Friday, December 14, 2012

Ornamental Metalwork for Drexel

We are currently working with Provenance Builders on a home remodel in the Park Cities, which reminded me of another pretty home they did on Drexel, in Dallas.

The home had lots of original Potter Art Metal Studios' ornamental metalwork, which was very exciting, since at the time Richard Potter's grandfather, Henry Potter, was The Go To Guy for beautiful ironwork and lighting around town.  It's so nice to see family history still in tact.

What we like about Provenance is that even though they completely remodel old homes, they also manage to keep everything that made the home special in the first place, plus what ever they add-on looks as if it was always there.

For the Drexel home, we restored all the old light fixtures, etc, but also designed and built new pieces, which we based on the original metalwork and lighting.  The home is adorned with lovely lanterns, gates, etc..  Next time you drive down Drexel, take a look and see how the old and the new can seamlessly fit together.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Check us out in Luxe interiors + design

I have to say that I have been slacking a bit (a lot) with my blog posts for a while.  Today, however, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to blog about something cool!
Our little Luxe Magazine champion, Shanan Koschak, brought over the latest copy, hot off the press, of Luxe interiors + design! (The Dallas + Fort Worth Luxe that is)
We're right at the front section of ASID DESIGNER'S CHOICE AWARDS!  For those who are not familiar, the American Society of Interior Designers [ASID] is a community of people - designers, industry reps, educators and students - committed to interior design.  Congratulations to all the winners! Well, now I'm starting to be very sorry we didn't participate, because if we did, we'd have two pages in Luxe for sure :)
Check us out! Page 230.
...and meanwhile, you can flip through the online version of the magazine's past issues.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lantern Restoration

This is one of Richard Potter's grandfather's light fixtures which Henry Potter made in the 20's for a residence in Lakewood, Dallas.  From the looks of it, the fixture was probably painted white in the 60's and left to fight the elements since then.  The current owner of the home wanted to save the adorable little pendant, and so she brought it to us asking if we can help.  Although badly rusted, the fixture was in a good enough condition for us to simply de-rust, prime, and put a brand new coat of paint on.  The little patient is all better now and ready to warmly welcome the next generation home.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Monday, June 25, 2012

Impressed by handcrafted architectural sculpture

Carved Stonework by Hunt Studios
I was just clicking around the net when I ran into Hunt Studios, a studio which produces handcrafted architectural sculpture in stone, metal and cast materials.
It just amazes me how a master carver like Nathan Hunt and his artisans can take a chunk of stone and create such objects of beauty.  I'm just in awe.

Carved Stonework by Hunt Studios
The process of stone carving is far form ornamental metalworking, which is what we do here at Potter Art Metal Studios, but the two are gorgeous to look at and work together so well.  We have made wrought iron fireplace screens and tools for the most gorgeous stone carved mantles out there.  Our lanterns are beautifully hung on fabulous carved as well as cast stone columns and arches as well, and we simply adore to see others work compare to our own in beauty as well as quality and support great artisans in general; after all, there are so few of us out there. 

Doors and Lanterns by Potter Art Metal Studios

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The British are coming!

Potter Square is about to get a new arrival.  What makes it so special?  It's taking over the old Potter Art Metal Studios showroom!
I was passing by our old studio, right off Knox/Henderson and HWY 75 the other day and saw a huge "The British are coming!" banner.   I was super curious to find out who these British were, but by the time I got home I had completely forgotten to Google them.  Today I opened up an invitation from Cattle Baron's Ball and there it was again, that hat from the banner.  I looked it up and was pleasantly surprised to find that it will be the first stand-alone US store opening in Dallas for Timothy Oulton.  I have "saved the date" indeed and will be attending the grand opening party for sure!

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Perfect Pair: picking your interior designer

chandelier Beverly and I designed for one of
her past clients

"Someone once asked me what my style was, and I said I have no style" [Beverly Travis.]  Such a wonderful quote, as Beverly's style happens to be what ever her client's style is.

Interior designer, Beverly Travis, has got to be one of the most caring designers out there.  She is extremely in tune with her client's needs.  She listens to what her client wants and gives them exactly what they have asked for, with proper and careful guiding of course.

