Monday, December 31, 2012

Modern Acrylic Bath Tubs: Create a New Look for the New Year

If a contemporary bathroom remodel is goal of yours for the New Year, replacing that existing utilitarian built-in tub or outdated whirlpool tub with a modern freestanding tub may be high on your list of priorities.  Many of the unique angular and curvaceous modern freestanding tubs are made of acrylic.  Don’t let past bad experiences or visions of flimsy fiberglass bath tubs deter you from considering today’s high quality acrylic bath tubs.  

Strom Plumbing, a company known for their high-quality vintage bathtubs and plumbing fixtures, now offers an ever expanding collection of thoroughly modern acrylic bath tubs.  StromPlumbing’s Seneca acrylic bath tub is a modern take on the classic double ended slipper tub offering a deep soaker bowl and extended backrests ends.  Strom Plumbing’s spacious Grenada acrylic tub and Klamath acrylic tub feature modern straight lines and simple rectangular shapes. 

To help you in your search for the perfect bath tub, Shop 4 Classics provides more information on choosing the right acrylic bath tub for your bath in its Clawfoot Bathtub Tips and ClawfootTub Buyers Guide.   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sign of the Crab Rio Grande Clawfoot Tub Faucets: Just In Time for Christmas

When I was a boy, the arrival of the Sears Wish Book and the JC Penny Christmas Catalog was one of the great thrills preceding Christmas.  We spent hours thumbing through the toy sections of those catalogs in the weeks before Christmas.  We studied the new toys and dreamed about playing with them.  Many years later, I now look forward to the arrival of the next Sign of the Crab catalog.  For a company that specializes in vintage plumbing, Sign of the Crab is incredibly innovative.  Each year I look forward to seeing the new items for the upcoming year.  As they become available, we add new items to our website and wait anxiously to see which items our customers like best.
Sign of the Crab Rio Grande Clawfoot Tub Faucets

Just in time for Christmas, the Rio Grande series of clawfoot tub faucets are the first new items for 2013.  Sign of the Crab has offered the Rio Grande series of faucets for several years but the new faucets are the first Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucets to include a handheld shower.  The Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucets are based on the same faucet body as the Sign of the Crab gooseneck clawfoot tub faucets.  Like the gooseneck clawfoot tub faucets, the Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucets have a high arching spout.  The Rio Grande spout is a shepherd's hook style spout that reaches above the clawfoot tub rim to make this faucet code compliant in areas that require the spout to be above the clawfoot tub's floodplain.  The handheld shower includes a vacuum breaker to satisfy anti-siphon code.  The Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucets are available in every configuration so there is a tub wall mounted Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucet, a deck mounted Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucet, a flat wall mounted Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucet, and a freestanding Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucet.

Sign of the Crab has long offered the Rio Grande widespread sink faucet, Rio Grande bridge sink faucet, and Rio Grande bath accessories.  The Rio Grande clawfoot tub faucets allow customers to complete a coordinated bath.  It can be surprisingly difficult to find bathroom sink faucets, bath accessories, and clawfoot tub faucets that all look like they belong to the same family but Sign of the Crab's Rio Grande series does just that.

In our home, the Sears Wish Book and the JC Penny Christmas Catalog were stored in a closet right along with the phone book.  Year round, we browsed through these catalogs.  Over the next few weeks, we will be adding other new Sign of the Crab items to Shop 4 Classics.  We will introduce them to you here on the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog.  Return frequently to see what's new or visit Shop 4 Classics to browse and shop for vintage plumbing and antique reproduction hardware from Sign of the Crab and other top quality brands.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vintage Hardware and Plumbing Fixtures: Holiday Gift Ideas that Keep on Giving and Look Good Doing So

Let’s face it; most gifts given are used up, forgotten, or out of style within six months. Finding a gift that will be appreciated for years often times calls for thinking outside the box. Shop 4 Classics does not sell scented soaps or candles but does specialize in vintage home hardware and plumbing fixtures featuring timeless designs and quality construction that is designed and warranted to last for years of trouble free use. It is understandable that antique reproduction hardware or plumbing fixtures do not come to mind when creating your gift list, so consider the below list of unique alternative gift ideas as inspiration before settling on that basket of overpriced toiletries.

Hearth & Kitchen Hardware Accent Items
Gatherings of family and friends for special meals define the holiday season. Shop 4 Classics offers a number of unique hardware items for the hearth and kitchen. Cast iron stovetop steamers with potpourri humidifies and fills your home with holiday scents. Shop 4 Classics collection of stovetop steamers includes many with colorful porcelain coatings and novel designs. Cast iron trivets provide a safe place to sit hot pots and pans. Like the stovetop steamers, our trivets are available in a variety of unique designs and many are available with colorful porcelain coatings.

Exterior Home Hardware Accent Items
Used to announce the arrival of invited guests or surprise Christmas carolers alike, a gift of a decorative doorbell button or door knocker can offer a unique and stylish welcome to visitors and introduce them to the home’s distinct character. A new set of bronze or copper house numbers make a thoughtful gift for those who moved into a new home during the past year. A wall or post mount mailbox can serve as a creative gift basket for gift certificate envelopes and smaller gift packages.

Decorative Cast Iron and Bronze Vent Covers
Do you really want to see a surprised look upon opening your gift this year? Heavy cast iron and bronze vent covers will almost certainly be a surprise and make particularly smart gifts for those who routinely try to lift and shake their gifts before opening. Just like giving a gift of trousers, you have to know the proper widths and lengths before giving vent covers as gifts. We highly recommend reading Shop 4 Classics’ Vent Covers Tips to help ensure the right vent covers are selected for your application.

Vintage Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Faucets
Quality vintage bathroom sink faucets and kitchen sink faucets provide years of service and offer timeless designs. Shop 4 Classics offers a wide selection of  bathroom and kitchen antique style faucets from some of the top brands that warrant their faucets to properly function for years after purchase. As with vent covers, it is important that you understand which types of faucets will work with the intended sink’s configuration. Shop 4 Classics also provides helpful Sink Faucet Tips that should be reviewed prior to making a purchase.

