A Latch For Every Door Style!

New & Improved

Remember the cabinet-latch liquidation sale? That was big. But you know what? It’s over now!

Instead of great cabinet latches at a fantastic price, Horton Brasses is now offering FANTASTIC cabinet latches at a great price. Our newest version of the classic latch looks exactly the same on the outside but has been totally upgraded on the inside. The springing mechanism will out-perform any other latch on the market.

Here’s what Orion has to say about these latches:

There are many varieties of these on the market today. Not only do most work poorly or fail after frequent use, they cost a small fortune! If you are installing these in your kitchen, the last thing you want is failure. Before we made this latch ourselves, we sold several other vendor’s latches and found we were repairing most before sending them out. This is now our third generation latch and it works beautifully. The mechanism is durable and has a wonderfully smooth feel. We guarantee the latch for 5 years and the springs are replaceable. We pride ourselves on making hardware that lasts. I am proud to say you will not find a finer latch on the market at 3 times the price, and even our competitors agree with that!

Love latches but I don’t have inset doors…

Blogger Vincent Scordo used Horton Brasses Hardware in his kitchen. Here is a great close-up shot of the pantry latch mounted on beautiful white inset cabinets.

It’s true. Cabinet latches, pantry latches, icebox latches—they were typically seen on inset door styles. But not everyone is willing to shell out 20% more for this door frame style. Don’t fret! Your kitchen cabinets can carry off the charm no matter what style door or frame you go with.

Frameless

Frameless cabinets are just that—a box without a frame in the front. These are often called European overlay since that’s how they make cabinets in Europe (I’m assuming). Scherr’s and Ikea are big manufacturers of this style in the U.S. and it will give you the most useable interior space since there is not frame to block the interior.

Select butt doors to mount latches on this type of cabinet. This is important because the cabinet latch is a two-part hardware. One door will display the latch while the other has the catch. Obviously, it can’t work unless two doors butt up against one another.

Partial Overlay

Also known as “affordable,” this cabinet style has a bad reputation for being uncool. It’s not uncool! I love it! I selected it for both of my remodels and am making it my life mission to preach it!

Honestly, I’m no woodworker so I don’t quite get how you would mount this but check out this pic:

Any experts out there want to chime in? Do you need custom hardware? I’m assuming the catch would need to be built up somehow to meet the latch.

Full Overlay

By far this is the most popular and readily available cabinet style in the U.S.  It is the opinion of some that full overlay can, when using certain door styles, emulate the look of inset. What do you think?

Whether or not you are trying to trick that look, you can definitely mount latches on full overlay cabinets just as you would on frameless. Again, the key is the butt door.

Do you love the look of latches? How would you use them in your kitchen?

Interview with a cabinetmaker-Robert Bakes

Robert Bakes (photo: Newyorksocialdiary.com)

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Robert Bakes, of the full service design house Bob Bakes & Company, about his background, his kitchens, and his forthcoming kitchen pull. The Bakes Pull is a much anticipated, soon to be released high-end, versatile design contributing to the expansion of the Horton Brasses kitchen hardware line.

-coming soon-

Available in 4 different sizes for use throughout your entire kitchen, mount these pulls horizontally or vertically on cabinet doors. From larger applications like appliances and pantry doors down to narrow spice drawers and pullouts, the versatile sizing of Bakes Pulls allows you to keep a uniform, polished look throughout your kitchen. However, be prepared to mix things up because Bakes Pulls are available in all 7 of Horton Brasses’ finishes, leaving you the option of incorporating other hardware into your kitchen design.

Such background information on the design of contemporary cabinet hardware is a rarity. But at Horton Brasses, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to get acquainted with every detail of your hardware. Because at the end of your remodel, we know you are going to have quite a few stories to tell. Here is the one about your hardware.

Deva Mirel: You are originally from England. How did you get started in cabinet making and design? 

Robert Bakes: From leaving university my first job was as a surveyor for a kitchen company, later developing into a designer and growing through the years to owning my own business.

You came to the states over 6 years ago. What prompted your move?

I came to the states in 2003 after meeting my future American wife, on vacation, in the carribean about a year and a half earlier.

Is there a significant difference between the design sensibilities of the English and the Americans?

Probably not, though if you skip thru an English magazine you’ll perhaps get the feeling that there is more real custom work coming out of the UK. US is definitely catching up, and I’d like to be at the forefront of that. Also I hadn’t heard of a framed overlay kitchen style, that is a wooden frame on a box and a door on the frame, before I came here. Its very widespread here as a mid range cabinet. In the uk it was either fully inset of European overlay, and I designed extensively with both.

