A Ballet Barre as Installation Art, A Young Ballerino Finds His Special Place

Natural Elements Meets Industrial Design

What to o with driftwood? Make a ballet barre for your young aspiring ballerino.

If you’re Linda Beck of South Orange NJ, you’re at home in natural environs where the simplest of scavenger hunts can turn up the most wondrous of objects. Like endless searches for skeletal treasures, find remnants of a wild life lived in Virginia’s foothills. Or when frequent visits to the local duck pond at Flood’s Hill seal a lifelong friendship with the ancient snapping turtle who holds court there.

Linda Beck's young son, a budding ballerino, uses the beautiful driftwood ballet barre his mother designed and built for him to practice his craft.
Linda Beck’s young son, a budding ballerino, uses the beautiful driftwood ballet barre his mother designed and built for him to practice his craft.

So when she found two pieces of driftwood on a beach in the North Fork of Long Island, she knew exactly what to do with them. Create a ballet barre for her young son, a budding ballerino, of course.

I love this project. It marries art with function. Rather than visiting the Home Depot and purchasing a cylindrical shaped bar or worse, a PVC pipe, she brought nature into her home and created a statement piece.

So how did she do it?

Linda juxtaposed the natural elements with industrial design, gas piping. She fastened the driftwood barres to gas piping with U-bolts.  Since her family’s home has plaster walls, she tells me that the “toughest and most frustrating part of the process was locating the wall studs.  The stud finder was useless, so we had to tap a thin nail in every 2 inches or so across the wall in order to find them!”

It’s true – plaster walls are found in most SOMa homes and stud finders can be unreliable. Here are few methods I’ve heard about, in addition to Linda’s: knock on the walls and listen for differences (hollow or thick), locating the electrical box as they are usually attached to studs, or tieing a magnet to a string and swinging it front of the wall – supposedly it will be attracted to the nails in the studs. We’ve used the first two methods in our home.

FOUNDER & LEAD CONTENT STRATEGIST This blog is a creative outlet for the love of home design and art, doable DIY, indulging in good eats, and throwing a good party. While I write many of our articles, I’m not the only voice. Interior designers, architects, tradespersons, makers, and good friends with special talents share what they know. I live in a gorgeous 1895 Victorian, No.139, with my husband Gary McDaniel, our three kids, a cranky old cat, and a golden retriver. While only four other families have called this place home, some of them made really bad choices that altered it’s classic design. And there was a cheap flipper in the mix too. Now, we’re cleaning up their messes. My day (and weekend) job as a REALTOR®-Salesperson for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Maplewood, NJ, gives me a unique opportunity to peek inside homes. Whether a it’s a sparkling or still-in-the-rough kind of diamond – all are dream worthy. In 2018, Lisa Danbrot and I co-founded the annual trade show, Resource Home Show.

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