Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hand Painted Ceramic Knobs add Color and Character to Cabinet Doors and Drawers

A few years ago I bought a beaten up roll top desk for fifty dollars with plans to clean it up for use in my home office. However, I was soon disappointed upon unloading the desk at home. I discovered that the desk was not old enough to be considered an antique, smelled terribly of cigarette smoke, and was in far worse shape than I originally thought. The desk sat in my garage for months while I sprayed it daily with a vinegar solution in an attempt to remove the smell. I finally gave up on the desk and turn my focus to finding the easiest and cheapest way to dispose of it. I began breaking the desk down in order to haul to the city dump when I came up with an idea to transform the desk into a two person computer workstation for my kids. I was able to reuse the desk’s two sets of drawers and its roll-top top, which I cut in half to create a printer cabinet. Several coats of high quality paint covered the smell of cigarette smoke and dressed up its worn exterior. Finally, the workstation was assembled and completed with new decorative cabinet hardware. It turned out to be much more work than I originally anticipated but resulted in a very large, sturdy, and most importantly inexpensive piece of furniture. Fortunately, not all furniture restoration projects have to be so elaborate. Adding new knob and pull cabinet hardware may be all that is needed to give a tired piece of furniture a new look.

Decorative painted ceramic cabinet knobs and pulls offer an affordable and easy way to add character to furniture, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinets. Ceramic cabinet knobs are ideal for children’s bathroom vanities and bedroom furniture because they are available with colorful, whimsical designs and are easier for small hands to grip because they are typically larger than traditional cabinet knobs. Hand painted ceramic knobs can become the crowning jewels of colorful kitchen remodels as well. Renovations of old kitchens often include painting kitchen cabinets and adding decorative tile backsplashes. With so many different color and design combinations to choose from, there is sure to be a ceramic cabinet knob that will complement or add contrast to newly painted kitchen cabinets and installed tile backsplashes.



Shop 4 Classics recently added new hand painted ceramic cabinet knobs from Antique Revelry. These ceramic knobs feature colorful designs and decorative brass bases and tops. The collection includes painted ball ceramic knobs, small painted fluted ceramic knobs, and a large fluted ceramic knob. Infuse color and character into your furniture restoration project or kitchen or bath remodel with unique hand painted ceramic knobs from Antique Revelry!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Linsanity: The Jeremy Lin Effect On Vintage Door Hardware

Jeremy Lin is everywhere. You may not recognize his name in the context of the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog but you've surely heard of him. Jeremy Lin is the basketball phenomenon who just a few weeks ago was relatively unknown. Jeremy Lin does a lot of things well and I root for him but for all he does well, Jeremy Lin is also turning the ball over at a record pace. Most of us overlook that flaw in his game because the rest of the story is just too good. Living in an old home can be that way sometimes. The kitchens are too small. Closet space is limited. The windows are drafty. We accept the downside in exchange for the character of an old home. Like Jeremy Lin, the good is just too good to concern ourselves with the less favorable.

Recently, I worked with a customer to select door hardware for her home. To protect her identity, I'll call her Loretta. Loretta and her husband are in the process of restoring their Victorian home. Over time, they plan to replace all of the worn antique door hardware. Conscientious restorers, Loretta and her husband wanted antique reproduction door hardware that matched the original vintage door hardware as closely as possible. Because antique mortise locks were installed in the doors, I recommended Nostalgic Warehouse antique reproduction door hardware. Nostalgic Warehouse is one of the few door hardware companies whose hardware is designed to work with either tubular or interior mortise type locks. They offer a comprehensive collection of vintage backplate and door knob designs to fit every architectural era. Naturally, Loretta chose the Victorian doorplates. Crystal door knobs were original to Loretta's home. Although she preferred Nostalgic Warehouse's New York door knob, Loretta chose Nostalgic Warehouse's Victorian backplates with crystal door knobs out of respect for her home's history. The crystal door knobs are Loretta's Jeremy Lin. They are such a perfect fit for her home that Loretta forgets that they were not her preferred choice.

Shop 4 Classics offers Nostalgic Warehouse's complete catalog of antique reproduction door hardware. In addition to discount prices and free shipping for orders over $100.00, Shop 4 Classics offers the HARDWARE5 coupon for an additional 5% discount on Nostalgic Warehouse orders of $500.00 or more or the HARDWARE10 coupon for an additional 10% discount on Nostalgic Warehouse orders of $1,000.00 or more. Shop 4 Classics and Nostalgic Warehouse, a "linning" combination.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cast Iron Shower Pans: Vintage Fixtures Fitting For Small Bathrooms in Old Homes

Vintage homes are full of character but are typically lacking in the number of full bathrooms. Thus, adding another full bath is often high on old home remodel plans. If an addition to the home is not possible due to budget or lot size, home owners are left with either trying to add a bathtub to an existing half size bath or carving space for a new bath for the home’s already tight floor plan. Either way the bathroom may be too small to accommodate a normal size bathtub. Before succumbing to frustrations and giving up on the idea of adding a full bath, consider adding a cast iron shower pan instead of a bathtub. Cast iron shower pans accompanied with an exposed riser shower can not only solve space issues but also transform the small bathroom into a focal point of your vintage home remodel.

