Archives For -Doors & Hardware

Second Floor Update

March 26, 2013 — 6 Comments


We are slowing making progress here. We are in the midst of a stomach bug epidemic, so life has been moving a little more slowly than usual.  The contractor was just here to go over moving the master bedroom door, discuss options for the bathroom door and the handrail and show him the plans for the electric. Mr. S. and I also managed to start clearing out our bedroom in preparation for moving the door over the weekend. That was actually quite therapeutic, and it feels good to get a good bit of clutter out of the space. Of course our playroom and garage are almost full and we still have one closet in our bedroom that will require emptying and demolishing. I am thinking that we may be installing our bedroom closets piecemeal so that we can continue to function. The alternate option is to empty out the space and work like mad for a couple of weeks. Currently that seems unlikely as there are a number of trades to coordinate. Which reminds me that I have a delinquent roofer to get a hold of.


I thought I would show you my drawings for the bathroom wall since there isn’t a lot in actual progress to see.  In the picture above I threw in a couple of stained glass windows to see what I thought of adding them to the space. Of course this project cannot continue without some sort of scope creep! Since we are going to be working on this wall I thought it would be nice to add some light into the corridor from the bathroom. Well then we need windows. And well if we are going to add glass, why not add stained glass?

I think my contractor thought I was a little crazy, although he should know how I work. He did think my linen closet was ridiculously small (hey, I don’t have one, so any closet no matter how small is an upgrade).


I think I have decided in favor of exposed barn door hardware over a hidden pocket door. This one from Rustica Hardware is in a dark bronze finish which I like. The wheel are actually wood, which I think is pretty cool. I will be pairing this with a more traditionally styled Victorian Pull.


This potted flower bronze pull is from Charleston Hardware Company. It has the daisies which are always a favorite of mine. We will have to use some sort of latch to lock it, since the door isn’t thick enough for a locking mechanism.


On the ceiling in the hall we are going more industrial again. I had been eying a different ceiling fan but I saw this one (Acqua Ceiling Fan II in Textured Bronze) for a great price on Joss & Main and decided to go ahead and order it. The whole unit rotates in addition to the wood blades. Overall this space is going to be a bit more eclectic and industrial then some of our other spaces in the house. Our first floor tends to stick much closer to the Victorian feel, but upstairs I think it is okay to have a little fun. I’m sure some future owner will abhor by choices, but I am liking the direction. And frankly most of my choices could be changed to something more traditional fairly easily.

What do you think? Have I lost my mind? Am I headed toward some sort of Victorian Steampunk craziness?


New Handle

13" Clover Leaf Door Handle in Black, $17.99

9" Bulkhead Handle, $10.99

After I painted our backdoor last week I realized that it was in desperate need of a new handle (somehow the home made 20 year old one wasn’t cutting it anymore). I also needed to pick out pulls for the new lower cabinet drawer unit at the pantry/wine area. So I took a look an VanDykes’s Restorers and they were having a sale on most of their handles! Fortunately they arrived quickly and I have installed the handles for the drawers and I will probably get around to installing the backdoor handle this weekend. I also picked up handles for the bulkhead door (for when we get around to making new doors).

For the backdoor I chose this beautiful clover leaf handle.  It is super heavy and slightly rustic looking in person. I think it is going to look great once I repaint the door a darker color and install it. I will also be installing a matching one on the outside (since this handle is suitable for outdoor exposure). I also picked up a similar, although slightly smaller set for the future bulkhead doors (currently we have a piece of exterior plywood on hinges).

New Cabinet Pulls, $3.49

Victorian Safe

For the cabinet pulls I decided to go with a similiar finish to the safe handle. In this case I chose a an antique brass finish (not something I would normally choose) and I think it looks great against the brown/black finish of the Ikea drawer unit. In between these two units will go the fridge and freezer. Right now I am leaning towards a white freezer (unfortunately the model that I want only comes in white). My plan is to use chalkboard contact paper and cover it. Then finish it off with some gold/brass colored vinyl details and maybe some fun lettering to match the safe.

I also need to pick up the wood counter from Ikea. When I checked last week it was out of stock, but hopefully it be back soon. I can’t wait to get this area further along. Now I just need to get moving!


Rendering of Laura and Ken's House

Laura and Ken have narrowed down the exterior house colors and shingles, so now it is time to focus in on the front door. The front door is such an important part of the house, it is not only where people first come into the house (and wait while you open the door) but it is also something that you touch. I have a general rule that the closer something is to you, the better the quality should be. So in our case the door is important. The style also sets the mood for the house. Fortunately now doors come in all different shapes, sizes, glazing and colors. I am a fan of a bright colored door to welcome someone!

