Q&A with...

Ian Baren, Katonah Architectural Hardware



It’s the seemingly little details that often make the biggest statements. Take architectural hardware. Ian Baren, principal of Katonah Architectural Hardware (143 Katonah Ave, Katonah; 914-232-7796), whose knobs, pulls, levers, etc., have made their way into the homes of such luminaries as Morgan Freeman, Paul Shaffer, Mariah Carey, and Oprah Winfrey, gives us the inside scoop on this important but often overlooked component of home design.

What’s new in architectural hardware?
We’re seeing more classic American knobs and levers specified in a contemporary finish, like a polished nickel, rather than the traditional muted brass or aged patina. It gives a cleaner, more contemporary look to the traditional form.

Any new materials?
We’re seeing more use of hand-cast and hand-finished bronze, both for traditional and contemporary work. It doesn’t have that perfect, machine-made look to it; it has a lot more depth and texture.

What design style is on the rise?
Mid-century design, especially from the Bauhaus school.

What are some of the more luxurious materials used on hardware?
Rock crystal and ebony knobs, cabinet and door hardware made of lapis lazuli and tiger’s eye, and gold-plated levers, partly wrapped in saddle leather.

What’s the most expensive item currently in your store?
A front door handle set from a foundry in Lithuania. It’s sand cast in brass or bronze and then all of the detail is chiseled in by hand. It ranges in cost from four-to-five thousand dollars, depending on material, finish, and design.

What was the most expensive piece of hardware you’ve ever furnished?
Locks and hardware trim for a pair of huge corporate office doors in Virginia. They took one-and-a-half years from design to completion and cost more than thirty thousand dollars.