Source: Pioneer Press
Get a Handle on It!
Give your cabinets, doors and even windows, a completely different look with a hardware change.
Time Period Details
Not so long ago the perfect hardware choice was nearly impossible to find. Bin pulls used to be novel, cabinet latches difficult to find, and glass knobs available only at high prices. In the past few years, however, the demands for well designed hardware and hardware reproductions are finally being met. Even more unusual items such as an early 1900’s pull-chain activated doorbell are readily available by catalog. Handsome hinges for inset cabinet doors as well as beautiful knobs, whether simple or more complex, are now easy to find and in a variety of beautiful finishes.
Changing the stock hardware on cabinets to a style and finish of your own choosing, can make a big impact in the overall look of a particular space. If you have cabinets that are meant to reflect a distinct time period or architectural style, then the hardware should follow suit. If the cabinets aren’t a distinct style, the hardware you choose can make the statement instead.
Don’t stop at the cabinet hardware. There are other places to consider an easy change. Push plates for swinging doors can be very interesting, whether they are a simple metal finish or have an intricate pattern (which also helps hide the handprints). Similarly, well-chosen door pulls for pocket doors can add interest.
Double-hung window handles, as well as casement window latches can be changed to be consistent with the finish, and to some extent the style of other hardware in a room. Some of the old window handles for double-hung windows had striking design details. If you have older windows, chances are that the existing handles or latches have a nice shape and weight. Have them cleaned or refinished and you’ll be amazed at what a nice detail they provide.
Door hardware is an important detail. The weight of the hardware, more than the finish or the shape, is critical. Whatever you choose, the style of the hardware on the interior doors in the house should be consistent. This endeavor is not inexpensive so take a deep breath and before taking the plunge, consult your designer or architect to make sure the design and quality of your selection is the right one for you.
Where there is a cabinet there is opportunity. Existing cabinets that function well but are plain, create a great opportunity for self-expression. For instance, if you have cabinets without much detail and with no exposed hardware, you can add knobs with a hand-made sculptural quality to express your artistic side. Adding a long contemporary handle in a sleek metal finish to a simple cabinet also makes a nice statement. This is like adding art to your home.
For the Fun of It
To add a sense of playfulness, consider a pull made from stone or sea glass, or a bar of tile mosaics in beautiful dreamy colors. Hand painted knobs that look like one-of-a-kind can be really fun when added to a dresser in a child’s room. If you like the shabby chic look, consider adding a bar of hooks created with vintage hardware to your back entryway, mud-room or a bathroom to hang extra towels on.
One of the best, most comprehensive sources for time period hardware is the Crown City Hardware catalog. Information for ordering this catalog is available from the back of home décor magazines such as Old House Interiors. Though you will get your catalog rather quickly, the products come by pony express, so be patient. Also, Liz’s Antique Hardware is very well know and carries more than antique hardware. Visit the website for some idea of the range of styles available. For refinishing existing hardware, Al Bar in Wilmette and The Bellows Shoppe in Winnetka are good resources.
Chicago Brass in Highland Park is a good source for hardware with a large variety to choose from. Also, Anthropologie always has an interesting and eclectic selection of hardware.