Door Hardware

November 30th, 2012 admin Posted in Home Decor No Comments »

Upgrading your door hardware inside your home as well as on entrance doors can make a huge difference to your home’s decor. In our case, the door knobs and the hardware for our entrance door were made of yellow brass and had become pitted and black from use as well as the weather. It was looking pretty bad and we decided to replace this hardware, including the hinges. Little did we realize that this would lead to a wholesale change throughout our home of all hinges, door handles and including the knobs on the kitchen cupboards. We will discuss more on that later.

The good news is that we were able to purchase new hardware for our entrance doors which really enhanced the look of our home and made the entrance doors much more presentable to people visiting our home. They were easy to install and multiple keys were provided so that everyone in our family could have a key. We found that door hardware makes a huge difference to the look of our home and this is primarily why we decided to write this particular post. We wanted to share what we learned as we went through this exercise.

Where to Start

In our case we began on one of the entrance doors and then proceeded through the rest of the home. This actually worked very well for us; however we could have just as easily begun in one particular room and then continued throughout the house as we upgraded all of the door hardware in our home.  When we finished the entrance doors, we realized that it made such an improvement, we had to also upgrade the French doors in the entrance way , which them led to changing the panels on the electrical switches in the hallway and on and on.

Where to Stop

Each time we changed a set of hardware on doors or electrical outlet or switches we found that we needed to go to the next room and do that room as well. We have an open concept home and this makes it much more difficult to decide where to stop. Door hardware, hinges, wall plates and outlet plates for electrical plugs is expensive, especially when you are doing all of the rooms in your home. We would suggest that you plan ahead and purchase what you need in quantities that would make you eligible for a discounts. We finally decided to limit our upgrades to the down stairs area. We may upgrade the door hardware etc upstairs at some future time.

Maintaining a Theme

We also found that it is important to maintain a theme throughout, especially with an open concept home. As a result we selected a Venetian bronze product from one manufacturer for all of our hinges and door handles. This is very complimentary to our décor in our home and the white doors accentuate the bronze color of this door hardware. We are not trying to sell this particular design, but we happen to think that it is important to maintain a theme throughout when you have an open concept home. Upstairs doors etc could be handled differently for example.

Less Expensive Than a Total Upgrade

Changing your door hardware is much less expensive that changing your front doors or the kitchen cupboards for example. A little paint on the outside doors, new modern hardware and suddenly your doors are looking great. The same applies to the doors and trim inside your home. New doors can cost thousands of dollars and frankly in our opinion are not worth the investment unless you are changing the overall look of your home i.e. adding stained glass windows in your doors for example. This is really personal taste and we will leave it there.

What about the Kitchen Cabinets

Our kitchen cabinets were looking a little tired and the door knobs really were not looking nice. We changed the door knobs and also on the drawers as well. This helped a lot, but after years of use the wood was looking a bit tired. After talking with a paint and hardware specialist, they suggested that we lightly sand each door and then paint the doors and drawer fronts with the same color using a melamine paint and a sponge roller. The combination of new door hardware and new melamine paint did wonders and now our kitchen looks as if it is brand new. Although a lot of work it saved us thousands of dollars.

Can I find Door Hardware on Sale

The answer is definitely yes. There are two ways to get a deal on door hardware. Sometimes it actually goes on sale and is reduced in price by as much as 25%. You have to be careful that you can get enough door handles and hinges at that price in case the store or manufacturer is trying to move stock that they are discontinuing.

Another way to save money is to buy in quantity. Some stores will offer renovator specials or builder specials. In this situation you will need to purchase larger quantities to qualify, however if you are planning to change your entire inside door hardware there is no problem qualifying for this savings.

Installing Door Hardware, Hinges, Handles and Locks

Installing the new door hardware is pretty straight forward. Just follow the instructions that come along with the outdoor hardware. An extra set of hands is really handy to help balance the door as the hinges are being changed, however one person can do the job if they take their time and change one hinge at a time so that the remaining hinge holds the door in place. Occasionally you will have to make some minor adjustments which is fine considering the money you are saving by doing this work yourself.

Summary

We have tried to cover all of the major topics associated with changing door hardware in older homes, as well as demonstrating that you can spruce up your home without spending thousands of dollars. When you do the work yourself you save even more money and improve the way your home looks from the street by painting the door and adding new door hardware. This is a win, win scenario as far as we are concerned.

 

 

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Updating Bathroom Light Fixtures

September 27th, 2011 admin Posted in Home Decor No Comments »

Why Update Your Bathroom?

It seems that in North America at least, bathrooms and kitchens are the most important rooms in the home when it comes to buyers deciding on buying a home. We are focusing on bathrooms in this post and specifically on lighting which is a major part of how your bathroom looks to prospective buyers as well as being functional while you are living in your home. Everyone loves to have a bright and attractive bathroom, and lighting plays a huge part in how your bathroom looks.