I have recently put together a design for one of her client's fireplace screens, pictured below, and we set up a meeting to iron out the wrinkles.
Beverly made sure that her client understood the entire process of custom metalwork, showed her all the different possibilities in our showroom, and made sure that she was as clear as possible about the entire design.   I really like and respect that.  A few things were added to the design at that point, a few were taken away, and we perfected the overall look and feel of what her client wanted right there at the showroom table.

There are different types of designers out there, and different types of client personalities.  It makes me very happy when the two are very compatible.  Before picking a designer, always make sure to interview several and pick the one that works for you.  Some designers have a very distinct style, so if you love their style, they're the ones for you.  Some designers, like Beverly, can work in any style and each one looks fabulous, so they can work with your distinct style.  Beverly interviews her clients before she takes on a job, and I have to say that so far, every single pair was a total pleasure to work with.

fireplace screen design for Beverly Travis
final version of the fireplace screen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

stelladallas knows how to groove!

stelladallas knows how to groove! You get a burst of happiness as soon as you walk through the door! Talk about a modern and colorful twist on home furnishings and accessories. If you love color, this is the place for you! Interior decorator Lisa Lowe felt like she was in candy land... as soon as she walked into one of the back rooms she knew it was a clear vision of her dream sunroom.
Top left: Lisa and Richard Potter
Top right: I snagged the owner of stelladallas, Amber Frazee, for a little photo
Bottom Middle: DJ Lucy Wrubel in the house! I keep running into her, she's great!

Thanks for the invite Shanan! You little Luxe cutie, you! —

written by: Izabela Wojcik

DHome Party at Nest

DHome Blog is turning ONE!
So, what should ONE do about it? I celebrated the day with Dallas’ top tastemakers, designers, and lifestyle bloggers!
The event took place at Nest, a swanky little place off McKinney.

I ran into Brynn Bagot, the most awesome PR girl in town!

I also met the lovely Jan Strimple, who is super passionate about fighting AIDS; we chatted about the very worthy cause as well as a few other topics. She's so cute:) For those of you immersed in the world of fashion, yes, it is that Jan! She's walked the world's most glamorous fashion shows and is a real supermodel indeed. These days she produces the hottest of the hottest fashion events in town and beyond, including New York's Fashion Week. Pretty cool, ey?

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Elegant Wrought Iron Gates and Fence: Before and After

New Fence, Gate, and Lanterns by Potter Art Metal Studios
You'd be surprised what a difference a new wrought iron gate and fence can do for your property.  I even have a before and after photo to help illustrate my point.
I loved designing the new custom made wrought iron gates (with solid brass details), fence and brass lighting for a residential building off Sherry Lane and Douglas, in Dallas.  Our client wanted a new and fabulous look for his two entrances, and so we jumped right in!  It was a great opportunity to make some really nice,  large scale, and heavy gates.  The pair of gates on one side of the multi-story building open in and the one pictured above is actually a slider which we made look like a matching pair; I thought they would look much more grand and inviting this way.  The lanterns have matching wrought iron brackets with a beautiful solid brass body.  They are proportioned to the existing posts.

wrought iron fencing matching the gates

The fence is actually quite simple, but very effective.  I love the elegant scrolls on the top; we made sure that all the scrolls were forged to a tip and had a lovely flow to them; otherwise the effect would not work and the fence would look like any off the shelf fencing out there.

Original Gate we replaced.
The original gate was too light weight and did not have much of an actual design; it was your regular off the shelf looking gate.  Because the building itself looks quite commercial, the gate did also.  Our client's visitors would constantly mistake the building for a commercial one and drive right past it; he wanted an impressive entrance so that all he'd have to say is "You'll know you're there when you see the gates."  ...and he got exactly what he wanted.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

CRÚ Food and Wine Bar: Contemporary Storefront

"We are the custom metalwork company for you!"...When Patrick Colombo came to our showroom with a request for a new, contemporary storefront for CRÚ, a Food and Wine Bar in the Upper Kirby District in Houston, we all got super excited because we happened to have been enjoying Patrick's Dallas based restaurants for quite a while now and CRÚ offers a glimpse into the sophisticated world of wines from all over the world.  Pair that with a large selection of delicious stone oven fried pizzas and artisan cheeses and you have got yourself a wonderful spot for an evening with friends and family filled with atmosphere like no other.