Hopefully a few new gifts ideas have made your gift list. Find enduring gifts while avoiding the often times chaotic crowds at the mall and big box stores, visit Shop 4 Classics soon to ensure that your gift arrives in time for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shop 4 Classics Reviews Beaux-Arts Architecture: Victorian Hardware and Plumbing

As a youth, I dreamed of fame and fortune. Lacking any prized talent or skill, I assumed luck would play an important role in realizing my dream. I watched reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies and hoped for Jed Clampett's good fortune. As you may recall, Jed Clampett was a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. Then one day, Jed struck oil and found himself a millionaire. His kinfolk told Jed to move away from there so Jed loaded up his family and moved to a Beaux-Arts mansion in Beverly Hills.

The Beaux-Arts architectural style originated at the L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts (school of beautiful arts) in Paris. The style favors large multi-story symmetrical structures. Walls are usually limestone and roofs are typically flat. Grand entrances often feature massive columns. Sculptures, garlands, and floral patterns are integrated into stonework and architectural elements.

Beaux-Arts style Nelson Atkins museum in Kansas City.
The influence of Beaux-Arts principles is evident in buildings designed in the United States from the 1880s through the 1930s. Many American architects studied at the famed French school of architecture around the turn of the 20th century. When they returned to the United States, they implemented the Beaux-Arts style in their own designs. The Beaux-Arts style was particularly influential in the design of museums, libraries, train stations, and public buildings. In residential construction, Beaux-Arts architecture is limited to mansions such as the one belonging to Jed Clampett. The elaborate designs and grandiose architectural elements that are integral to the Beaux-Arts style dictate buildings of monumental size.

Like other homes from the Victorian period, the interiors of Beaux-Arts style mansions are ornately decorated. Brass was in vogue. Fanciful Victorian door hardware with crystal door knobs adorned interior doors. Richly embellished furniture featured elaborately detailed Victorian cabinet hardware in the Baroque, Rococo, Italianate, and Renaissance hardware styles. Bold tapestries hung on walls with Victorian themed tapestry hangers perhaps sporting the Fleur de Lis. Vents were covered by Victorian brass grilles and heat registers with artistic scroll designs. Baths in Beaux-Arts style mansions often included large clawfoot style tubs accented with lions paw feet. Like hardware of the time, plumbing in Beaux-Arts style mansions was highly stylized. The Strom Plumbing Royal Aqueduct standing water delivery system is the epitome of Victorian era plumbing typical of Beaux-Arts estates.

Victorian Hardware and Plumbing
Whether your home is a quaint Queen Anne or an impressive Beaux-Arts manse like Jed Clampett's, Shop 4 Classics has antique reproduction Victorian plumbing and hardware for any budget. Visit Shop 4 Classics online at Y'all come back now, y' hear.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cast Iron Shelf Brackets & Coat Hooks for Affordable Mudroom DIY

As far as rooms go, mudrooms have a unique history in the evolution of the American home. Unlike all of the other mainstay rooms like kitchens and bedrooms, the inclusion of a mudroom in the home's original floor plan often depends on when the home was built.   They were common in homes built in the early 1900’s then essentially disappeared from floor plans of homes built in middle and late 1900’s only to be reintroduced towards the end of 1900’s. Today, mudrooms remain a popular request for new homes being constructed and creating mudroom spaces in homes built without them is an increasingly popular renovation project.

Mudrooms are created in small spaces often off a secondary entrance to the home. Compact built-ins that include shelves, cabinets, and storage cubbies are a hallmark fixture of modern mudroom design. Pairing the right hardware with good design makes the mudroom a highly efficient, attractive and a naturally uncluttered space.

School House Coat Rack and Storage Shelf

Old-School School House Shelf
Reminiscent of coat rooms of elementary schools throughout the country, this classic design includes cast iron school house coat hooks and simple arch style cast iron shelf bracket. Mounting the coat hooks to a wood backing rather than directly to the wall helps to ensure that the hooks stay firmly into place in addition to making the installation a much more simple process. Keep in mind that the spacing between hooks must fully accommodate the width of heavy winter coats. Sturdy black cast iron shelf brackets provide support for the shelf and create a highly finished look. Remember, attaching hooks and brackets to their mounting board prior to installation makes the entire process much, much easier.

High Utility Mudroom Shelf
High-Utility Mudroom Shelf with Ceiling Hooks

Replacing traditional coat hooks with ceiling hooks mounted to the bottom of the shelf adds even more utility for the small space. Antique Revelry’s triple cast iron ceiling hook is unique in that its three hooks rotate on its base. This added feature makes it the ideal hook for simultaneously storing light and heavy coat options or several styles of umbrellas to fit your mood and wardrobe choice of the day. Again, we recommend affordable cast iron arch shelf brackets as they coordinate well with the cast iron utility hook hardware.

 Small Drawers with Distinct Purposes

Multiple Small Drawers vs. One Big Drawer
The “junk drawer” is an all to frequent designation of a large drawer in the kitchen or entry. Here you will find the oddest collection of items hastily tossed in there over years of cleaning out coat and pants pockets or organizing the visible spaces of the home. It can be argued that junk drawers serve a necessary purpose but they have no place in the mudroom. Incorporating multiple small drawers in place of a single large drawer helps serve that distinct purpose and ensures that the drawers remain uncluttered. Cabinet knobs, rather than drawer pulls, can be used for very compact drawers while cup pulls are ideal choices for small and medium size drawers. In keeping with the cast iron hardware theme, consider using Antique Revelry’s cast iron cannon ball knob for compact drawers and their cast iron scallop cup pull for small and medium size drawers.