Consumers spend thousands of dollars every year on remodeling their bathrooms, however if you can do some or all of the work yourself, it really does not have to cost that much. Add a new mirror, repaint the room, upgrade the toilet and the lights and you have a room that looks great as well as being modern. Of course you can go all out, replacing the cabinets, the counter top and the shower / tub, the floor, however these are big expense items.  Labor is a huge part of the cost, while the cost of the materials is relatively small and this applies to bathroom lighting as well.

Cost of Bathroom Lighting

Of course the sky is the limit when it comes to purchasing lighting systems for the bathroom, however there can be really attractive bathroom style lighting that can be purchased at Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as other stores that specialize in lighting. You can often purchase lights for under $100 complete with all wiring and even the light bulbs which include either energy saving fluorescent bulbs or halogen lights. Personally we like the fluorescent lights since they are cooler and they save energy as well, which reduces your long term operating costs. With the recent increases in electricity rates in most areas, saving electricity is becoming more important.

Installation can be expensive unless you can do it your self or have a friend that can install the new lights safely. Note that if you are going to do this yourself, make sure you really know how to do this work so that there are no possible fire or shock hazards created. Always make sure that the power is turned off before you start to protect yourself from any possibility of electrocution. If in doubt talk to an expert or hire someone to do the work for you!

Selecting the Right Style and Color for your Lights!

This is probably the most difficult aspect of remodeling your bathroom. Most decorators will tell you that you have to have an overall plan for your home and specifically each room. The bathroom is no different of course. Coordinating your lighting selection with your choices for all of the other decor in the bathroom is very important. Decisions on color – black, copper, stainless steel etc is one aspect. Will you go traditional or modern and matching with the faucets and counter hardware is also important.

You may not be able to afford to do everything at once. Having a plan and completing some of the work as you can afford it will help you make sure that your completed work meets your overall objective.

Whatever you do, don’t chose your lights based on price alone. Make sure that your overall decorating plan works for you home and your bathroom. Otherwise you may be spending money for nothing, when it comes time for you to sell your home. Your bathroom could be perceived as a negative by potential buyers unless you have done a good job decorating.

Lots of Light

Some people really like to have a bright room with lots of light, while others may want something more subdued at times. Both can be accommodated by installing a dimmer switch in place of the on / off switch that is usually installed in most homes. Make sure that your fixture as well as the light bulbs you will use are compatible with dimmer switches.

Halogens are usually fine , however fluorescent lights do not work well with dimmer switches. Check the fixture and the lights before you make your decision. Most stores will have an electrician on staff who help you with any questions regarding installation as well as with the correct type of bulbs to use.

Hire Experts

You may not want to do the job yourself or are just uncomfortable with even being around bare electrical wires. A good friend of ours does not even want to be around when I am helping him. He is just that nervous about touching the wires and getting a shock. In situations like these, hire an expert to do the work for you. Although it will cost more, you will have peace of mind and the job will be done properly as well.

If you do the work yourself, always make sure that the power is turned off to all areas of the bathroom. Turn the lights on in the bathroom and then go to the breaker box, usually located in the basement, and switch off the appropriate breaker. When the lights go off you know that you have selected the correct breaker switch.

You may also want to hire a decorator to help design your bathroom, make sure that everything is coordinated and give you ideas about what to change and what not to. As we mentioned earlier in this post sometimes just updating the paint, the hardware on doors and drawers, the wall plates and the light fixtures can make a huge difference to your bathroom. These things do not cost much in comparison to completing a total remodel involving the toilet, the shower, the tub and the counters with new faucets and sinks. People have been known to send $25,000  on a total remodel of a bathroom. Not everyone can afford this, so doing cosmetic things can be a much better alternative.

Finally it is important to remember that everyone’s taste is different. If you are updating with the idea of selling your home, most real estate sales people will tell you that it is important to update tired bathrooms, however avoid spending too much money, since it is unlikely you will be able to increase the price sufficiently to cover the money you put into remodeling. Cosmetic updates vs. major updates is often the correct way to proceed.

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Bathroom Mirrors

July 19th, 2011 admin Posted in Home Decor No Comments »

Ok guys, if you do not want to  start remodeling your home, make sure that your wives do not read this post. Basically this post is about how replacing our front door handles lead to redecorating our bathroom and replacing our bathroom mirror and more!

Our front door handles were getting a little tarnished to say the least from the sun and the cold Canadian winters, so we decided to change them. We chose a Venetian bronze color which is similar to a dark or almost black color with streaks of bronze showing through. They look nice and make a statement, however we then realized that the inside door handles and hinges on all of our doors needed to change since the older brassy bronze look is totally out and it all needed updating.