The kitchens on your website generally share a simple elegance. Many feature white marble, hand painted white cabinetry, nickel hardware and touches of walnut. A very different kitchen was featured in House Beautiful last year. This one very modern with rich walnut cabinetry. Although dissimilar in style, there seems to be elements worth repeating–the Pelham pendant lighting, white stone tops and a warmth exuded by the cabinetry that invites one into the space. How do you manage to achieve this feeling across different design styles?

I design everything from the ground up, nothing is “standard.” We use custom stain colours, custom sheens, in the walnut one there was a beautiful variety of texture in the stained walnut, brought out by the very flat lacquer finish. The eye’s not distracted by glare when the lacquer is very dull, you really see the texture of the wood. Its my favourite finish next to white. I had a great deal of experience from the UK in the more modern kitchen, and the cross over is very exciting.

 

Your walnut cabinetry is inspired. Do you have a favorite wood to work with?

Walnut, when its lightly stained it has such a warmth. And you can mix in a lot of colour, I have a light blue antique kitchen at home, mixed with splashes of walnut.

 

How did your design for the Bakes & Company Pull come about?

I had been looking for a really nice fridge pull for some time, and really didn’t see anything that worked  to really help the cabinetry shine. I had been working with Ian at Martins for a number of years and ran the basic design thru him, we played around with it a little and came up with the fridge pull. It’s a heavy, beautifully made, wonderfully functional and tactile handle, better than we had anticipated. Polished nickel is my favourite and has been for some time, though I’m seeing a resurgence in popularity for polished chrome.

 

In what style kitchen do you envision the Bakes & Co. Pull? To me, it seems like a very versatile, modern yet classic style.

I think the style is a real classic, it can soften a sharp contemporary kitchen or add that element of additional class to the Bakes and company colonial range, very much our staple cabinet style.

 

Should we look forward to more hardware designs from Bakes & Company in the future?

I am currently working on a final design for a inset bar handle to work specifically with the walnut kitchen mentioned earlier. It should be ready in a couple of weeks. And to complete the Bakes and Company pull, I will have a complimentary door fitting , some kind of knob, coming out later this year.

Ikea Budget Kitchen Remodel : Black & White Palette

 

Continuing the series on kitchen remodels on a budget, today’s post features the neutral palette of a black and white kitchen. This classic color (or non-color, if you will) combo makes future updates easy as you can just switch out accessories, creating an entirely new look. 

If you like to follow the trends, accessorize with new items annually based on Pantone’s color of the year, the very blush Honeysuckle. For this kitchen, I’ve selected sunny yellows and neutral gray metallics to brighten the kitchen without blinding the cooks.

Design elements of this kitchen take inspiration from the cottage stylings of Chicago based designer Jaymes Richardson of Civility Design. Dark lowers and light uppers is a trend with staying power as it simultaneously evokes a feeling of a classic, unfitted kitchen but with a modern, updated twist. The white uppers lift and brighten a space and especially compliments kitchens with low ceilings and minimal natural light. Dark lower cabinets anchor the kitchen. The contrast between the light upper cabinets and dark lower cabinets work to heighten the room. Achieve this look with Ikea’s Akurum cabinets in Nexus brown-black and Applad white.

Every budget has room for a splurge.  Bertazzoni’s Heritage Freestanding Range in black, with matching hood, further accentuates the updated cottage stylings of this kitchen, creating a focal point that cannot be ignored. Gray penny-round tiles unify the uppers and the lowers, keeping the backsplash neutral for longevity.

Grohe’s Minta Chrome Pull Down faucet offers a modern look without sacrificing functionality. It’s angular design makes it a match for the zero-radius Kindred  Double-Basin Stainless Steel Undermount Kitchen Sink. Black Galaxy granite countertops on top of dark cabinetry create a monochromatic, modern palette that literally shines. Gray slate tile underfoot softens the contrast between the black and the white elements, as well as adding subtle movement and texture to the kitchen.

Although a small detail, the hardware solidifies the modern cottage look. Eschewing knobs for pulls throughout the layout, the Horton Brasses MacIntosh Handles in polished nickel come in two sizes–14″ & 8-3/4″–and can be used as appliance handles or cabinet pulls. Vertically mounted on doors and horizontally mounted on drawers, this hardware is an ergonomic dream to use. I have a sample right here next to me and, when I’m not day dreaming about kitchens, use this weighty pull for my Tracy Anderson Method workouts. In simpler words, the pull is heavy!

