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Trend Alert: Factory Windows

By Marica

A few months ago in our post, Trend Alert: Black Metal, you might recall that I mentioned “Factory Windows” in passing. The particular post was about the widespread popularity and diverse use of “Black Metal” in interiors, homeware and fixtures.

At the time I felt that the revival and reappropriation of Factory Windows is currently such an amazing phenomenon and beautiful interior trend that it deserved a Trend Alert post of its own…

What is a Factory Window?

Let’s first establish what I mean by “Factory Window”. A Factory Window is a big steel-framed, multi-pane window that was often used in factories, industrial buildings and warehouses in the early to mid 19th century (and before).

These windows were popular for two rather practical reasons:

Firstly, the steel grid or “muntins” provided a solid structure to create a much larger window than was the norm of the time. Its size provided an abundance of natural light for the factory workers labouring inside.

Furthermore, small pane windows are not only more affordable to produce but also cheaper to replace. If one pane of glass breaks you only have to replace that one pane and not the entire window.

A Factory Window Revival:

While the resurgence of factory windows is definitely not a new trend – it has been circulating for a few years now – it seems that its popularity has reached a peak.

I cannot read an interior blog or browse through my Pinterest feed without seeing a dozen images of factory windows being used in (un)usual ways. I mean, what is an Industrial styled loft without a stunning (and appropriate) factory window?!

I believe it is precisely due to the eclipsing popularity and longevity of the Industrial interior style that factory windows are currently such a runaway success.

 Vintage vs Faux Factory Windows:

The “real deal” vintage steel factory windows would of course be first prize. Many salvage yards and second-hand dealers sell reclaimed building materials from refurbished or demolished buildings. Here in Cape Town for instance, one only has to drive down the Woodstock or Salt River main road to spot vintage windows and doors stacked up on various thrift shop sidewalks.

However, if you can’t manage to get your hands on reclaimed factory windows, there is no shame in “faking it”. Many homeowners and designers choose to have factory-like steel windows custom-made to fit their specific space and purpose. This can however be a costly exercise.

It is for that exact reason that many opt to recreate the factory window effect using wood. Once the window grid has been constructed from square pieces of timber and has been painted in the desired colour, no one will know the difference.

Factory Windows Used as Shower Doors & Screens:

We have spotted one more curious use for factory windows – this time in the bathroom. Instead of using the standard, manufacturer’s glass doors and screens one can use factory windows to enclose a shower. A similar effect can be created by using steel French windows and doors.

Bathrooms are excellent, yet often underutilised, spaces to create decorative features and focal points. Factory windows will add an interesting vintage industrial flavour to your bathroom.

Bright & Colourful Factory Windows:

While black is the colour one immediately associates with the Factory Window trend, it is not necessarily mutually exclusive. Yes, the contrast of inky black against stark white walls – particularly in a monochromatic Scandinavian type interior – is beautiful.

However, a white painted window frame can work just as well, especially if your space has a softer colour scheme or if you are trying to avoid a standout feature. Another popular choice is grey – be it a soft dove grey or a darker gunmetal grey or charcoal. Grey as a colour choice is very much in keeping with that of an Industrial Style colour palette without being as harsh as black.

If however you want to add a playful facet to your home, you can consider painting your factory windows in a bright colour. Sunny yellow and shades of blue are excellent options that will add a happy element to your space.

Get This Look: Industrial Home Bar

By Marica

Get The Look: Industrial Home Bar

After last month’s Trend Alert post about black metal we thought to put together a little “Get The Look” article featuring a prominent black metal item just to illustrate how edgy and striking this interior trend is.

I found this super cool and beautifully styled industrial setup on Stylizimo. It is from the gorgeous Scandinavian home of blogger, artist and all round interior design enthusiast, Nina Holst. Nina created this space to serve as additional storage in her dining area. I took one look at the metal cabinet and the glasses inside it and thought: “that would make one sleek sexy Industrial-style bar cabinet for your home!” Just add decanters and wine bottles on top of the cabinet and store all you glasses and cocktail making goodies inside. 

