The Art of Mixing Finishes

An eclectic blend will appeal to today’s buyer. The trick is doing it tastefully.

At the height of the building boom, builders had to move fast to stay on top of their production schedules, especially with material and labor shortages. In some cases that led them to use whatever fixtures they could get easily and quickly. As a result, the master bathroom might end up with oil-rubbed bronze faucets on the vanity, a brushed nickel light fixture, chrome plumbing fixtures in the tub and a polished brass door knob. Today, those same builders are often under extreme pressure to use whatever fits in the budget, and the end result is typically the same – a combination of several finishes in a single room.

The Art of Mixing Finishes Photo credit: Jamie Kern, Design Theory Interiors
Combining two different finishes, such as these sconces and faucet, adds visual interest to a room.

But if approached correctly, the blending of finishes is not necessarily a bad thing. While individual designers have their own opinions on what works and what doesn’t, there’s more latitude than one might think when it comes to mixing and matching.

In a market where resale value is a high priority, using suites of matching finishes is the safest thing to do, if not the most interesting. But when people intend to live in their homes longer – as is the case with most buyers today – they will respond more favorably to eclectic touches. “With the slow economy and people living in their homes more, we’re looking to create differences, not uniformity,” says Irvine, Calif.-based interior designer Kelli Ellis. “Now it’s okay to mix things.”

Bellevue, Wash.-based interior designer Gail Monica Dent, owner of Provanti Designs, likes to create what appears to be a collection of fixtures, rather than a set. She finds that people respond favorably when the various fixtures in a room look like a collection of items that were purchased by the same person at different times. “It’s much more fun and interesting, although it takes a little work to do.”

If there’s a general guideline about mixing and matching finishes, it’s that mixing two contrasting finishes in a single space is fine, while three or more will appear cluttered or confusing. Jamie Kern, ASID, president of Design Theory Interiors in Atlanta, says that when working on a kitchen or bathroom she prefers faucets in one finish, with a contrasting finish on cabinet hardware. “I like the dynamics of the contrast, as it allows each element to have its own identity,” she says. “And it also gives you some flexibility.”

Another method of blending finishes in a bathroom can be used when a shower, tub or vanity is treated as a focal point. Examples might be a shower with the luxurious Waterhill® Spa suite or the nature-inspired Bamboo® Shower collection, both from ShowHouse® by Moen®. In this situation, Kern recommends using faucets with a different finish than the other fixtures as another means of setting it apart and adding visual interest.

The above guidelines apply to wood finishes as well. In fact, contrasting wood finishes within a space are a must to prevent “visual monotony,” according to Kern. She says that the contrast will highlight each piece much more effectively than a sea of identical finishes, making for a more interesting space.

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Cabinet Jewelry

Matthew Marin

 Whether your kitchen is contemporary or traditional, choosing the right decorative hardware can add instant flair and just the perk some cabinets need. Not to mention, loads of personality, reflecting the homeowner’s sense of style. And given the current economic woes, replacing knobs, handles and pulls with the newest pieces is a perfect “quick fix,” as it is an inexpensive alternative to a major remodel. As consumers are spending more time at home, it’s becoming more important for them to be happy in their living environments, so “they want to customize their space with a personal touch,” said Claire Parrish. Hundreds of the latest decorative hardware options allow them to do just that.

With multiple hardware offerings to choose from, homeowners have narrowed their search to finding classically styled, simple pieces, complementing the style of the kitchen and broadening its appeal during unsteady times. “The economy is demanding that people make sensible choices and not go too far out on a limb with decorating choices,” said Adrienne Morea, president of Atlas Homewares. “Hardware is truly the ‘jewelry’ of the kitchen, and each homeowner spins it the way they want. They are going back to basics and rethinking the kitchen. They don’t want to get tired of something in two years.”

Keeping decorative hardware simple and clean allows the homeowner to place a greater emphasis on the cabinetry and surfaces, according to Morea. “It’s important to realize that hardware cannot be the ‘main event’ anymore,” she said. “All a homeowner really wants is good functional pulls that match their appliances.” For example, a “clean” polished-chrome or brushed-nickel pull can complement modern or traditional cabinetry and truly add the finishing touches to the kitchen, “similar to the way a fabulous pair of shoes would set off a basic black dress,” she added.

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Decorative Cabinet Hardware

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Today, people are becoming more conscious about the homes in which they live. Since your furniture and your house tell a lot about your personality, people are careful to select the right kind of items. They want to use the most artistic and decorative pieces, even for utilitarian purposes.

Cabinet hardware, though basic, is an important piece of your cabinet. It has to match with the type of cabinets you have so that it enhances the beauty of the entire piece. Beautiful cabinet hardware has been a choice of many people, and today there is a wide range of artistic hardware available on the market. The range varies in terms of color, finish and style, so you can find pieces to complement whatever type of cabinet you have.

A collection of artistic hardware includes cabinet door knobs and pulls, decorative bath accessories (towel bars, towel rings, robe hooks and soap dishes), house numbers, doorknockers and doorbell buttons, and switch plates.

