New: Solid Brass Precision Butt hinges for 1″ thick inset doors!

Never content to rest on our laurels-Horton Brasses has a new precision butt hinge!  Our solid brass precision butt hinges have set the standard for quality, selection and price for some time now.  But we kept hearing they were too narrow for thicker doors.  We listened, we responded.  These hinges are perfect for 1″ thick or even 1-¼” thick doors, as the open width is a hefty 1-¾” wide.  In addition, the center hole is now slotted, so that you can made fit adjustments more easily.  Holes are perfectly drilled and countersunk for #6 screws; color matched 3/4″ long Phillips head screws are included; slotted screws are available on request.

Choose from 7 finishes, 2 tips, and 2 heights.

PB-410:  Plain tip, 2-1/2″ tall, 1-¾” wide.  Choose finish:  antique brass, dark antique brass, light antique brass, satin nickel, polished nickel, semi-bright brass, polished brass.

In Stock Now.

PB-410B:  Ball tip, 2-1/2″ tall, 1-¾” wide.  Choose finish:  antique brass, dark antique brass, light antique brass, satin nickel, polished nickel, semi-bright brass, polished brass.

In Stock Now.

PB-408:  Plain tip, 2″ tall, 1-¾” wide.  Choose finish:  antique brass, dark antique brass, light antique brass, satin nickel, polished nickel, semi-bright brass, polished brass.

In Stock Now

PB-408B:  Ball tip, 2″ tall, 1-¾” wide.  Choose finish:  antique brass, dark antique brass, light antique brass, satin nickel, polished nickel, semi-bright brass, polished brass.

In Stock Now

As always: rapid shipping; no minimum order; quantity discounts available.

Check out the website:  www.horton-brasses.com..

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This Old House Ranks Horton Brasses Pulls Amongst Best New Home Products of 2011

You know the year is coming to an end when editors start rolling out their “Best of 2011” lists. Here at Horton Brasses, we have a few of our own favorite products, including the Bakes, Queslett, and Crescent Pulls—all newly added to the catalog in 2011. But don’t just take our well informed, albeit biased, opinion. Editors at This Old House Magazine chose Horton Brasses’ hardware amongst the Top 100 Best New Home Products of 2011.

Behold the Queslett Pull, #94 on the TOH list:

Talk about smooth operators—these boxy, sand-cast-brass bin pulls raise the game for cabinet hardware by marrying a pleasing heft with a liquid-metal look. We see them in a crisp white kitchen, where the three sizes can shine on various pieces, from spice drawers to dishwashers.

The Queslett Pulls are personal favorites of both Orion and mine. To actually touch one is to love it. We are talking brawn and beauty here. The tactile pleasure of the Queslett is difficult to capture in a flat image, but the exclusive honor of being the only cabinet hardware on a list of 100 fabulous products bears testimony to it’s uniquely detailed quality. Amongst an abundance of bin pulls, the Queslett stands distinctly alone.

Borrowing the name from the Queslett region of Birmingham, the design of these bin pulls is the result of collaboration with the finest English cabinetmakers. Inspired by a tradition of classic bespoke kitchens, the Queslett integrates advances in craftsmanship with the continuity of timeless style. Unlike other large sized bin pulls, the Queslett is machine screw mounted. With hidden screws, nothing detracts from the extraordinary finish of the pull—the crown jewel of your cabinets.

Horton Brasses is thrilled to receive such an honor from one of the industry’s top authorities on old house restoration. Much thanks to the editors of This Old House Magazine.

Do you have a favorite new product from Horton Brasses? Tell us which knobs and pulls caught your attention in 2011.

Interview: Orion Henderson, The Head + The Heart of Horton Brasses

Orion, you bought the company from your mother.  What were you doing before taking over your family’s hardware manufacturing business?

I joined the company in 2001 and purchased the company at then end of 2006.  Prior to joining the business I was in sales.

If you weren’t running Horton Brasses, what other career path would you have taken?

My professional passion is sales without a doubt.  If I was not involved with Horton Brasses I would be in commercial sales in some capacity.

What’s stayed the same throughout the years, what’s changed under your guard?

There is always a desire to change a company when you take over; to put your stamp on it so to speak.  In our case though I think that is a mistake.  We have a 70+ year legacy of making reproduction early American hardware and that continues to be essential to our business and our identity.  My aim is to keep making traditional hardware and expand into related areas.  Before my time, in the mid to late 90’s, we expanded into kitchen cabinet hardware and hand forged iron.  Our path forward is simple really. We want to do three things.  To expand our selection through production of new items in house and with carefully selected vendors.  To become ever more efficient in our own factory to control cost and to stay ahead of foreign competitors.  And to grow the business by filling hardware needs of existing customers and finding new customers.

