Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Architectural Hardware

Architectural hardware is the generic name given to door knobs, door pulls, levers, turn pieces, door stops, hinges, window sash locks, cabinet knobs and locks, pocketing door hardware, latches and catches, surface bolts, etc. While having the practical function of being the interface to open and close doors and windows, they are in effect akin to a building’s jewelry and should be carefully chosen to reinforce and clarify the purpose and hierarchy of rooms within the building. 

Hardware as "building jewelry"
The choice of architectural hardware depends on many factors such as budget, building type, room hierarchy and decoration. In houses, the more public rooms such as the living and dining rooms should have more ornate hardware whereas; prosaic rooms such as the kitchen, mudroom, bathroom or laundry should have simpler hardware.
Ornate knob

Simple knob
Hardware finish also varies according to budget, building type, room hierarchy and decoration. In city apartments, for instance, it is common to use un-lacquered brass or nickel finishes whereas in country houses it may be more appropriate to use oil rubbed bronze.  I recommend un-lacquered brass for the exterior of beach houses too for its durability against the briny air. There are instances when one could use a “split” finish such as in bathrooms or kitchens. Typically the finish on the side facing the bathroom or kitchen matches that of the plumbing fixtures whereas the opposite side matches the finish chosen for the rest of the house.

Door hardware with split finish 
Knobs, levers, and hinges make up the bulk of the architectural hardware used in a residence. Specifying them requires experience and good taste, however there are a number of things that one can keep in mind to make informed choices.

Knobs are made up of two parts: the knob proper and the rose. Knob sizes typically range between 1 7/8” and 2 ¼”, roses have a similar variation. Bigger knobs can be used on a front door. It is important to make sure that the rose keeps a proportional relation to the size of the knob. Knobs are typically centered on the door style though, if the door style is too narrow, you may have to move the knob slightly off center to avoid rapping your knuckles on the door jambs.
The rose should keep a proportional relation to the knob's size
Off center knob in a narrow style door
Levers, like knobs also have two parts: the lever proper and the rose.  On exterior doors, an escutcheon plate is sometimes specified, in lieu of a rose. This keeps the lever and its key hole on the same back plate. In houses, levers are typically not used on interior doors but mostly on the exterior.  This allows the use of multi-point mechanisms which are bolts located inside the door for the purpose of attaching the door to the sill and the head, thereby keeping it in place during hurricane winds. Cremone bolts were used for the same purpose, before the advent of multi-point mechanisms, but they were applied to the door’s interior style; they are still used in many high end houses that use "French doors". Oval knobs can be used in lieu of levers, when combined with cremone bolts.
Cremone bolt
Multi-point locking mechanism
Hinges are typically specified according to their use: butt, paumelle, olive knuckle, harmon, concealed (aka SOSS -or Tektus- hinges), and pivot. Paumelle and olive knuckle hinges are ideal for screen doors since they make it easier to lift the doors off and store them during the winter. Harmon hinges are used when you want to open the door 90 degrees and into a pocket so that it becomes integrated with the wall itself. Concealed hinges make it hard for someone to spot where the door is, so they are ideal for hidden doors. Pivot hinges can be center or offset. Center pivot hinges can sometimes be used on hidden door conditions. Offset pivot hinges are typically used on oversized cabinet doors or upholstered doors.
Paumelle hinge

Olive knuckle hinge

Harmon hinge
Butt hinges are typically used on exterior and interior doors. When specifying butt hinges, finials need to be specified as well. Finials come in many shapes: flat, round, acorn, pineapple, and obelisk are typical shapes.  Finials should also be chosen according to the room’s hierarchy in the building, the more public rooms should get the more ornate finials and the more prosaic rooms should get the simpler ones.
Provincial finial

Urn finial

Button finial
Choosing the right hardware for the building type  and room takes knowledge and patience. While hardware is dictated by use, its choice is also influenced by taste, and decorum.  Dressing appropriately for an occasion can also be thought of as a practical matter. The accessories, which accompany the dress however, are as important as the dress itself and need to be chosen carefully with taste and decorum, a good analogy to keep in mind when choosing architectural hardware.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a great blog... I am impressed with you taking time to post a nice info.
    Windows And Doors Phoenix
    Entry Door With Sidelights