Shop 4 Classics offers porcelain coated cast iron shower pans and exposed riser showers from Sign of the Crab and Sunrise Specialty. Sign of the Crab’s cast iron shower pan stands on clawfeet similar to those found on its clawfoot bathtubs. Sunrise Specialty’s cast iron shower pan is a drop-in model that fits within a frame that must be constructed as a part of the bathroom remodel. Sign of the Crab collection of exposed riser showers includes one with modern thermostatic controls and several showers with handheld shower attachments. Sunrise Specialty also offers exposed riser pipe showers and they too include showers with optional handheld shower attachments as well as a shower with thermostatic functions. Both Sign of the Crab and Sunrise Specialty offer their exposed pipe showers in brass, polished nickel, brushed/satin nickel, chrome and a bronze finish. However, Sign of the Crab’s Oil Rubbed Bronze finish is charcoal black in color whereas Sunrise Specialty’s Old Bronze finish is an antique brown finish. Both Sign of the Crab and Sunrise Specialty have been in business for over 30 years and both are known for their industry leading quality and service.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vintage Baseboard Register Tension Adjustments: Keeping Your Flap Open

Fifteen years ago, I purchased an Arts & Crafts era bungalow. My old home was a bit worn down but I saw its restoration potential. One of the first problems I encountered in my restoration involved gravity style baseboard registers. These vintage heat registers were all over my home but only a few worked properly. The large damper flap that controls air flow either closed or flapped freely when the furnace came on. At the time, replacement vintage baseboard registers simply weren't available to correct the problem. Jerry-rigging ran rampant. Previous home owners crammed wads of paper in the grills to hold the damper open on some registers. On other heat registers, more sophisticated corrections were made with binder clips or clothes pins. While these makeshift "damper stops" held the flap open, they sure left my restoration looking incomplete.

Fortunately for me, Mission Metalworks began reproducing antique baseboard registers a few years ago. These reproduction gravity style baseboard registers not only look great but they work great too. The Grid grill pattern and Cathedral grill pattern are exact matches to two of the antique baseboard register grill patterns found in my own home. Furthermore, the Mission Metalworks vintage baseboard registers feature a design that allows for adjustments to the damper. There is a screw in each upper corner of the grill. The screws thread into clamps on the back of the grill. The damper rotates in the clamps. Tightening the screws on the front of the register creates more tension on the damper. The additional tension on the damper prevents it from gradually closing.

My old home restoration is now complete. The problem with the antique baseboard registers has been resolved. The Mission Metalworks vintage baseboard registers scattered about my house continue to work flawlessly. The flaps stay open without the aid of mechanical tomfoolery such as paper wads, clothes pins, and binder clips. Visit Shop 4 Classics for Mission Metalworks vintage baseboard registers.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Art Deco Pedestal Sinks & Console Sinks: Introducing Futuristic Bathroom Sinks from the Past

Strom Plumbing’s new series of bathroom sinks includes two Art Deco pedestal sinks and an Art Deco console sink. True to Art Deco style, all of these sinks feature rectangular bowls and distinctive angular profiles. The addition of the new pedestal sinks and console sink complement Strom Plumbing’s existing Mississippi line of Art Deco lavatory faucets, tub and shower sets, and bath accessories.



Without a doubt, the bathroom experienced its greatest transformation during the Art Deco period. Restoring and recreating these truly unique bathrooms is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. A quick study of the Art Deco period and its influences is a wise first step before immersing oneself in the project’s construction details and array of product selection exercises.


The Art Deco period of design began in the 1920’s and lasted through the 1930’s. The beginnings of the Art Deco period was shaped by the destruction, as well as the amazing strides in technology, brought about by World War I. Following World War I, there was understandably a desire to put the past behind. There was, however, a surprising amount of optimism toward the future as the peacetime benefits of the new technologies that the War introduced was contemplated. Thus it should come as no surprise that architecture, industrial design and art of the Art Deco period represented a radical departure from the past Victorian period. Unlike the Victorian period that drew inspiration from the past, Art Deco design was forward looking. The ornate Victorian design elements that borrowed from ancient Greek and Roman civilizations fell out of style in favor of stylized designs inspired by the modern aircraft and other products transformed by technology of the day. The use of new materials like plastics, chrome plating and exotic species of wood veneers further added to the unique look of products from the Art Deco period.

Interested in learning more about Art Deco bathrooms or Art Deco faucets, fixtures, and hardware available at Shop4Classics? Check out my earlier blog entry on Art Deco bathrooms.