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Photo: David Whitney
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Italianate-Inspired Design: On The Hunt

The railing looks like a natural fit now that it's finished, but the designing and building took some doing. With the Fauldses' blessing, Whitney scouted around Arlington for inspiration. It's a town packed with Victorian-era houses, so he had no shortage of architectural precedents to consider. Whitney waded through snowdrifts, camera in hand, snapping photos of historically appropriate railings. "One time the police stopped me because they thought I was casing the neighborhood for a robbery," he says.

Whitney also conducted more conventional research, but that didn't produce any clear winner either. There isn't any one definitive design for Italianate railing balusters, according to Melanie Hall, associate professor of architectural history at Boston University. "Mixing design features from historical styles was common practice in the 19th century," she says. The project house reflects that.

Shown: Traditional turned Italianate balusters
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