Finally, accessories. Pull the look together with accent pieces that speak to your inner spectrum. This kitchen may wear black on the outside, but yellow is how it feels on the inside. Let the sun shine in with a yellow tea kettle atop your Berta, Mikasa retro-inspired Circle Chic dinnerware on your table and Thomas Paul’s Parasols New Zealand wool rug in front of your sink. A stainless steel ceiling fan, affordably priced Tolix-style French stools from Tabouret for counter seating and stainless steel egg shaped salt and pepper shakers on your table top tie this look together.

Effectively fusing function and affordability, clean modern lines and touchable accents–this black and white kitchen easily incorporates high end elements into a kitchen design within reach.

Mixing Finishes in Beantown

Today we’re looking at the amazing kitchen remodel of Horton Brasses customer Gena Hooper, aka A Bluebonnet in Beantown. Gena Bluebonnet outfitted her Boston kitchen with an imported British Aga range, custom cabinets by Country Craftsman painted in gourmet Farrow & Ball Cooking Apple Green paint, locally sourced Danby marble and soapstone countertops and, in a nod to modern times, a custom Trikeenan glass mosaic backsplash.

Gena and her DIY-er husband labored over every detail, creating a space of mixed finishes, high function and measured serenity. Understanding cabinet hardware’s small but significant impact on the final aesthetic of her space, Gena chose a mixture of authentic vintage pieces and quality reproduction hardware. The finished result looks timelessly classic.

 

Glass knobs from Anthropologie, patinated vintage library pulls from eBay,  cabinet handles in antique finish from Horton Brasses

 

Gena pairs the vintage pulls on the same run as the new Horton Brasses handles. A risky move not everyone has the courage to take but the payoff is a beautiful harmony.

 

Regarding her choice, Gena states:

I’ve had a heck of a time with hardware. This is what happens when you get all cutesy and buy vintage library pulls. Next to all that authentic, patinated goodness, most modern hardware looked too glossy, too perfect. Plus, I was trying my darndest to keep to a restrained budget. This is where Horton Brasses came in. 

Online, their Antique finish looked like a match for my pulls. The pull shape was simple, and the finish looked muted. Perfect. The hardware arrived yesterday. When they said it would come quickly, they weren’t kidding.

In person, their hardware was even better. The metal was ever-so-slightly distressed. Nothing gaudy, but a lovely, barely discernible texture to the metal. The shape and heft were perfect. Comfortable in the hand.

          

Additionally, Gena mixed in painted wooden knobs, a traditional choice that has really lost its way to the popularity of nickel. Love it! Despite multiple hardware styles, the crystal, wood, vintage and new brass pieces look well put together in a singular space, complimenting–not competing–with one another.

Inspired by Gena’s period-style New England kitchen? Check out the Horton Brasses cabinet handles Gena used, as well as the vast assortment of wooden knobs available.

While I don’t have the cabinet handle Gena has in my own kitchen, Orion recently sent me a sample piece from that collection (linked below). I was actually overwhelmed –in a good way–by the weight of that thing and loved the organic shape and ergonomic feel of the handle. If I had held it in my hand before I remodeled, I surely would have included those handles into my mixed lot of hardware. 

 

Gena used the 4-7/8″ cabinet handle on her large drawers. Check out the 8″ appliance handle for putting a singular pull on large drawers. There is also a 14″ appliance handle in a matching design.

4-7/8″ Cabinet Handle $10

8-3/4″ Appliance Handle $34

14″ Appliance Handle $150

 

*all photos courtesy of Gena Hooper @ A Bluebonnet in Beantown

Quality, Value, and Price

Snow is falling and holiday lights are up on Main Streets across the country. Christmas is approaching and, despite Americans’ heightened consciousness regarding the economy, spending will still go on. But as I’ve seen with my own family’s spending, Americans are changing their attitude toward consumption.

With a national debt in the trillions, freezes on pay increases becoming increasingly common, graduates of elite universities facing no guarrantees of jobs upon graduation and employed Americans feeling grateful just to have a job, everyone is feeling the uncertainty of today’s economic climate. While some may see media reports as hyping the financial catastrophe to unrealistic levels, it is clear that average Americans are reassessing their spending habits. Gone are the 0% credit card offers flooding our mail boxes; gone are the days of spending like there is no tomorrow.

Prior to the current recession, American’s saved virtually nothing. In 2005, American savings was at a low of just over 1%. Today, despite skyrocketing college tuitions and rock bottom interest rates, Americans are saving at a rate of more than 5%.

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Economists posit that this newly rediscovered habit of saving money, albeit good for the American citizen, is not good for the U.S. economy. Americans won’t save the economy by getting themselves further into debt. Somehow, this actually sounds like a good thing. Americans are relearning the value of their dollar. That how we spend our money and where we spend our money can be as meaningful as what we spend our money on.

