Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rocking the hardware

If you have been following my blog you know I'm a sucker for all things old: old houses, old books, old art, old furniture, and more.
In keeping with that spirit I do hold a not-so-secret love for the old door hardware in our Ugly Duckling. Ages ago I talked about and showed you pictures of how upstairs not one room has matching door hardware and some of it -style-wise - even pre-dates our house which makes you or at least me wonder how and why it ended up here.
Downstairs - between living room, dining room, library, kitchen, laundry room, half-bath and vestibule - our little old house features a total of three different types of door hardware, but at least they are more in keeping with the age and style of our house than the ones found upstairs.

Just like upstairs, however, they have repeatedly been painted over or caked with paint along the edges marring their aged brass patina - a look that is flattering to nobody ever. It's just sloppy.

I was surprised how easily they came off. Despite the fact that some screws were worn down and almost blank on top, I was able to carve a slit deep enough for the screw driver head to find purchase into the top and unscrew them.
After that it was a walk in the park.
Dirt of almost one hundred years had collected between the escutcheon and the door - yuck! - where it had found a way through the keyhole, I guess, including parts of bugs and other unpleasantries. Double yuck! Fortunately, nothing was alive!

 I love love love the look of aged brass patina. There is just nothing that has that same warm honeyed glow and luster.

I didn't want to mar the hardware anymore than necessary by scraping with sharp tools nor loose too much of the patina so I gunked the hardware all up with gobs of stripper. It smells great while you wait for the paint to shrivel up and come off.

Once clean I decided to give the hardware a brief spray-over with Rustoleum's Metallic Brass spray paint. Not a full coat, mind you, just a brief misting to even out the color variations, scratches and other markings while preserving the aged patina.

 This also required only a minimal paint station set-up. I'm telling you, a quick-fix like this - set-up and goal achieved in minimal amount of time - is good for the soul as you pick away at the more Sisyphus-type projects like stripping stair case spindles or the like.

Not like I would know anything about that.

This is the "After" - a vintage escutcheon all shiny. It appears almost new, with enough of the old patina showing through the refresher coat of paint to create the "well-loved through the ages" kind of shine that makes my heart go pitter-patter.


  1. I love your hardware! I'm a sucker for old things too. I have several door plates that are completely covered in paint. Who does that?!? One day I'll get around to restoring them. How does the metallic paint look? Does it actually look like brass? From what I can see my plates are in much worse shape than yours. The metal looks to have completely blackened. I'm wondering if the metallic paint will bring them back to life. Thanks!

    Audrey (

  2. Hello and welcome, Audrey!
    'Brasso' or even stainless steel cleaner removes some of the tarnish so that's something you could try on your hardware and see where it gets you. Rustoleum's Brass spray paint gave me the (more) even finish I was hoping for while keeping the luster. It's a surprisingly -real- looking metal paint: it's shiny and smooth and doesn't look one bit like a spray painted finish. I'd say it's worth a shot - if you don't like it, you can just strip them (again and again and again *L*) I love your blog and I'm excited to follow your Bungalow's restoration. It's such a sweet little house and it deserves to be loved on!

  3. What kind of stripper did you use on these, they turned out great! The doors in our house are mostly missing their knobs and hardware so we are kind of starting from scratch but I would like to clean up what we do have. I'm not sure if you remember me commenting on your IKEA cabinets last summer but we finally did close on our house and have been renovating since September. I have scraped more paint, and sanded more wood than I care to think about and we are not even close to being done! But as you say, it's a work in progress. We move in at the end of the month, I can't wait! Oh, and we did end up going with the IKEA kitchen, so far I think it looks great!