This leads to the downstairs  bathroom door of course and when you make these changes, you realize that the towel rack, the toilet paper holder, the switch plate cover and plug cover also needed to be changed. And if you do that, then you must also change the faucet in the sink as well as the lights in the bathroom. Fortunately I got away with not having to change the sink and the toilet, but it came close. We changed the flooring several years ago, so I was fortunate there as well.

How Do I Remove the Bathroom Mirror

I forgot to mention the lights. These too had to come down since everything must match and compliment each other. Our builder had installed this rectangular mirror and then placed the bathroom lights immediately above the mirror with a stainless steel cover. Now we know that stainless steel and Venetian Bronze do not go together so down the lights come as well.

Now how to get the mirror off the wall without a lot of damage, broken glass all over the place and also avoid cutting myself. The mirror is a flat rectangular mirror that was glued to the wall by the builder. There is no frame so it is a tricky job to get the mirror  off in one piece.  But there is a trick to these things as there are for many jobs around the home and yard.

First you tape masking tape down all four sides and diagonally across the mirror. The tape will keep the mirror from shattering into small pieces and also from falling on the floor if it does crack. Next you take a long knife and slide it between the mirror and the wall and cut through the glue that it is holding the mirror on the wall. You cannot cut all of it, but it is important to cut at least one foot behind the mirror. Next you use a thin  flat piece of steel and slide it behind the mirror and gradually apply pressure against the mirror that lifts the mirror away from the wall. If the glue is old it will crack and off comes your mirror, in one piece! Otherwise it may crack into several pieces. Mine came off in one piece!

Preparation for a New Mirror

Once you have the old bathroom  mirror off the wall, it is time to get the wall ready to mount the new one. You probably will have to do some repairs, remove the glue on the wall, perhaps apply some drywall compound to fill holes or nicks in the wall and install the new lights.

Since the new mirror is unlikely to be the same size as the old one, you are going to have to paint the entire room. Just get on with it and do it, you really do not have a choice in this if you want the bathroom to look great when it is finished. Once you have repaired the walls and repainted everything, it is time to mount the new bathroom mirror.

Selecting a Bathroom Mirror

I still don’t see what was wrong with the old one, but then I am not the decorator in the family. Choosing a new mirror is quite complicated. Do we need one that has a frame, should it be square, rectangular, round or oblong? If we have a frame what color should it be? Of course it has to match the Venetian bronze faucet and bathroom lights!

We finally decided, after several days of discussion and trying out several mirrors on a framed oval mirror that was smaller than the original mirror that was originally on the wall. Once that decision was made it was a relatively simple job to hang the mirror and presto the job was completed, or so I thought.

How could I forget that we also had to repaint the door and all of the trim in the bathroom as well as in the hallway as well!

It Goes On

Now remember that this all started because we decided to change the front door handles on our front doors. Once we started painting the trim in the hallway, it just kept going. Next we painted the trim in the hallway in front of the living room and the dining room and repainted the walls after removing some wallpaper that had been on the wall far too long.

Thankfully Christmas came along and my wife did not want a mess in the house during Christmas and the entire renovation / remodeling project has come to and end for now. But she is already talking about continuing after Christmas with the upstairs hallway and the kitchen!  Maybe something will come along to save me from this work, but I don’t think so.

One of the reasons I wrote this post, is to alert all of the unsuspecting weekend renovators that once you begin, there is really no end in site and to be prepared for a large long term project which cuts into your extra curricular activities, not to mention your wallet! I have to admit that the bathroom does look much better, especially with that new oval bathroom mirror!

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Pleated Shades

November 2nd, 2010 Paul Posted in Home Decor No Comments »

Most guys are not the least bit interested in selecting window coverings for their homes preferring to leave that up to their wives. Decorating their homes is not a priority, but they do want things to look nice, they just do not want to invest the time it takes to pick out window coverings and match colors. There are so many selections to consider for window coverings from horizontal blinds, to vertical blades and pleated shades. Once you have settled on whether it will be vertical or horizontal then you have to decide on design i.e. whether they will be pleated, woven, cellular or roman, faux, natural, mini or maxi! Your not done yet, how about wood, vinyl or fabric and aluminum? With all these choices no wonder most men just leave it up the ladies.

Well if you care about your bank account, you should pay attention to the type of window coverings that you are hanging in your home. Some are much more expensive than others and some look great, while others just do not go with your home and furniture.  If you are moving into a new home, then you will have to buy new window coverings for all windows. If you move into an existing home, there will likely be existing window coverings on the windows, although they might not be to your taste. At least you can wait awhile to purchase new coverings.

Pleated Shades vs. Other Window Coverings

We purchased pleated shades for 3 of the bedrooms. We installed new windows in these rooms and as soon as you do that, the next thing is the existing window coverings have to go and new ones need to be installed. Pleated shades are some of the most straight forward to install. They fit inside the window frame and use a pull chord to have the window shades go up and down. They are semi transparent, so they do let some light in, but they prevent anyone from actually seeing into our bedrooms, so you still have some privacy. The nice thing about pleated shades is that these shades are the simplest in terms of fabric and are the least expensive as  a result.

