Ironwork Legacy: Forging the past, present and future

Casting the past – and the present – in a whole new light.

As part of their new dream home atop Glassy Mountain, the Markitells had four custom fireplace screens designed to depict the different places they’ve lived over the years: western Pennsylvania, New Orleans, Houston, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Take a look to see how their legacy will burn bright for generations to come.

Barry and Cathy Markitell have spent virtually their entire lives together.  They grew up together as kids in the same hometown in western Pennsylvania.  They both attended universities in Pennsylvania (Barry at University of Pittsburgh, Cathy at Indiana University of Pittsburgh).  They were married a year after graduation and moved to New Orleans in the late 70s, where they lived for 11 years and had their first two children.

That was just the beginning – or the half-way point, rather – of an exhilarating journey.  In 1990, work took them to Houston, Texas, where they lived for seven years and had their third child.  In 1997, opportunity came knocking again, this time from the far remote islands of Trinidad and Tobago.  After two years in this enchanting Caribbean paradise, they returned to Houston before eventually moving back to their hometown in western Pennsylvania.  To cap it all off, Cathy and Barry have recently retired and have picked the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina as their final “anything-but-resting place.”

Commemorating the journey – and the road ahead
“When I look back over the past few decades I’m amazed at the journey Cathy and I have shared together,” says Barry.  ”When we decided to build our retirement home on Glassy Mountain we wanted this house to be a gathering place for our children and their families for holidays and special occasions.  We also wanted it to both commemorate our journey and celebrate the adventures that lay ahead.  It was precisely this desire that led them to The Heirloom Companies, with the challenge of building four custom fire screens – each representative of the places they lived – to tie their life-long journey together.  ”Barry and Cathy were looking for a creative way to tie all of these places they had lived over the years together,” James says.  ”We decided to use the four fire screens located throughout the house to help tell this story and tie it all together: one for Pennsylvania, one for New Orleans, one for Houston, and one for Trinidad and Tobago.”

The four fire screen designs that The Heirloom Companies came up with are at once wholly unique, yet also indicative of the type of custom masterwork the company has become known for.  Each screen is made of hand-forged iron that has been carefully designed by James, who took great pains to pay homage to each of the four locations through subtle design motifs.  The result: “It’s a home run,” says Barry.  ”Working with James and the entire Heirloom team has been a pleasure.  Not only are they incredible artists and craftsmen, they are just really good folks who go above and beyond to exceed expectations.  It’s been such a good experience that we have engaged them for other projects as well – an outdoor sculptures, and some chestnut doors and woodwork.”

That seems only fitting after all, that the Markitells’ incredible life journey should be captured and immortalized in a dream home that connects past, present, and future together for them, their children, and one day, their children’s children.

View James’s Sketches

View Our CAD Files

If you would be interested in discussing wood and metal works ideas for your home, contact Ben Moseley at

This entry was posted in Custom Work, Fire Screens, Iron Works, James Moseley Design, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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