In the realm of luxury interior design, every detail counts. Among the essential elements that contribute to this, ironmongery stands as a true masterpiece of functional artistry.
Luxury ironmongery isn’t mass-produced, it’s meticulously crafted by skilled artisans who are masters of their trade. Every knob, pull, hinge, and lock is a testament to their dedication to perfection. The intricate designs, often inspired by classical and contemporary motifs, showcase a harmonious blend of creativity and technical expertise.
The term Ironmongery refers to the decorative or ornamental hardware used for the architectural needs of a building, including door handles and locks, window fittings, hinges and letter plates. But it is more than just functional hardware, it is a statement and an homage to timeless elegance.
Architectural ironmongery serves to make your property more secure, but also offers a cohesive aesthetic throughout. The quality and function of ironmongery directly affects the safety performance of your building and can therefore be vital in the sign off of your building project. While products are designed to look good, they need to be long lasting and guaranteed to effectively perform their function.
Designed and made in Britain, Joseph Giles’ range of hardware is the result of 25 years’ worth of constant improvement – “never settling for mediocrity and paying attention to detail that most wouldn’t notice. It’s a discipline we’ve learnt from our work with interior designers and joiners and has shaped who we are and what we do today.”
All ironmongery varies in shape, style and finish so it is important to understand the different options and to select based on the style of your property. From period and classic contemporary, to organic designs inspired by natural shapes, the options are limitless.
TYPES OF IRONMONGERY
- Door hardware
Door handles are considered a key decorative feature for any property. They are one of the first things you see and touch when you enter a building or room, therefore setting the tone for your home, hinting to what’s waiting inside. They are a key element of the design of your front door and should compliment the style of the property, for instance period properties are more suited to brass door handles while more modern homes may be better suited to aluminium, resin and brushed textures. The two main types of handle are lever handles and door knobs, both of which are available in a range of styles and finishes.
- Lever handles – are typically affixed to a rectangular plate or shaped inner rose
- Door knobs – Simple and understated to highly decorative, these handles are attached by an inner rose and can be positioned centrally or to one side of your door to suit our aesthetic.
Door hinges are a simple yet vital piece of ironmongery used to help operate doors that need to open and close. There are a number of different styles available to offer additional security, lessen or add friction or stress, help doors open both ways and if desired, to deliver a particular ornamental aesthetic to a door.
Options include concealed bearing, spring bearing and ball bearing, but exact requirement varies based on the type of door and functionality required.
2. Front Door Ironmongery
Door knockers were traditionally used to announce the presence of a visitor and the sound of the knock from a well-cast piece of iron would easily carry through the main areas of the house. Used to signify wealth and decadence through to religion and culture, door knocker shapes have varied over the decades, however now, with the introduction of doorbells, door knockers remain as a door statement rather than a functional requirement, and are still a common feature across front doors today.
Bell push A bell push offers a neat and finished look to any doorway and can be matched to coordinate with all your external ironmongery to create a beautifully cohesive aesthetic. Most period properties originally had a bell push and many options to restore or replace this style of doorbell exist today. Selecting the size very much depends on the whether it will be placed within the door frame or on the wall and with a vast range of shapes, finishes and sounds available, it remains a characterful choice for many front doors.
Numerals & Number plaques are becoming increasingly popular on doors, and are essential in making sure your property stands out and can be found. They label your home and therefore consideration should be given to the distance the number will be from the street. The choices really are limitless and numerals are available in a multitude of shapes, styles and finishes to compliment the period of your property. Brass and wrought iron numbers look lovely against Georgian or Victorian front doors, whilst glass and powdered coated metal will work well with modern properties.
Letterplates should be sympathetic to the door handle or knocker and are guaranteed to elevate the overall appearance of your property’s exterior. Primarily serving to ensure the safe passage of letters through the door, traditionally inner and outer letterplates were used together, creating a tunnel and containing brushes to reduce draughts into the house. The position of the letterplate can also dramatically enhance a doorway when located midway or at the bottom of the door, and vertically or horizontally depending on style and preference.
Door chains, locks, latches & bolts Your home should be a safe haven and there are a number of ways to secure front and back doors with ironmongery to give you peace of mind.
- Door chains will offer an extra layer of protection and can be used to ensure limited entry and visibility into your home, they are restrictions that have been designed to prevent distraction burglary and are most effectively used on your property’s main entrance door.
- 5 lever mortice locks are one of the most robust and resilient of all external door locks and sit within a pocket on the edge of a door. There are two main types of mortice locks – sash locks and deadlocks each operating slightly differently. A sash lock includes a latch, which is operated with some form of key and a bolt. These locks tend to be installed on back doors. A deadlock only has bolt which is operated using a key.
- Rim locks and latches sit on the surface of an internal door and though commonly used in period properties, they are also well suited to modern décor. With a unique design and construction, they are a perfect choice for adding character and style.