Despite the rise of big box stores, the internet and discounted convenience, we are returning to our traditional American values: hard work, family, frugality and craftsmanship.

 

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“I think everything right now is about value and values,”said John Gerzema, president of Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset Consulting unit and author of “Spend Shift.”

Just look at the success of burgeoning farmers markets across the country and of the e-commerce site Etsy, built on handmade crafts. People want to reconnect not just with their bank accounts but with the growers and artisans responsible for getting food on their table and beautiful things in their homes. By personalizing the buying process, consumers add layers of meaning to the objects in their lives.

I propose that we are moving away from a disposable culture and choosing to buy things that matter–items of quality, longevity and durability. Authenticity, craftsmanship and enduring style. The utter opposite of this:



That is why at Horton Brasses we are committed to crafting our hardware from solid brass–never second rate materials like zinc. We manufacture period hardware. Our hardware style embodies the a classic, uniquely American aesthetic with enduring appeal. We leave the trendy pieces for the throwaway companies. Hardware this well made is going to last forever without looking dated. Longevity. Quality. Craftsmanship. Authenticity. This is what you are buying when you buy Horton Brasses hardware.

Our focus as a business is extremely specialized. We are not trying to sell you cabinets, flooring, wall tile or lighting. We are simply hardware. Hinges, knobs, pulls, latches, locks–we know our product with the intensity of an artisan because we are that artisan. As a small, family owned business, we at Horton Brasses have the luxury of taking the time to personally interact with our customers, answer all your questions and provide you with honest answers–because we are not removed from the manufacturing process.

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We work closely with cabinet builders and carpenters on projects big and small. Providing quality brass and iron hardware for furniture, cabinetry, post and beam structures, kitchens, bathrooms and restoration projects is the passion that drives us at Horton Brasses. Based in New England, where we do a lot of business, we understand the importance of serving our customers with the best product we can offer.

I feel pride working for the company that has been in my family for generations. I know that the small details of our hardware–the simple pleasures in life–improves the experience of their day to day living by adding not only functionality but quiet beauty. What we offer at Horton Brasses transcends monetary value. By adding our hardware to your home, you reconnect with our American culture by contributing to the continuity of a small family business tradition, keeping authentic craftsmanship alive, revisiting a time when things lasted and by showing your own home the respect it deserves by outfitting it with timeless, durable hardware.

Oval ring pull review and giveaway

 

oval ring pulls made of solid brass

 

Okay. Orion just sent me these and, to be honest, I love them. Oval ring pulls. Two sizes. Seven finishes. Lots of options.

What I was most impressed with upon opening the package was the heft of these pulls. These babies are solid. Actually, I briefly contemplated putting the polished nickel ring pull on a chain to wear as a necklace, but first I have to find a chain strong enough. And then I would have to worry about my neck muscles over-developing. But I digress…

Have you seen these pulls online at the Horton Brasses website?  To be honest, the copy for these pulls is great. Wish I wrote it:

Circles and squares? Yes. How about ovals? Why not? Horton Brasses is proud to introduce a new classic. Oblong, elegant,

ovals-a new twist on an old favorite. When a ring is too round and a square is too, well, square, try an oval.

These pulls definitely would work on an entertainment center, hutch, kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, bedroom furniture. Style-wise these oval ring pulls have massive crossover appeal. Depending on which of the 7 finishes you choose, you really could have your way with them anywhere from a colonial/traditional setting to the other end of the spectrum– modern/contemporary.

 

close up of oval ring pulls

Check this out! Horton Brasses really put a lot of thought into this simple design, The post that holds the oval is milled down so that the ring stops at 90 degrees. This keeps the pulls in place and prevents them from dinging the woodwork behind them-particularly important with modern furniture and cabinetry with its shiny lacquers and veneers. Couldn’t you just kiss them for that?

 

polished nickel oval ring pull

The large polished nickel oval ring pull measures in at 2-3/8″x1-15/16″ (the smaller size clocks in at 1-15/16″x1-5/8″).  It truly shines against a white background.

 

oval ring pulls

Set against rustic brick, this ring pull looks simultaneously classic and modern. Mount it on distressed cabinetry and you instantly create visual interest in a room.

 

dark antique oval ring pull

Black beauty! Okay, not exactly black. Oil rubbed bronze. Or in Horton Brasses hardware lingo, “Dark Antique.” Wouldn’t this pull look dramatic on white cabinetry? Harkens back a bit to the Something’s Gotta Give kitchen. Oil rubbed bronze hardware and white painted cabinets are not an ephemeral design trend but rather a die-hard classic.