Here are a few that I found via Pinterest:

1. Yellow door w/ transom and sidelites

2. Red door w/ sidelites

3. Aqua Door w/ transom & sidelites  via pinterest 2. via pinterest 3. via pinterest

Since we were looking primarily in the gray range for the house, we looked at 3 colors for the door: yellow, red and blue/aqua. All would pop against the gray house and white trim. Once we decided on a painted door instead of a natural finish, it then turns to deciding on what type of door. Their builder recommended Therma-Tru, which is one of the largest manufactures of doors in America. Fortunately they make a fiberglass entry door system, which is great for several reasons. Fiberglass is quite strong but unlike steel doors it won’t rust and doesn’t require a thermal break. It should stand up well to lots of use without getting dings and it also takes paint well and doesn’t expand and contract like wood. It also helps that the options in fiberglass are quite good now! They also offer the complete system with the sidelites and transom (glass above the door), so that will help to make sure that the joints are tight which will help keep the weather out. Another option  for fiberglass doors is Jeld-Wen but I couldn’t seem to find sidelites and transoms on their website.

Here is the configurator options for the Therma-Tru Smooth Star Entry Door Collection:

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star Door Configurator

As you can see the options are quite extensive, from traditional to arts and crafts and ranging from no glass to almost all glass. They also offer a more traditional panel look or a beadboard style.

After reviewing the options, Laura and Ken selected a model with more glass, to help bring light into the space. They are fortunate and the entry is a double height space, so they can take advantage of the light from transom above the door.

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star Door: One Panel 3/4 Lite w Sidelites & Transom painted a creamy yellow

I think it will be very welcoming! I would finish it off with a number like this in paint or vinyl (idea originally from the first issue of Blueprint Magazine) in black just below the glass.

Vinyl House Number

Image from Holly Mathis Interiors

Leave a comment

Full Eastlake/Victorian Door Set, Buy it Now $129 w/ free shipping

Full Greek Revival Door Set, $99 Buy it now w/ free shipping

Arts & Crafts/ Mission Door Set, $50 for 2 sets


I thought I would follow up yesterday’s post about my door hardware with some sources for old door hardware. Here are some of my favorites:


I know pretty obvious, but the key to finding the good stuff is all in the search. For example if you search “vintage door hardware” you get 179 results. With antique door hardware you get 531 results. However the results are a total mix of things. To narrow the search search for specific items, i.e. hinges, rosettes, back plate, knob, and escutcheon. However, if you are willing to slog through the more vague terms you can sometimes find a better deal because the person selling it may not know the exact style so the prices will sometimes be cheaper. I also recommend if you find something you like looking at the sellers other items. Sometimes they have additional items from the same doors/house. The most important thing is to have patience! If you don’t have the time and energy to search through whats available then you should probably look elsewhere.

Here is the link to the pretty Eastlake set featured above. Here is the link to the Greek Revival Door Set above. Here is the link to the Arts & Crafts Door Set.

For Victorian Hardware:  I like to search under both “Victorian door ____” (i.e. knob, rosette, key, escutcheon, hinge). Then I do the same search with “Eastlake ____”. Eastlake is an ornamental style of Victorian detail named after the famous English designer, Charles Eastlake, who wrote Hints on Household Taste which was a very popular book both in England the US in the later part of the 19th Century. “Sargent door” or “Branford door”  is also a good  search (they were manufacturers of a lot of Victorian door hardware). Other good search words include “bronze” and “cast iron”. It is typically cheaper to buy the pieces individually and piece them together yourself. In our case we are keeping some of the door hardware parts including the mortise guts so that works in our favor. It is important to keep in mind that not all the pieces will fit together correctly. We are staying away from larger backplates that house both the door knob and keyhole because we have found that the dimension between the two varies in our house, and amongst backplates for sale (both vintage and new).

For Bungalows: I recommend searching under “bungalow”, “arts and crafts” and “mission”. There are quite a few nice backplates and knob sets for sale at quite reasonable prices, especially if you are willing to give them a good cleaning.

Reproduction Rice Pattern Door Set, $89

Reproduction Mission Style Door Set, $45

Reproduction Art Deco Door Set, $29.95


Charleston Hardware Company:

I have bought both vintage and new hardware from this company. They started out restoring old sets and now make quite a bit of reproduction door hardware made from molds of original hardware.  They are from Charleston, SC so they specialize in some of the styles popular down there such as the “rice” pattern. Their website is a bit slow and cumbersome but they have some good stuff at very reasonable prices. They have also been helpful when I have called with questions and been able to sell me set screws and some miscellaneous bits that you can’t seem to find anywhere. They also offer restoration of hardware.

Simple Motrise Door Set,$24.99

Ornate Door Hardware Set, $62.39

4 1/2" Eastlake Style Hinge, $30.29 a pair

Van Dykes Restorers:

They have a large offering of reproductions  door hardware. Their prices are generally reasonable (although some items seem a bit overpriced), but I have found that their casting are not as crisp as I would like and that almost none of their hinges have removable pins.