Most other types shades are more expensive either due to the materials used or the difficulty in making them. Cellular shades for example use more fabric and are more complex to make, but in my opinion they do not look any better than regular pleated shades do.  Some folks will install natural wood blinds which are one of the most expensive blinds you can purchase. They do look nice, however you really want to make sure to go with your homes design and furniture. This is an investment in your home that may help to sell it later on.

Pleated Shade Styles

Once we decided on the general design of a pleated shade, we needed to then pick a style that matched our home and it’s decor.  There are various colors and tones to chose from. Some really make a statement with colors that leap out at you while others are more subtle.  This is the important part were you need to get the color right both to fit your homes decor, but also for resale value if you plan to sell your home anytime in the future.  We ended up choosing a Sophie look, which uses linen fibers that provide a sophisticated textured look. You really have to see it to know what color it looks like and whether it is textured and sophisticated. Aside from managing costs this is another reason you need to go with your spouse to pick out the blinds. Your spouse can describe the blinds to you, but if you do not know a lot about blinds you just won’t get it.

Blinds as an Investment

Whether you purchase pleated blinds or more expensive blinds you should really think of these blinds as an investment  in your home. As a minimum, they will make your home more presentable when you do plan to sell it and hopefully help to sell your home. Although in most cases you will not get any more money for your home as a result sometimes if the blinds are very tasteful and of good quality you may be able to ask a few thousand more for your home when you sell it. At the minimum they should help you to sell your home more quickly.

Buyers will look at your blinds from the perspective of their taste as well as matching with their own furniture. Just like painting walls neutral colors, you should consider neutral colors for your blinds as well. This will be more interesting to potential buyers and also has a higher probability of matching the buyers existing color schemes and furniture. Much better than some wild color that really catches your eye. It helps to pay attention to these details when you are shopping for blinds.

Measuring for Blinds

If you plan to install your own blinds, it is important that you also measure properly.  Before you go to the store, measure your windows carefully. I suggest that you measure the windows, write the measurements down and then remeasure to make sure that you got it right. Also take two measurements , one at the top and the other at the bottom to make sure there is no variation in the width of the window.

If you do not know whether your blinds will be inside the frame or outside the frame, measure both carefully before you go to the store. With these measurements in hand,  your sales person will be able to assist you and make the necessary adjustments to order blinds that will fit well with your windows regardless of whether you chose outside or inside the frame blinds.

Warranties for Blinds

Most companies also provide warranties for their blinds. Some will even provide lifetime warranties, so if you are planning to stay in your home for any length of time , a lifetime warranty might be more interesting to you than a standard one or two year warranty.

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Pottery Barn Discounts – Craigslist vs eBay

October 31st, 2007 admin Posted in Home Decor No Comments »

potterybarncraigslistebay

 Pottery Barn

Online discounts on Pottery Barn”stuff” have been regularly searched for on sites such as Craigslist and eBay. The reason is simple of course. Pottery discounts are not offered very often, and their prices are high at the best of time.

Of course shoppers who use Craigslist and eBay are not only looking for discounts, but they want to buy “near new condition”. This is a tall order for sure, but deals CAN be had if you have the patience to be ready for the best sales when they live.

Pottery Barn Discounts On Craigslist

Craigslist is a fantanstic resource for finding deals and discounts, but I wouldn’t say it’s that great for Pottery Barn shopping. You’re almost always dealing with products that well used, and not really worth buying (in your humble narrator’s opinion). This kind of used Pottery Barn merchandise is being sold by individuals and not clearance houses. The best place to shop for PB, PBteen, or PBkids is where the clearance houses sell. eBay is an example.

Pottery Barn Discounts On eBay 

When Pottery Barn gets rid of, or clears out inventory that they can’t sell off their own shelves, they sell it off to various home decor clearance houses and/or auction houses. It’s these kinds of companies that “move” the PB product lines to eBay.

Therefore eBay is a great place to shop for Pottery Barn home decor items. These eBay auctions sell off brand new Pottery Barn merchandise at low low prices, and as long as you don’t mind buying last year’s line, it’s all good.

You’ll have to be pretty fast with your mouse, and be clicking at the right time to get the better deals. It comes right down to your connection speed when trying to win an eBay auction. Usually Pottery Barn products are auctioned off with a “reserve price” by the seller, but you’re still going to get a good deal. Just don’t over-bid for the sake of winning or you won’t be saving a cent.            

So if you’re shopping for Pottery Barn duvets, rugs, or flatware, you ought to check out eBay first before paying the full price down at your local PB store.    

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