- Thumb latches (or Suffolk latches) are two-way latches commonly used on internal doors and especially suited to period properties. Surface mounted, they have decorative handles and are operated by pressing a thumb shaped lever which, will lift an arm on the other side of the door to unlatch it
- Espagnolette bolts are a lovely characterful feature for French doors and casement windows. Elegant and slimline, they work by turning a knob which pushes bolts into plates along the door or window frame, bolting it shut. Available in a variety of finishes to integrate seamlessly into your existing décor.
Escutcheons are metal plates that surrounds a key hole or door lock to create a neat finish. Functionally, they serve to add a layer of protection to the door, preventing damage from accidental scratching of the key. Decoratively they add a touch of elegance, creating an eye-catching focal point. Plain, embossed or engraved to suit the design and style you are looking to achieve, some escutcheons have covers, which also help to reduce draughts. Suitable for any door, they are an easy way to add detail.
3. Window hardware
Much the same as door hardware, adding the right finishing touches to your window is extremely important in achieving both design cohesion and security for your property.
Sash and casement window fittings are the most common, however it is important to know which type of window you have, as each requires different fittings to function properly. All window hardware is available in the same wide range of finishes and styles to compliment the rest of your ironmongery.
Depending on the style of window, you will need to consider items such as window lifts, stays, handles, pulleys and latches. While all of these can be purely functional, they can also add a wonderful decorative quality to the window.
- Casement stays – hold the window open or closed in a certain position
- Casement fasteners – fix windows in place and hold them closed
- Espagnolette handles – will securely lock your window
- Sash lifts – help your window slide up and down
- Sash stops – hold the window open in position
- Sash pulleys – are designed to keep the window running smoothly and usually sit within the frame
- Window latches – are standard locks found on double and single hung windows. They connect the two sashes of the window to prevent them from moving, however they are not secure enough to be used as the main lock for a window
- Cranks – operate the open and close mechanisms of a window
4. Cabinetry hardware
Cabinet handles & pulls handles put the finishing touches to any bespoke piece of cabinetry and with such an extensive selection to choose from, they can be handcrafted to give you a truly unique appearance. Figuring out whether to select a handle or pull is very much down to your personal preference and style, but selecting well-made pieces is essential to achieving a long lasting aesthetic. Design-led, luxury brass hardware manufacturer, Armac Martin have been creating beautiful hand finished handles since 1929.
“At Armac Martin, our belief is that impeccably crafted hardware acts as the jewel to adorn bespoke joinery. Whether that be a set of deco-inspired cabinet knobs for an under-sink vanity cabinet or a set of bamboo-style handles to decorate a suite of kitchen storage, our timeless brass hardware goes beyond simply functional design. The perfect hardware elevates interiors and unites other design elements with shape, textures and finishes that complement the rest of the aesthetic.
Knobs are designed with function in mind and allow you to easily open and close a cabinet door or drawer with ease. Pull handles are static, crafted with functionality in mind and styled to compliment the rest of your door hardware. They are typically wider, shaped in cylinders, half-moons or rectangular prisms. Pulls can sit flush with your surface to give a streamlined and clean aesthetic. Of course, both can work well together given the same materiality, colour and style. As a general rule, knobs are more commonly used on doors and pulls are best suited to drawers.
5. Electrical switches and sockets
Once seen as a necessary addition to any room but with limited design appeal, switches and sockets have come a long way. Now, many bespoke options are available to suit both traditional and contemporary interiors and include features like UV & data points, dimmer switches, fan switches and shaver sockets, making it easy to ensure you get exactly the right configuration and convenience you need.
Dowsing & Reynolds have designed luxury fittings for the last 10 years and know only too well the importance of bespoke:
“We’re in the final stages of being able to offer custom powder-coated finishes for our switches and sockets, which we’re looking to roll out soon – a customer will be able to send us their RAL colour and we’ll spray their switches and sockets in their chosen shade.”
Metal back boxes are also available when installation within a wall is not possible. This commonly occurs in period properties and therefore the option of a stylish wall box means that your electric points remain a thing of beauty.
To create a truly bespoke look and feel, it is worth knowing the different types of switches you can select from. Each have a unique aesthetic and options include rocker switches, retractive switches, push button (bell push), toggle and dimmer switches.
If space is limited, or you wish to you remain sympathetic to the style of a period property, architrave switches are another consideration and can be included in the same finish and style as the rest of your ironmongery.
Architectural Ironmongery, or jewellery for the home, is designed today with form and function in mind.
“Down to the smallest screw, our goal is the same – to find beauty in every detail. Our products allow designers the freedom to use architectural hardware either to make a statement, or to simply support a wider design scheme in an understated way.” – Joseph Giles
Selecting the right Ironmongery for all your internal and external requirements really can elevate any room to extraordinary levels and with so many options available, achieving a harmonious look can be difficult. At Zulufish we are passionate about creating exceptional living spaces and our talented team of Interior Designers and Architects are here to guide you through every step of your renovation journey.