Artisan Door Set, $130

"Philadelphia"l Style Door Hardware Set, $199

"Radcliffe" Door Hardware Set, $1410

House of Antique Hardware:

I have bought cabinet hardware from here, but not door hardware, although their selection is pretty good. I quite like their finish options including “Antique-by-Hand” which I used for some bin pulls in the kitchen. I also like that they have collections for different periods and styles. They are one of the only places I could find that has reproduction Colonial styles.

Eastlake Style "Edwards" Door Set, $155

Simple Door Set, "Davis" $139

Simple Oval Door Set, $139



Mostly known for their beautiful lights, they now offer all sorts of other house accessories including door hardware. They are known for their high quality, and at least from the pictures everything looks quite nice. The only downside I see is that they focus on selling complete sets rather than individual parts.

Your Local Architectural Salvage Store:

Usually the prices are good and you have a better chance of finding a good match for what you have locally. The downside is that you usually have to sift through a lot of stuff to find what you want. Also the prices range from really good to not so good based on the place and your negotiating skills.

Do you have any other recommendations?


We have almost all of the original 123 year old interior door hardware in our house and it is showing its age. We have a reoccurring problem with the hinges, the doors staying shut and the door rosettes breaking. We have done some piecemeal work, but we need to look at the doors as a group and make a decision on what we are going to do. We have 5 regular doors, 4 of which need work (one for each of the 3 bedrooms, one to the basement stairs and one to the upstairs bathroom).  We will also be moving the door to our bedroom about 7″ so that will have to get worked on no matter what.

Door Hinges:

Note the area where the screw have failed in between the door casing and the door frame. This area required quite a bit of fill

Door frame after wood plug is installed

Hinge after "fix". One screw was stripped so it was replaced with a modern brass screw

Special Tool for Installing Wood Plugs into stripped holes

Hinge w/ additional screws

3"x3" cast iron replacement hinge

















Our Door Hinges are simple 3″x3″ steeple hinges (small by modern standards). Many fancier Victorian houses had more elaborate hinges, sometimes referred to as “Eastlake” style.  I don’t mind ours except for the fact that the placement of the screw holes is very problematic. The holes would be much better if they were closer to the edge. In our case the outer screws end up not into the door frame blocking but in the gap in between the blocking and the trim/casing. I have fixed several of these, but because of this condition it is almost impossible to get a good hold. On one of the doors upstairs the previous owner added screws into the corner of the hinges. They did not do a particularly good job of this, but it is worth considering, over replacing all of the hinges. The only new 3″x3″ hinges that I have found that meet my general requirements are cast iron hinges from Charleston Hardware Co. What are my requirements? The hinges must stylistically match the rest of the hardware, the pins are removable and the screw placement needs to work with our door framing. I made the mistake of buying non-removable pins when I replaced the hinges on the front door and I REALLY regret this.

Wooden Door Knobs:

Wooden door knob and rosette w/ worn casing

Painted Wooden Door Knob, Rosette & Key Hole


















The interior doors all have wooden door knobs (except for the bathroom). At first I thought this was really unusual, but now that I am a lot more familiar with Victorian houses, I have found that at least around here it was fairly common to have wooden door knobs. Many fancier Victorians would have had bronze door knobs with elaborate details. I quite like the feel of our wood knobs. However 2 sets of these were painted and 1 set  was replaced. A couple of months ago I managed to find 3 sets on ebay for a good price, so I bought them and they have been waiting for installation.

Wooden Door Knob Rosettes:

Currently we have wooden door rosettes & key hole escutcheons (with the exception of the bathroom door which must have been replaced in the 1920s or so with a glass knob and metal rosette). I have yet to see another house with wooden rosettes (I am guessing that most of them broke a long time ago).  In case you are wondering, the rosette or escutcheon plate is is the piece that keeps the knob in place, located directly behind the door knob. Often called back plates, the type we have is typically referred to as rosettes because they are round. If you are searching for replacements, it is good to do a search for door rosette, backplate and escutcheon. Most of our door rosettes have split, which leads to the door knob always being loose. This is exacerbated by the screws holding the hinges in place failing causing the door to settle.  I am currently considering several options for the rosettes, both vintage and reproduction. I still haven’t found keyhole escutcheon covers that I like, but since this is mostly cosmetic as I don’t have the skeleton keys for the doors I am not in as big of a hurry to find these. I find that many of the reproduction patterns for door hardware aren’t as crisp as the originals (which really bothers me).  Here are the ones that I am currently considering. Again these are typically listed as antique/reproduction bronze Eastlake door rosettes. The price on these vary quite widely. These 3 are all pretty reasonably priced, although if I go with the antique ones I am going to have to see if Charleston Hardware Co. will sell me the screws that I need (ones that are the right size and not too long so as not to hit the mortise locks which we are not replacing).  All of these are about 2″ in diameter and should work with the wood doorknobs. They also all have daisies on them, which are my favorite flower and match the daisies on the Kitchen mantel and the upstairs stained glass window.

Restored Antique Door Rosettes, $14.00 each

Un-restored Antique Door Rosettes, $55 for 6

Reproduction Door Rosette, $4.95 each