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Add visual verve with metal architectural accents


Designer: Eloise Kubli, ASID Publication: The Miami Herald
Text: Jana Soeldner Danger Photographer: Various

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Balcony - Metal accents can add architectural interest to the exterior of a home and define spaces like this balcony.
Builder - Robinette Homes



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Metal architectural accents can add visual interest to both the exterior and interior of a home. Entry gates, doors, window panels, and stair and balcony rails can be fashioned from metal and finished in a variety of ways

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Metal brings both texture and detail to the décor. “Most people tend to think of patio furniture when they think of metal,” says interior designer Eloise Kubli of Collective Construction & Design in Plantation. “But there are so many other opportunities to use metalwork. You can buy ready-made pieces at home improvement stores, where you can pick from a lot of standard components. Or you can have things custom made.”

The cost of metalwork depends on the complexity of the design. “It doesn’t have to be super-expensive,” Kubli says. “And it’s a lasting element that you can add to your home. It’s not something trendy.”

While some people think of wrought iron as a specific kind of metal, the word “wrought” refers to the fact that the iron is worked or shaped. Other kinds of metal can also be wrought, or worked, by talented artisans called blacksmiths.

Designer: Eloise Kubli, ASID Publication: The Miami Herald
Text: Jana Soeldner Danger Photographer: Various

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Center of Stair - A custom metal stair rail in the center of a curved staircase creates visual drama. A wood handrail adds to the beauty.



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Joan Maurice, owner of Avion Metal Works in North Miami Beach, thinks of the pieces she manufactures as jewelry for the home. “You can have a basic black dress and add beautiful jewelry, and suddenly you have a gorgeous outfit,” she says. “It’s the same with metalwork. It adds to what the builder has done, and gives character and dimension to a building.”

In most cases, the design of the metal should follow the rest of the home’s overall décor. A complex design awash in curlicues and rosettes will probably look out of place in a contemporary home, while very simple designs are likely to be overwhelmed in a traditional or classic décor. “I like to carry a theme throughout the house,” Kubli says.

A beautifully designed metal front door can make a strong initial statement about a home. A stair railing can also have immediate visual impact. In many modern two-story homes, the staircase is at the front of the house, so it is one of the first things a visitor sees. “A wood railing has a heavy, northern look,” Kubli says. “Metal railings have more of a Mediterranean feel. A railing can have a flowing design with lots of scrollwork and dimension, but it will be more expensive than straight pickets. You can also mix wood and glass with metal in a railing.”

Metalwork can differentiate spaces in today’s open floor plans. For example: “A metal panel can go between the foyer and the dining room,” Kubli says. “It defines the space, yet offers a view into the adjoining area. You can also use metalwork to fill an empty space between a partial wall and the ceiling.”

Designer: Eloise Kubli, ASID Publication: The Miami Herald
Text: Jana Soeldner Danger Photographer: Various

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Interior Bridge - A metal railing defines this open loft and turns it into an eye catcher.
Builder - Robinette Homes



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An accent or trim piece is produced by heating metal rods to very high temperatures in a forge or with torches. Skilled blacksmiths then hammer or bend them into shape. The process may be repeated several times before the piece is finished. Another method is casting, in which the blacksmith heats the metal till it becomes molten, or liquid, and then pours it into molds.

“It all starts with a design on paper,” Maurice says. “At our shop, we draw the design to size rather than to scale, because people often have trouble visualizing how something will look. We draw it on heavy paper so they can take it home and put it in the location where the finished piece will be.”

Building the piece can be time consuming, and the costs vary greatly. It may take six to eight weeks to complete a railing. “Pricing is based on how ornate it is and how long it takes to make,” Maurice says.

A railing can range from $195 to $450 per foot; a metal front door can cost $10,000 to $22,000.

Designer: Eloise Kubli, ASID Publication: The Miami Herald
Text: Jana Soeldner Danger Photographer: Various

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Iron balcony rail - Metal architectural accents can be like jewelry for a home.
Builder - Robinette Homes



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For exterior pieces, Maurice recommends aluminum because it won’t rust or corrode. “In Florida, between the salt and the sun and the humidity, rust happens quickly, so we use only aluminum outdoors,” she says. “But you can finish it to make it look Old World. We’re doing a lot of bronzes now, but we do them with paint.”

Copper can also work outside. Its glossy amber finish, however, will weather to a greenish patina.

It is important that the screws used to attach the piece to the exterior wall are rust resistant. “If you use regular screws, you’ll get drips of rust,” Maurice says.

Aluminum can be used indoors as well as outdoors, and finished to look like brass, copper, bronze, or iron. But inside the home, Maurice personally prefers to use actual iron. “Wrought iron has a different feel than aluminum,” she says. “It’s warmer and heavier.”

Designer: Eloise Kubli, ASID Publication: The Miami Herald
Text: Jana Soeldner Danger Photographer: Various

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Stairwell - Changing an inexpensive wood stair railing for a metal one can create a richer look in a home.
Builder - Robinette Homes



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Maurice enjoys the creativity of the work. “I love the process of starting with a design and seeing the process through,” she says. “My greatest satisfaction comes when something is finally installed in a home.”

Muarice compares metalwork to artwork. “A lot of people like to put pictures on their walls. We do art with metal.”

“Metal work dresses up a home,” she says. “It adds to what the builder has done. Metalwork provides added detail that gives your home your own personal touch."

Women's Business Development Center

Eloise Kubli is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Arthur Kubli is a General Contractor licensed in Florida and numerous other states. Both Kublis have received numerous industry awards for their work. Established in 1983, Collective Construction & Design, Inc. is proud to be certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council as a Women's Business Enterprise.

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