Do you have unique of helpful ideals for creating mudrooms?  Share your thoughts by replying to this post!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vintage Kitchen Design: Get A Grip On Handles For Vintage Kitchen Sink Faucets

Henry Ford once proclaimed that, "Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants so long as it is black." A similar principle applied to early kitchen sink faucets. Vintage kitchen faucets had a job to do and did not offer many options. Like Henry Ford's Model T, vintage kitchen sink faucets were utilitarian in their design. If you wanted fancy in the early 1900's, you chose a kitchen faucet with a soap dish mounted on the spout.

One of the few options available for vintage kitchen faucets was the style of handle. Early kitchen sink faucets were offered with a choice of lever handles or cross handles; which is one more handle option than Henry Ford would have likely provided. The faucet handles were either porcelain or metal. Porcelain handles usually had "hot" or "cold" indicators. Keeping with the utilitarian nature of the kitchen faucet, the labels weren't there for embellishment. Indoor plumbing was in its infancy and the labels aided the uninitiated in identify the handle's purpose.

Shop 4 Classics offers a large selection of antique reproduction kitchen sink faucets from Sign of the Crab, American Standard, and Antique Revelry. The number of faucet options for vintage kitchens would be considered garish by Henry Ford's standards. Like the originals, these kitchen faucets are offered with a choice of lever handles or cross handles. There are even a few fancy kitchen faucets that include a soap basket integrated into the spout. Visit Shop 4 Classics for an antique reproduction kitchen faucet for your vintage kitchen project.

Sign of the Crab Antique Reproduction Kitchen Sink Faucet

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tudor Furniture Hardware: Cast Iron Pulls & Knobs Fitting for Heavy Tudor Furniture

Cast Iron Tudor Pull
Original English Tudor homes of the later half of the 15th were sparsely furnished; a trait that was not carried forward to the Tudor Revival homes of the 19th and even less so with the Tudor Revival homes of 20th century. Whether original or revival, Tudor style furniture was commonly made from oak and featured ornate woodworking including carvings on flat surfaces and ornate turned wood legs, seatbacks, and arm rests. Embellished as it was, Tudor style furniture was not delicate or dainty. Tudor furniture was generally heavy and sturdy.

Like Tudor furniture, Tudor style knobs and pulls were heavy and sturdy. Iron, typically forged iron but later more commonly cast iron, was the metal of choice for Tudor furniture hardware. Tudor furniture hardware took on gothic shapes and often featured decorative, yet simple, designs of back plates and other flat surfaces. Forged iron hardware, which is created by hand by a skilled craftsman, is generally significantly more expensive than cast iron hardware that can be produced in bulk by less skilled labor. Therefore, cast iron knobs and pulls are much more commonly chosen to complete reproduction Tudor furniture today.

Cast Tudor Bail Pull
Shop 4 Classics offers one of the largest selections of cast iron knobs and pulls on the Net and much of this hardware is from Antique Revelry. Antique Revelry’s collection of black cast iron knobs includes rough cast iron cannon ball style knobs and square pyramid head knobs as well as more decorative knobs like its cabinet knob with an English rose design. The flat surfaces of Antique Revelry’s cast iron bin pulls and back plates of its cast iron bail pulls feature simple designs reminiscent of the carvings common to original Tudor furniture. Antique Revelry’s black cast iron ring pulls and cast iron pendent pulls feature gothic shaped back plates and simple and heavy drop rings and pendants making them an ideal compliment to Tudor style heavy oak furniture.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Period Plumbing and Hardware for Making Movie Magic

High-Tank Pull-Chain Toilet

It should be no surprise that we here at Shop 4 Classics are fans of period piece movies and television shows, especially early 1900's gangster productions.  Occasionally, we get an opportunity to contribute.  Set designers contact us to supply them with vintage plumbing and antique reproduction hardware to help set the scene.

Antique Basin Taps
Clawfoot tubs are an obvious choice for recreating a 1920's era bathroom.  A traditional clawfoot tub faucet, an iconic clawfoot tub drain with a rubber stopper, and a soap basket hanging over the rim of the clawfoot tub complete a bathtub scene.  A panoramic view might show a high-tank pull-chain toilet in the corner while a dapper dandy shaves over a pedestal sink with antique basin taps.

Kitchen scenes usually require a porcelain enameled cast iron drainboard kitchen sink equipped with a wall mounted kitchen faucetCast iron shelf brackets support kitchen shelves where sundries and various canned and pickled foods are stored.  Gravity baseboard heat registers and cast iron floor grates provide a realistic finishing touch to a kitchen scene from the Roaring Twenties.
Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron Drainboard Kitchen Sink
Doors and windows are equipped with hardware that looks as if it was just purchased from the Sears, Roebuck Home Builder's Catalog circa 1910.  Doors feature antique style solid brass door knobs with keyhole doorplates and antique mortise locks that make the scene appear to have been filmed in the good ol' days.  Brass sash locks and sash lifts contribute to reproducing a vintage double hung window that further authenticates the film.

It is a thrill to watch a period piece and think, "hey, we sell that".  The only thing better is to watch a period piece and think, "hey, I own that".  Authenticate your vintage bath, kitchen, or entire home with antique reproduction plumbing and hardware from Shop 4 Classics and make a little movie magic in your own home!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Clawfoot Tubs vs. Pedestal Tubs: A Heavyweight Bout of Freestanding Cast Iron Tubs

Recently, a Shop 4 Classics customer wrote to say that she was considering switching from a cast iron clawfoot tub to a cast iron pedestal tub.  Estelle had grown tired of cleaning under clawfoot tubs and figured that a pedestal tub would eliminate that chore for her next project.  Before committing to her job cutting strategy, Estelle wanted to know why a person would choose a pedestal tub verses a clawfoot tub and vice versa.  Today, we consider Estelle's question more closely.

Sunrise Specialty Cast Iron Pedestal Tub
Appearance Is Everything

Personal preference is the number one reason people choose one style of freestanding tub over another.  Just as there are dog people and there are cat people, there are pedestal tub people and there are clawfoot tub people.  Some folks prefer the traditional look of a clawfoot bathtub while others appreciate the streamlined aesthetics of a pedestal bathtub.

