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Not All Ironmongery is Made Equal: A Guide for the Discerning Homeowner

Ironmongery, often referred to as architectural hardware, plays a crucial role in the functionality and aesthetic appeal of a residential home. From door levers and pulls to wardrobe knobs and hinges, the quality and craftsmanship of these elements can significantly impact the overall design. In this blog, we'll explore the various types of ironmongery used in residential settings, discuss the importance of quality materials, and provide insights into the costs and lead times associated with high-quality products. We'll also highlight luxury brands, which offer customised options for the discerning homeowner.



Types of Ironmongery


1. Door Levers and Knobs:

  • Levers: Door levers are popular for their ergonomic design and ease of use. They come in various styles, from sleek and modern to ornate and traditional.

  • Knobs: Door knobs offer a classic look and are available in round, oval, and custom shapes. They can be paired with matching backplates for a cohesive look.

2. Pulls:

  • Drawer Pulls: Used on cabinets and drawers, these come in a variety of styles and finishes, providing both functionality and decorative appeal.

  • Door Pulls: Larger than drawer pulls, these are typically used on entry doors and can make a bold design statement.

3. Wardrobe Knobs and Handles:

  • Knobs: Small and versatile, wardrobe knobs are perfect for closets and dressers. They can be simple or elaborate, depending on the desired look.

  • Handles: These provide a more substantial grip and are ideal for larger wardrobe doors. They come in various lengths and styles.

4. Hinges:

  • Butt Hinges: Commonly used for doors, they are strong and durable, ensuring smooth operation.

  • Concealed Hinges: Ideal for cabinetry, these hinges are hidden when the door is closed, providing a clean and modern look.

  • Pivot Hinges: Often used for hidden doors, particularly where there is panelling.

5. Locks and Latches:

  • Mortice Locks: Embedded into the door, these locks offer enhanced security and a streamlined appearance.

  • Rim Locks: Mounted on the door surface, these provide a more traditional look and are often used in period homes.

6. Escutcheons and Keyhole Covers:

  • These decorative pieces surround the keyhole and can add a touch of elegance to doors, especially when paired with high-quality locks and handles.



Quality of Ironmongery


Solid Brass vs. Mass-Produced Materials:

  • Solid Brass: Ironmongery made from solid brass is known for its durability, resistance to corrosion, and superior finish. Brass hardware is often hand-finished, resulting in a higher cost but offering longevity and a luxurious feel. Brands like Joseph Giles and The Beardmore Collection use solid brass to craft their high-end products.

  • Mass-Produced Materials: Cheaper alternatives are often made from zinc alloy, plastic, or hollow metal. These materials are less durable and can wear out quickly. They are produced in large quantities, making them more affordable but lacking in quality and craftsmanship.

Impact on Cost:

  • High-Quality Ironmongery: The production of high-quality ironmongery, especially those made from solid brass or other premium materials, involves intricate processes, skilled labour, and often, customisation. This leads to higher costs but ensures superior products.

  • Cost Estimation: For example, an internal door set from a luxury brand like Joseph Giles can cost anywhere from £300 to £800 or more, depending on the design and finish. In contrast, a mass-produced door set might cost between £40 and £120.


Lead Time of Crafted Ironmongery:

  • High-quality, crafted ironmongery often requires a longer lead time due to the detailed work and customisation involved. This can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the order and the brand's production schedule.



Customisation for the Luxury Market


Luxury Brands:

  • Paying more for your ironmongery comes with other advantages. Luxury brands offer a wide range of ironmongery that can be customised to suit the client's specific needs. Their products are made from the finest materials and are designed to last a lifetime.  The finish of the metal and size of the fitting can often be tailored to suit your requirements.  Though bear in mind that with customisation the lead time will be extended so it is best to plan in advance.


Fire-Rated Doors vs. Non-Fire/Cabinetry Doors


Ironmongery for Fire-Rated Doors:

  • Regulations: Fire-rated doors require specific ironmongery that meets safety regulations. This includes fire-rated hinges, locks, and handles designed to withstand high temperatures and maintain the door's integrity during a fire.


Ironmongery for Non-Fire/Cabinetry Doors:

  • Flexibility: For non-fire-rated doors and cabinetry, there is greater flexibility in design and material choices. This allows for a wider range of styles, finishes, and customisation options.

  • Coordination: Interior designers play a crucial role in ensuring that the chosen ironmongery complements the overall design scheme and meets the functional needs of the space.  This may mean building a scheme that uses a selection of metal finishes that allow to create a style thread throughout the home.


The Role of the Interior Designer


Selection and Coordination:

  • Expert Advice: Interior designers help clients navigate the vast array of ironmongery options, ensuring the selection aligns with the overall design vision and functional requirements.

  • Customisation: At Modeste London we work closely with brands to create bespoke pieces that add a unique touch to the home.  This may be selecting a leather inlay to your doorknob that matches well with that used in your upholstery etc.

  • Integration: They ensure that the ironmongery integrates seamlessly with other design elements, from cabinetry and doors to lighting and accessories.


Understanding Quality and Costs:

  • Educating Clients: Designers educate clients on the importance of investing in high-quality ironmongery and the long-term benefits it offers.

  • Budget Management: They help clients balance their budget, ensuring that they get the best value for their investment in ironmongery.



Not all ironmongery is made equal, and the choices you make can significantly impact the functionality, safety, and aesthetic appeal of your home. From door levers and knobs to bespoke wardrobe handles and fire-rated hinges, understanding the quality and craftsmanship behind these elements is crucial. By working with a skilled interior designer like Modeste London, you can navigate the complexities of ironmongery selection, ensuring that every piece not only complements your home’s design but also meets the highest standards of quality and safety. Investing in high-quality ironmongery ensures that your home reflects elegance, sophistication, and timeless beauty.


You can get in touch with us to discuss your project: @modestelondon, www.modestelondon.com, studio@modestelondon.com.


Tel: 020 3907 6844



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