The storefront came out beautifully!  I especially love the understated door and the hardware we made for it.  I can't wait to drop by the next time I'm in Houston!   On that note, I'm going to leave you with a photo of the yummy pizza made at CRÚ!

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The New Look of Highland Park Village

Recently HP Village got a facelift and we are proud to be a small, but fun part of the project!  One of our local designers, Elizabeth Robertson asked us to put on paper a flattering design, which melted right into the look of the Village.  We hand forged the new flower basket brackets on the  freshly installed post lamps.  I drove by the Village on the way back from a client's home, yesterday, and snapped a photograph of one of the flower pot brackets next to Jimmy Choo.  The lanterns in the background were also made by Potter Art Metal Studios... quite a few years ago.

Flower pot brackets and lantern made by Potter Art Metal

Most of the lanterns around the Village were originally made by Henry Potter, Richard Potter's (the current owner of Potter Art Metal Studios) grandfather.

Original HP dragon sketch by Potter Art Metal

I found an original sketch online from the Henry Potter Collection located in SMU's Hamon Arts Library (Bywaters Special Collection), which consists of several hundred shop sketches and accompanying invoices of lighting fixtures, furniture, and other items, primarily in iron.

Next time you drive by the Village, notice the interesting dragons and other beautiful Moorish lanterns spread throughout.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Thursday, April 5, 2012

AIA Dallas: Retrospect Kick Off Party at Lombardi's CIBUS!

Starting to get excited about the AIA Dallas Retrospect Kick Off Party tonight at North Park's Cibus Italian Restaurant.
I received my invitation in the mail a while ago and the night has finally come!
Surrounded by a beautiful garden setting, the exhibition will showcase some of the best work Dallas architects have to offer, and I can't wait to hear all about it since Dallas happens to rock in that department... one of many...
Check out AIA Dallas; the Dallas Chapter of The American Institute of Architects.  Some of my favorites are right here in Dallas and we have gotten the privilege of working with them!

written by: Izabela Wojcik

House Hunting for the Rich and Famous in Dallas

Photo from
Every time I click on my remote control, I happen to run into a preview of Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom buying a house in Dallas.  Normally it would be just another preview, except that the first thing my eye is drawn to is the wrought iron railing in the background of the Khloé & Lamar clip airing April 1st on E! (which I will have to take a photo of and post in here next time I see.)  Just as a shoe maker can't help but be drawn to the lower end of a woman's body, I can't help but hone in onto wrought ironwork and lighting.  
I would so love to get my hands on the metal railing in the background of one of the clips and replace it with a hand forged custom design, as opposed to the off the shelf components spliced all over this one.  There is nothing wrong with off the shelf components per say... they are wonderful for certain projects, but I think that this particular design could use a little help.  Classy and timeless I say!
I have posted a suggestion below; modern yet timelss... Khloé, what do you say?
Love, Izabela

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wrought Iron Corbels

One of our clients decided on a granite top bar area by his swimming pool.  He thought he'd like wrought iron corbels as supports for the slab of granite.  We designed and hand forged them in iron and decorated them with ping hammered double copper banding.  I love wrought iron; they are gorgeous!

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Contemporary Pendant Chandelier

We have just finished this contemporary pendant chandelier for one of our designers who has seen a chandelier like this, but didn't' like the poor execution of the fixture, plus, it happened to be the wrong size; a problem many interior designers struggle with on daily basis.
I made some changes which I thought would add to the esthetic of this contemporary piece, like square plates under the bone white candles, and a general up-sizing of just about every piece of material we used.  Plus, I thought a squared chain would echo the square candle plates beautifully, not to mention the fact that it would be so much more interesting then that regular Home Depot looking chain everyone uses on chandeliers.  We could have gone for the brushed nickel finish, but the brushed steel looks just as cool, without the extra hefty price tag, so we went with that.  I think it will be a great addition to the beautiful bedroom it's going to be hanging in; can't wait for Lauri to see it.
Most think of Potter Art Metal Studios as beautiful Old World Metalworkers.
I have to say that my guilty pleasure is the contemporary project we get here and there.
What you have to understand is that metal is only pieces of squares, rounds, and flats.  What you do with them is what the final product will look like.  It knows no boundaries between Formal French, Mediterranean, or Contemporary.  It's all in the design and the execution.