Occasionally, historical relevancy becomes part of the equation.  Pedestal tubs peaked in popularity during the Art Deco period of the 1920's.  While pedestal tubs look perfectly at home in the bath of a house built in the first half of the 20th Century, clawfoot tubs have a broader appeal.  A clawfoot tub is as natural a fit for a 19th Century Victorian as it is for a 20th Century Arts & Crafts bungalow.

Sunrise Specialty Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub
Blinded By Science

Cast iron pedestal tubs are heavier than same sized cast iron footed tubs.  For example, the Sunrise Specialty traditional 5' rolltop cast iron clawfoot tub weights about 275 lbs.  If the feet are replaced with a cast iron pedestal, the weight of the tub increases over 75 lbs.  The difference is even more dramatic for larger tubs.  Having said that, the additional weight of the pedestal typically isn't any more significant to supporting the tub than the difference in weight of the people using the tub.  Getting the tub from the driveway into your home, however, is where its weight may become important.  Navigating a pedestal tub and its additional 75 lbs. or more through narrow doorways can be an adventure.  Sure, the pedestal can be separated from a Sunrise Specialty cast iron tub but this is usually discouraged.  The tub is leveled and bolted into the pedestal.  A bead of caulk seals and conceals any gaps between the pedestal and the tub.  Installing the pedestal is a project best left to an experienced professional.  Other pedestal tubs, such as Sign of the Crab cast iron pedestal tubs, are cast as a single piece so the pedestal can't be separated from the tub.

Sign of the Crab
Clawfoot Tub Coasters
Related to weight is the transfer of weight.  Pedestal tubs transfer the weight of the tub across the entire footprint of the pedestal while weight transfer for clawfoot tubs is centered on four legs.  The larger area of weight transfer for pedestal tubs can be helpful on a tile floor where you may not want a quarter of the tub's weight focused on the center of a single tile, especially a large tile.  Clawfoot tub coasters can also help provide a larger footprint for footed tubs.

Correcting for a floor that is out-of-level is another reason a clawfoot bathtub might be favored over a pedestal bathtub.  Particularly in an old home, floors may have some minor grade to them that causes water in the tub to be higher on one end (or one side, depending on the tub's orientation).  Some clawfoot tub manufacturers incorporate levelers in tub feet.  The levelers can be adjusted so the tub is level.  Pedestal tubs do not have levelers.  Also, not every clawfoot tub has levelers so check first if this is the reason you choose a clawfoot tub.

Cleaning Philosophies

Finally, we return to Estelle's justification for choosing a pedestal tub.  Clawfoot tubs expose the floor under the tub whereas a pedestal tub conceals it.  The pedestal eliminates the need to clean under the tub but it also makes it more difficult to clean behind it.  The area between the tub and the bathroom wall will be out of sight and, for most of us, out of mind.  We might worry about our children, our jobs, the economy, replacement referees, and what have you but not the dust between our pedestal tub and the bathroom wall.  Neat freaks reason that although the dust is hidden from plain view, it does exist and therefore must be tended to.  Let your own cleaning inclinations be the judge.


Whatever your reason for choosing one style of tub over another, you'll find a great selection of brand name cast iron clawfoot tubs and cast iron pedestal tubs at Shop 4 Classics.  All tubs include discount prices and free freight within the continental US.  Plus, choose a freestanding tub, clawfoot tub faucet or shower, clawfoot tub supply lines, and a clawfoot tub drain from the same manufacturer and use the TUB10 coupon code to save an additional 10% off your order total.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bungalow House Numbers: Unique Numbers for Your Unique Home

Bungalow House Numbers
Looking up the definition of “bungalow” in any dictionary will provide a pretty precise definition as a small one story home. However, a much broader definition of the term bungalow seems to be more commonly used to describe any style of small house in today’s jargon. The more liberal definition of what is considered a bungalow is likely a function of the renewed popularity of small homes. Whether due to the after effects of a crash in the excessive real estate market, desire to reduce one’s carbon footprint, or simply a new found appreciation of the unique charms of smaller homes; the bungalow is once again an extraordinarily popular choice for today’s home buyer.

Classic American bungalows of the early 1900’s best fit the style’s common dictionary definition. Entire neighborhoods of what is now often referred to as Arts & Crafts bungalows were constructed throughout the country during the building boom that followed World War I. The basic layout of these one or one and a half story homes may have been similar from coast to coast but their facades typically reflected the unique style and building materials of the region. In the decades that followed and leading up to the introduction of the ranch style home during the 1950’s, a variety of compact styles of homes were popular. The style of each of home was given their own unique name but they are all often now considered, or at least marketed, as being a bungalow.

Choosing a new set of house numbers for your bungalow should blend your personal sense of style with the home’s unique style. Bronze and copper house numbers with an Arts and Crafts font are ideal for classic Craftsman style bungalows. Similarly, bronze and copper house numbers with a rustic font look right at home on rustic bungalows. If your bungalow is actually any one of the small home styles of the 1930’s through the 1940’s, consider a unique scroll font house number to add a distinctive accent to the home’s charming exterior.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Window Hardware: Keep Old Windows Open Without Losing Your Head

Double hung windows have two sashes that slide up and down inside two channels in the window frame.  With the exception of famed architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright who called them "guillotine windows", the venerable double hung window has been popular with home builders for well over a century.

In the early days, these windows were also called "rope and pulley" windows because they featured a system of ropes and pulleys inside their wood frame.  The rope and pulley double hung window was first introduced in the middle of the nineteenth century.  It remained popular until the middle of the twentieth century when the rope and pulley system was replaced by spring suspension systems.  Rope and pulley double hung windows can still be found in many old homes today and the conscientious homeowner will make every effort to restore them.

