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library, part 06: installing hardware

04.08 going old school. literally.

click to see the full photo gallery[NOTE: this project was done in conjunction with the guest room & studio project.]

´╗┐Walls now painted, we were finally getting down to the finishing touches. Which, as anyone who's done a home improvement project knows, tends to take fifty times longer than you think it will and can sometimes feel like an agonzingly slow death by minute degrees. Wow, did we ever learn that with the attic project.

But the details, this time around, were surprisingly manageable. We ordered the switchplate because I found one I really liked on the Van Dyke Hardware site that had a hammered copper finish and a really nice Arts & Crafts detail that would add a nice extra touch to the library. Which basically decided the look for the outlet covers: plain metal in a similar finish. Yes, sometimes we can choose the easy and convenient route, not every detail requires a gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.

We wanted to keep as much of the existing hardware as possible -- the stuff that was original, at least. But we were missing crucial parts for some things and we wanted the window hardware in the three rooms (guest room, bathroom, and library) to match, or at least be similar. Time for another stint of digging through bins of very old hardware at Hippo!

We were on a quest for 3 sash window locks, 3 window handles, 1 strike plate, and 20 wood screws of a particular size and patina.  We came up with the 3 sash window locks after about an hour of digging through the three drawers of them, but couldn't find the 2nd half of the mechanism for any of them that matched the height. Found two handles with similar patinas and a third one with a chrome patina that would have to be removed if we were going to use it.  And then I sifted through three glass jars and two drawers of wood screws to find 20 that would fit the handles and strike plates, with the right heads, threads, and patinas on top. At least finding a strike plate that was the right design didn't take very long.

As for the fixtures, the overhead light and wall sconce definitely had to go. We had a very clear idea of what we wanted for the library: a pendant arm fixture with a large enclosed shade, similar to what you would've seen in an old library or schoolhouse. The St. Johns library, in fact, has fixtures very much like what we had in mind.

Well, where better to go for an old schoolhouse type fixture than a place called Schoolhouse Electric? They specialize in crafting high quality reproduction fixtures. Particularly, reproductions of old schoolhouse fixtures. Which meant they had exactly what we wanted for the library. And we pretty much adore everything else they make, too. And yes, they're that Schoolhouse Electric...the very one that provides fixtures for Rejuvenation.

We'd spent quite a bit of time on the Schoolhouse Electric website so we had it narrowed down somewhat. Which I'm glad we did, because we could've been there a lot longer if we'd never seen all they had before, and I was already drooling over their fixtures enough as it was. We decided on what we wanted for the main library fixture and because the one we chose didn't eat up our entire lighting budget, we actually had enough leftover to get a sconce that we liked for both the library and guest room to replace the current fixtures that aren't the right style/period at all. Here was the final list:

  • for the main light in the library, the Willamette in matte bronze (the finish shown in that picture) with this shade
  • for the sconce in the guest room, the Montclair Single in brushed nickel (the finish shown in that picture) with this shade
  • for the sconce in the library, the same as the sconce in the guest room, except in the matte bronze finish

click to see the full photo galleryThey had the sconces available in stock but only one of the shades for them so they needed two weeks to make another one. But we also needed them both wired with turn switches since the sconces aren't controlled by the switches in the bedrooms, which would also take two weeks, so that was fine. We didn't need them for a while anyway. And we also had to give them a final length on the pendant -- they make it custom to the length you need. They give you a balloon and some string to take home so you can measure what looks best, which I think is so clever. We decided our pendant would hang down 27"in the library (we have 10' ceilings). And hilariously, we kept the balloon taped to the ceiling so we could pretend the light was already installed.

Feeling pretty chuffed about our success there, we moved on to Rejuvenation. It's always good to go in there feeling strong and confident because my god, that place makes me weak in the knees. The glorious Stickley furniture, the faithfully crafted hardware...it's enough to make you consider bank robbery as a career choice.

They had a Morris spindle chair recliner that I think Sal would've committed adultery with if I'd let him sit in it any longer. And a beautiful Mission bookcase with an Arts & Crafts iris motif inlay detail around the handles that...well, all I can say is that it's a good thing the fabulous Miss M wasn't with me or I might've been tempted to sign her over as payment. Tempted, people! Tempted! I didn't say I'd actually do it....

See, diamonds are not this girl's best friend. Talk to me about solitaires and princess cuts and platinum settings and my eyes will glaze over. I have no interest in anniversary necklaces or pearl earrings for my birthday. Utter the name "Gustav Stickley", on the other hand...whisper sweet nothings of Green & Green bungalows, Rookwood pottery, and Dard Hunter graphics, I'm putty in your hands. Seduce me with talk of mitered corner splining, ship lap planking, and pinned mortise and tenon joinery, and I will agree to marry you.

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -- William Morris

Oh how I love the Arts & Crafts movement....

HOWEVER! The Force was strong with us and we didn't succumb to the siren song of pretty, staying on task and focused. (It's always good to have a partner when you go in to help you resist temptation.) Thankfully, the cast iron sash lock originals they had on their website were exactly what we were looking for AND we finally found some sash lifts we liked in their salvage section that matched the locks. We were in and out in about 30 minutes, with nary a expensive piece of reproduction furniture or hardware we couldn't afford charged on our credit card.

click to see the full photo gallery´╗┐