How do you keep a period hardware company current?

New finishes are the single best way to stay current.  Until 1998 or so we had three finishes–antique brass, semi-bright brass (matt gold), and polished brass.  Now we have 7 plus an entirely separate line of hand forged iron hardware.  We added satin and polished nickel to kitchen hardware in 1998 and about the same time we added “dark antique” (oil rubbed) to a line of arts and crafts styled hardware.  In 2004 we made dark antique a standard finish choice on every piece of brass hardware we make.  In 2009 we added a light antique to every piece of hardware.  In 2010 we added custom finishes to the line.  They include satin nickel, polished nickel, silver plated, and gold plated finishes.  Towards the original question-one way we keep traditional hardware relevant is to make modern finishes available.  Our traditional Hepplewhite and Chippendale pulls are simply spectacular in satin and polished nickel.

How do you define “period?” I mean, isn’t every style of a certain period? What periods would you say are the focus of Horton Brasses hardware?

In my grandparents day, period meant pre-1900.  Or more generally hardware for furniture that specifically pre dated mass production of furniture.  Essentially, up to the time of the industrial revolution.  Times change. Today period can mean the mid century modern furniture and cabinetry of the 1950’s.  My grandfather rather famously, at least famously with us, told a long time customer once that he would never, ever, make that lousy arts and craft style hardware because it was junk.  My great grandfather thought Victorian era furniture and hardware was just awful.  He thought of Victorian style in much the same way we think of the home furnishings from the 1980’s today.  Now?  We make lots of Victorian hardware, have our own line of arts and crafts hardware, and some of our hardware is even appropriate for that mid century modern aesthetic.  Satin and polished nickel finishes date to the 1920’s-just after the arts and crafts movement but pre-world war II.

Is there really a difference between a satin nickel plated brass knob bought in a pack from Target and a brass knob with nickel plating bought from Horton Brasses?

The difference is in the details.  The big box stores sometimes have solid brass knobs, but not usually.  They are usually either brass plated or hollow brass with a nickel plating.  The finishing work is usually sloppy with lots of drips, lousy threading, and no durability.  The plating needs to have a sufficient thickness to last.  Cheap plating flakes off over time, ours doesn’t.  The texture and luster of our finishes are simply better.

Horton Brasses’ classic kitchen bin pull in satin nickel.

If I were to set 20 different 4” satin nickel bin pulls in front of you, would you be able to pick out the Horton Brasses design?

Yes.  But I don’t think I can explain why beyond the answer from the previous question.

Recently you’ve introduced a suite of high end luxury hardware. Considering the housing market and the U.S. economy in general, from a business point of view, what’s the strategy there?

Good question, and one I have asked myself repeatedly.  There are three aspects to our new lux line.  One-there simply aren’t very many good appliance handles on the market and even fewer suited sets of handles that cover all the sizes needed in a modern, yet period, kitchen.  Most appliance handles are either ultra modern, chintzy, or much too expensive.  There are very nice handles like ours out there that cost 3X what ours do.  Secondly, I feel as though the economy is improving and we had been seeing increased demand for good cabinet hardware.  Lastly, Our existing appliance handles are wonderful handles, but stylistically they are limited.  They simply did not work for a lot of our customers.  If we are going to provide our line of hardware we had to be able to meet the demand for appliance handles.  I visited SBD kitchens about a year ago and spoke with 3 of their designers, including Sarah Blank.  She told me that the first thing she does when looking for hardware for a kitchen is look for the appliance handles.  If the company didn’t have a good handle, she moved on to the next.  Simple as that.

New hardware, straight from England. The newly introduced Queslett has already become a favorite amongst customers and designers, proving that Orion has the eye for style.

I know you visited England to check out the manufacturing facility and review the design of the new hardware before it was launched. That seems really hands on to me. How typical is that in your industry?

Well, I am not sure it is typical at all.  Certainly, no one has ever visited us to see if we are who we say we are.  But I had a longstanding relationship with Armac and this hardware is very different than what we buy from them now.  I needed to see how it was made and meet with the principals to be sure it would be consistently excellent and to cement the relationship regarding a significant expansion of our product line.  Armac has been extremely helpful with the rollout of our new hardware and it has been essential to our early success.  We have never had a new line of hardware sell as quickly as the Bakes and Queslett pulls. 

