Monday, September 29, 2014

A vintage glass doorknob DIY for under $14!

Home sweet home... it feels good to be back! Thanks to everyone for sticking around while we took some time off to visit Florida.

Our tile guy was supposed to start on the fireplace last week but he's been working on another job so it keeps getting pushed back (the frustration!). We're hoping he'll start this week (or we may just have to find someone else).

In the meantime, I've been tackling some smaller projects. I finished one yesterday that I am so excited about, it's worthy of its own post (updated after new reader info!)



Vintage hardware lovers... today is your lucky day.

So, remember how the downstairs door looked like this a couple weeks ago?


A while back we upgraded all of the knobs in this oval oil rubbed bronze style, which was fine, but once I painted the door black I wanted something that popped a bit more.

Vintage hardware has always spoken to me, and I'd be in heaven if all of the doors in our house could look like these...

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But seriously, have you looked at the prices of these things? Most will set you back $100 or more, and if you plan to do a whole house... well, forget it. Not an option for us. Not only that, but most don't fit with the modern 2 1/8" bore hole size and you'll need to completely modify or replace the door to get all the parts to fit. So not worth it.

I've been determined to find another way.  After much searching, I stumbled upon this glass knob set for the very reasonable price of just under $14.39 shipped:




The link is acting strange, you'll need to copy and paste this into your browser to get it to work: atgstores.com/interior-door-handles/first-watch-security-1148-passage-door-latch-set_g946614.html 

(it comes in nickel and brass as well). To complete this project you only need the door knobs though (assuming you are happy with the color of your latch and strike plate). You can get the knobs easier, like this one for under $8 on Amazon or Home Depot (if you don't mind spray painting the metal, or you can get the bronze for $10):

The problem with the complete door knob kit that I purchased is that it doesn't fit standard bore holes (despite what the Q&A says). The screw holes are placed 2" apart but the bore hole is 2 1/8" so there's nothing for them to screw into.

The solution is to buy these wooden inserts which you attach to the inside of your bore so the screws have something to go into:


But even those are way more than I wanted to spend, and more hassle than it was worth.

I had to come up with a solution... so after some pondering and google searching, I came across these back plates (also called escutcheons):


They were $13.98 shipped which I thought was a great deal considering my alternatives. And I knew I could easily customize them to get rid of the brass.

While writing this post, I found them at Amazon for $8.99 shipped and Home Depot for $5.80 shipped!

Now that I had all my parts, it was time for a little DIY.

First, I had to remove the metal ring on the holes because my spindle wasn't long enough to reach through to the other side:


I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with the brass finish, so I started by sanding it down a bit (with 220 grit paper). There was a silver metal underneath which I let peek through.



Then I sprayed a light coat of satin black. I didn't like how it looked up against the black door (which is a cool/light black) so I sanded it down and decided I liked what was happening (you can see the sanded plate on the left and unsanded on the right).



Then I dug around in the garage and found some gold and brown spray paint, so I started experimenting.



I added some gold and sanded a bit, and once I added the brown it gave it a subtle rusty effect which looked very realistic. After a bit more sanding, they looked like this:


Love! The whole thing only took about 10 minutes (including waiting for the paint to dry in between sanding).

Installation was super easy. The latch and strike plate were staying so I simply removed the old knobs, slid the new ones through with my new back plates, screwed the plates directly onto the door, and tightened the handle. Easier and faster than replacing standard door handles (and about the same price!)


I love the way the rusty color coordinates with my fall wreath. Happy accident.








Because I didn't shop around enough (oops) my price came to just under $25 for everything, but if you buy the back plates for $5.80 and the glass knobs for under $8 on Amazon or Home Depot  (and use your existing latch and strike plate), you could get the same thing for under $14. That is seriously cheap for this setup.

UPDATE: A reader just informed me that they sell a kit like this at Home Depot for $19—it includes the mortise latch but you could just leave that out for modern style doors. Unfortunately I don't live near one but that's also a good option if you just want to buy everything together!

I would replace all of the knobs in my house in a heartbeat, except that I haven't been able to find any vintage style privacy knobs that work with modern doors (and aren't ridiculously expensive). Boo. If you know of one, let me know!

In other hardware news, I got my pendant pulls in for our sideboard!


They came in brass, so a couple quick coats of black paint later and they're perfect (and I was able to leave the key hole exposed!)



And that's all for now. I have an almost finished project in the garage right now that needs my attention today... those of you who follow me on instagram got an early preview :)

In the meantime, we're enjoying this beautiful fall weather that arrived right on schedule...


And after months of a dry spell, we even got some rain!


