The Hardware That Almost Was

I mentioned in my last post that I’d had a difficult time deciding on hardware for the Bluestone Cottage kitchen cabinetry, so I thought it might be fun to show you the ones that almost made the cut! Hardware is kind of like tile and lighting—there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF out there in the world, so saying yes to one feels like rejecting all the other ones. Other ones which possibly you like more on their own, but less when you consider how they’d really fit into the context of your space…but you want them anyway. Incidentally, this is also how you end up low-key addicted to renovating kitchens because if you can’t use it here, maybe you can use it there. YA KNOW?

Omg Daniel, relax. You’re just showing them some hardware; it doesn’t have to be a whole THING.

Sorry, I have to make it about me. This goes for hardware as well as everything.

Please don’t look at me that way! You knew what you were getting into when you opened this post. Can we get on with it now? I’m TRYING to tell you something unimportant.

First, let’s take a look at this perfect thing that the genius powerhouses at Plain English did. Everything Plain English does is perfect. Like literally how are they so good. (psssst. They sell cabinets in the States now. Just saying.)

I’m neither cool nor rich enough to execute a kitchen like this, but I did spend some time looking at various British kitchens as I pulled together the Bluestone kitchen (deVol, of course, is another favorite if you, like me, enjoy feeling like trash from time to time). The Brits are just nailing that Downton Abby Victorian kitchen thing so hard, and I feel like Bluestone wanted a little of that vibe. I pulled this particular image above because check out that mix of hardware! We have bin pulls, knobs, AND drop pulls! MADNESS. The British! Are out! Of control!

And yet somehow, it works. Some things just aren’t for us to know.

Anyway. I had 15 drawers and 6 doors to glitz up. I think this kitchen needed to stay consistent—doors treated one way, drawers another—to keep things a little interesting but not become a point of distraction. I put that image up there because that’s what I kept thinking about—how any 9 pieces of hardware would look on that one bank of cabinetry, which you can see from the front door. Pressure!!

21 pieces of hardware isn’t a lot for a kitchen, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton, so all of these options are under $15 a piece, and mostly a lot less. Let’s go.

1. Amerock Burnished Brass Oval Cup Pull, $4.83/piece. About as no-nonsense as a cup pull can get, and by the end I felt like the room could take a little more excitement. But it’s nice, affordable, and comes in loads of other finishes. The burnished, faux-patina kind of finish was more convincing than expected, but it was just a little too shiny for me to be sold. I wonder if that shine could be knocked down with a chemical stripper or something without affecting the coloring.

2. Sumner Street Home Antique Brass Drop Pull, $4.06/piece. Surprised me too! But scroll up to that Plain English kitchen! This one is definitely all about context. You see this style a lot in those British kitchens, and they look really good. But here, they looked a little crowded on the slimmer rail of my Shaker-style doors, and it seemed like they’d lead to fingers touching the cabinet more than something that doesn’t move. But I’m glad to know this option is out there, and super affordable!

3. Franklin Brass Victorian Glass Arch Pull, $5.20/piece. I really love glass hardware. It’s just so PRETTY. You see it a lot on old furniture and cabinetry, and these pulls and the coordinating knobs ($3.67/piece) are basically exact reproductions of antique ones I’ve picked up here and there for stuff (like my bathroom hamper cabinet, or the original knob on that little closet door in my office-turned-laundry-room, respectively!). And cheap! They come in a 5-pack, which I bought from Lowe’s but doesn’t seem to be for sale online anymore, but you can also find them on Amazon and elsewhere. Perfect for so many things! To me they just felt a little precious given the concentration (think of the 9 drawers!), like too much of a good thing.

4. Brainerd Wood Cabinet Knob, $1.48/piece. Ahhhh, the wood knob. People love it. People hate it. It’s been around forever but—thanks to those Brits—has become kind of the hardware du jour when painted the same color as the cabinets. Admittedly, it looks great. I have two hesitations. The first is keeping them clean—seems like a chore. Second thing: you may recall years ago when I renovated my kitchen, I made my own wood knobs out of a dowel. This is obviously not that, but after a while those knobs started to spin and spin when you grasped them, and eventually might come off in your hand, and it was super annoying and felt unsustainable. I also had this problem with wooden knobs on my antique dresser. So I don’t know. I have trust issues and also they felt kinda too not-there for this kitchen. She needs a little glitz!

5. Lew’s Hardware Glass Bin Pull, $14.31/piece. By far our most expensive option, but IT WAS REALLY NICE. I put these on the original mood board and felt so confident they’d be the ones. There’s that really adorable glass/metal knob that goes with them ($8.55/piece) and they seemed super well-made. The glass was nice and thick, a little imperfect in a good way…I dunno, I really like them. There are a ton of glass options like this available at Lowe’s—I also considered this green version, this milk glass version, this SCALLOPED green version (CUTE)…all so nice. I don’t LOVE the shape of the metal part of the pull—can’t quite put my finger on why—but it’s fine and I love the glass part. At the end of the day, it seemed like maybe a lot of look with a bunch of them together, and I would have had to field too many comments about whether they’d get all gross and dirty on the inside surface, and I wouldn’t know either way because I don’t live here, and my credibility would be destroyed. And we can’t have that.