One of the biggest problems that homeowners encounter with old wood double hung windows is that the lower sash will not stay open.  To understand why this happens, we first need to understand how the rope and pulley double hung window functions.  At the top of the window, on each side of the frame, is a pulley.  A rope loops over each pulley.  One end of the rope is attached to the sash.  The other end of the rope is tied to a cast iron weight that hangs inside a pocket hidden behind the window frame.  Equal to the weight of the sash, the cast iron weights act as a counter balance to the sash's weight.  When the rope and pulley system is in tune, the sash will lift effortlessly and will stay in place when let go.  Unfortunately, the ropes tend to break over time.  The cast iron weights crash to the bottom of their pocket.  Without their counter balance, the sash is heavy to lift and will no longer stay open.

Restoring antique rope and pulley double hung windows is a noble cause but it can also be a tedious and expensive endeavor.  Replacing a broken sash cord requires removing the sashes, window stops, and window trim.  An old home can have many windows and repairing each window can add up quickly.  Instead, homeowners often find themselves cutting off the end of a broom and using it to prop open windows.  Fortunately, there are economical alternatives.  Attractive options that don't scream, "I'm too broke to repair this window" include the following:
Window Stop

A window stop attaches to the window frame.  When the sash is lifted past the stop, the hook end swivels to catch the bottom of the sash and hold it open.  Simple but limited, the John Wright Company window stop only allows for one open position.

Side Sash Stay
A side sash stay also attaches to the window frame.  When the lever arm is lifted, the plate on the side of the stay extends; pushing the sash against the parting stop (the thin piece of wood that sits in the channel and separates the top sash from the bottom sash).  Unlike a window stop, an Antique Revelry side sash stay allows the sash to be locked in any open position.  On a warm breezy day, a side sash can keep a window wide open.  On a cool rainy day, it can hold the window only partially open.  Side sash stays can also provide a marginal measure of security.  While they won't discourage a harden criminal, the pressure on the sash can be just the deterrent that causes a petty thief or Peeping Tom to give up on a partially open window and move on to easier prey.

A rope and pulley double hung window that won't stay open can be a source of great aggravation but don't lose your head over "guillotine windows". Instead, visit Shop 4 Classics, your source for window stops, side sash stays, and other antique style window hardware for double hung windows.

Friday, August 31, 2012

One on One With Wood Flush Mount Vent Covers for Wood Floors

We've said this before but it bears repeating, vent covers are selected by the size of the duct opening they are intended to cover.  Oh sure, there are exceptions but despite their installation, flush mount wood vent covers aren't one of them.

Flush mount wood floor vent covers are built into the wood floor when the floor is installed.  One might think that the overall size of the frame is more important because of how the frame integrates into the floor but one would be wrong.  One might also think that the size of the insert would be most significant.  One would be 0-2 in one's attempt to size a flush mounted wood vent cover.  To avoid striking out in one's attempt to choose a flush mounted wood vent cover, one must measure the duct opening in the floor.

The frame for a wood flush mount vent cover is always larger than the duct opening.  If it were not, the whole vent cover would simply drop into the duct.  The frame's length and the frame's width will vary depending on the size of the duct opening and the manufacturer of the vent cover.  Normally, these dimensions would not be important.  Wood floor experts install the flush mounted vent cover over the duct and then adapt to its dimensions by cutting the wood floor planks around the frame.  Where one might require the dimensions of the frame in addition to (but not in lieu of) the duct size is if one were replacing a flush mounted vent cover in a previously installed wood floor.  Replacing a flush mounted vent cover isn't a simple endeavor and it typically requires refinishing the floor.

The wood flush mount vent cover's frame serves as a border enclosing the duct opening.  The frame's opening is centered over the duct to allow air to pass through the vent cover.  The opening in the frame will often match the size of the duct; however, this is not always the case.  Depending on the manufacturer, the frame opening may actually be larger than the duct opening.  Unless one is replacing a previously installed vent cover, the length and width of the frame opening is irrelevant except to once again remind oneself that it is the size of the duct opening that ultimately determines whether one has chosen a correctly sized vent cover.

The inside of the frame is cut away to provide a shelf for the insert.  The shelf allows the insert to rest in the frame whereby its surface is flush with the wood floor.  The slots in the insert should be centered above the duct opening to provide efficient air flow.  This is especially important for a flush mounted wood register because the louver assembly will likely drop below the frame into the duct opening.  The flush mount wood vent cover's insert will be larger than the duct opening but, again, the insert's length and insert's width are usually immaterial.  Just as the frame's length and width mattered only when replacing a previously installed flush wood vent cover, the insert's length and width will only be important if one is replacing an insert without replacing the frame.  And even then, the insert's dimensions are required in addition to (but not instead of) the duct size.  I should mention here that inserts aren't typically sold separately so one may need to purchase the complete flush mounted vent cover just to acquire the insert.

Shop 4 Classics offers flush mounted wood air return grilles and flush mounted wood registers from All American Wood Register, Tailored Vents, and Reggio Register.  If one finds oneself in the market for wood flush mount vent covers, visit Shop 4 Classics to purchase one.  Or two.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Slipper Tubs Large and Small: These Slippers are Available in Sizes to Fit Every Queen

long time ago in a kingdom far away, so the story goes, lived a poor but beautiful young lady named Cinderella. Cinderella spent her days tirelessly cooking and cleaning for an evil and ungrateful bunch all the while dreaming of meeting a handsome prince that would make her a queen taking her away from her hard life. Long story short, one night her fairy godmother pays her a visit and makes her magical slippers that would fit only Cinderella.  She meets the prince that night but must leave early, leaving the prince with only one of her magical slippers.  The prince travels the kingdom trying to find a foot to match the slipper before finally fitting the slipper to Cinderella and the two are married eventually making Cinderella the queen of the kingdom. This fairy tale ends happily ever after for Cinderella but what about all of those forgotten female villagers that were surely devastated when their feet did not fit the slipper. I am sure that the vast majority of these women also toiled day in and day out; after all, modern home appliances would not be invented for hundreds of years.

