New Door Hardware

(Original post from my Blogger; visit to view it.  And please also excuse my poor-quality iPhone pictures.)

I’ve been rushing through home-improvement projects for the last couple of months to get my house “ready” for relatives visiting at Christmas.  I’m not naturally gifted with hospitality, but I was excited to share my new house with family, so I rolled up my sleeves and started furiously working through my mental project list.

LOTS of painting, more spray painting, some installed shelves, lots of new furniture, hanging (and purchasing) wall art, caulking, more painting, and then finally finishing my doors and installing new hardware!

My house was built in 1920, and while many things have been updated since it was built (hooray for vinyl windows, AC, and the addition of a second bathroom!), the vintage doors remain.  I loved that they were painted white (along with the trim in the house), but the hardware was a bit of a mess.  At some point the owners decided that painting over the hardware would be the easiest route.  Layers of paint were encrusted over the screw heads on the door plates and mortise locks.  Boo.

I had my heart set on these vintage glass knobs.  The old ones were (presumably) brass knobs that had also been painted (most of them black).  Ick.  After taking off all the hardware on one of my doors to figure out how it worked, I purchased the glass knobs.

Here is a picture of the ugly painted hardware with my new glass knobs–just for kicks.

But I wasn’t about to leave the painted hardware as is.  Especially since the current door hardware didn’t really fit my new knobs.  So I purchased some new door hardware.  I don’t think it’s actually vintage (like the knobs), but it was created to look vintage, so I’m okay with it.
I then proceeded to take the hardware off of all of the doors.  This required chipping away the paint over the screws (with a screwdriver), prying the paint-covered brass hardware off the doors, and desperately trying to keep from seriously injuring myself in the process.  Although I did find some interesting objects that had been stuffed through the lock holes, including a piece of a Lite Bright (oh, childhood memories!)  Without knobs (but with the locks), my roommate and I did manage to lock ourselves in one of the rooms once.  Oops.  Thankfully only once.
Then I had to sand down the edges of approximately four coats of paint where the door hardware met the painted door.  Fun stuff.  Plus I got to fill a botched deadbolt addition to one of the doors.  What do they always say: Measure twice, cut once?  Someone should remind whoever decided to install the lock that cutting the hole through the door too big would leave gaping holes around the installed hardware.  Definitely had to go.  And sorry, it was too hideous to photograph.  So I spent an afternoon filling it with wood filler, and then another evening sanding it down.
Before (see the ugly black-painted knob & poorly installed deadbolt?):
Once the doors (there are six) were sanded (and appropriate wood filler/putty was put on them) I was finally able to repaint them.  One side at a time.  Thankfully the doors were only sans hardware for a week.  Then I stripped the paint off the exterior of the mortise locks. (Side note: paint/varnish stripper really hurts if it gets on your skin.  Be smarter than me, wear gloves if you use it!)
And finally, on Christmas Eve, I was able to install the new hardware, clean mortise locks, and new knobs.  Finally, operating doors!
Just in time to host my first family Christmas gathering yesterday.  Hooray!
And now I’m officially on a painting sabbatical.  I’m determined to just sit around and enjoy my house as it is before starting on my next project, at least for a little while.