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How to Choose the Right Perforated Grille for Your Project
Posted Wed, June 27, 2018

From new builds to historic renovations, perforated metal grilles can elevate any architectural design with patterns ranging from simple to ornate and vintage to modern. No matter your style, a perforated grille can tie together a variety of architectural projects – but how do you choose the right one for your project?

We’ve streamlined the decision-making process into four simple steps.

1. Measure your space

Each of our perforated metal grille options comes in standard sizes, although alterations can be made upon request. When choosing your perforated metal grille, it’s important to select a pattern that will accommodate your spatial limitations.

 

First, measure your opening for the proper length (X) and width (Y). This will help specify your perimeter, which is necessary when choosing a perforated grille size and style. Next, determine your border sizes. It is important that the perforated pattern does not extend outside the opening dimensions (B and C).

It’s important to cut the appropriate opening size for your perforated grille – but don’t worry, our team can help you find the proper dimensions and sizes. 

2. Choose your optimal air flow

When selecting a perforated grille, it is important to choose a pattern that provides the optimal air flow for your space. This is measured by the free air percentage, or open area, not covered by the metal pattern. For perforated patterns with small vent holes, you will want more free air. This will allow more air to be pushed through the grille. The opposite applies for large vent holes.

3. Select a perforated grille design

Now, it’s time for the fun part – choosing your perforated grille design. We offer a wide variety of patterns to elevate an assortment of projects from mid-century modern constructions to historic renovations and more.

 


You still have two more decisions to make after selecting your perforated grille design. Success is in the details. Select your metal and finishing option to add the final touch to your project.

4. Leave the rest up to us

In some cases, your perforated grille might require concealed fasting, welded support bars, access doors or installation hardware with a matching finish. Our team of craftsmen can help with additional installation requirements or challenges. After all, we’ve been in the metalworking business since the early 1900s.

Our team is ready to help you pick the perfect perforated metal grille for your project. Make sure to view our product catalog for a full, detailed list of our products. For a consultation or to order your perforated grilles today, contact us at 631.482.9449 or sales@cocometalcraft.com.

 


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How to Choose the Right Linear Bar Grille for Your Project
Posted Thu, June 14, 2018

linear bar grille with title

 

Whether your project is a start-to-finish build or a renovation, choosing the perfect linear bar grille is an underrated and important task. A bar grille, which will cover the air vents in your space, blends into the room effortlessly when chosen well, but can cause problems without proper preparation. Not only can grilles look out of place with the wrong aesthetic, they can also allow too much or too little air in the room, causing discomfort. With four easy steps, you can make the right choice easily.

1. Choose the right style

photos of specialty linear bar grille installed with l-bead

 

Before you measure the wall, floor or ceiling opening for your grille, decide which type of grille you’d like. You’ve already decided on linear over perforated, but there’s one more stylistic choice to make: flanged or flangeless. If you’re new to linear bar grilles, a flanged grille is simply one with a lip around the outer edge, which hides any space between the wall and the grille. Flanged grilles are more popular in visible areas, as they blend the grille and wall seamlessly into one structure.

2. Measure your space

photo depiction of how to measure for linear bar grille installation

Now it’s time to measure. You’ll start by measuring the length and width of your grille, represented by X and Y respectively in the diagram. Your wall, floor or ceiling opening should equal X and Y with some added space depending on the frame type you’ve chosen. If you’re going with flanged, add an extra 1/8”, as the flanges will cover that space. With the flangeless, your grille will be mostly flush with the surface onto which it’s installed, so you’ll only add 1/16”.

If you’re unsure about your measurements, don’t worry. Send our team the rough opening dimensions and we can deduct the proper clearance for your project.

3. Get the perfect air flow

Next, settle on the proper air flow for the room in which you’re installing the grille(s). A variety of factors determine this, from the size of the grille and the opening to the degree of deflection. It all depends on where your grille will be and in what kind of room. For a larger space, a greater air flow might be ideal, whereas a smaller room may require a grille that can restrain some of the flow.

4. Make it personal

The final step is choosing a design of linear bar grille that fits your stylistic needs. This not only means choosing a color or metal, it also means deciding on the shape and size of your grilles. At Coco Metalcraft, we have several types of metals—aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel and steel—as well as finishing variations on those options. We also offer L-Bead installation options to provide your linear bar grille with a flush finish, creating the illusion that the grill was built into the wall. It’s important that your linear bar grille matches the room it’s in and blends into the aesthetics of your space.