There are lots of companies that make hardware, want to make hardware, or think they make hardware.  There are very few that actually can actually deliver what they say they can.  We have had some recent bad experiences with different vendors who simply couldn’t do what they said they could.

As you mentioned, Armac is in Birmingham (England) and manufactures the new line of hardware. They have a huge online catalog. How did you end up choosing the pieces you’ve introduced to the Horton Brasses line?

The Bakes and Queslett pulls are both new for Armac and they were presented to me along with the knobs.  I fell in love with the whole line on sight.  It filled a need and is simply spectacular hardware.  I have gotten calls for years from homeowners who wanted hardware in the style of a rather well known English cabinetmaker living in America.  While that person uses custom hardware that is not available elsewhere, this hardware gives you that look.

Although you sell directly to the public, I know most of your business is to cabinetmakers. Some of the most prestigious custom cabinets are outfitted with Horton Brasses, but often the homeowner has no idea that you are the brand behind the gorgeous knobs. Talk about keeping a low profile! Seriously. Don’t you want the credit for your hardware?

Of course we want credit for the hardware!  It is up to the individual furniture maker and cabinet shops whether they wish to share our name with their customers.  Some find it better to keep their vendors private to remain more competitive.  For example-the cabinetmaker mentioned above.

Who thought anyone could be sentimental over a knob! Orion’s favorite is still made with the same tooling designed by his grandfather.

What’s your favorite knob + pull?

My favorite part is not a typical kitchen knob, it is the H-30 1-1/2″.  The H-30 1-1/2″ is, according to family history, the first punch and die that my grandfather Frank made.  That tooling, which we use today, dates to the 1920’s sometime.  In the 1920’s my great grandmother sold antiques and my great grandfather Frank was a diesinker for the silver industry.  He made the tooling to produce the Disney decorative silver spoons at the time.  Anyway, she would have a piece of furniture that needed a matching piece of hardware, typically American Federal period (Hepplewhite and Sheraton style), and she would give Frank the hardware and he would make it.  He would punch out the pattern of the hardware into the punch.  Then he would do the negative onto the die, all by hand, and account for the thickness of the metal that would be punched between the two pieces.  Diesinking is a lost art.  Today, you can do some of what he did with CAD, but really, even CAD won’t give you the detail.  The patterns and originals were all perfectly imperfect.  Computer design really requires symmetry and perfect radii.

As far as business goes, you seem to me a bit of a maverick. You like being small. You eschew the advertorial. What philosophy guides your business style?

Well, I don’t necessarily choose to be small.  Our product is a niche product and likely always will be.  Our customers produce cabinetry and furniture that is the best of the best and is, to be frank, expensive.  With that in mind, we choose quality over price every time.

Advertising is a different story, on the one hand we simply don’t have the budget for glossy magazine hands.  On the other hand, I don’t believe they are productive anyway.  So we choose to create online “content” to give people a chance to see for themselves if our products fit into their lives.

Okay. The Horton Brasses latches have gone through a few revisions. How does one improve hardware. I mean, how complicated does this stuff get?

We have no in house engineers, just my shop foreman and myself.  Neither of us have professional training.  We knew what we wanted it to look and work like, but it took a while to actually get the components just right.  It took us 9 months to develop the current latch.  Sometimes I think Ford could design a new car faster than we can make a pretty simple latch.  But in the end, you can make it right or you can make it fast.  You can guess our choice.

Finally, what trends have you seen reflected in your sales in the past five years and where do you see your business going in the coming five?

The last 3 or 4 years have seen a bit of return to traditional styles.  Maybe in the boom years people bought the newest latest trends, it seemed like they could always just throw it away when it went out of style.  Recent events have changed in that we see people making purchase decisions related to their homes on a longer time frame.  Our hardware is not “trendy”.  We think it is timeless and we know it is durable.  Everything we produce should last, essentially, forever.  Finish choices have evolved, “oil rubbed” and polished nickel finished hardware continues to become more popular.  The next trend, which we are seeing more and more interest in, is “unlaquered brass”.  The concept varies from person to person but generally is some variation of polished or lightly antiqued brass left without a lacquer coating to develop a natural patina over time.  This is a rather nice trend from our point of view; we don’t lacquer any of our brass hardware and we never have.  We offer lacquering as a custom finish option only.

Nickel Reproduction Hardware: Traditional Design with a Modern Finish

When Life Hands You Brass, Ask For Nickel

Imagine this.