 

The exciting thing about these beautiful ring pulls, aside from their design versatility, insanely substantial quality and the terrific customer service that comes along with them, is all the other info available to you about these pulls. That’s the charm of buying from a small family owned business. Manufactured in England by Armac Brassworks and subjected to the diligent quality control and environmental standards that the Horton-Henderson clan have, for over 80 years, built their business upon, you can feel good knowing where your hardware’s from. 

Additionally, unlike large retailers, when you buy your Horton Brasses hardware, you are eligible for quantity discount pricing. Surely that is a welcomed treat when tackling larger projects–like kitchens. Or colossal media/entertainment centers.

 

                   dark antique oval ring pulls on brick background

Interested in one of these pulls? They are waiting for you at the Horton Brasses website. Want the thrill of a contest? The two pulls featured in this post are up for grabs to a winner, to be selected at random from the comments section of this post. Leave a comment about what you like about Horton Brasses and/or this blog no later than November 22 and live in the Continental US to be eligible!  Can’t wait to find out who the winner is and hear how impressed you are by the quality and good looks of these pulls.

Ikea Budget Kitchen Remodel : Tuscan Style

I am really excited about this post. Traditional style kitchens are not my personal thing, but I do believe I’ve put together a great kitchen evocative of that Tuscan flava’. No, not pecorino and prosciutto but earthy textures, varied metals and warm colors. While this kitchen lacks the extensive corbels and molding found in most American takes on the Tuscan style, this Ikea-based kitchen forgoes the fussiness, letting the eye enjoy the richness of subtle details.

Of course, if you must have corbels and rope molding to build out that hood enclosure, head to Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy some stock trim pieces. You will save loads of money over getting this stuff from a cabinet company. Try to match the paint/stain of the Lidingo doors below. Or take a walk on the Tuscan side and think outside the cabinet box with an olive, burgundy or mustardy paint to make those embellishments pop (“pop” is such an over-used designy word, isn’t it?).

Ready to see what old style charm you can create around stock Ikea cabinets? Here we go…

                           tuscan inspired ikea furniture mixing

 

This first style board represents the perimeter cabinets, done in a creamy white, more commonly known as Lidingo to the Ikea Vikings. The sienna bordaeux granite really takes this kitchen home to Italy, despite the glaring Frenchness of the name. Iron hues,  sandy swaths and purplish dusky reds–the countryside laid out flat and pressed into stone.

If the Tuscany kitchen had a calling card, it would be etched on a piece of travertine tile. Chosen for it’s calm echo of sienna bordeaux’s color palette, tumbled travertine’s tactility furthers the romantic seduction of Tuscan design.

A weathered copper sink and copper faucet convey warmth, transforming your kitchen into a place not just for food preparation, but informal family gatherings. Yes, all that from a sink! Did you ever imagine?

Elaborately styled antiqued hardware from Horton Brasses is one of those subtle details that won’t go unnoticed. Especially since the creamy cabinetry will stand in such high contrast with the cacao colored hardware. Bold and delicious.

Speaking of delicious, a copper KitchenAid stand mixer is beautiful enough to leave resting on the countertop, just like that pasta dough!

                        tuscan style antique furniture decorations

 

The island. This is what you’ve wanted. A massive hunk of chocolate brown cabinets topped with granite–again, sienna bordeaux to unify the look. A gathering place. A work station. A vast slab of stone suitable for rolling out raviolis, decorating Christmas cookies, setting out elaborate family buffets.

Lilje dark brown cabinets are your own dark chocolate chunks, adding an unexpected richness from Ikea. Shiny brass hardware from Horton Brasses evokes the traditional look while the wrought iron turns of the island pendant lighting and the decorative fruit urn mixes finishes without competing for attention. Like the bucolic Tuscan lifestyle, there is a natural harmony flowing throughout these kitchen design choices.

Beautifully simple stoneware plates in organic hues and unrefined strokes adds to the relaxed feel of the decor. Formal meets rustic continue to mix as handscraped flooring in a dark stain contributes texture, warmth and instant patinated old world charm to the kitchen.

 

                        modern style mixed with tuscan decorations

 

Finally, carefully chosen, understated yet appropriate details impregnate the kitchen with authenticity. More wrought iron is brought in with the ornate wine rack, echoing the style choice of  the island lighting. Small details, such as Horton Brasses’ selection of iron hooks hearkening back to the romantic ideal of village life, make nothing in this space look like an afterthought.

The turned legs of the dining table, the leather and wood composition of the dining chairs and the antiqued copper of the wall mirror reflect simplicity, craftsmanship and a commitment to natural materials without sacrificing artfulness.

