I’ve been in the door and hardware business for a long time – almost 25 years. While I’m still passionate about the products, the industry, and our customers, there are some days when I’m not quite as excited as I once was. It’s kind of like the old, “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” line. I’m sure you can relate…we all have those days.
A couple of weeks ago I received a response to my “How did you get here?” survey, from Ian Bouchard of E.R. Butler & Co. Ian invited me to come and see their retail showroom in Boston, and earlier this week I took him up on the offer. The first sign that I wasn’t in Kansas any more was that I had to be “buzzed in.” Once inside, I was surrounded by displays of absolutely gorgeous hardware, with mysterious and alluring drawers full of various designs and finishes. Ian told me a bit about the company and their history, and then gave me free rein to explore. Thanks to my visit, I just may have fallen in love with hardware again!
My career in commercial hardware has kept me immersed in the products used on schools, hospitals, and similar institutional buildings, mixed with multi-family projects and the occasional museum or courthouse. I have had a few requests for custom decorative hardware over the years, but I haven’t specified or supplied much of it. The hardware at E.R. Butler is like no other hardware I’ve seen. Many of the pieces (including the gold-plated floor stop I posted a photo of yesterday) are more like jewelry or art than door hardware. Much of the work is done by hand, and their products are manufactured in either New York or Massachusetts. I was especially partial to the square-knuckle paumelle hinges, and just about anything gold-plated drew me in.
E.R. Butler has a rich history with ties to some of the earliest manufacturers of architectural hardware, and still produces some of the designs of Enoch Robinson and the W.C. Vaughn Company. They also distribute the Vervloet Collection from Belgium (the designs cast as replicas of pebbles from the Mediterranean Sea captured my imagination), and feature the work of several artists and designers – both hardware and other art/jewelry pieces. They even work with a blacksmith to recreate early American designs.
The next time you’re in the Beacon Hill section of Boston and want to spend some time feasting your eyes on beautiful hardware, stop in and visit Ian. Tell him Lori sent you. 🙂
If you’re not planning to be in Boston any time soon, you can still get lost in the E.R. Butler & Co. website for a while. Enjoy!
Thank you to Ian Bouchard of E.R. Butler & Co. for inviting me, and for letting me poke around to my heart’s content!