A custom glass-and-iron door makes an eye-catching entrance to the home of designers Lee Bierly and Chris Drake. The decorative ironwork is mirrored in the foyer's console and the entry windows and makes a striking contrast to the vivid yellow walls. The door was a Christmas gift for the home.

Photograph: Gordon Beall

In the original plan for the home, the kitchen staircase was enclosed, but designer Linda Applewhite suggested opening it up as a focal point to dramatize the room. For inspiration, she found a photograph of an Italian staircase, which she shared with her clients. The image reminded the couple of balconies they had long admired in Tuscany, and they had a local artisan re-create an adaptation of that pattern in iron, on site.

Photograph: Michael Weschler

The grand scale of the foyer in this Potomac, Maryland, home was marred by too many decorative flourishes. "When I first walked in I wanted to strip everything, starting with the stair rail,'' said designer Darryl Carter. The double staircase's potential for drama was diminished by "pickets made of contractor's-grade wood. The challenge was to give it more character.'' Darryl's solution: extra-thin balusters with a subtle curve.

Photograph: Gordon Beall

Designer Julio Quinones stripped paint from the stair balusters to reveal a beautiful mix of textures and materials.

Photograph: Emily Minton-Redfield

Designer Mary Anne Smiley retained the original metal staircase in this Dallas home and expounded on its idea by designing a new stainless-steel-and-iron front door (see next slide).

Photograph: Colleen Duffley

With an airy French Moderne feel, the new door brings the exterior's otherwise plain portico to life. "The design for the door was inspired by a fret pattern we used in some of the other rooms,'' said Smiley.

Photograph: Colleen Duffley

Above the dining area in this Texas Hill Country ranch, a bridge constructed of salvaged beams and rustic iron railings connects the two upstairs wings and adds an extra element to the grandeur of the architecture below. Highlighting the dining area is a custom iron chandelier from Lost Arts (214/565-1055).

Photograph: Colleen Duffley

The front doors of the Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia were shaped by iron master Samuel Yellin in 1912. Granddaughter Clare Yellin restored the pair at the Samuel Yellin Metalworkers Co. forge in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. "We fixed the hardware and made some new handles,'' Yelllin said.

Photograph: John Bessler

A whimsical stair rail created by Clare Yellin graces a Manhattan town house. Made of various metals (bronze, iron, copper, and steel, among others), the balustrade took three people more than six months to complete. "When you walk up the stairs, you're not looking at flat metal,'' explains Yellin. "All 32 animals are fully developed on both sides." What's missing? "We didn't include any snakes, squirrels, rodents or spiders, because the homeowner did not want to frighten small children.''

Photograph: John Bessler

The finely articulated iron balustrade on the curvaceous floating staircase is designer Lynn Hollyn's take on the Beaux-Arts style. Balustrade by Lynn Hollyn Home & Garden Design (650/325-9980).

Photograph: Jon Jensen

A large niche was created especially for the antique French wrought-iron gate that serves as a headboard in this master bedroom.

Photograph: Christiaan Blok

"One of the things I like about my own house is the juxtaposition of things,'' says designer Jan Barboglio. "I like rugged, forged pieces with more contemporary items, iron mixed with silver and crystal, and primitives mixed with the more refined. The mix-including antiques, things from my family, and what I find at flea markets-is what is interesting to me.'' The "Estancia'' table, fire screen, "Claw'' candlesticks, and forged iron garden crosses on wall, are all designed by Jan Barboglio.

Photograph: Colleen Duffley

Jan Barboglio designed the iron Nicho (niche) bed to include a treasure box in the headboard. Such treasure boxes were once common features of convent beds.

Photograph: Colleen Duffley

The 1890 Italian iron bed, stumbled upon at an antiques store, has delicate lines that add to the feminine qualities of the room while picking up the dark, heavy color of the leaded window mullions.

Photograph: Janet Mackie

The modern and strikingly sculptural bed anchors this whimsical girl's room while maintaining an open feeling. The frame's gentle curves soften the metal's effect.

Photograph: Jon Jensen

Designer Barbara Westbrook chose a pared-down contemporary look in the custom iron poster bed that complements the room's neutrals in the Traditional Home Built For Women Showhouse in Atlanta.

Photograph: Bruce Buck

The spiral staircase leading to a roof terrace adds a contemporary touch to traditional furnishings and reflects the industrial quality of designer Gary McBournie's loft in Boston's Leather District, a former industrial area.

Photograph: Gordon Beall

Antique iron accents can add a rustic touch to a traditional or contemporary room. Designer Gary McBournie gives a nod to this Massachusetts home's beginnings as an 1880s carriage house and barn with a running horse weather vane, circa 1870, resting on the mantel, and three iron industrial gears, circa 1860, mounted on the living room wall.

Photograph: Gordon Beall

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Decorative Ironwork

From the Editors of Traditional Home
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A whimsical stair rail created by Clare Yellin graces a Manhattan town house. Made of various metals (bronze, iron, copper, and steel, among others), the balustrade took three people more than six months to complete. "When you walk up the stairs, you're not looking at flat metal,'' explains Yellin. "All 32 animals are fully developed on both sides." What's missing? "We didn't include any snakes, squirrels, rodents or spiders, because the homeowner did not want to frighten small children.''

Photograph: John Bessler

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