Rethinking Classic Steel Frame Doors for the Modern Home

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    To celebrate the launch of Metro Lifestyle and the new Emilia range, we catch up with Metro Steel Windows’ Joanne Kilbourne to discuss the timeless appeal and structural integrity of steel framed doors.

    Steel-framed doors have stood the test of time in residential architecture worldwide. The timeless appeal of steel-framed doors aside, their structural integrity and recyclability also make them a functional and eco-conscious choice.

    The benefits of steel framed doors in the home are revealed in Metro Lifestyle, Metro Steel Windows’ new offering of modern and affordable off-the-shelf steel frame doors. The launch builds on the brand’s existing range of bespoke steel door and window solutions intended for architects, builders and interior designers. The core offering under Metro Lifestyle, the Emilia range, has been meticulously designed with both aesthetics and functionality in mind, which Joanne sheds light on in this interview. 

    Produced in partnership with Metro Steel Windows

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    JUMA Architects lean on steel frame doors to typify warm Belgian minimalism in their projects. | Project: Directors Mathieu Luyens and Julie Van De Keere’s East Flanders residence | Photography: Annick Vernimmen

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    The Emilia steel single door from the Metro Lifestyle range.

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    Design: Juma Architects | Project: Farmhouse CL | Photography: Annick Vernimmen

    Congratulations on the launch of Metro Lifestyle. What does Metro Lifestyle offer and what does the launch signify for the brand?

    Joanne Kilbourne: Thank you. Metro has provided bespoke steel door and window solutions to architects and builders since 2018. We understand, though, that not every home requires a bespoke solution and the need for a modern and affordable off-the-shelf range became clear. 

    Metro Lifestyle offers a selection of handcrafted steel framed doors in common sizes to suit the new build or heritage renovation. The Emilia range provides customers with the option of French or single-hinged doors, and sliding cavity or barn-style doors.

    The launch of Metro Lifestyle signifies the evolution of steel-framed doors within the modern home and we are humbled to be market leaders in this advancement.

    What differentiates the new Emilia range from the rest of your steel frame doors and windows?

    Joanne Kilbourne: The Emilia range is the first off-the-shelf Metro Lifestyle product offering. Traditionally steel framed doors and windows are a bespoke solution, requiring a manufacturing lead time. The Metro Lifestyle Emilia range is available online, with shipping within the immediate future, negating the manufacturing lead time by providing a quick and affordable solution.

    Meticulous consideration has been given to the aesthetics and functionality of the Emilia range. For example, the design of the three panels provides symmetry, while the bold sightlines create a strong, timeless and sophisticated steel feature. Similarly, the glass choices are provided based on their functionality and how they interact with the Emilia design.

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    Design: Juma Architects | Project: Villa RS | Photography: Annick Vernimmen

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    Design: Juma Architects | Project: Project K | Photography: Annick Vernimmen

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    The Emilia steel sliding door from the Metro Lifestyle range.

    How is the Emilia range a take on classic French and farmhouse architecture?

    Joanne Kilbourne: Inspired by traditional farm barn doors, the Emilia steel sliding door was designed with functionality in mind. The compact and sleek design makes it suitable for small or narrow spaces where swinging doors are not an option – which we often see in heritage renovations and modern homes in spaces such as studies and water closets. In addition, the architecture of the sliding door negates the requirement for a door jamb, making it an efficient wall cavity or barn-style sliding door solution. 

    French doors were originally manufactured from wood and used to inject more light into dimly lit rooms during the Renaissance period. They have stood the test of time, remaining a popular choice in many eras of residential homes. Today when we think of French doors, we think of steel-framed French doors; beautiful, romantic and luxurious. The Emilia French doors evoke these qualities and a sense of openness and elegance.

    What makes Metro Lifestyle suitable for a heritage renovation?

    Joanne Kilbourne: Steel was a popular building material in the 1920s, particularly for window and door framing. Today we are seeing many of these homes being restored, and steel doors are being specified to keep with the heritage theme. The financial investment of bespoke steel doors is often outside the scope of these projects, making the Metro Lifestyle off-the-shelf range an affordable means of connecting the home’s original period features with the more contemporary features.

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    Belgian-based architect Nicolas Schuybroek imparts his signature understated aesthetic to this Paris apartment, as conveyed in the kitchen’s steel framed doors | Photography: Stephan Julliard

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    The Emilia steel French doors from the Metro Lifestyle range.

    Could you please comment on the structural integrity of steel in the home?

    Joanne Kilbourne: Steel is a premium material for its structural integrity and visual appeal. The handcrafted, classic jet-black profile of the Metro Lifestyle range provides longevity in terms of the material’s durability and its ability to withstand architectural trends. Steel is also 100 per cent recyclable, making it a sustainable product that requires minimal maintenance; great for a range of new builds and heritage renovation projects.

    How has Metro Lifestyle shaped your approach to the future of Metro Steel Windows?

    Joanne Kilbourne: We are seeing many new home builders seeking alternative products and materials over and above the ‘standard’. This has led to several expressions of interest in the Metro Lifestyle range as a premium offering within the new home market, over and above the standard door options. This indicates that we are on the right trajectory with the off-the-shelf product range.

    From a product development perspective, we are continuously working toward expanding our steel-framed window and door range. We are constantly reviewing residential architecture demands to ensure we are providing the right solutions. We have exciting new opportunities coming to life in early 2023 and look forward to having these ready for delivery to Metro customers.

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    A slimline steel frame door articulates the minimalist nature of this Belgian home designed by TJIP. | Photography: Piet Albert Goethals

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