We here at Shop 4 Classics may not in the shoe business but we do offer a slipper of a different sort that can provide an escape from the stresses and rigor of modern day life. Shop 4 Classics offers clawfoot slipper tubs and double-ended clawfoot slipper tubs that are specifically designed for comfort to provide a relaxing prolonged soaking. Clawfoot slipper tubs have an extended backrest that makes them perfect for reclining and relaxing while you bathe. The double-end slipper tub, as its name implies, features extended backrest at both ends making it the perfect tub for two. Best of all, unlike Cinderella’s magic slipper, Shop 4 Classics offers a wide selection of discount priced large slipper tubs and petite size slipper tubs to fit bathers and bathroom floor plans of all sizes, so almost anyone can be a queen for an hour or two each day.

Save even more of your hard-earned money by using Shop 4 Classics’ Tub10 coupon. TUB10 will apply a 10% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes a tub, faucet or shower, supply lines, and drain from the same manufacturer. The TUB10 coupon applies in addition to our already discounted prices. All Shop 4 Classics tub orders also include free crate, freight, and residential lift gate service.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hanging With Hinges: Butt Door Hinge Review

Generally speaking, when we talk about door hinges, we are talking about butt hinges.  There are many other types of hinges but the butt hinge is the most common type of hinge found on residential interior and entry doors.  Butt hinges can be quite plain but this doesn't have to be the case and often is not in older homes.  Today, the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog turns its spotlight on the butt door hinge.

Butt door hinges have two rectangular leaves.  One leaf is mortised into the edge of the door while the other is mortised into the door jamb.  The mortised (or recessed) installation allows the door to close flush with the frame.  It is also why butt door hinges are sometimes called mortise door hinges or full mortise door hinges.  Between the leaves is the joint that allows the hinge to pivot.  The joint consists of a pin inside a stacked row of knuckles known as the barrel.  At each end of the hinge pin is a finial that caps the barrel at both ends.

Butt hinges are measured from corner to corner of the leaves with the hinge in the open position.  There are many sizes but in residential construction, 3.5" x 3.5" butt hinges and 4" x 4" butt hinges are most common.  Smaller hinges usually install with three screws while larger butt hinges install with four screws.  Door weight, thickness, and size all factor into the size and quantity of hinges required to support a door.  Interior doors usually hang on 2 or 3 mortise hinges.  Entry doors are normally heavier than interior doors and typically swing on 3 mortise hinges that may be larger than hinges used on interior doors.

Most frequently, the leaves on butt hinges are unembellished.  However, in the Victorian Era any visible piece of architectural hardware that could be decorated was decorated.  Typical for the period, Victorian butt hinges often have ornate patterns cast into the leaves.

The highest quality butt hinges are cast in brass and offered in a choice of popular finishes to match other door hardware.  Polished brass and antique brass door hardware is typical of homes from the Victorian era.  Arts & Crafts homes and traditional homes tend to favor earthy finishes such as oil rubbed bronze or antique pewter.  Chrome hardware was especially popular in homes from the Art Deco period while modern and contemporary homes are often accented with brushed nickel hardware.

Shop 4 Classics offers butt hinges that include a choice of finials to further complement your home's architectural style.  Urn-tipped finials agree with the urn motif that appears in many Federal and Colonial style homes.  Victorian butt hinges are frequently decorated with steeple-tipped finials.  Nature themes were common to Arts & Crafts homes and so acorn-tipped finials are perfectly suited for homes of this period.  Modern and contemporary homes feature butt hinges with flat-tipped or button-tipped finials.  And finally, the ubiquitous ball-tipped finials are popular with butt hinges in homes of all eras.

One last thought about butt hinges, the name includes a word that juveniles find amusing.  My 3 year old nephew, for example, has become quite enamored with the word "butt"; often to my sister's chagrin.  Although no longer socially acceptable, there was a time when his behavior might have been corrected with a strap, which is an entirely different type of hinge.  Strap hinges, butt hinges, cabinet door hinges, and socially acceptable hinges of all types can be found at Shop 4 Classics.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bronze and Aluminum Decorative Vent Covers by Classic Grills

Classic Grills patterns and molds are all hand crafted and poured in bronze. Each of the resulting grills display truly unique qualities that are uncommon today. With one of a kind designs in a wide variety of sizes, Classic Grills offering of grills and registers will not only meet your technical requirements but also express your own sense of style.  Each of Classic Grills unique grille patterns are offered in their own set of sizes and in some cases finish and function options.  Below is a quick overview of the wonderful Classic Grills vent covers available at Shop 4 Classics.  

Art Deco Vent Cover
Classic Grills' Art Deco vent cover is offered with louver assemblies as a heat register or with their air diffuser screen as an air return vent cover.  Art Deco heat registers and Art Deco return grilles are currently offered in 11 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 8" to 12" and heights ranging from 4" to 12".  The grille is constructed of sleek white bronze and features a classic Art Deco style pattern work of interconnecting geometric shapes and lines. 

Art & Crafts Vent Cover
Classic Grills Arts & Crafts vent cover is offered with louver assemblies as a heat register or with their air diffuser screen as an air return vent cover.  Arts & Crafts heat registers are available in 23 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 14" and heights ranging from 2" to 14".   Arts & Crafts return vent covers are available in 73 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 36" and heights ranging from 2" to 24".  The grille is offered in solid bronze and lighter weight aluminum and features a geometric pattern similar to that found on Prairie style art glass windows of the Arts and Crafts period.  The Arts & Crafts bronze grille is available in light oil rubbed bronze, dark oil rubbed bronze, burnished antique bronze, and satin white bronze while the aluminum grille is offered in black, brown and white. 

Vintage Octagon Vent Cover
Classic Grills' Octagon vent cover features a classic octagon pattern that can be commonly found in early 1900's homes as well as antique architectural salvage businesses throughout the United States.   The Octagon vent cover is currently offered as a cold air return vent cover in 18 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 30" and heights ranging from 4" to 18".  The Octagon vent cover is available in bronze and aluminum grilles.   Bronze octagon grilles are available in light and dark oil rubbed bronze, burnished antique bronze, and satin white bronze.  Aluminum octagon grilles are available in black, brown and white. 

