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The Small Details

Beyond its larger architectural forms Esherick's house is something of a wonder in its smaller details. Almost everything -- door handles, light fixtures and sinks -- was crafted as custom parts of his overall scheme. When moving through the building one is struck by the utter lack of store-bought products and by a sense of new discoveries at every turn. Even the smaller utility items -- brooms, baskets, throw rugs, upholstery fabric, light chain pulls, fireplace utensils, trash cans -- were hand-made by Esherick or his artisan friends.

Above, left, is the intricate latching mechanism Esherick carved for the loading doors of his studio. Made of Madagascar ebony, the latch was one of the very few items he ever made from wood that was not locally grown. When he built the heavier parts of the house's structure, he was assisted by four friends. During the project, a bird took up a perch on a nearby tree, singing as the men worked each day. Esherick marked the event by carving wooden coat hooks in the likeness of the four workers, himself (above, center) and the bird.

Above, right, is the hand-carved light switch plate from Esherick's bathroom.

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