Steel windows add light, beauty to homes

Sleek and streamlined, steel windows and doors offer uninterrupted vistas and a deeper connection to outdoor spaces. But knowing when and how to use them can be confusing for the uninitiated.

They are costly, for starters. In order to commit to the window of your dreams, you have to be willing to hand over a chunk of change. Choosing the interior aesthetic comes next, which can seem daunting, but Atlanta interior designer Beth Webb said they can work in a variety of interiors.

“A steel window is so versatile,” she said.

Here are three things to keep in mind if you’re considering installing steel windows or doors in your home.

Cost conundrum

These installations are approximately 30 percent more expensive than other high-quality windows or doors, Atlanta-based contractor Mike Hammersmith said.

Many factors go into the pricing, he said, including how many pieces of glass are used, the types of hardware and how the windows or doors function.

“It turns into a value and engineering question,” said Webb, author of the new design book, “An Eye for Beauty: Rooms That Speak to the Senses” (Rizzoli, 2017).

Value is important because installation can cost homeowners anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, Hammersmith said.

“Spend the money where it makes the biggest impact on the house,” he said.

Style syllabus

The good thing about steel windows and doors is that almost everything goes with them.

“I’ve seen it done in so many applications these days, everywhere from contemporary to Mediterranean to transitional to traditional,” Webb said.

Color is a big factor in choosing the right decor.

“I don’t think of steel windows as necessarily going with a chartreuse or maybe pale pink,” she said. She also advised against using an electric color palette, but noted that “there’s an exception to every rule.”

Many people choose to stick with all-white interiors to amplify the light coming through the windows. This is exactly what Bonneau Ansley, owner of Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, did. His Atlanta home recently underwent a major renovation — updating it to fit their growing children and modern tastes.

“We started to turn our house into what we felt like was a 2017/2018 home,” he said. “By doing that, the colors in the house all turned to white. The windows on the side and in the back of the house all turned to large-paned steel windows and doors.”

With help from Hammersmith, the Ansley home was fitted with 12 to 14 steel units, adding an estimated 25 to 30 percent more light to their space.

“It’s just been a world of difference with the look in our house,” Ansley said.

Interior decorators and designers are always chasing light, making these windows and doors the perfect solution.

“There’s a sort of clarity to a steel window that you don’t get with a traditional wooden window,” Webb said. “You get more of a view and there’s more airiness to it.”

Unique uses

If you want an accent piece instead of a giant wall of steel, there are ways to do it with charm and grace.

A shower with a steel door can add a dramatic touch of industrial chic to an opulent white bathroom, Webb said.

If you’re married to a full-size steel window, try an arch. Or you could fully embrace the steel window aesthetic and make an industrial greenhouse, which was a project by Atlanta-based Forge Fine Steel.

While steel windows may seem like a daunting design decision, they can pay off.

“It’s a wonderful thing if I can get my clients to do steel windows,” Webb said. “I always try to.”

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