Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Interiors | Crittall-style steel windows and doors buyers guide

If you've been anywhere near Pinterest or Instagram recently, you'll know that the number one must-have design feature right now is the Crittall-style steel door. Where we all once wanted a giant bi-fold or sliding door, with as much glass as possible for the most unobstructed view, glazing bars have become fashionable once again.

I say once again because Crittall began manufacturing their steel windows around 200 years ago! Their familiar black panelled doors and windows with slim glazing bars became fashionable a century ago, when Modernist architecture took off throughout Europe, mainly thanks to architects like Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe.

I'm tapping into some long-held knowledge here as I worked for an architecture centre for ten years or so, which is where I first encountered Crittall. My old boss was a huge fan and so I asked her recently for some recommendations for Crittall-style windows/doors for our Bristol house renovation.

Should probably add here that Crittall are still in production and do manufacture doors and windows for domestic/residential projects but I have no idea what sort of cost to expect. Instead, I've sought several quotes from other companies making similar products.

The images above are from a home tour feature I wrote for the current issue of The Simple Things magazine (issue 92, February 2020). The home in question actually belongs to a school friend of mine, Hilary Chambers, who I've recently reconnected with on Instagram (have a look at the rest of her dreamy home here!). Styling is by Nicky Guymer of Someday Studio, photography is by Elsa Young, used with permission.

An aside: I'm never sure how much readers know about my 'day job' - I'm a freelance writer working mainly for lifestyle magazines in the UK. My home tours have featured in The Simple Things, Homes & Antiques, and Mollie Makes (there's one of Hannah Broadway's home in the current issue), and my own home featured in Homes & Antiques, too. I've styled/photographed for brands like The White Company and Dwell, produced content marketing for companies like Wayfair, B&Q, Siemens, and IKEA, and I've even been on a press trip to visit the Luxembourg factories of Villeroy & Boch

Back to the doors...

On a hunt for the best quality doors at the most affordable price, I've found the following options:
And what do you need to look out for?

Our architect specified our doors should be Alitherm heritage by Smart system or equivalent, U-value of 1.6Wm2/K min, trickle vents to provide background ventilation of 8000mm2 total, all glass to be safety glazing to BS6206. Obviously, you should seek advice for your own project from a professional. 

How about you? Do you love the Crittall look? Would you have this style in your home? Any tips? Let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram.

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