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Monday, March 5, 2012

White Rock Lake Weekly: Potters helps luminous Texas landmark shine brighter

After nearly 80 years, Richard Potter of Potter Art Metal Studios will restore the historic ornamental light fixtures his grandfather created for Woodrow Wilson High School when it first opened in the late 1920s. Potter's grandfather originally created 40 unique pieces out of bronze, copper and brass – a project valued at approximately $4,000. Today, the cost of refinishing and rebuilding the antique light fixtures is approximately $101,500. 

A significant job lies ahead for this White Rock Lake area resident as Potter works to restore all 40 pieces that date back to the 20s. Of these 40 historic fixtures, he will have to recreate seven of them completely because they have been broken or stolen. It will take three highly skilled ironworkers a total of 160 hours to rebuild just one lantern from scratch, and the entire project is expected to take six months.

For four generations spanning 90 years, the Potter family has been the inspiration of the finest metal artisans in the Southwest. Today, Richard Potter carries on the legacy left to him by his grandfather, who opened the business in 1920 when his lantern-making hobby outgrew his backyard and led him to design many recognizable iron and bronze designs throughout the city. Potter has continued the family tradition at Potter Art Metal Studios, designing and building hand-wrought artistic metal products in iron, bronze, brass and aluminum, using techniques and processes that many consider to be “lost arts.” In fact, his three 20-something triplets now have a hand in the business, learning the craft of their great-grandfather. These traditional methods allow the fabrication of one-of-a-kind, beautiful and authentic representations of styles gone past, like those historic fixtures that adorn Woodrow.

Potter is known for having a big heart for Dallas history. On more than one occasion he has donated his services to fix the ironwork and lighting around the city, all in an effort to help retain the city’s beautiful architecture and charm. In addition to the restoration for Woodrow, Potter’s team is completing a similar project for J. L. Long Middle School, however there currently is no budget for restoring some pieces in the auditorium. It is estimated that $50,000 needs to be raised, or the historic fixtures will be replaced with basic functional lighting and a piece of East Dallas history will be lost forever. Potter currently is involved in getting a formal fund set up to collect contributions, which would save the fixtures. 

For now it’s “lights out” at Woodrow, but soon Richard will turn the lights back on, re-igniting Woodrow’s legacy as a luminous Texas landmark that holds a place in the hearts of many Woodrow alum as well as the East Dallas community. Only time will tell if J. L. Long’s historic fixtures will be restored.

by Shelby Menczer
1st week of March 2012
Read more: White Rock Lake Weekly - Potters helps luminous Texas landmark shine brighter 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Woodrow Wilson Light Fixture Restoration

I thought I'd give you guys a visual on the light fixtures for Woodrow Wilson, because they look amazzzing!  We are in the middle of all our restoration efforts and so now I happen to have the before and some of the after photos.  And, thanks to the story Rachel Stone form the Advocate put together for all the fabulous readers out there, we might be able to save the auditorium light fixtures too!  I am sooo extremely happy right now because it would be such a shame to replace the beautiful flight fixtures with off the shelf pieces.

So here's the scoop... We were asked to restore the light fixtures form Woodrow and JL Long; below is a photo of two of the many Woodrow light fixtures before our restoration efforts.  Some of the light fixtures just needed some TLC, some were missing pieces, some were warped, and a few were totally missing.
(click on the photos to enlarge)


Richard and I went over to inspect the light fixtures and thought they were just amazing!  So much potential behind what the time has done to the poor things which Richard's grandfather originally built in the 30s.  One of the lights that we got super excited about were the chandeliers hanging in the auditorium of JL Long.  The grand light fixtures were something else!  After all, it's not like you get to see a beautiful, large, Art Deco chandelier ever day.

