Unique Steel Designs

Ever take a look lately on America’s favorite home décor website, Pinterest, and dwell on how creative some homeowners can be with a little bit of time, money, and sweat equity. Personal oasis’s of all types litter online and print magazines with several spins on great ideas to decorate your home. One can use a little fabric, furniture, and landscaping to create indoor and outdoor sanctuaries or conversation pieces. The ideas garnering the most accolades are pieces using the most unique techniques and the most cost-friendly materials.

Recently, a designer in Kansas City has resurrected a medium that has long been out of the conversation as a means to decorate your home for a long time, carbon steel. Classified as dirty, out dated, and difficult to find, Gary Hendrix has seen carbon steel (or black steel as some would like to call it) as an inspiration to create very unique and special pieces, “steel is a new refreshing, unconventional way of thinking about design and construction. It (steel) is starting to take hold (due to) versatility first, and also the ease which it blends into different landscapes and architecture.”

Gary, would be best described as a “man for all seasons”, with his many skills in, carpentry, fabrication, masonry, interior design. He has taken his mastery of these trades, and married them together to generate several unique pieces for his customers.

Gary came to visit Royal Metal Industries initially to purchase several new sheets of steel for an upcoming fabrication job. And, like all great artists, he focused on a large rack in the distance (color in contrast to the sea of black and gray colors surrounding it). That rack held steel which had aged to point it would be deemed a bit rusty. Gary had found his new medium for upcoming design projects in homes throughout the Kansas City Metro area, “I have used steel panels cut to size for siding, or for different structures, (like) fencing, gates, a fireplace hearth, landscaping, different interior uses, sculpture.”
Steel has gone from not being considered in the running, to the spotlight. Based on strength, durability, and in the case of alloy steel (a.k.a. aluminum and stainless), it is a pinnacle piece for modern designs, “I like aluminum for modern looking projects, corrugated metal is usually inexpensive. I like mixing different materials like natural stone and wood with metal, especially rusted steel. says Gary.

One of Gary’s favorite traits of black steel is, without the proper care, it will rust into an orange color patina. Still dirty, heavy, but now in a different color, it has begun the process into what makes steel special. Similar to snowflakes, no two pieces of steel rust the same. Over time steel will transform into multiple shades, depths, and designs, and Gary shared his thoughts about how he uses the aged steel, “It can provide a unique, custom look that common building materials do not always achieve.” And, when prompted about is rusty steel as easy to work with as new, “Generally yes, some surface prep may be required for welding and finishing. There are many ways to age steel, but it is important to plan for the final finish desired.”

Gary has taken his love of several mediums and formed very unique treasures for both indoor and outdoor use. He, like many fabricators, have explained steel is cheaper than it ever has been, and when you go with rusty, steel becomes even more economical. “The use of good, durable materials and great design are timeless,” says Gary, “so your design is here for a long time.”

Rusted patina siding fence. Concept and installation by Gary Hendrix.

Gary can be reached at email, garyhendrix09@gmail.com  or by phone913-360-0466, or visit Royal Metal Industries, at 1000 W Ironwood St., Olathe, KS 66061, and we can point you in Gary’s direction to produce your next long lasting design, “I’m always interested in discussing new and interesting projects so feel free to contact me. Thanks, Gary Hendrix”

Brought to you by Royal Metal Industries, “Home of the Royal Treatment.”
1000 W Ironwood St
Olathe, KS 66061
For questions, please call Tim at 913-829-3000, ext. 116