 

No matter the scale of your project, our sales team and craftsmen are ready and willing to help you pick the perfect linear bar grilles. Make sure to view our product catalog for a full, detailed list of our products. For a consultation or to order your bar grilles today contact us at 631.482.9449 or sales@cocometalcraft.com.

 


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Metal Makeup - Comparing Metal Compositions and Uses
Posted Mon, May 14, 2018

Despite being such an important facet of our daily lives, many people know little about metal. Metal fulfills a variety of functions including support, durability and electrical and thermal conductivity–but do you know the basics of metals? How is metal made? What distinguishes one type of metal from another? What type of metal is best suited to particular tasks?

The following guide should answer these questions and more about the metal that serves and supports your daily life.

Aluminum

The origins of aluminum as an industrial material date back to the early 19th century. German chemist Friedrich Wöhler studied past experiments on what early scientists called aluminum, and later successfully produced the material in an isolated, pure form. In the following years, chemists would expand, edit and ultimately improve the way aluminum was made by reducing aluminum chloride into aluminum with sodium as a reducing agent.

Aluminum is made chiefly from the ore bauxite. Its creation involves crushing, grinding, digesting in a machine, settling and calcination.

Although it’s lighter than other metals, aluminum is also a weaker material. Many still favor aluminum because it is cheaper than stainless steel but maintains a similar clean look. It also does not rust–although it can oxidize.

Thanks to its strength and relatively light weight, aluminum is used in a number of common fixtures, including foils, soda cans, utensils, airplanes and more. It's also infinitely recyclable and produces a relatively small carbon footprint when made.

Brass

Brass is an alloy, which means it’s a combination of multiple metals–in this case, copper and zinc. The oldest reports of its use (as an alloy of copper and zinc) date back to the first millennium B.C. in the Mediterranean. Its production process has changed and been refined through the years. Brass is primarily made through melting, mixing and rolling copper and zinc together.

Brass is popular for being durable, versatile and low maintenance. It can withstand extreme temperatures, does not corrode and features solid strength. People also find it visually engaging, as it looks like a shinier iteration of gold. Brass has an upscale appearance while not being as expensive as gold.

For these reasons, brass is regularly used for locks, door knobs, door hinges, pipes, valves and even sculptures and decorations.

Bronze

Though this metal is often associated with a third-place medal, in most cases, it's a first-place choice. Like brass, its similarly colored counterpart, bronze is an alloy. Bronze is typically made from copper and tin. It can also be created by combining copper with aluminum, arsenic, silicon, phosphorus and other metals.

Bronze has a deep and storied history; so much so, that it even has a prominent period of time named after it—the Bronze Age. Whenever a region (from Europe to East Asia) started smelting copper and tin to make bronze as a primary means of production, it entered its respective Bronze Age, a period characterized by discovery and invention.

Bronze has both pragmatic and stylish appeal. It has low metal-on-metal friction, which makes it a vital component in many metal-based structures. For this reason, it is commonly used for springs, bearings, clips and connectors in many machines, including vehicles. Its robust coloration makes it popular for sculptures and accents on modern furniture.

Steel

Steel, the backbone of buildings and structures worldwide, is an alloy of iron and carbon. Its history dates back to 1800 B.C., where it was used primarily for weaponry and armor. Archaeologists have found ancient forges and furnaces in most corners of the world, including the Mediterranean region, China and India.

With modern innovation, steel making has evolved, though the basic process has generally stayed the same. Iron ore is melted to remove impurities, including excess carbon. Once the right amount of carbon is achieved, the mixture cools, and what's left is steel.

Steel is popular for its incredible strength and relatively low cost compared to other metals. Its sturdiness and reliability make it one of the most common and widely traded construction materials in the entire world. That being said, it is susceptible to rust and tarnish over time. It's found in automobiles, ships, buildings, weapons, appliances and even in wool format.

Stainless Steel

Though there are a great many types of steel, stainless steel is the most widely known format. A common choice for modern appliances and stylish homes, this type of steel alloy contains at least 10.5 percent chromium by mass. Chromium is a brilliant element that gives stainless steel its stunning appearance.

Chromium-steel alloys date back to the early 19th century, though the first composite similar to modern stainless steel was created at the dawn of the 20th century.