Since there are quite a few of them in the auditorium, the overall visual is just spectacular.  Unfortunately, we found out shortly after that we most likely won't be restoring the fixtures, but instead they will be replaced with these:

I almost had a heart attack when I saw the piece of paper with the proposed light fixtures!  Not that there is anything wrong with them, but why put beautifully crafted, custom made piece of history in the trash and replace it with off the shelf fixtures wich are not nearly as impressive as what is there in the first place?  Both JL Long and Woodrow have great history behind them, and lots of really neat people who have fond memories of their school went there like Trammel Crow Sr.  Surely the lights can be saved...

Well, I'm happy to say that apparently the article caused quite a bit of stir and now something might be in the works to save the fixtures after all!!!

I certainly do hope so.  We are working as hard and as carefully as we can to restore these fixtures to their original glory and would like to thank all the other people involved in the restoration of Woodrow and JL Long, from the stone mason to the woodworker repairing the windows, so that future generations in the world of cookie cutter can enjoy the hard work, the beauty of real artistry, and historical significance of yesterday.  So, to give you an idea as to how spectacular all these lights will look like when the school is restored, here are a few shots of the in progress as well as finished light fixtures I promised:)

A bit of history about Woodrow from Wikipedia:
Designed by noted Dallas architect Mark Lemmon, the school opened in 1928 and was constructed in the Elizabethan style.[7] At the cornerstone-laying ceremony in April 1927, a piece of the wedding cake of Woodrow Wilson's second daughter, Jessie, was included in the cornerstone "in memory of Mr. Wilson."[8] At US$700,000, the school's cost exceeded that of the district's previous four high schools by at least $100,000.[9]

written by: Izabela Wojcik

Monday, January 30, 2012

World-class metalwork made by a local legacy: D Home Design Book 2012

Potter Art Metal Studios.
World-class metalwork made by a local legacy.

To tour the Potter family's body of work in Dallas - the intricate, wrought iron gates, copper awnings, and brass lanterns - is to discover the history of the city itself. Four generations worth of craftsmanship adorns the city's oldest churches, guards the most beautiful homes, and lights the grounds of Fair Park. Using the same traditional methods Richard Potter's grandfather used in the 1920's, Potter, creative director Izabela Wojcik, and the team of artisans design and hand-forge the highest quality metalwork in the world. From sconces and chandeliers to stair railings and furniture, the array of unique items Potter Art metal Studios can create is limitless. For example, the "fandelier" - a modern solution to a common design dilemma - is a ceiling fan concealed within a stunning chandelier structure. "It's all custom-made, not mass-produced," says Richard Potter. "Everything we do is refined, finished, and detailed." And to that end, the Potter studio invites everyone to visit the Design District shop to see today's master craftsmen at work. 

Potter Art Metal Studios
4827 Memphis Street | Dallas
D Home Design Book 2012
page 24 - Design Materials and Services.

IRON MAN - Dallas Modern Luxury

Dallas' own Potter universe is the hot spot in metal wizardry.
By Rebecca Sherman
Photography by Nick Prendergast

