Juliet Balcony Railing

Juliet Balcony Railing1
Juliet Balcony Railing

This intricate railing is installed on the front of a home in Wisconsin. This architectural feature is named after the famous scene in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and is also sometimes called a widow’s walk. Widow’s walks are often seen on coastal homes in the Northeast, and the lore is that the wives of mariners could observe the sea from their tiny balconies and would watch for their husbands’ ships on the horizon. Some wives would spend years watching in vain for the return of a sailor lost at sea.

While these special spots do evoke the bittersweet romance of star crossed lovers and devoted, pining wives of sailors, they have an inviting warmth that promises a lifetime of enjoyment as well. Juliet balconies complement so many home styles and add a bit of practical romance. Placed outside a master suite, a juliet balcony is a perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or watch the stars at night. With some perfumed vines, like jasmine growing nearby, it is a lovely way to let fragrant summer breezes in at night. Placed off a home office, it is a wonderful place to take a break from work and enjoy a view of the neighborhood and garden.
Juliet Balcony Design2
Juliet Balcony Design
Juliet Balustrade
Juliet Balustrade

With the finely crafted Mountain Laurel Handrails, this is more than just a place to enjoy a cup of coffee. It is a work of art that is built to last and made with time honored woodworking traditions. The striking woodwork is great for creating a focal point on an otherwise plain wall or adding another layer of beauty to more elaborate homes. Juliet balconies are great for homes that lack space for a larger deck as well as properties with a deck or two that could use another private space. Adding these guard rails makes a functional little space and a true statement of beauty and craftsmanship.

Our friends in Wisconsin used this architecture to accent their front door, and it also creates a lovely shelter from the elements for the doorway. I love how they used the supports to hang a potted plant and made the inviting entryway even cozier. The juliet balcony railing create an unmatched sense of drama and rustic beauty. Although a relativelly simple feature, it certainly does mark the entrance to the home, adding the juliet balustrade above it creates a grand entryway that makes the house really shine. With the romantic history of these features and our fine woodworking traditions, this is a wonderful way to add interest and drama to any home without devoting the time, space, and money to a larger porch or deck.

Juliet Balcony
Juliet Balcony
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—UPDATE 1 – September 18, 2014—

French Camino Rustic Log Balcony Railing
French Camino Juliet Balcony Railing

My mom sent me a picture she took while doing the French Camino de Santiago this past summer. It shows a juliet balcony railing in the same style as the one featured here. This is an interesting in that has the bark left on the logs instead of peeled or hand hewn. Also, the weave is incomplete and open in may areas. These are not as busy as others that you see, but in my opinion that does not diminish their beauty. I played piano when I was younger and I learned then that much of music is about the pauses and rests between notes: that’s what gives the melody.

—UPDATE 2 – September 18, 2014—

Reader Steve Allen Shard with Practical Home Planning sent me some info along with these five pictures to clarify the term widow’s walk. Four of the pictures are from New Bedford and Farihaven areas of Massachusets while one is from Charleston SC.

New Bedford Home with Cupola
New Bedford Home with Cupola


Hello James,

Thank you for the awesome photos. Great looking work!

For your benefit and to avoid any confusion, what you showed (the balcony) is not a widow’s walk. You are correct that widow’s walks or lookouts are popular along the eastern seaboard in maritime cities and I have taken the liberty of attaching a few photos of homes with such widow’s walks/lookouts.

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Charleston SC Home with Widow's Walk
Charleston SC Home with Widow’s Walk


They were built above the roof at the highest possible point and were used during the nineteenth century where the wives of fishermen could climb high enough to see the returning fishing/whaling vessels returning to the harbor after a long voyage at sea earning their living. They are called widow’s walks because many times, especially when there was a strong storm at sea that the ships and crews did not return, but were lost at sea. Such an example was depicted in the 2000 movie The Perfect Storm with George Clooney, a true story about a real monster storm that took place in 1991.

New Bedford, Mass Widow Walk Home
New Bedford, Mass Widow Walk Home


The first photo is a home located in Charleston, SC on Battery St. overlooking Fort Sumter. The rest are from the city of my birth and early childhood, New Bedford, MA, known as the Whaling City and is still the fishing capital of the east coast.

There are too many homes with widow’s walks to share all of them, but I thought you would enjoy seeing a few of my favorites. The vast majority of them (all of the ones I am showing) are enclosed as large cupolas with windows all around for panoramic viewing. Many were also used by artists as studios and some still are used for that purpose.

Thanks again for sharing your photos.

Sincerely,
Steve Allen Shard, AIBD
Practical Home Planning

Fairhaven Widow Walk
Fairhaven Widow Walk
Ornate Massachusets Home with Widows Walk
Ornate Massachusets Home with Widows Walk
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Interior Balcony Railing

A home in Wisconsin spotlights stunning style for a cabin loft with its interior balcony railing. This large loft adds function to the open concept design.  As a multipurpose area, it can be used for extra sleeping quarters, a playroom and much more. But just as importantly, a loft’s design can make a huge visual impact as you will see in the pictures below.