A simple valance curtain capped with creamy urchin finials captures this reoccurring diametrical tension of the simple vs. the ornate, which seems to reconcile itself through organic materials and colors, detailed handcrafted ornamentation and formal embellishments coupled with rustic textures.

To complete the Tuscan kitchen look, crisp towels decorated with a traditional Tuscan rooster design can casually lay across the front of the copper sink or hang on a wrought iron hook next to a favorite apron dusted in semolina flour.

Without a doubt, the Tuscan kitchen is a popular trend with endurance. By creating a space that is warm, usable and accommodating to many cooks and bystanders, your Tuscan kitchen will serve as the hearth of the home.

 

Materials Pictured:

Big Pacific 4″ x 4″ Scabos Travertine Tile / $1 / Lowes

KitchenAid 600 Series 6 Quart Stand Mixer in Copper Pearl /  $338 / Amazon

Sienna Bordeaux Granite

Danze Opulence Pull Out Kitchen Faucet in Copper / $200 / Buyplumbing.net

Premier Copper Products 25″  Hammered Kitchen Single Basin Sink / $650 / FaucetDirect.com

Lidingo Doors + Akurum Cabinets / Ikea

Scroll Fruit Bowl / $20 / Pier 1 Imports

Delicious Salad Plates / $7 / Pier 1 Imports

Barrett Place Mocha Bronze Foyer Pendant Light / $160 / Lamps Plus

Lilje Cabinet Doors + Akurum Cabinet Boxes / Ikea

Virginia Millworks 1/2″ x 5″ Yorktown Plank Handscraped Wood Flooring / $3.69 sq. ft/ Lumber Liquidators

Antiqued Copper Mirror  / $200 / Home Decorators

Ivory Tuscan Rooster Towels (set of 2) / $16 / Williams-Sonoma

Urchin Finials + Iron / $38 / Anthropologie

Ibiza Valance / $25 / Target

Tristan Bi-Cast Leather Fanback Dining Chair (set of 2) / $340 / World Market

Medley Round Hammered Metal Table in Penny Patina Finish / $600/ Restauarantbarfurniture.com

IMAX Wrought Iron Wine Cabinet / $150 / CSN.com

How to install mortise butt hinges

Installing PB-407 Butt Hinges

Currently I’m finishing up on a federal card table project.  I am at a point where I need to make a decision on what to do with the hardware.  After looking at a lot of photos of card tables, it seems that the tops were either hinged using traditional card table hinges or butt hinges.

Since this piece isn’t a commission, it will be a gift for my mother-in-law (Shhh, don’t tell!) & 99.99% of the time will be closed; I chose to go with butt hinges.  The following is how I go about installing them.

After sanding the top, I butt the two pieces together like they would be if opened.  I then place the hinges where I think they would look good & take a rough measurement.

Working on one half of the table at a time, I open the hinge all the way & using a ruler I locate it’s placement from each side.  Once placed, I trace around the face side of the hinge.

Grabbing a marking gauge(set to the outer mark from the table edge) I cut a groove in-between the hinge sides.  Then, using a square & X-ACTO blade, I cut in my vertical lines.

Now that my removal area is defined, I load a 1/8” spiral bit into my trim router & set the depth of cut to the thickness of my hinge.  I use my finger to feel if it’s flush.  (You can also use scrap blocks as a guide.)

With the depth set, I put on a pair of safety glasses, plug in the router, and proceed to cut out the waste.  At this point I’m cutting close to the lines I scribed in but I’m basically using the router to remove the bulk of the waste.

From here I use a sharp chisel to pear the remaining waste to my lines & then test file the hinge.

Once I have completed the removal of waste for both hinges on both halves of the table, I mark & drill pilot holes for the screw locations.  Then, after sticking the ends of the screws in paste wax, I carefully attach the hardware (Making sure to feel how the screw is going in so I don’t twist the top off.).

At this point, all that is left for me to do is some final sanding, apply the sealer/finish, & deliver it.

Mixing Finishes

MIXING FINISHES

Whether decorating a new home or snazzying up an older model, the question often arises as to whether or not it is okay to mix finishes. Maybe all the doorknobs in your house are a shiny brass but you had your heart set on satin nickel in the kitchen and oil rubbed bronze in the loo. Or maybe you just can’t decide between polished nickel and polished brass. And satin nickel. And milk glass. And want them all in one space–the super expensive kitchen you are remodeling. You want it to look finished and pulled together and are afraid mixing finishes will give you a final product more akin to a Home Depot kitchen showroom than the Crown Point Cabinetry website.

