I live in a builder grade, cookie cutter, generic sort of home. In fact, there's probably ten houses in my neighborhood that are identical to mine. This is suburban living in Denver. Now, there are a lot of great things about living in a newer home, but "character" is generally not one of them. Can anyone else relate?
We've slowly been working on adding personality to it, inside and out, over the past six years. The first thing we purchased, after paint, were new brushed nickel light fixtures (except in the powder rooms, but I'll save that post for another day). The lights were so ugly, paint wasn't gonna cover it. Door hardware should have been next on my list, but I just didn't think it was that big of a deal at the time. Everyone in my neighborhood probably has polished brass doorknobs and my house was only a few years old when I moved in with my husband.
Some gals, bless their hearts, have spray painted all their door hardware. While that definitely saves some cash, it takes such a looooooong time to do and doesn't hold up as well as I'd like. I'm really impressed with those who want to take on that challenge, but it's just not for me and I lack the space to do it.
I finally did some research (a.k.a. Barnett catalogue) and realized that it wouldn't really be that expensive to get new hardware (my house isn't that big!). I have 12 interior doors and three exterior doors. Builder grade was fine; I just wanted a different finish, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money. Like I said, I have brushed nickel light fixtures, but I decided to mix metallics by going with an oil-rubbed bronze finish for the doors. I thought it would tie the kitchen in more with the rest of the house, plus I didn't want to be too matchy matchy. I used to think all my hardware needed to match, and you certainly can't go wrong that route, but mixing finishes creates a layered look I have come to really like. I can always paint the light fixtures If I don't like it one day.
Fortunate girl that I am, I ordered the hardware from Justin's contractor supplier. Can you believe it? They only had one style of oil-rubbed bronze door handles! Talk about taking the guess work out of it. I would have preferred a traditional round knob, but this egg shape was a close runner up and it was easier to install. How does that saying go? "Beggars can't be choosers." Yup.
TIPS FOR SMOOTH INSTALLATION SUCCESS:
(for when your husband is too busy to do it for you, you want to help him, or you're so anxious to get the task done that you don't feel like waiting another moment)
DO lay down a thick towel or blanket beneath your door if you have hard floors below. Protects your floors from stray screws and hinges, and it protects your new hardware from getting dinged up if it falls. Unless, of course, you have cat like reflexes and you've never dropped anything in your whole life. In that case, never mind.
DO use an impact drill to remove and install screws. It's faster and helps the screws go in straight and snug. A philips screwdriver will also work.
DO use an extra long screwdriver tip. This will ensure you can get around your fancy new unblemished knob without scratching up the sides. If you want to be extra careful, cover the doorknob with a sock.
DO score along the edges of the old hinges with a utility knife if they're covered with paint. Let's not add paint touch up to our DIY hardware install. Mmm...K? Good.
DO knock down the holes left by the screws, if the edges aren't flat, with a small putty knife or flat edge screw driver. This will help your new latch and hinges lay flush.
DO make sure your new hinges are the same size and edge as your old ones. All hinges are not created equal. Modern interior doors are generally 3 1/2" tall and exterior ones are usually 4" tall. The corners can be square, 1/4" round, or 5/8" round.
DONT remove the doors from the door frame. That's like creating unnecessary work for yourself. Nobody wants that. This is a one woman job. Remove the middle hinge first and then replace with new hardware, fastening one screw into the door and one into the doorframe, before fastening the remaining screws on each side of the hinge. Repeat this process, one at a time, on the top and bottom hinges.
DONT put the latch on backwards (yes. I did that. Not sure how, but I boofed it...twice). The rounded side should catch the strike first as you close the door.
DO replace your door stoppers so they match. Most just twist off (lefty-loosey, righty- tighty), revealing a screw, which you'll remove. If the plate is stuck to your trim, and you don't want to ding up your moulding, just twist the old stopper back on (minus the screw of course) and use it as leverage to pry that sucker off.
That's all there is to it, Folks.
I like how the black pops against the white doors. It actually does make a difference and my only regret is that I didn't do it six years ago. Justin thought it was silly to get so much pleasure out of this simple change. It really IS the little things though, isn't it?
P.S. In my haste, I completely forgot to take pictures of the doors with the old brass knobs! I'm sure you can use your imagination.