Used instead of glass. I have a large collection of books that don’t happen to be fancy sets of gilded leather bindings that would provide a uniform and elegant look on open shelving. My dining room is a small space and could easily feel cluttered and claustrophobic with all the mishmash of various book covers. I have seen decorative wire grille used in the libraries of many historic stately homes and thought that by using a grille with elegant silk café-like curtains lining the inside of each cabinet door, I could trick the space into feeling unfettered and more spacious.
Six years ago, when I started my internet search, I wasn’t even sure what term to use. I finally found some decent wire grilles on Van Dyke’s Restorers’ website, but the pickings were scant. First I ordered a box of their samples, which was well worth the cost. Relying on the abbreviated online specifications and a low resolution picture was too risky for an amateur like me. Nothing is as effective as physically holding each piece, measuring the mesh opening, seeing the metal color choices, and placing them in the library/dining room environment with the other selected finishes and colors.
Since then, it appears that even more styles have become available, which is a bummer for me. One of the newly added styles is so very close to my inspiration example. Because this new grille option is nearly double the cost of what I finally settled on, you would think I would feel relieved and grateful. But I don’t. I have doubts.
Curtain rods. I have never been a big fan of the overly duded up rods that I see everywhere. Most are massive with thick diameters, flirty finials, and demand too much attention, thus detracting from the curtain fabric and the room’s overall design. In my two small bedrooms, the curtain rods needed to be functional and discreet. My architect and designer, Charley McKenney, came up with the perfect solution, unfinished 1-3/8 inch diameter wooden poles with radiused corner returns. The poles were then painted to match the wall color. In some cases, when the light is reflecting off the poles, they will also blend and match the ceiling color. As a rule when painting the rooms in my house, the wall color was 100 percent of the chosen color, and the ceilings were usually 75 percent of the wall color. I will be covering the paint variations in another post. The curtains were then slipped on before installing the rods just shy of the ceiling. Having the curtains fall from ceiling to the floor gives my small rooms a more spacious appearance. Pretty decent kind of holdup. Yes?
Door knobs and escutcheon plates. When I moved into this house in 1985, all the interior doors still had their original hardware with the exception of the brass knobs which had been replaced during the late 1950s or early 1960s with a style that only George Jetson would have understood. Whether it was the budget or just a preference, the choice and placement of the metal and glass knobs was a puzzler. Inside all closets the escutcheon plates were stamped nickel plated brass and the knobs were glass with nickel plated workings. On the exterior side of the closets and on both sides of all the doors to all rooms, there were stamped brass escutcheon plates and brass knobs. The one exception to this setup was the bathroom, which had nickel plated escutcheon plates with glass knobs on both sides.
The inappropriate brass knobs were replaced with the correct type that I found on Rejuvenation’s website, a solid unlacquered-brass two-inch knob. Older homes had a smaller diameter knob than what is currently used now (modern-day knobs’ diameter would have been too large in proportion to my escutcheon plates). I chose the unlacquered brass intentionally, because I HATE permanent gold shiny things in my house. But in order for the knobs to have a patina that matched the existing hardware, I had to dunk them into this Brass Darkening Solution that I found at Elliott’s Hardware. After trial and error, I discovered that all it took was five to ten seconds of soaking to reach the right patina. Anything longer turned my knobs black and blue.
Nickel-plated-solid-brass knob. I’ve always enjoyed having a hanging calendar in my kitchen with all the dogs’ treatment dates marked out. And since the kitchen is kind of retro (actually it honors the retro look without being a total slave to it) and completely brand new, the last thing I wanted to do was to use a thumbtack which could badly damage the wall over a period of time. So my solution was to purchase a drawer knob in the same finish as the rest of the kitchen hardware. Satin/brushed finish nickel plated solid brass. I went to Elliott’s Hardware, picked out the knob, then trudged over to the screw department and asked for a double threaded screw that could replace the knob’s screw, and the other end of this screw could be used with a plastic sleeve drywall anchor. Et voilà! I do believe this is a brilliant solution. I wonder if Martha Stewart has already thought of this trick. Probably.