Craftsman Vent Cover
Classic Grills' Craftsman vent cover offers another variation of an Arts Crafts style grille.  Currently, the simple grid pattern Craftsman vent cover is offered only in bronze but is available as both a louvered heat register and as a screened return air vent cover grille.  Craftsman heat registers are available in 21 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 14" and heights ranging from 2" to 14".   Craftsman return vent covers are available in 43 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 48" and heights ranging from 2" to 24".

Grape Leaf Vent Cover
Classic Grills' Grape Leaf vent cover offers a distinctive custom look with its decorative grapevine designed solid bronze grille.   The Grape Leaf vent cover is available with louver assemblies as a heat register or with their air diffuser screen as an air return vent cover. Grape Leaf registers are currently offered in 6 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 14" and heights ranging from 4" to 6" and the Grape Leaf return grilles are offered in 7 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 14" and heights ranging from 4" to 8".  Chose from Classic Grills light oil rubbed bronze, dark oil rubbed bronze, antique burnished bronze, and satin white bronze finishes.

Renaissance Vent Cover
Classic Grills Renaissance vent cover features a classic scroll pattern grille complementary of traditional as well vintage style settings.  The Renaissance vent cover is offered in all four of Classic Grills' bronze options and in white, black and brown aluminum.   Both the aluminum and bronze Renaissance grilles are available with louvers as heat registers and with diffuser screens as return air vent cover grilles. Renaissance heat registers are available in 14 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 10" to 14" and heights ranging from 2" to 10". Renaissance return vent covers are available in 56 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 6" to 30" and heights ranging from 2" to 24".

Victorian Vent Cover
Classic Grills' Victorian vent cover's decorative vine and leaf grille is available in cast bronze and cast aluminum and with either attached louver assemblies for air control or with attached diffuser screens for return air vents.   The Victorian bronze grille is available in light oil rubbed bronze, dark oil rubbed bronze, burnished antique bronze, and satin white bronze while the aluminum grille is offered in black, brown and white.   Victorian heat registers are available in 8 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 8" to 14" and heights ranging from 4" to 8".  Victorian return vent covers are available in 17 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from 8" to 30" and heights ranging from 4" to 20".

Bamboo Vent Cover
The perfect complement to tropical and Asian themed decor, Classic Grills' Bamboo themed vent cover features a woven style grille framed by bamboo stalks all artfully created from solid bronze.   The Bamboo vent cover is only available as an air return grille with Classic Grills innovative air diffuser screen. Bamboo air return vent covers are currently offered in 10 sizes to fit vent openings with widths ranging from  8" to 14" and heights ranging from 4" to 10" .  Chose from Classic Grills light oil rubbed bronze, dark oil rubbed bronze, antique burnished bronze, and satin white bronze finishes.

Renaissance Vent Cover

Classic Grills' Renaissance round vent cover features a classic scroll pattern grille complementary of traditional as well vintage style settings. The Renaissance vent cover is offered in all four of Classic Grills' bronze options and are available with louvers as heat registers and with diffuser screens as return air vent cover grilles. Renaissance round heat registers are available in 5 sizes fit vent openings with diameters ranging from 6" to 14"  while the Renaissance round return vent covers are available in 6 sizes to fit vent openings with diameters ranging from 4" to 14".

Don't forget to use one of Shop 4 Classics money saving HARDWARE coupon codes on your Classic Grills purchase.  HARDWARE10 will apply a 10% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes a total of $1,000 in heat registers and air return grilles from the same manufacturer. HARDWARE5 will apply a 5% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes $500 in heat registers and air return grilles from the same manufacturer. The HARDWARE5 and HARDWARE10 coupons apply in addition to our already discounted prices and, as always, shipping is free for any order of $100 from a single manufacturer.

Is this your first time buying decorative vent covers?  If so, check out Shop 4 Classics Vent Cover tips for a quick introductory lesson on shopping for vent covers. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Breaking Down Gooseneck Clawfoot Tub Faucets

If you didn't know better, you might think that a clawfoot tub faucet includes all sorts of integral parts working in unison to deliver bath water to your clawfoot tub.  In truth, it is not as complicated as it might look.  There are quite a few parts but the parts are pretty simple in your average clawfoot tub faucet and most of the parts are assembled by the manufacturer prior to shipping.  Although you probably won't ever need to know the nitty-gritty details, familiarity with the assembly of a clawfoot tub faucet can make shopping for one a little less intimidating.

Gooseneck Clawfoot Tub Faucet Parts Explosion Diagram

The parts explosion diagram above depicts a gooseneck clawfoot tub faucet.  Gooseneck clawfoot tub faucets are the most popular clawfoot tub faucet Shop 4 Classics offers.  They are most popular because (a) they are generally more moderately priced than other clawfoot tub faucet types and (b) the gooseneck spout is considered code-friendly because it extends above the tub rim; which is required by code in many areas.  Although the parts diagram shows a gooseneck clawfoot tub faucet, other types of clawfoot tub faucets will assemble in much the same way.

Once installed, there is rarely any reason to disassemble a clawfoot tub faucet except to repair a leaky valve.  In the old days, clawfoot tub faucets used compression valves.  Compression valves rely on rubber washers that eventually wear out and need to be replaced.  Compression valves have been mostly phased out and replaced with washerless ceramic disk valves today.  Washerless valves have self-contained ceramic disk cartridges as shown in the diagram above.  Inside the cartridge, is a pair of ceramic disks that rotate to open and close the valve.  The ceramic disk cartridges only require one quarter of a rotation to fully open the valve.  For this reason, they are also often called quarter turn valves.  Because the disks are ceramic rather than rubber, ceramic disk cartridges usually last for a very long time.  If the disks crack or break, the complete cartridge can be replaced almost as easily as replacing a battery in a flashlight.  The most critical function of a clawfoot tub faucet (i.e., turning water on and off) is centralized in the two self-contained cartridges. Recognizing this should limit your concerns about what could go wrong with a clawfoot tub faucet.

