Matchy, Matchy.

18 Nov

Almost all of the doorknobs in the house match. The majority of them being the original mortise locksets with a glass knobs. Like these:

photo 4

However, in their infinite wisdom, the previous homeowners “upgraded” two of the knobs in the house to modern locksets. To a lot of people this might not be a big deal but it drove me nuts. Not only did they not match, they were ugly and did not jive with what I was trying to accomplish with the rest of the house.

photo 1

So, once those came off, I was left with this…

photo 2

A Door Massacre.

This was a real issue because the older style knobs do not require those giant holes. You can see in the picture where the old knob and lock was and then how a new hole was drilled between the two for the modern lock set. They then covered the mess they made with that nasty doorknob plate.

The obvious answer was to replace the mortise lock and install antique plates around the knob and key hole to cover the massacre. Yet, that was not going to solve the matching issue since the rest of the original knobs only had small rosettes which would not be able to conceal the evidence of the crime.  So I was off to Rehouse, an architectural salvage nearby to see what I could do.

I was quickly able to locate  doorknob backplates that I liked and that I thought were “craftsmanesque” enough to go with the house. I decided to purchase enough to retrofit each of the doors in the house which faced into a common area. I decided to leave the back sides of the doors the same. In this way all the doors match in the common areas as well as within the inside of each private  room and I was able to cut costs by not changing all the closet doors as well.

So at this point all of the common areas doors in the house look like this:

photo 5


While all the knobs within the private rooms (bed and bath) still look like this:


photo 4

Matching almost  accomplished.

However, we’re still not out of the woods just yet.

If all of the knobs within the rooms are supposed to be the small rosettes instead of the “craftsmanesque” backplates I was still left with this mess on the back of one of the doors in a bedroom which could not be covered by a rosette.

photo 3

Thankfully, this door is the most screwed up door in the entire house. Furthermore, it happens to be the only one (however unfortunately so) which has been painted on the back. All of this just happened to work in my favor at this point. Because of this I was able to remain consistent using the rosettes inside the rooms. In order to do it I replaced the mortise lock and have been working on filling the hole from the modern knob with wood putty. Once its dry and sanded I’ll be able to paint it white and then replace the rosette and keyhole plate with one that I removed from another door in a common area when it was replaced with one of the“craftsmanesque”doorknob plates.

That might sound very complicated, and it should, because it was very complicated. Once this is all over all the knobs will be consistent throughout the house in a way that makes sense.

However, I am looking for suggestions on the screws I’m using to install the hardware. New shiny brass screws look ridiculous on the antique hardware.I had no luck at the hardware store and am too impatient to order things online.  I did save all the old screws I removed and reused them but I am about five or six short. Has anyone had success antiquing screws, or maybe using Rub N’ Buff?

I’d also having a difficult time finding small enough screws which are not Phillips. I’ve read those weren’t introduced until later so in order to complete the total illusion they should be “flathead” screws.

I’ve tired to ask about these things at the hardware store but I’m sure they think I’ve totally lost my mind.

One Response to “Matchy, Matchy.”

  1. Jayne November 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM #

    I used to get the same look when I went in the hardware store asking for flathead screws. Now I go to a hardware store owned by a guy who restores old houses, and all is good. Shiny screws bug me too. I googled “how to antique hardware” and came up with a couple of ideas–putting them in fire (those were steel hardware; not sure how that would work on brass, which is softer) or hanging them on a string above a bowl of vinegar and wrapping the whole thing in plastic. Apparently the acid in the vinegar oxidizes the finish. I would never have thought of that!

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