Riveting Design: Using rivets as a design detail
When a designer hits upon a winning design resource, don’t be surprised to see that company’s work gracing multiple design features in a space. In this case, Colorado-based metal fabricator Raw Urth Designs supplied the boxed range hood and coordinated countertop, both riveted and finished in a Rust Iron patina. Under the glow of pendants inspired by work lamps, the resulting industrial chic takes that farmhouse look popularized by HGTV’s hit show, Fixer Upper and kicks it up a notch.
Sometimes you love the look of some designer detail, like rivets, that has no functional necessity in your home. What do you do? Find a wallpaper featuring that motif, such as Philip Jeffries’ popular Manila Hemp Rivets wallpaper, shown here in the color “Silver on Elephants.” The grid pattern makes it clear that the riveted look is just for show, and it happens to bolster the transitional aesthetic this room is going for, pairing a traditional chandelier and heavy wooden table with more contemporary art and transitional lines of the upholstered pieces.
The Innova model by Cantera doors, shown here, is a solid and sturdy choice whose rivets enhance the sense of visual weight and the security that it provides. This heightened feeling of security is ideal for its application as an exterior gate protecting an inner courtyard and, ultimately, the entrance to the home. We also love how well it ties in with the riveted light box and exterior wall color.
Reminiscent of old steamer trunks, this bar top uses rivets as a decorative nod to history. French trunks of yore were designed and sold by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Goyard and reinforced by steel to protect their precious contents during long transatlantic voyages to the New World. Today, these trunks (and bar tops made in their image) imply the romance and nostalgia of high-seas adventures in the time of pirates and privateers.
One of my personal favorite ways to style a riveted feature like a fireplace surround is to mirror those signature rivets in the furniture. Here, we see it done with bold nailheads on cream-colored ottomans. What’s especially enticing about this vignette is how the scale and spacing is similar across the two applications. WIth little in the way of textile patterns or other visual clutter, these tiny details are a treatise in understated sophistication.
Since there are so many ways to style rivets in the home, especially on a flat surface like a fireplace surround, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the extra touch of detail and texture they add when applied to the ends of brick-like sheets of metal arranged in a running bond. To that end, rivets can be a compelling design solution to any flat expanse that just seems to be “missing something.”
Rivets are ubiquitous on ships and aircraft since both types of vessels require the utmost shear strength to bulwark against the harsh elements and extreme environments through which they traverse. Though we may not consciously register their importance to our mental conception of aeronautical craft, rivets on a lacquered wall like this one conjures images of cruise liners and naval warships immediately for anyone who’s ever set foot on one of these vessels.
Another surefire way to give your home a shipbound feel is to clad the ceiling in riveted metal, or even any material finished to look like metal since the rivets are most likely only decorative anyway. If you do choose to use real metal, though, you’ll boost your evening ambience tenfold as light reflects off the ceiling and ignites a warm glow in the room.
Falling in love with one of the riveted metal aviator chairs available from multiple retailers is easy; decorating the rest of the room so that it rises to the level of that striking chair is the hard part. Arizona Designs kept it simple here with “casually elegant” millwork and a matching countertop in “galvanized steel with compounded rivet joints” for a business consultant’s home office. Anyone involved in the aerospace industry is likely to gravitate toward an office like this one, designed to firmly situate the aviation enthusiast in the larger context of his field.
Remember the mention of flat spaces being prime targets for a makeover in riveted metal? This garage door is, in many ways, an even more compelling use of the material: As a mechanical system, we already expect our garage doors to be fairly utilitarian and industrial looking; a riveted metal style embraces the garage’s utility instead of masquerading as elegant siding. This look will appeal to those who believe that form follows function, and who see a certain magic in the transparency of mechanical systems,
Not limited to use with metal by any means, rivets can be used structurally to hold glass wall panels firmly in place. This method can also be seen in many contemporary art galleries and museums where prints and paintings may be protected by frameless glass panels riveted to the wall rather than in traditional frames, and floor-level exhibits may be encased in a similarly glass enclosure.