For some people, a handle offers an opportunity.
The pulls that open doors and drawers are well positioned to serve as a focal point, round out a decorative style or broadcast a sense of whimsy. It’s basically jewelry for the door.
First Impressions International designs and produces thousands of styles for front doors, shower doors, office doors and drawers. Some are sleek and smooth. Others are textured, with sculptural features.
The staff also happily tailors existing designs to fit a particular design scheme, or they’ll whip up something fresh and unique.
Steve Goldstein of Boca Raton launched the business in 1999 after working about 18 years in the plumbing and door hardware industry. As a showroom manager, he picked up on a market niche. Some shoppers were seeking a wider variety of decorative pulls for sliding glass doors. So he went into business designing, making and selling handles for those and other doors.
Based in his garage, Goldstein taught himself techniques for working with metals. He printed his catalog on a home computer. In 2003, the business moved to Coconut Creek. Helping him run it is Monica Goldstein, Steve’s wife.
Initials are among the popular styles for residential front doors, such as glossy “M” that splits in half on a set of double doors. Another resident ordered a rolling pin and whisk as handles for her refrigerator. Other personalized designs include guitar-shaped cabinet pulls for a music room, an 8-inch stainless steel martini glass for a bar area, and set of brass drawer pulls for a bedroom dresser, each featuring a letter of the alphabet.
Prices for most handles are $75 to $500, depending on the material, scale and intricacy. Many of the products are manufactured in Florida, others are made in Spain.
In addition to knobs and handles, a hot seller are drapery rods, a style inspired by turning vertical acrylic door handles horizontal. Goldstein said the rods in see-through acryclic are quite popular. “It looks like your curtains are floating,” he said. Prices for most range from $50 to $500.