Stainless steel, when compared to other metals (including other types of steel) is highly resistant to corrosion and staining. This resistance keeps its clean, sleek finish from dulling, although it is advised to clean the metal properly to maintain its sparkling shine.

Steel is frequently used in the production of surgical instruments, cookware, storage tanks for corrosive materials, industrial equipment and household furniture.

Infographic describing the make-up of aluminum, brass, bronze, steel, and stainless steel

At Coco Architectural, we fabricate our linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles and other custom metal products with all five of these metal compositions and a variety of material finishes. The possibilities are endless for creating the architectural grilles of your choosing. Luckily, we’ve created a separate guide to help you choose the right architectural metal for your project. You can also take a look at our catalog to browse all of our metal products and their corresponding material and finishing options.


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History of Bronze & Brass Metalworking
Posted Wed, February 28, 2018

History of Brass and Bronze Metalworking title over man using coal and flame to heat metal

Here at Coco Architectural, bronze and brass are a part of our family’s legacy--we know the history because we have helped shape many of the significant metal crafting trends through the 20th and 21st Centuries. While the overall history of metal and how it has helped shape the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history is quite long, we want to share with you some of the history of our craft and how metalwork has inspired artisans and cultural trends through the ages. 

Metalworking in Antiquity

infographic timeline of the history of brass and bronze metalworking

Although many people associate metal’s origins with the Iron Age, historians and religious artifacts have shown that hammering and casting metals developed almost at the dawn of humanity. Metalwork often defined a civilization’s ability to win wars and increase their cultural significance through artistic and religious relics. From the gilded bronze statues and weapons of the Egyptians to the masterpiece that is Chimera of Arezzo, bronze and brass often played a notable role in ancient times and continues to define and inspire culture today.

Bronze remained a preferred alloy for relics and buildings through the Roman era. In fact, the doors of the Pantheon and Roman Forum occupy their original positions and can still be seen on tours today. After the Roman period, the use of bronze fell out of style with artisans for a few centuries. It was only after Charlemagne came into power that bronze and brass started to take on new lifeforms.

Charlemagne’s influence started with religious artifacts, including the casting of bronze church bells that endures as one of the dominant features of church architecture today. Almost every metal piece and artwork during his era included the use of metal, which caused the Christian church to become one of the primary patrons of bronze casting throughout history.

During the Middle Ages, Europe transitioned from using metalwork for decorative or religious purposes into making castings of functional objects like chandeliers, candle holders, water basins and the like. Notably, chandeliers continued to be used exclusively in churches until the Gothic era. During this time, people began to consider that lighting their homes from a central source was more functional than having dozens of candlesticks around the room. Of course, the most extravagant and expensive figures distinguished the upper classes from the more straightforward metalwork of the lower classes.

The use of bronze and brass in religious castings allowed metal to prevail in popularity through the enlightenment, with the use of the metal in churches, homes and art throughout Western Europe and the Americas. Industrialization brought a decline in the use of bronze, as the era did to many works that required craftmanship over machines. It was utilized by a few individual artists, as seen in many of the Italian sculptures found in art museums today.

Modernization and the Future

As many of the bronze and brass artisans moved to America, they brought about a renaissance of the metals through the Art Nouveau era. In fact, our founder, Rosario Coco, implemented brass in everything from church railings to high-end tea carts. As the use of brass in elegant fixtures became more popular in society, Coco Brothers Inc. introduced the first shower door in polished brass. Upscale hotels and residences used our brass metalwork throughout New York and the United States.

laser cutting metal

As technology continued to improve through the last century, so did our ability to leverage that technology to create more ornate and customized metalwork. Craftsmen like us need a balance of technology and craft to maintain business. Despite manufacturing of high-end goods moving overseas, craftsmen have supported their business through the new capabilities that technology ushered.

The use of laser cutting allows us to cut new materials and be more flexible with changes throughout the manufacturing process. For instance, if your ventilation grille needs to be ½-inch longer on one side for one room, technology allows that change to be made quickly and efficiently. Older methods like casting would have meant that you needed to find a way to fill in the gap or create an entirely new casting.

James Coco Jr., Coco Architectural’s president, said, “Technology has caused higher-skilled craftsmen to go away. There is more highly sophisticated, automated equipment that has taken their place. We are trying to hold the balance and use both.”

