the details

Iron Horse details WAVphoto

Iron Horse details WAVphoto

Years ago I was given a gift. The giver presented it to me saying,
“you’re such a visual person, I thought you’d like this.” I liked her
sentiments more and those words have stuck with me over ten years.

It’s true. I am a visual person. I used to think everyone saw what I saw
until I began using a camera. I still scratch my head in wonder when
people ask, ‘how did you see that?’ (With all respect & love in my heart,
‘how did you NOT see that’?)

I see the way light plays with objects creating dark shadows.
I notice shape and texture. The details speak to me.

The details.

Iron Horse details WAVphoto

I recently visited The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The details were incredible from the moment the valet greeted & escorted me to
the check-in desk where I was welcomed by a friendly smile and a
freshly poured signature cocktail. Yes. The details are not overlooked.

My husband was due to meet me at the bar after his flight arrived in
Milwaukee. He arrived as the long-awaited sun came out on a warm
spring afternoon. I kindly asked our fantastic waitress if the outdoor bar
was open. “The Yard” was not open yet for the season – but sensing
our desire to enjoy a drink outside she promptly gathered our beverages, escorted us outside and secured two stools. Perfect. She checked on
us & as the wind picked up, re-established our place inside.

We walked through the set of a magazine photo shoot next – kidding,
it just seemed like it. The restaurant, Smyth, ready for dining had oil lamps
lit in Mason jars…everywhere. It was magical, comfortable, inviting.

Iron Horse lobby details WAVphoto

Iron Horse lobby details

The Iron Horse Hotel is a 100 year old warehouse transformed into a luxury boutique hotel. A fusion of ‘industrial-era form and modern day function’
(from Iron Horse website). ‘Iron Horse’ is a term used for old trains and
part of the charm remains as the hotel is on active train tracks. In each guest room there’s a package of ear plugs in case the noise of the train is disturbing.
(it wasn’t).

The room was a mix of texture – leather headboard, iron art, exposed glass shower wall and cream city brick. I had the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever slept on. If you’ve come to town for a business meeting or arrived on your Harley – the Iron Horse Hotel seems to accommodate all. (including dogs) Details.

Breakfast in the Smyth didn’t disappoint at all. Service was prompt, friendly, great coffee and food. Back to arousal of my senses with details. The coffee was served in the most perfect, white mug. The interior designer knew what they were doing as the little details all got along including the hammered stems on the silverware, the photographs on the walls, the nails on the cushioned chairs.

Iron Horse library details WAVphoto

Iron Horse library details

It was early on Sunday morning when we walked into the Library. I would have spent the entire day there if possible. The leather couches surround a coffee table that almost asks to rest your feet on it. A fireplace tucked into a corner pleads a longer stay. A peek out the long windows reveals the train tracks and, yes, the cars passing below. The library is host to the most beautiful photographic images of Route 66 made by Thomas Ferderbar, a local artist. Each was framed beautifully.

Iron Horse details Tom Ferderbar photographs of Route 66 WAVphoto

Iron Horse details
Tom Ferderbar photographs of Route 66

I later found out about the “Book Now” program where guests are
welcomed & encouraged to leave books in their room or in the library
upon departure. The books are donated to the Literary Services of
Wisconsin program for those learning to read.

I am a visual person. I notice the details.
All my senses were alive at the Iron Horse Hotel. Green apples
in a bowl, industrial gears on the side table, the rope swing in
front of the giant flag, the perfect smell, a combination of leather,
wood and fresh.

The sign of a great place to me is the desire to return.
To linger among the details.
I’ve been told I’m a visual person.


The Iron Horse Hotel
Milwaukee, Wisconsin



5 thoughts on “the details

  1. Amazing post Wendy- great writing- I miss so many fantastic ” details” every day- it’s such a gift to notice the details

  2. As always Wendy, so beautifully photographed and written. This hotel sounds so inviting.

  3. Life is in the details. Most people seem to miss that. Some people just want to grab the big picture and forget the details. I love when someone gets it and here you not only see it but preserve it and share the grace of these details with words and photos. It was like you shared your Birthday present with everyone. Lovely.

Comments are closed.