You can't go wrong choosing a clawfoot tub faucet from Shop 4 Classics.  Shop 4 Classics offers trusted name brands, great selection, discount prices, and free shipping for clawfoot tub faucets.  Save an additional 5% on complete clawfoot tub faucet orders that include a clawfoot tub drain and clawfoot tub supply lines from the same manufacturer with our FAUCET5 coupon code.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Five Vintage Kitchen Accessories That Add Function As Well As Style

Since moving into my new old home a few years ago, completing the look of my vintage themed kitchen proved to be a struggle. I wanted a clean look with a few accent pieces that looked like they had purpose, rather than merely adding decorative clutter. The kitchen, after all, is the most functional space in the home and I wanted to accent this space with items that reflected this. Early in my search I found just the vintage kitchen accents that fit my requirement; unfortunately most were too expensive or difficult to find in the United States. Years have passed and as fate should have it many of the five kitchen accessories are now available here in the United States at reasonable prices through Shop 4 Classics.

Vintage Cast Iron Egg Spiral Stand
Available in black and white, this vintage egg spiral stand can be used as originally intended to hold hard boiled eggs as they cool or can be used to display decorative eggs as a purely attractive accent piece. Unlike other egg spirals on the market, this egg spiral stand is created from heavy cast iron and features a traditional design complementary to French country, vintage country and other traditional kitchen themes.

Long before the invention of the juicer, the hand-turned fruit press was used when a recipe or drink called for fresh fruit juice. This vintage cast iron fruit press not only extracts juice with a few twists of its handle it also adds an eye-catching conversation piece to your kitchen gathering space.

This decorative oak tree themed cook book stand features weighted bookmarks that hold pages open. It is constructed of heavy cast iron and at 11” tall is large enough to hold open even larger cookbooks in place or it can be used simply to display the antique family recipe book that has been passed down for generations.

Cast Iron Pig with Piglets Keyholder
Add a little country charm with this decorative pig nursing her piglets keyholder. This cast iron keyholder is perfect for keeping those elusive sets of keys in plain view but it can also be used for purely decorative purpose like displaying a collection of vintage skeleton keys.

Cast Iron Trivets
Cast iron trivets are designed to provide a safe place to rest hot pots so that they will not damage kitchen counter tops or dinner tables. However, cast iron trivets with ornate or novel designs are commonly hung on walls as vintage accent pieces.

It may be the dog-days of summer but the holiday season fast approaches and in years past our vintage kitchen accessories were such popular gift items that they were difficult to keep in stock during the months leading up to Christmas. Therefore, we recommend shopping early for these items to avoid potential backorders.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pewter Cabinet Hardware: What's Your Flavor?

Pewter, although not necessarily pewter cabinet hardware, has been in use since the Bronze Age. Like bronze, pewter is an alloy that is produced by mixing two or more other metals. Bronze and pewter use the same ingredients mixed to a different recipe. Bronze is primarily copper mixed with a dash of tin. Conversely, pewter is primarily tin with a pinch of copper. Other elements may also be added to season the alloy but it is tin and copper that is of primary importance.

Initially, pewter has a bright silver sheen but it rapidly loses its luster and develops the subdued gray patina for which it is best recognized. It is the high tin content in pewter that gives pewter its mellow gray color. In addition to its contribution to color, having tin as a primary ingredient offers several other benefits:
  1. Because tin is a relatively inexpensive metal, it makes pewter more economical than many other alloys.
  2. Tin's melting point is approximately 450 degrees. Because tin melts at about the same temperature required to bake a frozen pot pie, pewter can be cast at relatively low temperatures.
  3. Tin is a soft metal. The reason copper and other elements are added to tin is to harden the resulting metal (pewter). Even with the stiffening ingredients, its high tin content makes pewter a malleable (shapeable) alloy.
Pewter has long been a popular choice for cabinet hardware. Its neutral gray color can adapt to traditional settings as well as contemporary settings. To extend its charm, low relief areas are often antiqued to highlight the intricate designs that can be cast in pewter cabinet hardware. Victorian era pewter cabinet hardware features elaborate patterns that are made possible by pewter's low melting point. Conversely, it is pewter's malleable qualities that allow it to be hammered to create cabinet hardware with the simple designs favored by the Arts & Crafts crowd. While it is the metallic qualities and geometric shapes that make pewter cabinet hardware appealing to modernists. Regardless of your architectural inclinations, pewter cabinet hardware's economical prices make it a favorite for all tastes.

Pewter Cabinet Hardware from Antique Revelry

Shop 4 Classics offers a large selection of pewter cabinet knobs, pewter bin pulls, and pewter cup pulls from Antique Revelry, MYOH, and Acorn Manufacturing. Visit Shop 4 Classics to see what’s cooking in pewter cabinet hardware.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Novelty Door Stops: Cast Iron Birds, Cats, Dogs and Frogs Oh My – MYOH!

I would guess that simple door stops were probably invented a few days after the hinged door was invented. A wedged piece of wood or a heavy stone may have worked fine for a while but I imagine that it did not take long for the simple door stop to be transformed into decorative home accents. Once the door stop took more decorative forms, I am sure that the first cast iron door stops were introduced. Heavy and inexpensive, cast iron is the perfect material for creating decorative door stops. A craftsman’s unique door stop designs could be turned into patterns that iron foundries would use to cheaply cast over and over again replicas of the craftsman’s original design. As simple as the door stops purpose may be, there are actually available in two basic designs. Cast iron door stops are either smaller wedge-style door stops or heavier and typically larger non-wedge style door stops.

Recently, Shop 4 Classics added novelty cast iron door stops from MYOH, Make Your Own Home. MYOH’s cast iron door stops are available in a variety of novel animal shapes as well as traditional designs. Their collection of wedge-style door stops includes small mouse, frog and bird characters. MYOH’s larger non-wedge door stop collection includes novel black cat and terrier themed door stops. Whether you are looking for a decorative door stop as a unique home accent or in need of a door stop purely to keep an open door in its place, MYOH has a novelty cast iron door stop perfect for your home.