George W. Vanderbilt opened the doors to his newly completed Biltmore House on Christmas Eve, 1895. At that point in history, very few of the world's wealthy elite could have pulled off this tremendous feat. Vanderbilt was an ardent observer of fine architecture, and had a flare for the extravagant. Due largely to his aristocratic roots and observations made over years of extensive world travel, he had a clear vision for his Baltimore house down to the most minute detail. Armed with this extensive knowledge and the resources necessary to accomplish the task, he literally brought skilled craftsmen and hand picked materials from all over the world to his meticulously chosen building site, a 125,000 acre estate located in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
That was a very different era, when many people would spend their entire lifetime, never seeing the world beyond their immediate community. Most, even of the more successful and prominent members of society in Vanderbilt's day, never had opportunity to travel overseas or experience cultures beyond their own. Even those who possessed what would have been considered fine estates in those days could never have envisioned purchasing materials, fixtures, or structural components for their homes from hundreds of miles away, much less from across the ocean!
They say the world is at our fingertips today. With a few taps on a keyboard or the click of a mouse, we indeed have access to information and products that might have had the demanding and curious natured George Vanderbilt foaming at the mouth.
Today a savvy shopper can take a quick trip through cyberspace and locate almost anything their heart desires. A consumer in California, for instance, in the market for an ornamental gate to serve as the focal point at the entrance to their estate, can locate the work of a little known, but highly skilled artisan in the hills of Tennessee. This artist/craftsman may be just the one who can produce that work of art in the mind's eye of the California homeowner.
Yes, these are different times when through the magic of the internet, drawings, pictures, and ideas can be transmitted almost instantaneously. The homeowner can effectively communicate to the craftsman the inspiration and concepts so that the end result is truly that one of a kind work of art the California homeowner envisioned. All of this is possible while the craftsman never left Tennessee, and the consumer never left California--Amazing!
Every manufacturer of ornamental gates on the internet does not offer "custom" gates. Some have stock designs and will alter these designs by dimensions only. Some make no alterations at all to their stock models. However, there are a few ornamental gate builders with the knowledge, skill, and the artistic flare necessary to translate the consumers concept or ideas into reality using metal and steel. It is a good idea to scan the web site of ornamental gate craftsmen to see if the style they generally construct is visually appealing to you. Those who fabricate ornamental gates are like other artists and craftsmen, they tend to develop a style of their own. This style is influenced by many factors, including personal preferences in look, techniques, and manufacturing materials. When you find one whose style is appealing to you, simply ascertain whether or not they do custom work. Some ornamental gate builders even advertise "custom" work.
We live in a day when the consumer can get what they want, provided they are willing to pay the price. Yes, that photograph you took on vacation last year of the Blue Heron wading in the shallow water through the lily pads can literally become a permanent work of art on the entrance gate to your property. None of your neighbors will have one of those! If you're a musician, your favorite guitar can serve as the focal point on your one-of-a-kind ornamental, driveway gate. If it's a double panel gate, maybe you could put your mandolin on the other panel, and put your initials on the gate as well. How about that favorite work of art hanging in a prominent place in your home? It's possible that a rendering can be formed in metal and placed on display at the head of your driveway, on your truly original and uniquely elegant, ornamental entrance gate. While forming, shaping and bonding metal is much more demanding than drawing on a piece of paper, the right artisan craftsman can accomplish truly astounding feats with metal. If you find the right artist/craftsman, the sky is the limit. No longer do you have to settle for an ornamental gate that looks like the ones your neighbors have.
By positioning your artistic concepts onto such a prominent focal point as your ornamental entrance gate, your inspiration can serve two purposes: beauty and security. Yes, your work of art will function as a gate just as well as one which does not radiate such aesthetic appeal.
While most of us today do not have the resources like that of George Vanderbilt, we do have information, technologies, and opportunities which George could have only dreamed of. Because of the internet, and our modern transportation system, there is no need for the discriminating consumer to settle for an ornamental gate that will just "get the job done." Spend a little time searching the internet, and you may just be able to find that artist/craftsman who can turn your ideas and concepts into reality. It will be YOUR creative inspiration on display for the world to admire at the entrance way to your estate, on that truly original and exquisite ornamental gate.