You inherit a collection of furniture. Not just any furniture. No. Queen Anne furniture. It’s lovely. It’s solid. It’s beautiful cherry wood with bright brass hardware.

18th century inspired highboy by D.R. Dimes

You look around your bedroom. The armoire is Ikea. The nightstands are Target. You feel no regret upgrading to real furniture, yet every night you wake up in a cold sweat from the same dream.

You are in your home. It is a palette of neutrals, punctuated by the cooling glint of nickel hardware doorknobs, cabinet hardware and light fixtures. In your dream you walk into your bedroom, eager to retire after an exhausting yet pleasant day in your life. And then you are blinded by a horrible light—bright yellow and smelling like mothballs. Yes, the light smells like mothballs.

And when you wake up swathed in your own terrified sweat you realize the source of that terrorizing light—the bright brass hardware on your newly inherited furniture.

But what to do? This is traditional period furniture with a distinctive decorative look.  It would be inappropriate to switch out the chased brass pulls and replace them with contemporary looking knobs.

But wait. There’s a style compromise that will surely pay respect to the form while updating the look for today’s tastes.

Horton Brasses Queen Anne Drawer Pulls are available in 5 different brass finishes as well as satin nickel and polished nickel. Update the look of your hardware while keeping in line with tradition. Stay ahead of the style curve by pairing archetypical hardware with the most popular finish of the day. The juxtaposing of classic furniture and hardware in a modern nickel finish will add an unexpected element of style to a room. And help you overcome your night terrors.

WWW&MD? (What Would William & Mary Do?)

Sure, William & Kate are all over the news—with reports about how nobody really cares about William & Kate. But what about William & Mary?  Why no mention these days of William & Mary?

One thing I am certain of is that William & Mary’s impact on style—particularly furniture—will far outlive that of William & Kate. I highly doubt that William & Kate will even have anything remotely to do with furniture, so let’s just skip over them altogether.

If William & Mary were alive today, surely they would recognize the beauty of Horton Brasses 5 brass finishes along with the 2 nickel finishes. I can almost hear William & Mary now, summoning Orion back to the 1600’s by sending a beautiful time machine, tricked out in walnut lacquered, silk upholstered ottomans. Not only would Orion have to go back in time, but he would also have to cross the Atlantic to get from Cromwell, CT to England. Once there, William & Mary would inquire about the future of their legacy. It is at that point that Orion unveils these beautiful drop pulls from the future.

A hush falls over the royal court. The king’s men are silent, wondering what their ruler will think of such oddly finished hardware. Marveling at the craftsmanship of Horton Brasses hardware, admiring the cool tones of the nickel finish, William & Mary step off their thrones, bowing before Orion. They remove their crowns, cast off their royal jewels, and award Orion their kingdom, thus saving the world of any hooplah related to the royal wedding of William & Kate approximately 350 years later.

Choose Quality, Don’t Compromise On Style

Traditional style hardware looks striking when finished in unexpected polished or satin nickel. Nickel is a finish that is here to stay. It is one of the most popular finishes in cabinets and home furnishings. At Horton Brasses, we offer our period reproduction hardware in traditional finishes as well as nickel. Don’t be afraid to try something different on your fine furniture. Nickel looks amazing on darker cabinetry such as walnut as well as rift sawn white oak.

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.

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.

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.

New Product!

Well I am always excited about adding new stuff. We now have a beautiful small box hinge in nickel. It is the same PB-405 extruded brass hinge we have had for years in a new finish. It just came in today so I don’t have a picture, but you can see the brass one and order them all here PB-405 Box Hinge. It is exceptionally well made and sized for wood as thin as 1/2″ thick. I hope you like it. As always, comments are welcome.

solid brass pb-405 box hinge

More new products…

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. Solid brass forgings; made for us in England, 2 sizes and six finishes. Try them in a media room, Mom’s office, or anywhere your heart desires. We make a finish for every décor. Satin brass and satin nickel are soft, warm finishes, while polished brass and polished nickel reflect and sparkle; daring the admirer to come closer. Antique brass and oil rubbed bronze are dark finishes and will appeal to customers looking for that timeless piece of hardware. In stock at all times; no minimum order; quantity discounts available. Check out the website: http://www.horton-brasses.com.

Part numbers: OP-1, OP-2

oblong oval ring pulls made of solid brass

What do you all think? Nice part? Not so nice? I’d love to hear it. One little thing, these are so new they haven’t made it the website yet. Give us a call at 800-754-9127 if you are interested.

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