I installed a custom, iron pot rack for a homeowner in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his fiancée were in the midst of remodeling their home. Their style was very traditional, and they needed a piece in their kitchen that would anchor the room as well as provide a needed function…getting all the pots safely but accessibly stowed!
My client and I spent hours on the phone discussing the design for this rack. He had some particular specs it needed to meet, and was concerned that the aesthetic he was after would not get lost in doing so. I incorporated arches and rosettes to tie it into other design features in the kitchen. The rack’s perimeter was to match the footprint of the kitchen’s island, so I made a compound arch on the front side…it went up as well as out. This guy is quite tall, and planned to hang quite a few pots of different dimensions from the rack, so I compounded the front arch to give him some head room. He wanted the rack to hang from the ceiling at points where he had some existing recessed lights, which weren’t quite centered. This necessitated some interesting engineering, to get such a large and heavy rack to hang straight.
This was probably the largest pot rack I have ever made. I used iron for the outer sides, stainless steel for the inner grid, and copper and brass for accents. I made stainless steel turnbuckles to use to hang it from the ceiling. I really liked how this very functional feature also added to the rack’s aesthetic and character (without deviating from the client’s very traditional style). The rack also had sixteen light fixtures to provide upward and downward lighting. All the sockets were lined with copper, so they cast an amber light which really warmed up the whole kitchen.
I always fashion my pot racks with a separate piece just inside the perimeter. This provides a place to hang pots without scratching the outer, visible surface. Pots can be hung from this inner perimeter or from the grid that fits inside of the rack. All of the sides were wrought from 1/2”steel. All the corner pieces were hand-made. I made the rosettes on my metal lathe, and then incorporated them into the four corner pieces I made for the rack. Each of the corner pieces holds a light box. Eight others hang from the perimeter, and the rest I attached to the inner grid. The light fixtures had a unique thumbscrew catch that held a copper retaining ring, holding the glass in place. The grid was made from stainless steel flatbar, then cut with notches so they will fit together.
Once the rack was completely assembled, I used a beeswax and oil finish on the outer sides. This gave it a very old-fashioned, yet clean and organic look…an almost translucent black. It gave the metal a beauty that was really subtle, but really striking at the same time. The final step was the electrical wiring on the lights.
This piece presented me with several challenges as I constructed it. These caused some delays, and because we were to deliver it to St. Louis on the way to visit my wife’s friends in northern Minnesota on some particular dates, I had to pull a few all-nighters in getting it done. I don’t think I slept at all the night before we left home. But the satisfaction was immense for me when I saw how pleased my client was with the results of my work. He loves the piece, and values it as a centerpiece in his home. We stopped in St. Louis on our way up AND back on our mid-western tour, parking our Airstream in the driveway of the new owner of this beautiful pot rack. It was great to get to know him and his family a bit on our journey, and just made the joy of finished work even sweeter.
You can also view more examples of Joel’s one-of-a-kind custom pot rack designs here.