “After much doodling, we settled on an interlocking stadium pattern, which can be found throughout this period of design.”

Artist design for Art Nouveau Balcony

Whilst throwing a wide net for design inspiration, the owners were also keen to ensure the finished balcony looked like it had always been part of the home. To achieve this, they included references to the tear drop motif from the stained-glass windows within the patterns at the head and foot of the railing.

We took these initial designs and developed them into full CAD designs (shown below). This not only helped to show clearly how the original drawings could be developed into an actual design, but also to plan for the unusual balcony fixing, which sees the bottom of the balustrade drop down below the height of the decking plate. This was something the owners had seen in both local Edwardian architecture, and in the balconies of buildings in New Orleans.

Plans for Art Nouveau Balcony


The deck plates were designed with a perforated, floral design which sits naturally with the design of the home and the balcony railing. The final part of the design process involved our discussion with the homeowner about hooks that could be installed to incorporate hanging benches, lights and plants to personalise the feature even more. For this, we positioned several fixing points all over the underside of the deck and four along the length of the perimeter PFC to hold the cables.

Not just a pretty face

The balcony spans 2000mm by 8900mm across the front of the property, held up by three steel support columns. Character is added to the structure with lamppost style bottoms; however, the balcony was not simply a decorative feature, but also forms part of the structure for the property as the homeowner explained:



“This structure is not standalone, it supports the roof of the house, and we worked with British Spirals & Casting’s structural engineer to size the foundations and steels.”

“We have heavy clay soil here, and the ground moved a lot. On site I was keen to remove as much redundant timber from the façade and structure of the frontage as possible, so by carefully setting the height of the PFC’s, we were able to remove timber beams and joists from the roof, along with timber lintels above the ground floor windows and doors.

The balcony is clamping and supporting the front of the house, like a set of dental braces, preventing any adverse movement. It’s working hard and doing several important things in one, as well as providing a lovely place to sit and a new front elevation that we are very happy with.”

When developing the drop-down feature, we altered the typical way of attaching the newel posts to the web of the perimeter preformed channel, so that they could sail down past the deck and hold a singular railing module in front of the deck, allowing a portion to hang down. This provides a provides a sense of enclosure, and a lace like frill to the bottom of the deck.

The floral perforate design for the decking panels provides traction and allows for rainwater to fall through the gaps rather than pool as in solid decking. This also accentuated the daylighting of the bottom rooms, and the homeowner described how the “mottled light that comes through transforms the feel of the front rooms.”


The coastal location meant that the structure also needed to be carefully preserved against the saline air. Once the pieces were manufactured in our workshop, Mulberry & Pier were responsible for giving them a marine grade finish. This involves several coats of zinc rich resin followed by a spray paint finish, to ensure the colour does not degrade or discolour over time. In keeping with the rest of the property, the homeowner chose a clean white colour, to match the existing window frames and allow a neutral base for the house’s colour scheme.

If you are interested in having a bespoke staircase or balcony installed in your own property, visit our gallery to view some of the options and submit a quote or get in touch via phone or email.

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