Ultimately, I went with that one that I just sort of threw in the online shopping cart last-minute, not really thinking I’d dig it. Ha! I dug it! This Amerock Golden Champagne Rectangular Cup Pull ($9.27/piece) is nice and sturdy, I like that “golden champagne” finish (you know, everyone’s favorite alloy! champagne!). They come in a ton of other finishes, too. They just felt classic but fresh at the same time, and for some reason the exposed flathead screws got me all hot and bothered. Then, because I have to drag everyone into my shit, I asked Juliet her opinion and she told me they looked like car door handles and I liked them even MORE because I live to piss everyone off. Of course, because I wasn’t thinking I’d choose them when I ordered them, I neglected to get coordinating knobs. Whoopsie. I ALMOST did the painted wooden knobs just for those 6 doors, which would have looked nice, but figured I’d check my local Lowe’s to see if they had anything good in stock while I was there anyway, and these knobs were right there, and the metals match (I know they look different in this photo, but I swear that’s a trick of the light), and so I got them.

I know. WHAT a harrowing story that was not worth your time or mine. Social isolation has made me so chatty.

OH AND BY THE WAY—thank you so much for all of the kind comments and messages when the Bluestone kitchen went up on the blog last week! I love this kitchen and worked hard on it, so hearing that so many of you like it too made me so so happy! Juliet and I took a few post-project-omg-I’m-dead days off and I wasn’t great about responding to things, but if you left a question in the comments on the last post, I think I answered them all now!

The point is, you guys continue to be the best around, and I don’t know how I got so lucky. Thank you.

P.S.—while this kitchen project was generously sponsored by my long-time partners at Lowe’s, this is not a sponsored post. I just thought it might be fun! In any case, all thoughts, feelings, opinions, judgments, condemnations, endorsements, drama, foul language, clean language, opinions on British people and their knobs (wink, wink), and run-on sentences are my own.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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33 Comments

  1. 7.8.20
    Mom said:

    How can you write about literally anything and keep it fun and relate-able? Love you.

    • 7.8.20
      Gregg said:

      So very true.

    • 7.14.20
      Linda said:

      We love him too~ Hi Mom

  2. 7.8.20
    emily said:

    Its not-not a plain English kitchen though! I love the way you balance the aspirational with whats achievable in budget – you always end up with something that’s just right. Its fun to see your thought process on the decisions that end you up there!

  3. 7.8.20
    Devyn said:

    So I was on the phone having a cocktail with my BFF last night and we were discussing just how British the Bluestone kitchen turned out to be. So true that the Brits have nailed the simple yet very Victorian kitchen look.

    Meanwhile, Americans are still shoving ugly oak big-box cabinets where they shouldn’t be (which is anywhere but the garbage).

    I fell in love with Plain English, DeVOL, and others when I was planning my kitchen in our NY apartment back in 2015. In fact, it was British kitchens which prompted me to go with bead-board walls instead of the already ubiquitous white subway tile.

    The The Peckham Rye Kitchen by DeVol is currently my favorite kitchen: https://www.devolkitchens.com/kitchens/classic-bespoke-kitchen/peckham-rye-kitchen.

    As for the hardware… I love the choice you made for the pulls. Classic and modern at the same time.

    • 7.9.20
      SusaninPeckham said:

      This cracked me right up! I live in Peckham (SE London) and the Rye is a big open common space and park. It amuses me no end when the neighbourhood is referred to as Peckham Rye as DeVol is doing with this line.
      Daniel i love your writing and always enjoy your Instagram stories and project progress updates. Thanks so much for sharing your time with us readers (:

  4. 7.8.20
    Chris said:

    You made the right choice. Impeccable

  5. 7.8.20
    Christine said:

    I would read this either for the humor or the design insight. Put together is almost too much! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences–it makes quarantine a bit more bearable.

  6. 7.8.20
    Claudia said:

    I always love it when you go into detail about the various options you explored and why! Inspiring, educational, and fun – and now I’m going to happily explore the many links you thoughtfully included – hours of entertainment ahead, who needs Netflix?!

  7. 7.8.20
    Emily said:

    Your choices are always the right ones, and it’s nice to see your thought process!

    I hate to ask this, and you can tell me to shove it. . . but do you know what project is next?

    Also if you care to share, what are the economics like on this project? I.e. how much could this house sell for at the max?

  8. 7.8.20
    Jen said:

    You nailed the British Kitchens/DeVol look. I thought that about both kitchens. So gorgeous and timeless, really. Just went on the BK site you referenced and their hardware is under IRONMONGERY. *I die.*

  9. 7.8.20
    Jen said:

    “Omg Daniel, relax. You’re just showing them some hardware; it doesn’t have to be a whole THING.”

    And this is why you’re my favorite. I want to buy you a cocktail, kick back, and geek out over all things restoration. Love!

  10. 7.8.20
    lena said:

    Again. Delightful.

  11. 7.8.20
    Caroline said:

    Your writing is the best.

    Totally relate to picking the thing that will piss people off lol.

