Thursday, June 10, 2010
Dovecote Decor has a special appreciation for birdhouses, so you can imagine our excitement when we opened the June 2010 Architectural Digest and saw the article "For the Birds" highlighting Wilmington, Delaware's Thomas F. Burke and his designer bird homes.
The intricate detailing of these, and other, custom bird "homes"are bench made, CAD drawn, and use exterior-grade materials, much like our own dwellings. It is truly amazing to see how far the birdhouse concept has come since its inception in the Middle Ages in Europe.
Dovecotes were among the first birdhouses, dating back to the 13th Century, and clearly form followed function. They were typically found on the grounds of monasteries and manor houses, and were an indicator of wealth. The birds were used as a fresh food source during the winter, they produced fertilizer for the gardens, and worked as couriers year round, thus proving to be a valuable asset, deserving of a comfortable home.
Mustard Gambrel Barn from Goldsmith Birdhouses
In the 21st Century a functioning dovecote is a rare thing, and birdhouses have become less of a necessity and more of a decorative element and a hobby. In fact there are several major birdhouse building competitions, and craftsmen creating custom birdhouses in the style of your own home! Our favorite is Goldsmith Birdhouses. In the birdhouse spectrum, they fall in the higher end, starting at about $450. Each birdhouse is one of a kind, and handcrafted from 150 year old reclaimed lumber.
At Dovecote Decor headquarters, we have two classic dovecotes that are a nod to the history of bird keeping throughout time - one perched on the roof, the other built into the eaves of the house.
Modern bird houses can range from reinvented tin cans to ceramic cupcakes. A designer's creativity is the limit! Bird houses are a great way to express oneself while simultaneously dressing up one's lawn. This Old House has a good online article for setting up your own birdhouse. Happy birding!