Making this Industrial-styled bar cabinet scene your own is quite easy. Here is the furniture and décor items you will need to achieve this look:

GET THIS LOOK:

1. This large elegant glass bell jar with wooden base can be a beautiful decorative feature – just place a succulent or small ornament inside.  |  {where to buy: @Home}

2. I adore this broody portrait of “Mrs Mia Wallace” by talented Londen-based illustrator Ruben Ireland. It can be purchased online – either framed or unframed – but I would definitely go for a gorgeous black box frame.  |  {where to buy: Superbalist}

3. This edgy fine art print of an original watercolour skull by artist Jessica Rowe will add the trendy focal point needed to make this space unforgettable.  |  {where to buy: Superbalist}

4. The monochromatic setup needs a bit of greenery to break the monotony. A succulent is a good low-maintenance choice. Although plastic greenery is definitely second prize, those with who struggle to keep anything green alive can opt for a artificial plant like this one. At least the paint-dipped concrete planter is pretty cool!  |  {where to buy: Mr Price Home}

5. The most important element in achieving this interior look is the striking black metal industrial cabinet. I could not believe my luck when I found something similar locally!  |  {where to buy: @Home}

6. ADD THIS: Glass terrariums are all the rage! This beautiful diamond-shaped terrarium with its lead-trimmed glass panes will fit this industrial home bar scene like a glove.  |  {where to buy: Down2Earth}

7. If you want to add a bit of understated glitz to your bar cabinet, exchange the white tray for this gold one. Remember trays are excellent tools to create successful decor vignettes or to keep your clutter organised. Pop your collection of liquor bottles and decanters on the tray to take this drinks cabinet to the next level.  |  {where to buy: H&M}

 

Trend Alert: Black Metal

By Marica

For every action there is a reaction. I especially believe this is true in interior design and home décor trends. We often find that certain trends or fads are answers on, or extensions of, a previous trend or style movement.

Once the trend reaches the retailers’ shelves, a process that can take ages particularly in the slow-moving South Africa retail market, you know it’s hot.

Black Metal Is the Hottest New Interior Trend:

If you have been watching your Pinterest and Instagram feeds I’m sure you would have noticed a strong influx of black. It started as a trickling steam and now it is a raging torrent. We found the introduction of “black metal” especially interesting.

Bloesem Design Blog even included black metal into their 2016 décor trends round-up article: “5 Interior Trends to Get into This 2016”.

My inspirational boards are saturated with Industrial-styled black metal pipe tables, black hardware – like handles and hinges, black metal pendant lights, and of course, my absolute favourite – gorgeous black factory windows. I might even give factory windows a “Trend Alert” of its own…

Black Metal Is a Continuation of the Industrial Style:

This Black Metal décor trend can easily be an extension of the Industrial Style interior trend and an answer to the stark white of Scandi Minimalism.

Two years ago we sourced a stunning Industrial-styled black metal display cabinet for one of our client. At that stage, we haven’t seen anything like it before and we were absolutely in love with its uniqueness. It made for a powerful statement piece in our client’s dining room, the interior of which was featured in the April issue of Home Magazine. Little did we know then that black metal would become a thing.

The Use of Black Metal Accessories in Kitchens & Bathrooms:

From the examples we have seen, Black Metal seems to be most popular in kitchens and bathrooms. Black has even been described as “the hot new colour” for kitchens this season. Black fixtures, like faucets, are used all the more to create an attention-grabbing feature. That is if you are brave enough.

The black accents, often in a matte or satin finish, are dramatic and undeniably masculine. Black has always been chic and sophisticated. I find it incredibly sleek and sexy (yes, I just referred to an interior element as “sexy” – and no, it is not weird).

Colours to Pair with Black Metal:

We most frequently see interiors where black metal has been paired with white to create the ultimate dark vs. light contrast. However, I quite enjoy spaces that feature black metal elements with the addition of bright pops of colour like yellow, red or turquoise. The introduction of a warm textured wood or paired with a hot metal like copper or brass also creates beautiful contrast.

Turns out black is the new black…

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