Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cast Iron Steamers and Trivets: Ideal Christmas Gifts for the Vintage Kitchen

With this winter’s first snowflakes now blowing about outside my office window, my thoughts turn toward finding the right gifts for my family members and friends. The process of gift giving for me usually begins with me regretting not accumulating gift ideas over the past twelve months. I do, however, have a couple of unique and affordable gift ideas for those who have someone on their shopping list that appreciates their vintage kitchen.

Cast Iron Stove Top Steamers
Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron steamers in a variety of decorative and novel designs. All of our steamers have a durable porcelain coating inside and out to prevent rusting. Stove top steamers add moisture to the dry winter air. Additionally, droping a handful of potpourri in the steamer’s water will fill your home with fragrances of the holidays.

Cast Iron Decorative Trivets
Shop 4 Classics also offers cast iron trivets that, like our steamers, have durable protective porcelain coatings. Decorative trivets are always a thoughtful gift idea. This is especially true during the holiday season when cooking large meals and baking holiday treats make the kitchen a hive of active.

Cast Iron Matchstick Holders
If your vintage kitchen has a wood burning stove or adjoining hearth, decorative cast iron matchstick holders are a useful and affordable gift idea. Match stick holders provide a convenient and safe place to store stick matches.

Other hardware items that are popular gift ideas include house numbers, fireplace screens and fireplace tool sets, and novelty shoe brushes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Glass Cabinet Knobs and Drawer Pulls: The Lucky Charms of Cabinet Hardware

I am sure that everyone is familiar with Lucky Charms cereal with its colorful marshmallows shaped like pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers. Like Lucky Charms, glass cabinet knobs and pulls are offered in many shapes and in a rainbow of colors.

The technology to mass produce glass knobs by pressing molten glass into molds was developed in the early 1800’s and American hardware companies began producing colored glass hardware throughout the 19th century. These early knobs were typically set in iron or brass shanks with mushroom or octagon shaped knob tops. Popular color choices were clear, white, black and cobalt and robins egg blue. However, glass cabinet hardware was never more popular than during the early 1900’s. American hardware companies focused on glass cabinet hardware during World War I as brass and iron were being rationed for the war effort. Production methods also improved allowing a much wider spectrum of color choices and shapes. The popularity of glass hardware continued through the 1930’s when glass knobs and pulls took on even more unique shapes defined Art Deco design movement.

Shop 4 Classics offers one of the largest collections of reproduction colored and clear glass knobs and pulls on the Internet. Included in the collection are popular colored glass octagon knobs and colored glass hexagon knobs and coordinating colored glass hexagon post drawer pulls. Our collection even includes reproductions of Art Deco style glass cabinet knobs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Picking the Right Clawfoot Tub Shower Enclosure, It is All about Location, Location, Location

Clawfoot tub shower enclosures not only add another facet of bathing functionality but also transform a solitary clawfoot tub into an item of vintage industrial art. The typical clawfoot tub shower set includes a tub faucet with shower diverter, shower riser pipe with shower head, shower ring and brackets to secure the shower ring to the bathroom’s ceilings and/or walls. It may seem odd but clawfoot shower curtains and curtain rings are generally not included within clawfoot shower sets and must be purchased separately. Purchasing and installing a clawfoot tub shower enclosure can be a rather daunting endeavor. The old real estate adage regarding the importance of “location, location, location” applies to the fundamental first steps of selecting the proper shower enclosure for your clawfoot tub.

Location Rule #1: The Shower Set You Choose Must Adhere to Local Plumbing Codes

The location of your residence may be the first consideration that narrows your clawfoot tub shower search. Plumbing codes are not universal across the United States. Plumbing codes are dictated by locally established ordinances. It is wise to consult the codes in your area, but some of the more common plumbing code requirements that may affect your selection are listed below.

Certified Lead-Free Faucet Laws
Arnold Schwarzenegger the actor may have saved the world by filling aliens, gangsters and terrorist full of lead in his movies but he has taken an anti-lead stance as the governor of the State of California. This year he passed a law banning lead from the construction of faucets and showers sold or installed in the state. The lead-free code has already been passed in Vermont as well and it is likely that similar laws will be adopted throughout the country over the next few years.

Anti-Siphon Plumbing Codes
Anti-siphon ordinances may require the tub faucet’s spout to be above the tub’s rim to prevent bath water from being drawn back into supply lines, possibly contaminating the water supply. Gooseneck faucets are popular because the mouth of the spout extends above the rim of roll top tubs, satisfying code in most areas.

Pressure Balance and Anti-Scald Plumbing Codes
Some locations may require pressure balance and anti-scald systems. Thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets are required to meet these code requirements. Thermostatic faucets have a feature that controls the flow of hot and cold water to ensure that the mix of hot and cold water flowing to the faucet’s spout and shower does not exceed a set temperature.

Location Rule #2: The Placement of Clawfoot Tub’s Faucet Holes, or Lack Thereof, Determines the Shower Set’s Faucet Type

Clawfoot tubs have either faucets holes drilled along one of the walls of tub, in the tub’s rim, or have no faucets holes at all. Clawfoot tub faucets are offered to fit each of these three configurations. There are, therefore, three basic designs of clawfoot tub faucets: rim mounted, tub wall mounted, and free standing. The sales of clawfoot shower sets are typically organized by these same groupings.

Clawfoot Tub Wall Mounted Shower Sets
The most common location for faucet holes for original as well as reproduction clawfoot tubs is within the tub’s wall. The distance between the faucet holes is also important and is often referred to as centers or center-to-center. Some faucets are designed rigid to accept only a specified center-to-center measurement whereas others are designed to accommodate a given range of centers.