Well, rest your pretty little head. While it is true that most of the pics of kitchens you find online will make you believe matchy match match is gospel, some Google Image searching will turn up quite a few well executed examples of mixing finishes in the kitchen without looking like you outfitted your cabinets in salvage off of eBay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Here are some real life worries regarding mixed finishes: 

I am planning on stainless cabinet hardware but want to get an ORB faucet….will this look okay?  

Can I mix matte bronze light fixture with satin nickel cabinet hardware?

Brushed nickel cabinet hardware, stainless steel sink and faucet…can I go dark bronze on the lighting?

 

These kinds of threads always pop up on the GardenWeb Kitchen Forum,  possibly the most useful reference and interactive website when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. As you can see from visiting the linked threads, there are some traditionalists out there who probably go so far as to match their faucet to their saucepan. That definitely is playing it safe.

But mixing finishes is not a strenuous task best undertaken by design mavens only. Even us commoners can use our good sense to pull off a fabulous mixed finish space without looking mis-matched. Let’s call in some visuals!

 

This shaker-style kitchen from the Crown Point Cabinetry website shows stained wooden knobs, stainless steel hood/range/sink/faucet and a wrought iron chandelier. The result is positively un-quirky.

 

Another example from the esteemed custom cabinet maker Crown Point, painted wooden knobs, copper sink and wrought iron pendants. Three different finishes, one unique charm!

 

GardenWebber Cotehele’s gorgeous kitchen remodel, complete with Horton Brasses dark antique cabinet hardware, stainless steel faucet and white fireclay sink.

 

From Southern Living, this kitchen shows the eclectic pairing of antique brass pendants, stainless steel appliances and oil-rubbed bronze cabinet hardware.

 

Bronze, stainless steel and brass finishes adorn this Nantucket kitchen featured in House Beautiful.

 

Above is a glimpse how mixing finishes can give a high end effect on a budget. This Ikea kitchen remodel, by DIY Gardenwebber Brickmanhouse, was done for under $20k. Finshes include glass as well as chrome bin pulls, fireclay sinks and a black chandelier. This kitchen definitely is an inspiration on many levels! For more pics and info, click here.

Below is my own personal favorite, which not so coincidentally happens to be my personal kitchen. I could bore you with the details: white enamel light fixtures, satin nickel and polished nickel hardware. And milk glass and crystal and antique brass. Satin nickel faucets as well as chrome w/brass. I could go on and on about the four different tiles, two different grout colors etc., but instead, you can look for yourself.

So, while I don’t want to squelch your creativity, let me share some guidelines (I use that word loosely) to help you ease your fear over mixing and matching your finishes.

1) Know your style. Defining your decorating style will give you a design neighborhood to work in and help you achieve a cohesive end product. Are you going for a cottage look? Is a vintage or period feel where you are headed? Or are you trying to create a sleek, modern space? Asking these questions early on will allow you to narrow down your style choices (bin pulls vs. bar pulls) and may also steer you towards certain finishes or away from certain finishes.

2) Look for natural divisions of space. Good design organic and not over thought. Examine your space and determine where there are natural divisions or breaks. You may want to offset a work island from the perimeter cabinets with different hardware. Or maybe bring in a finish on a hutch or pantry cabinetry. Another way to visually divide up your space is to think in terms of horizontal layers. Ceiling fixtures, then sink/faucets then cabinet hardware. There are many ways to break up the space, adding reason and order to your varying elements.

3) Be practical! Don’t forget to find out what kind of care goes into the finishes you’ve selected. Most lacquered hardware won’t require much upkeep at all, but do your homework. And don’t rule out chrome faucets just because the rest of your kitchen is chromeless. I promise you, the shine of chrome, while being bluer than the pink tones of polished nickel, will not clash. There will be no pictures turning up in the press with your kitchen listed as a “Fashion Don’t.” I promise.

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff. This goes along with “be practical” but I feel it is de rigueur for any list of guidelines to include this cliche’. What I am thinking about here is your sink drain. Get chrome. Trust me. I don’t care if your sink is black or white or stainless or pink. Chrome is the most durable finish and perfect for water applications. I had a Brasstech satin nickel basket for my drain and within a month or so I had myself a two toned satin nickel/brass basket where the finish rubbed off. Of course, if that is your idea of mixing finishes, than go for it.

5) Fill your kitchen with what you love! Another cliche’? Oh, totally! This is actually one of the most over-simplified decorating advice I’ve come across, but still, on one level it works. Of course, if you are like me and find yourself completely adulterous to any one style, you’re on your own. Perfecting that bohemian, time traveler look is probably one of the most complicated styles to execute. But if you’ve made it this far down my list of guidelines and have honed in on a specific style, divided your space up visually and have some practical ideas for your choices, then I say you have enough parameters to pick out your faves and deck your kitchen out in those things. That’s what I did.