Unfortunately it was short lived, as it's expected to climb back into the 90's in a few days. But it did get me excited for fall.

I'll be back at the end of this week to share, and *hopefully* will have an early fireplace update then as well. Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Living room update & decorating for fall

Happy Monday! Is it starting to feel like fall where you are yet? It's been in the upper 90's here but that didn't stop me from breaking out my autumn decor and jumping on this bandwagon. I'm slowly coming to terms with letting go of summer.



Last week I finished giving our sideboard cabinet a makeover and posed the question on instagram... which knobs?



It elicited quite a polarizing response... a lot of strong feelings on both sides. But one person said I should keep looking, and in the back of my mind I knew that was right. I didn't love the choices they had at Lowe's, but I had no other options at that moment so I impulsively bought two pairs and decided I'd settle.

Well, I changed my mind, took them both back and ordered these instead:




I love the look of pendant pulls, and these were only $3.50 shipped! I'll probably spray paint them black. And that way I shouldn't have to cover the skeleton key.

So that is why there's no knobs right now...



As you can see I switched things up a bit. I took down the map print and pulled out a large mirror from storage.



I had the opportunity to visit Home Goods last week (drool) and grabbed this lovely fall wreath while I was there...

(I added the bow)
I also got to utilize my flea market scores from a couple weekends ago.



Like this awesome vintage scale.



And this cool rusted milk jug (which I filled with foliage from my dad's yard).


And the two rusty metal boxes on the left for $1 each, as well as the red and black plaid blanket for $2.


I bought the lanterns ages ago when we lived in Florida—they're filled with white pillar candles and mini pinecones.




The pumpkins I've also had for years (either Michael's or Hobby Lobby).


After setting all this up, I finally figured out what I want to do with the staircase wall to the left of it. I'm going to find (or make) a beat up piece of wood and add coat hooks, then probably relocate the jug to the right (or just leave it empty).





Mid way through the photo shoot, Susie wanted in on the action.


This is one of her hiding spots.



It was a rare cloudy day yesterday (I almost forgot what clouds look like) which made the mountains extra vibrant, so I had to look over and snap a photo...


We don't get too many leaves that change colors in the fall because of the mediterranean climate, but it's nice that our view is at least consistently green and full year round.

After sprucing up our sideboard for fall, I decided to tackle an easy project I'd been wanting to take care of...


This is the door to separate our lower level, and there was way too much white in this area.  It needed contrast.

I used the same paint color (Valspar's Dark Kettle Black) as our front door and bedroom door in an eggshell finish. One by one, every door in this house will be black.

Rather than tediously taping it off (which never works perfectly anyway) I used Katie's method of windex and a putty knife to scrape off the excess paint.



I had a nice short handled angled brush so I still tried my best to get a clean, smooth line so I didn't have to remove as much in the end, which definitely helped. The paint came off so effortlessly, it actually ended up being easier to just use my fingernail under a paper towel for the smoothest line. I also avoided scratching the glass that way.

Here's the new door:


Complete with a fall wreath I made a couple nights ago.



Oh yeah, I also had purchased a fancy glass knob but realized I need a retrofit kit to adapt it to the bore hole (why can't they make modern door handles with glass knobs that aren't $100? Argh) So, I ordered some backplates online and I'll replace the handle as soon as I get them. Stay tuned.



I love how it ties into the front door. Yay for contrast!

And now for the big exciting stuff... our ceiling is finished!!

Our handymen worked on it Friday and Saturday and it all came together perfectly.


My dad and I quickly assembled the beams Thursday (using the same method as the kitchen and our bedroom) and they were up in no time.


They also added quarter round trim, caulked and painted:


And they're just perfect.

Here's my view right now from my desk:


And from the back corner of the room, looking towards the kitchen...


And looking back towards the foyer:


And this is what you see when you walk in the front door:




They really draw your eyes up and anchor the room. I'm so happy/relieved this part is out of the way.

Now... completely unrelated but I just had to share a daily dose of cuteness for your Monday. This little 4-week old furball is in our guest room as I'm typing...


I don't know how I'm even at my computer right now instead of in there cuddling. Sadly, it's not my kitten—we're holding her for a friend who is moving today. But HOW CUTE is she?!


In less than 24 hours we leave for my favorite place in the country... Florida! I'm so excited to be reunited with my sister and friends for a week... and to remember what rain and non-freezing ocean water feel like... ahhh. Tiling on the fireplace won't start until we return on the 24th, so there won't be another post until that's done (in at least two weeks).

In the meantime, you can follow me on instagram to see what I'm up to and join in on the Florida fun. Have a wonderful last week of summer!