The Beacon

One example of using both technology and craftsmanship is the Beacon renovation of the Jersey City Medical Center. This historic building was constructed in the Art Deco style as part of the Works Progress Administration program. After falling into disrepair and having many of the brass fixtures stolen and sold for scrap, we were approached to try to recreate some of those pieces that had since lost their castings.

The Beacon at Jersey City

James went to the site, traced the remaining pieces on paper, and then went back to our shop to design the new fixtures in both brass and steel. The project needed the flexibility of not only variances in pieces, but also the types of metal used so that the renovation could stay in budget. The use of our latest technology allowed us to continue our legacy of focusing on quality work with excellent customer service.

 

If you need custom fixtures for your home or building, we have the expertise to make sure the design fits the historical style. Contact us today to see how we can craft custom metal work for you. 


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Historic Rehabilitation: What Does It Take?
Posted Tue, November 14, 2017

Metal grilles installed into The Beacon of Jersey City next to a red lamp and two windows

"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

- David McCullough, award-winning author and historian 

While history is often preserved in print or digital media, many forget the memories held between the walls of our nation’s historic buildings. Historic rehabilitation is a vital step in maintaining a connection to our country’s past. Architecture has a way of providing people with a glimpse of history – an insight into what it would be like to live in the past. Historic buildings also serve as reminders of some of the beautiful and tragic occurrences throughout history.

Due to the invaluable nature of historic buildings, preserving them is no easy task. Strict standards regulate the alterations of these buildings, down to their paint color. Parameters dictate if a building qualifies to earn a tax credit for their restoration. These standards exist to ensure the integrity of the buildings is maintained and help contractors reach their goals.

4 Treatment Options for Historic Renovation

Methods for treatment vary based on a variety of factors including historical importance, existing condition, use post-treatment, and code prerequisites. Depending on how the building is registered and if a historic event occurred within its walls, a structure can have different requirements for treatment. It’s also important to evaluate the condition of the building prior to rehabilitation and how that will affect its proposed function. Code requirements also need to be considered. It is important for the building to be structurally sound while following mandated accessibility laws without impacting the architectural character of the structure. 

If a contractor or architect is considering a historic renovation, it is important to note that there are clear differences between the standards for the four historic treatment options. The National Park Service provides detailed documentation of the guidelines for historic property treatments.

Preservation

This treatment option is the least intrusive of the four. Historic preservation focuses on extending the lifetime of a building through protection and repair of existing materials. Maintenance and upgrades are the focus of preservation. Nothing is added or subtracted from the building.

Rehabilitation

The most common treatment option, rehabilitation, has more flexibility than the others. This treatment focuses on updating the property to allow for a new or continued use that maintains its historic architectural values.

At Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft, we regularly participate in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. In 2007, we took on  The Beacon of Jersey City Project. The goal of this historic rehabilitation was to restore the buildings to their original character, while adding useful spaces for modern use.

The Beacon at Jersey City room with pool table and metal grilles on the wall behind it

Restoration

Historic restoration allows contractors to restore a building by bringing it back to its grandeur from a particular time period. Additions from other time periods are removed while features from the original period are brought back to life. To make sure the building follows code regulations, updates to the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing may be made but they may not hinder the historical aesthetic of the property.

One of our favorite restoration projects was our update to the ventilation system at one of New York’s official landmarks: Gustavino’s. The Gustavino’s Project required us to construct air vents that would heat or cool the room without blowing directly on guests. Our design pushed the air upward to keep guests comfortable while matching the design of this historic venue.  

Gustavino's after Coco Metalworks updated the vents above the doorways in the banquet hall

Reconstruction

Reconstruction occurs when part of a structure is missing and can only be rebuilt using historic evidence. This treatment option requires an understanding of the architectural trends from the period the building was constructed. Spatial relationships must be maintained and materials and colors must appear as they would during the period.

Reconstruction is not a foreign concept for Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft. Our services include the option to create custom metal fabrication products. We have perfected the art of custom creations since 1909. This allows us to create metal products that could fit your designated time period. If you can design it, we can fabricate it.

Metal grilles between windows and elevators on an upper level of the Beacon of Jersey City

Let Us Help You Restore History

We’re proud of the work we do with architects and engineers to bring historic buildings back to life. If you are looking for first-rate metalwork, no matter how difficult the project, we’re eager to show you what we do. From rehabilitation to reconstruction, our metal bar grilles will complete your building.

