Friday Favorites: Iron Barn Doors, Mixed Materials, Radiant Orchid

Wrought Iron Doors

Where so much of what we do occurs digitally, there is still something magical that happens when you connect with an object tactilely. I discovered this when I was trying to take photos of a product we showed at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. The people who visited our booth were captivated by a number of products making their first appearance, among them a prototype of a sliding iron barn door. It drew people into the booth so they could get a closer look, and have a go at sliding it back and forth on the attached iron surround and railing.

This is a poor shot of the door in our booth, taken by me on a cracked iPhone:


The trick for me is to translate this tactile experience in a way that will allow our customers shopping on the Internet to experience the same, or close to it. I’ll have to find a way to show not only how the product works mechanically, but to capture for customers the meticulous attention to detail that goes into a handcrafted product like this; the weight and texture of iron, and that metallic smell that permeates every square inch of our shop. This is my challenge, and I’ll use optimum lighting, the right camera, and the eye of a professional photographer to go along with descriptive words and the keen imaginations of our customers. At least until someone comes up with a way to have a tactile experience digitally.

I think what most attracted people to this iron sliding barn door was the application of uses. Some saw it as a fireplace door, which is also how we had it displayed, while others saw it in a larger sense in a bigger setting as a sliding door in their home, such as the one below:


It has a broad range of applications, is unique in its design, and plays off what we think of as a traditional barn door. I think these features are part of what drew people to it. Where does it fit into the design of a home? How exactly would you define its style? I heard it described as rustic, modern, and industrial. It was a great springboard for discussion and it was fun to see the builders, architects, designers, and homeowners who ventured into the booth to get a better look at it. As I’m writing this I’m making a note to myself that I need to get the photos I’ve got onto our website so you can see for yourself this little door that got everyone so excited. And I’m curious how you might use it in your homes or designs. Here are a few ideas to spark your imaginations, or you can see more great ideas on our Iron Barn Doors Pinterest page.

  • Fireplace Door
  • Room Divider
  • Closet Door
  • Entry Door

Share your ideas, and comments below.

Mixed Materials

The marriage of otherwise incongruous materials is a favorite musing, and topic to write about, of mine. To me, mixed materials represent the essence of thoughtful design. Designing with mixed materials requires a sense of proportion, depth, and harmony. Do it right and you’ll achieve a balanced, vibrant feel to your space. It’s no surprise that of particular interest to me is mixing metal with other materials to create something that is both unexpected and just oh-so-pleasing to the eye.

Iron and wood provide the right mix of rustic and industrial when used as the main design element:


Or when used as accent pieces, open shelving with iron corbels:


Iron and glass is another marriage, perhaps a little more traditional or modern:


Or as accent pieces in lighting design:


What are some of your favorite mixed materials? And how would you use them in your spaces?

Radiant Orchid

I figured eventually I would have to cover the color of the year, and so let me get it out of the way. I’m not a fan of Radiant Orchid, but the folks at Pantone didn’t consult with before they made it the official 2014 Color of the Year. By daring to challenge their choice I feel a little nervous that I’m going to upset the wrong people. It’s quite a powerful organization that can turn people from Emerald Green (2013 Color of the Year) to Radiant Orchid all with a simple press release (I wish my press releases had such an effect).

A lot goes into to selecting what will best “express in color what is taking place in the global zeitgeist.” And apparently the global zeitgeist says that purple is it: “radiant orchid blooms with confidence, and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.” So there you have it. Still, I don’t know that I’ll be repainting my living room in shades of purple, or recovering the furniture to reflect the global zeitgeist. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see what shade pops up next year!

That’s it for this Friday afternoon. Share your thoughts on ideas in the comments below or you can track me down at