Clawfoot Tub Rim Mounted Shower Sets
Double ended and slipper style clawfoot tubs often have faucet holes along the tub’s rim or deck. Faucet drillings along the tub’s rim is also a more common option for modern variations of clawfoot tubs. This option is popular today because faucets mounted along the tub’s deck do not extend into the bathing well. As with tub wall mounted shower sets, the distance between the tub’s faucet holes must also be considered with rim mounted shower sets.

Freestanding Clawfoot Tub Shower Sets
Many clawfoot tubs, particularly reproductions, are available without faucet holes. Freestanding faucets and showers are the most common options for these tubs. Freestanding clawfoot shower systems mount outside of the clawfoot tub which allows the beauty of vintage style plumbing to be on full display.

Location Rule #3: The Location of the Clawfoot Tub Determines the Required Shower Ring Mounting Brackets

Clawfoot shower enclosures are not capable of standing on their own and therefore must be supported by mounting them to bathroom walls and/or ceiling. Adjustable wall and ceiling braces are typically included within clawfoot shower sets. These brackets are intended to address common shower enclosure installations. Please email our technical staff at info@shop4classics.com if your tub’s location adds unique wall and ceiling support mounting considerations.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Multi-Faceted Clawfoot Tub Faucet

Clawfoot tub faucets come in many shapes and sizes. They range in price from economy clawfoot tub faucets to full featured thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets. There is a great assortment of finishes, faucet handle options, and tub spouts to choose from. Some clawfoot tub faucets offer a handheld shower while still others are equipped with a shower riser and overhead showerhead.

But wait, there's more! There are clawfoot tub faucets that can be configured to mount inside the tub wall, on a bathroom wall, on the rim of a clawfoot tub, or on freestanding supply lines. In many cases, this versatile little spigot can transform from one configuration to another simply by adding or subtracting parts.

It slices, it dices, it even juliennes. Okay, it doesn't slice, dice, or julienne but believe it or not, it can be used in the kitchen. The Sunrise Specialty gooseneck faucet is offered as both a clawfoot tub faucet and a kitchen sink faucet. In the kitchen, the tall spout provides extra clearance for washing pots and pans. The spout swivels so it can be used with double bowl kitchen sinks. The faucet can be mounted on the countertop in a modern kitchen or wall mounted on a farmhouse sink in a traditional kitchen. Sham Wow! That faucet is resourceful!

There are a few caveats to consider prior to choosing a clawfoot tub faucet for your kitchen sink. Kitchen countertops are typically thicker than the wall or rim of a clawfoot tub. The spouts for clawfoot tub faucets often project further than kitchen faucets and may overshoot the bowl. Although the spout on the Sunrise Specialty gooseneck faucet swivels, most clawfoot tub faucet spouts do not swivel. Clawfoot tub faucets have hand showers. Kitchen sink faucets have hand sprayers. Common clawfoot tub faucet centers are not always so common for kitchen sinks. As with any faucet, check the specifications prior to purchasing a faucet for your project.

While it may not be as revolutionary as a Veg-o-Matic, the clawfoot tub filler is certainly multi-faceted. Visit Shop 4 Classic for help selecting a clawfoot tub faucet for your next project whether it is for the kitchen or the bath.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hardware, Copper Faucets and Sink Selections for Your French Country Kitchen Makeover

French Country is one of the hottest design trends driving kitchen renovations today. French Country style wraps the modern kitchen in an old world charm that is inspired by the quaint cottages that dot the French countryside. The resulting kitchen exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere while remaining highly functional. French Country design incorporates a palate of rich dark colors and use of an assortment of rustic textured materials like stone, distressed wood, bronze, copper and iron.

A complete kitchen makeover to the French Country style entails more than fresh paint and a few smartly chosen accent pieces. Your kitchen’s existing shiny brass or chrome faucets, sinks, and hardware items would be noticeably out of place among the rustic surroundings of a French Country style kitchen. They, therefore, should be replaced as part of your renovation. Shop 4 Classics offers a variety of plumbing and hardware products that would look at home in the rustic kitchen remodel.

Copper and Bronze Faucets and Sinks
Shop 4 Classics offers French cottage inspired kitchen faucets and copper kitchen sinks by Belle Foret. The Belle Foret collection includes sinks and faucets with bronze and weather copper finishes that compliment the granite countertops and rustic tile backsplashes that are common elements of French Country design.

Forged Iron and Bronze Cabinet Hardware
Cabinets of French Country kitchens often have a slightly distressed or antiqued appearance. If the cabinets are painted, they are typically also antiqued and/or embellished with hand painted floral, fruit, or scroll accents. Painted or not, sturdy looking and simply designed forged iron cabinet hardware or cast bronze cabinet hardware completes the cabinet’s rustic look.

Decorative Bronze Heat Vent Covers
Those existing builder’s grade steel vent covers will clash with your new European country cottage decor and should also be replaced. We recommend solid bronze vent covers with a scroll or grape vine design grille that is finished with a rich brown or black patina.

Cast Iron Shelf Brackets
Displaying a variety of decorative copper and ceramic vases, canisters and other accents pieces throughout the kitchen is another common French Country decorating theme. Shelves should be constructed of thick pieces of distressed wood affixed to sturdy cast iron shelf brackets with a Victorian scroll, grape vine or similar ornate design.

Bronze Switch Plate and Outlet Covers
Replacing those plastic utilitarian-looking switch plates and electrical outlet covers should not to be overlooked in the design of your French Country kitchen. Rustic bronze switch plates and outlet covers compliment the natural wood and textured painted walls often found in French Country kitchens.