Interior Wood Balcony Railing
Interior Wood Balcony Railing

Here, robust glass windows provide an abundance of natural light to brighten the loft. At the same time, the sun’s rays highlight the room’s details such as hefty, wooden beams and Laurel branch railings. The view captures a beautiful blend of geometric and organic shapes.

Mountain Laurel handrails Wisconsin
Mountain Laurel handrails Wisconsin
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Nature-Inspired Style for a Cabin Loft

The cabin loft overlooks a spacious two story great room. Notice how the cathedral ceiling with its steep pitch brings height and an airy ambiance to the space. In addition, natural wood planks line the ceiling walls to accent the cabin’s rustic character charmingly. When you enter a home, the balcony or stair railing is often the first view of the interior space. So it goes without saying that it has to be uniquely designed to make a great first impression.

Coming up the stairs
Coming up the stairs

Handrails function as a safely component along the stairway and loft. But, as you can see from this picture, choosing the right railing style adds an aesthetic feature to this Wisconsin home’s interior design. This shows the importance considering the finer custom details when making design choices.

Balcony Railng Interior
Balcony Railng Interior

This newly constructed railing features branch balusters covered in bark along with their natural weave. It clearly captures the essence of style for a cabin loft. You’ll also notice that the handrails use natural wood balusters which are an excellent addition especially if you also want the cabin balcony to have a funky and rustic inviting feel. Not to mention the interior balcony railings also give the cabin a countryside antique touch that’s superbly striking.

Wisconsin cabin balcony railing
Wisconsin cabin balcony railing

Here, the handrail is intersected by a floor to ceiling newel post that mirrors surrounding natural wood trusses. Like all other handrails, the railing for interior balcony is also strong and secure to provide stability and safety as you go up the cabin loft. However, more than just providing safety, the designers also wanted it to function as a support. So for instance, if you’re feeling a bit weak but still want to go up the cabin loft and catch a breath or have some quiet time, you can still access it easily. Plus there are obviously going to be all sorts of people using the balcony railing including both young children and more elderly folks so it was necessary to incorporate a sense of security and support.

Loft Mountain Laurel handrail
Loft Mountain Laurel handrail

Above is a close-up view of the rough-hewn beauty of bark covered twigs, coarse planks and knotty timbers.  All of these materials inspired by nature combine to give this get-away its relaxing warmth and unpretentious charm. The simplicity of the designs also makes the railings sync perfectly with the cabin loft giving the balcony a low profile charming look. Notice that the natural wood elements add warmth to the stairway and ease the transition from downstairs to the cabin loft which is something that as a designer I feel adds a sparkle to the interior design element. As a design note, the meandering branch balusters on the interior wood balcony railing also seem to contrast beautifully with the cathedral ceiling hence adding a beautiful visual twist to the loft.

Interior Balcony Railing
Interior Balcony Railing
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What are different styles of interior balcony railing?

Each stair and balcony railing is different just like each section of Mountain Laurel Handrails is different. This provides an opportunity to make your home special. Like an architect told me recently,”I spend lots of time detailing railings;
they help elevate mere housing into Architecture.”

Interior Balcony Railing
Interior Balcony Railing

What are the Different Types of Interior Balcony Railings?

I think this is a particularly important question if you’re unsure about what kind of interior balcony railing to get. Interior balcony railings come in one of three categories. There’s the interior wood balcony railing which is what we focus more on for many reasons. For instance, there are plenty of artistic possibilities in each twisted branch which makes it easy to mold the branches into an infinite number of designs. At the same time, wood has a way of dramatically improving the appearance of your home to give it a stunning artistic look. Apart from the aesthetic and functional aspect of it, wood is also quite sturdy which makes it the perfect source of support and safety for people of all ages.

The next type of railing is the interior glass balcony railing. This interior balcony railing design as the name suggests is designed using glass either in part or in whole. It is more suitable for people who are looking for a sleek, contemporary look that at the same time offers a touch of elegance and enough room for customization.

In addition to the wood railing and the glass railing, there’s also the wrought iron interior balcony railing. Wrought iron railings are a common and easy choice in interior design for a number of reasons. The material is easy to maintain, durable and classic looking. Plus like with wood, there are plenty of design possibilities too.

Railing at Top of Stairs
Railing at Top of Stairs

All in all, the addition of natural woods and branches in this style for a cabin loft certainly feels like an extension of the great outdoors. If you favor an interior design style that mirrors the beauty of nature, contact us at Mountain Laurel Handrails to discuss your vision and ideas.

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