AN EASY ANSWER TO DESIGNER DOORS

BY CHASE WADE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

If there’s one thing you can count on from the design team at Solara Iron Doors & Lighting, it’s this: They know how to make a perfect entrance. That’s because, for the last two decades, the Dallas manufacturer has pushed the boundaries of contemporary design to deliver one-of-a-kind metal doors that transform any home’s entryway from lackluster to luxurious.

In the early 1990s, founder Alberto Perez noticed a gap in the design marketplace: There was a growing demand for Mediterranean-style iron home features, but no stateside entity to manufacture the goods. With encouragement and guidance from his peers, Perez set out to create Solara Iron Doors & Lighting, DFW’s first manufacturer of its kind.

“I could see that builders and designers were starting to incorporate more iron works in their projects, but it seemed as if everyone was having trouble sourcing quality products,” Perez says. “I knew there was an opportunity there, so I took the risk and started producing the types of doors I would like to see in my own home.”

Malena Gutierrez, Perez’s business partner, joined the company with the addition of the lighting line back in 1999.

The pair is practically the definition of “hands-on.” It’s not a rare occasion to see Perez or Gutierrez dive into a client meeting to talk about a project’s concept, design or even the more gritty details, like installation. Or, if they’re not dashing around their impressively adorned Design District showroom, they’re probably on their way to the company’s factory in Monterrey, Mexico, where most projects are brought to life.

“We balance each other out really well,” Gutierrez says. “I think we’re both not afraid to really get our hands dirty with certain projects. He [Perez] might run to me with an idea for a project and we’ll put our heads together to make it happen.”

As tastes change, so does Solara’s product line. In recent years, the company has taken a step toward the modern, crafting bold iron doors that would look perfectly in place in the most cutting-edge of homes. These new designs strive to maximize glass area while maintaining clean, simple lines.

“A lot of modern homes feature wooden doors, but there’s been an increased interest in iron doors too,” Perez says. “People don’t realize that iron doors are almost guaranteed to increase your home’s value. Not only that, but they also last much longer than conventional doors.”

Of course, Solara creates more than just statement-making doors. In fact, it’s the company’s innovative exterior and interior lighting lines that are true standouts. In the same way the company found its roots, Solara’s lights were developed after Perez noticed that the market’s lighting offerings couldn’t match the grandeur of his doors.

“Developing our lighting line was a little trickier than our other products,” Perez says. “There were a lot of technical hurdles to jump over before we could get them to our customers. However, today, a lot people know us because of our lights.”

Aesthetically, the lights vary in style from traditional to modern; however, it’s the technical achievements of the lights that are quite noteworthy. Solara was one of the first companies to offer exterior gas lighting that feeds straight into the home’s main gas line, a feature that’s not only easier to use, but safer for your family as well. You know those charming flickering lanterns you see dotted across Highland Park? Chances are they’re Solara lights.

But why stop at just doors and lights? After all, the company is a one-stop-shop that offers everything you need to outfit your home. From custom wine cellars, hardware, decorative room dividers and table bases, there’s really no project that the designers aren’t willing to tackle.

Because of the company’s quality products and work ethic, the greatest compliment they receive from the builders and designers they work with is that when it comes to building their own homes, the pros go with Solara products.

So, if you’re after custom ironwork that is truly second to none, why look anywhere else?

Chase Wade is a Texas-based freelance writer. Read more of his work at chasewadewrites.com.