For inspiration, see our Grille and Metalwork Catalogue.


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Historic Home in Greenwich Village - Haunts and Preservation
Posted Tue, October 10, 2017

Historic Home in Greenwich Village – Haunts and Preservation text overlaying close up of No. 14 W 10th Street

New York contains an assortment of historic buildings alongside sleek, modern structures. With the influx of new buildings, it is important to maintain the architectural integrity of older structures. From replacing interior metal grilles with new identical pieces to updating the exterior structure while maintaining the historic design, preserving historic homes is vital to protecting our state’s history.

New York is a large tourist hub but often, residents experience its charm and never leave. This was the case for many residents of No. 14 West 10th Street. This Greenwich Village property has been a regular stop on ghost tours for years, with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the famous specters inside. 

Classic Brick and Brownstone

Completed in 1855, this residence, with its brick and brownstone exterior, still looks very similar to its original design. According to the designation report for the Greenwich Village Historical District, written in 1969, No. 14 is “a very handsome Italianate house, of brick with elaborate brownstone window frames and quoins at the left side. It has, however, been altered to provide a small basement entrance between the two great parlor story windows.” In the 1960s, the residence also featured elaborate iron handrails and areaways that were modern for the time.

14 West 10th Street Greenwich Village

Photo provided by: By Beyond My Ken [GFDL or Creative Commons, via Wikimedia Commons]

Ghosts of No. 14 West 10th Street

This elegant property has been the host of 22 deaths and, according to many visitors, some spirits remain. Although 22 deaths over more than 160 years is not too dreadful, the property has been termed by many as “The House of Death.”

Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens (1835-1910)

The most famous resident of No. 14 West 10th Street was Mark Twain, less commonly known as Samuel Clemens. Twain resided in this home for one year between 1900-1901. Although Twain died in Connecticut, his ghost has reportedly been seen throughout New York City. One guest of No. 14 claimed to have seen his ghost who said, “My name is Clemens, and I has a problem here I gotta settle.”

Jane Bryant Bartell recounts many hauntings from No. 14 in her memoir, Spindrift: Spray from a Psychic Sea, published in 1974. Jane and her husband, Fred, lived in a top-level apartment of No. 14. The supernatural occurrences began as harmless abnormalities–odd sounds and smells–but escalated with time. She reported her dog continually growling at a chair as if something dangerous was sitting on it, sounds of crashing glass, unavoidable odors, and a phantom man. Eventually, the couple hired a medium who discovered the spirits of an aborted baby and her mother, nineteen year-old Reenie Mallison, who claimed to have been born in 1848.

Preservation of Historic Properties in Greenwich Village

With time, buildings age and require restorative updates. It is important to preserve the historic charm of buildings like No. 14 West 10th Street. This structure has been a home to many since its origin, including its spectral residents.

The building has undergone several renovations throughout the years that have complied with preservation laws of their time. In 1937, it was converted from a large family home into 10 separate apartments. Even in 2017, No. 14 is undergoing an exterior facelift.

14 West 10th Street Greenwich Village Under Construction in 2017

[Photo, taken October 2, 2017, provided by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation]

When remodeling a historic building, there are laws that must be followed. Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation says, “Much of Greenwich Village lies within various designated historic districts or is individually landmarked, which means that the building is regulated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, a government agency. The regulation generally only applies to the outside of the building; however, with the inside only regulated in so far as ensuring that any changes do not impact the exterior look. Therefore, even for landmarked properties, people are free to make whatever changes they wish to the exterior. That said, we strongly encourage people to recognize the irreplaceable value of historic interior architectural detail, and to preserve and re-use it whenever practicable. We have seen some amazingly inventive renovations where early 19th century detail is retained but with very modern and contemporary update. And, of course, in some cases these two-hundred-year-old houses are quite well-preserved inside and out.”     

It's all in the details. The metalwork featured in historic homes provides a level of character that is unique to each property. Preserving the design is vital in keeping a home’s historic charm alive. Our expert CNC Waterjet and Laser Cutting Services allow for an unlimited array of possibilities for custom metalwork to match and replace your historic home’s existing designs.

Our product catalog showcases many of our designs to help you get started. Contact our office to discuss your custom metalwork and how we can help maintain your home’s historic character.


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