How To Care For Your Hardware

how to care for your cabinet hardware

A few months ago, we completed our kitchen remodel. It was a big deal, involving moving supporting walls and two full months of starvation. About a week into the tear out, I discovered I was pregnant with my third child. Our busy life was about to get busier.

Functionality was my inspiration when making my choices for the remodel. While I definitely wanted the space to look great, I wanted to make sure I could maintain that achieved level of beauty as effortlessly as possible. Maybe I knew deep down inside that we would one day end up with another baby. Or maybe I knew that whether or not more kids were in my future, life these days is never simple. So many commitments, so many unexpected things popping up—who has time for high maintanence surfaces, nooks and crannies that need scrubbing with a toothbrush or anything “delicate”?

In my new kitchen, I chose hardware that requires absolutely no maintainence other than a quick wipe down on an as needed basis with a ph neutral cleaner. That’s right. Dish soap. I have knobs and pulls from Horton Brasses in satin nickel, polished nickel and dark antique finishes, as well as some crystal and milk glass knobs from around the web. I do absolutely nothing to them other than sponge off crud and gunk as it happens. And they look great. We lived for two years with the antique brass finish on our hardware in a kitchen we remodeled in our old house. Again, nothing but warm soapy water as needed and the knobs and pulls looked fabulous.

If I had my kitchen to do over again, there are a few things I would do differently based on all the knowledge gained from my remodel experience. One thing is I would definitely add some more polished nickel to the space. I am an active reader of The Garden Web Kitchen Forum, a great resource for all things kitchen remodel, but at the time of my decision making, had a difficult time sorting through all the pro’s and con’s of polished nickel. Now, after living with some and after having more time to research it, I see that polished nickel is also an easy finish to live with, especially when it is lacquered, as most are.

So now that I am a total walking encyclopedia (very small volume, admittedly) of how to handle those hardware finishes, let me share that info with you, via this blog post.

What’s Lacquer Got To Do With It?

First of all, when it comes to brass and nickel, you are going to want to know whether or not the piece is lacquered. This is important for two reasons. 1) If you are after a high shine (polished nickel or bright polished brass) the lacquered finish will keep that shine for you without any effort. 2) If your hardware is lacquered, you definitely want to keep it far, far away from any polishes. Polish will take the lacquer right off. To achieve and maintain that shine in the future will require your elbow grease. Here’s the scoop on Horton Brasses finishes. All custom work is unlacquered. I had some larger bin pulls custom finished by the Horton Brasses shop to match the other hardware I bought from them. The stuff looks great and I love how it is aging. A warm patina is developing on the pulls where my fingers touch them. Ahhhh. Even though it is not lacquered, I have no intention of ever polishing it. And it should not be polished really. It’s antiqued! Again, if the ‘p’ word (patina) is not for you, then get the lacquered finish. Aside from the custom stuff, the Horton Brasses line of nickel (polished and satin) is lacquered, which means you never have to polish it! Just wipe it with a soft rag and warm soapy water. Easy.

Brass

Bright or polished brass will need to be polished in order to keep it looking super shiny. To do this, it is best to remove the hardware from the cabinetry before applying polish to avoid damaging the wood finish. If you prefer the look of unfinished brass or want to apply your own finish, then the semi-bright finish is for you. This is a rough look, so no need to polish. The semi-bright is unlacquered and will give you instant patina and may be an acquired taste. For those looking for a brass finish that shuns polish, the light and dark antique look is for you. Again, warm soapy water. The dark antique kitchen hardware line from Horton Brasses can be purchased lacquered if you fear the patina I so love.

Other Tips For Maintaining Kitchen Hardware

Basically, the only hardware that needs actual care is polished brass. Everything else is a total no brainer. But one of the magical things about polished brass is that, even if neglected for ages, it revives beautifully with a little tlc. For day to day care of your polished brass, a little rubbing alcohol on a sponge will go a long way. To revive tarnished brass, you will have to polish. For very detailed instructions on how to polish your brass, visit this link. As you will see, don’t overdo it! Too much polish will leave your brass prone to smudges and fingerprints. Additionally, a good way to extend the effect of polishing is to coat your brass hardware thinly with oil. Many commercial polishes contain oil, acting as a barrier between the metal and the air. Whatever finish you choose for your cabinetry, there is a beautiful look waiting for you that requires minimal time and commitment for upkeep. And now that the style pendulum is swinging back to polished brass (yes, everything ’80’s/’90’s is new again!), both traditionalists and trendsetters will know just what is involved with keeping that classically current look.