    (And I think the metal part of the glass bin pull is too detailed? If it was flat instead of rounded I think it would let the glass be the star.)

  12. 7.8.20
    Pam Day said:

    I live that you took the time to think about who will live there (if not you or Juliet who I think needs to move there) for things like knob detail. Will it get dirty? Will it stop working? So many decisions! And such consideration! Love it all!

  13. 7.8.20
    Carol said:

    English scullery! That’s what you did – I was trying to put my finger on it with the last post, and the penny has now dropped.

  14. 7.8.20
    Linda Rounds-Nichols said:

    so..so..so love reading your posts!

  15. 7.8.20
    LisaK said:

    Long time reader, first time commenter (I think). Love your blog and writing. Keep ’em coming!

  16. 7.8.20
    Meredith said:

    In case you wonder “would my blog fam enjoy more posts like this, the decisions I did not make?” the answer is yesyesyesssssss. Delightful!

    Also, entirely unrelated: last night I found myself awake at 3am flaying myself internally about a fun guilt-avoidance cycle that I’m attempting to get out of, and I genuinely thought to myself “Think about Daniel. Think about how hard on himself he was, and how far he’s come. He’s killing it. I can do that too. Buckle down and do it and it’s ok.” And I fell back asleep – and today made some concrete progress! So, thank you for how open you’ve been about all that. It’s really helpful, especially since we get to follow your VERY excellent progress in real time. You’re killing it.

  17. 7.8.20
    Bean said:

    The pulls you have chosen are extremely nice in context. But, of course, I liked the knobs you showed but didn’t even bother talking about. I didn’t know that Lowes had those mushroom pulls with glass tops–I’ve seen them on furniture of the period, but never in the store. So, of course, I went and looked at the site. I am delighted that they come in brushed nickel (which is my kitchen and bathrooms)–and they even have colors (I liked the clear, ruby red, cobalt blue, and milk glass). I probably will only use blue or red in the bathrooms, but . . . so Edwardian. Exactly what I wanted. Thank you for the picture!

  18. 7.8.20
    Caitlin said:

    Love even the “little things” posts from you. This also set me off on rereading the archive links at the bottom about the cottage, and you have come such a long way! It didn’t happen in the time you initially planned, but it is in the right time and place for results like these. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.

  19. 7.8.20
    Jen said:

    I love your chatty and this bluestone kitchen!

  20. 7.9.20
    Alice said:

    Honestly, your kitchen is 1000 times better than the one you say perfect. Yours is perfect!

  21. 7.9.20
    Summer said:

    When I first saw the reveal picture I said out loud to no one “HE CHOSE THE RIGHT HANDLES!!” because I was secretly deeply convinced they were the ONLY choice from the moment you showed us the options, and slightly sweating it that you wouldn’t choose them. So anyway, thanks for validating me, and I hope you’ve done a good bit of nothing for a while now it’s all finished!!!! I didn’t comment on the last post but you truly knocked it out of the park – as always!!

  22. 7.9.20
    Teresa said:

    Seriously, I could read whatever you write all day. You are so refreshing and so funny!
    Also, I thought it was so helpful! :)

  23. 7.10.20
    T said:

    The most exciting day is when a Daniel Kanter email shows up in my inbox. Please consider travelling to say, Michigan to do a kitchen? (Mine, it’s my kitchen)

  24. 7.10.20
    Catherine said:

    LOVE. The Bluestone Kitchen is beee-yoouuuu-teeee-fuuuulll. You’re writing sounds like I’m sitting next to you with an adult beverage and having the most amazing restoration conversation with the most amazing person. Drag me into your hardware shit anytime!

  25. 7.11.20
    Angelica said:

    It’s probably good I can’t see any of my friends right now. I’d have to explain how excited I was to see a post about cabinet door handles for a really cool kitchen I’ll never see. Thanks for continuing to post through all this, I’ve been reading your blog since the Manhattan days and it feels like hearing from an old friend.

  26. 7.11.20
    Shenley said:

    You have nailed the English mansion’s servants kitchen. Well done!

  27. 7.11.20
    Colin Boss said:

    Hi Daniel and readers. I’m a long time follower, but first time commenter. This is beautiful. As a British reader with a love for all things restoration, this inspired me for when I finally restore the kitchen in my own house – an 1895 tenement flat with great sized rooms and some nice features retained.
    And to answer, yes, posts telling how you arrived at the always wonderful end result are always fun! Keep them coming. Colin

  28. 7.14.20
    Lori said:

    I love these posts where you go through your thought process. It’s as interesting to me figuring out why something doesn’t work as why it does. I was rooting for the glass bin pulls until near to the end, and then I was like *head tilt* hmmmmm….

  29. 7.19.20
    Kelly said:

    Thank you for posting about what you didn’t choose – it’s often just as interesting as what made the cut. I love the hardware you chose, and IMHO, they don’t look like car door handles. The “champagne” finish is perfect.

  30. 7.20.20
    greta said:

    When I saw your first post about finding and buying Bluestone Cottage, I thought it was “cute.”
    I never thought that it would require such deep thinking. That us why I like reading your blog.

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