At 60 and working in what is generally considered to be a dying art, metal artisan Richard Potter Jr. is still in high demand.  He just completed a quartet of art nouveau-inspired entryways for The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton new Regency Row Homes in Uptown that include hand-forged steel and glass doors, aluminum and glass canopies, and brass lanterns.  He's also busy restoring dozens of ’30s-era bronze, copper and brass lanterns and chandeliers for Woodrow Wilson High School and J.L. Long Middle School, which will be reinstalled this spring. The lighting fixtures for the schools were originally crafted by his grandfather Henry C. Potter, who founded the family metalwork studio in 1920. Reviving the handwork created by his grandfather and father decades earlier is a situation in which Potter increasingly finds himself. After all, the patriarch of the Family was responsible for much of the fine ironwork found throughout the city, including homes designed by celebrated architects Charles Dilbeck and Clifford Hutsell, and the light fixtures at Fair Park, White Rock Lake, downtown Dallas and Highland Park Village. “Seems like I'm always working on something that my grandfather did years ago,” says Potter, who began learning the Family trade at ll. Potter Art Metal Studios does all its heavy forging on-site and includes a design workroom and Full-time metal sketch artist.  The company is one of the few in the country capable of producing a broad range of products, including lighting, stair railings, gates, doors, windows, furniture and gazebos in an array of metals. Many of the company’s 20 employees were trained by one Potter or another. The current Potter executive personally oversees every piece that's produced, and workers are highly skilled in hand repoussé, custom brass spinning and hand-forging of wrought iron. Some requests are intricate, like gargoyles, dragons, tree limbs or grapevines. For developer Trammell S. Crow, Potter Studios created a nature-inspired, polished steel fireplace surround with hidden compartments that took six months to make.  Other projects are so complex that they’re in the works for years.  A new client who is building a turreted castle on the Red River just hired the company to create hundreds of ironworks, including more than 50 chandeliers, 30 sconces, 30 lanterns, driveway gates, doors, drawer pulls, hinges and a pair of two-story iron trees that will support a room above. At this rate, another generation or two of Potters stands ready to take on restoration work should the massive project eventually need it. It's a good thing, then, that Potter's two sons and daughter already work at the company, and his 22-year-old triplet grandsons are learning the ropes during the summer. “There aren't schools for this kind of craftsmanship any longer. You almost have to grow up in the business to be able to do it,” he says.

Potter Art Metal Studios, 4827Memphis St., 214.821.1419,

Ponder The Muse: a blog by Nick Prendegast

A fun little blog post written by the photographer who shot our studio for the current issue of Modern Luxury Dallas:


Potter Art Metal Studios for Modern Luxury

I shot Richard Potter Jr and his fantastic crew for the current issue of Modern Luxury Dallas. Their facility is filled with thousands of interesting projects in various states of completion, and watching these works being made was absolutely compelling. This assignment was especially satisfying for me because it fit right into the personal series I am shooting about artists and craftsmen in their workspaces. My thanks to Richard and all the fine folks over at Potter Art Metal for their time and generosity. Such a blast...

(all images © Nick Prendergast)

Potter Art Metal fixes fixtures 80 years later

Brothers Baron Potter and Richard Potter III work on light
fixtures at their family business, Potter Art Metal Studios.
The 90-year-old company is restoring lights it
crafted generations ago. Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Woodrow Wilson High School cost $700,000 to build, between 1926 and 1928, and it was the most expensive school building in Dallas. The school board hired Potter Art Metal Studios to craft detailed pendant lights and lanterns for the school’s exterior to give it distinctive ornamentation. And when J.L. Long Middle School opened in 1933, custom Potter fixtures graced its exterior, too.
Now both schools are undergoing renovations, and once again, the architects called on Potter to refurbish the light fixtures the family-owned company created more than 80 years ago. Richard Potter, the company’s third-generation owner, becomes animated talking about the project. Aside from approximately 30 outdoor fixtures for both schools, Potter also is refurbishing 21 lights from the Woodrow auditorium.
“They’ll be gorgeous,” he says. “You couldn’t appreciate the detail before.”
Workers clean and repair the pieces before adding a chemical patina to darken the details and finally, seal them with an acrylic lacquer. They’re also being rewired. A few of the fixtures must be replaced, and workers are replicating the 1920s designs.
The fixtures at Woodrow, built in the Elizabethan style, are gothic. And the fixtures from Long are art deco. The project is estimated to cost about $100,000. Potter says he doesn’t know how much the lights originally cost.
This isn’t the first time Potter has been asked to restore its own work, which appears in landmarks such as government buildings and White Rock Lake, as well as countless homes.
Unfortunately, the renovation project doesn’t have the funding to refurbish 10 art deco pendant lamps in the J.L. Long auditorium. They would cost about $5,000 a piece to restore, and the architects have opted to instead purchase new lights. But Potter and designer Izabela Wojcik are hoping that Long boosters might unite and somehow raise $50,000 to save the old light fixtures. For almost 80 years, Long students have been looking up at those artfully crafted pendants, and it would be a shame to replace them with something inferior.
“Off-the-shelf fixtures are not going to look as good,” Wojcik says. “These looked good 100 years ago, and they’re always going to look good.”
by Rachel Stone
February 2012
Living Local in Lakewood/East Dallas