Different styles of doors, drawer pulls, and appliances are made with a variety of materials and shapes which are difficult to resist. This decorative hardware can change the entire look of the furniture or cabinet. People have great interest in matching this hardware with other pieces in the house. The market today is cashing on this increasing demand and everyday there is a new type of decorative piece available in the market.

Manufacturers and suppliers are using new techniques to create unique products. Today, you can find a complete set of cabinet hardware on the market. Be it doorknobs, drawer pulls, handles, hooks, towel bars, switch-plate covers, or tiles, there is wide range available which makes it difficult to select the best one for you. Though there are certain items which are expensive, there is something to suit anybody`s budget.

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Kitchen Design – French Country Cabinet Knobs

By Jonathan Brice

 

When it comes to kitchen design, the possibilities are virtually endless. There are no rules when it comes to redecorating your kitchen, but for some, there are budget restrictions. Many people think that in order to update your current kitchen design, you have to spend a fortune. This is a common misconception. There are plenty of subtle changes you can make in your kitchen that will make a big impact on both your kitchen design and your home that cost much less than a large remodel would. Sometimes a remodel isn’t about hiring outside labor, replacing large appliances, and buying new furniture. Often, there are alternate routes that will save you time and money.

One quick and easy way to update the look of your kitchen is to place some focus on cabinet refacing. The cabinets in your kitchen are a major focal point. Falling directly at eye level, they are typically the first thing that people will notice upon entering the room. Major details on each and every cabinet in your kitchen are cabinet knobs. These small assets are much more important than most people think. The entire look of your cabinets can be greatly affected by just a simple change in cabinet hardware. This, in turn, triggers somewhat of a chain reaction since the result of new looking cabinets is a new looking kitchen.

 A fresh, yet traditional style that can be found in many kitchens right now is a French country décor theme. If you’re looking to accomplish this style in your kitchen, don’t let your head start tallying up dollar signs just yet. French country cabinet knobs place an elegant and professional touch on your French country décor without forcing you to spend unnecessary dollars. Instead of cluttering your kitchen with decorative accessories like vases and knickknacks, take a look at vital aspects of the kitchen and put a decorative twist on them. Cabinet knobs are already in your space, and absolutely essential in order for your kitchen to be fully functional. By replacing current cabinet knobs with French country cabinet knobs, you’ve easily updated the look of your kitchen without cluttering your space.

French country décor focuses on a warm and welcoming theme. Kitchens are becoming more and more of a focal point in the home, so this is certainly a theme that can be worked into any style you may currently have. French country décor can be easily matched with a number of different wood finishes, so replacing just the cabinet knobs won’t result in replacing the cabinets themselves. This not only saves you a great amount of money, but the time it takes to finish this project will be remarkably shorter than it would be if you were to take on a full scale remodel.

Delicate details worked into the different elements of a French country designed kitchen, like cabinet knobs, add subtle features that will give your kitchen some extra pizzazz. Another great aspect of installing French country cabinet knobs instead of redoing your entire kitchen is that the process is so quick and easy. You’ll need very few tools, and the job will take just a few hours – including set up and clean up. If you’re entertaining soon and are looking for a quick fix to give your kitchen the update it needs, you can’t get any simpler than a cabinet refacing project.

 By keeping your kitchen up to date with traditional themes that will give guests the welcoming feeling they should have when entering your kitchen, your home can reach its maximum potential. Adding French country décor into your kitchen through small details like cabinet knobs could be all the change your room needs. By taking every aspect of your kitchen into consideration when thinking about a redesign, you could save precious time and money in the long run

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Cabinet Knobs Can Invigorate Your Space in a Flash

By J Richardson

 

Are you tired of your plain, dull design in your bathroom, bedrooms or kitchen? With the continually downward slump of the economy, you probably think you cannot possibly afford a home renovation project. But what many homeowners do not realize is that – yes – a home renovation project can be affordable and spice up the design of your room instantly! Don’t believe it? By simply updating your old, worn cabinet knobs, you can transform any design from boring to beautiful.

Gather Your Tools
Unlike most home hardware installations, replacing your knobs and pulls in any room does not require the help of an experienced professional. Count that as money well saved already! Plus, this project requires minimal tools and minimal effort – it is so easy, even your children can help you. Prior to beginning your new project, be sure to have the following tools on hand:

  - Tape measure
– Pencils
– Cabinet pulls, knobs, or handles
– Matching screws and hinges
– Screwdriver

Get Rid of the Old Stuff
With these tools on hand, you are now ready to remove your old hardware. Be sure to unscrew each cabinet knob entirely before removing so that you do not cause accidental or unnecessary damage to the wood or plastic cabinet front piece. Before you throw these items into the trash, however, consider donating them to another home (if they are in good condition, of course). If you are not prepared to host a yard sale, auction them off online on eBay.com or even craigslist.org; your home renovation project just might inspire another family to update their cabinets with your trash-turned-treasure.

Shop Around for Sizes
Now is your chance to update the out-dated décor with new bathroom cabinet knobs (or any room, really). Consider what size handles, knobs and pulls you already have in your bathroom. Are some drawers harder to open, certain cabinet handles harder to grasp? Changing the size of your cabinet hardware might make life easier. But before you purchase tons of hardware in one size, you should buy a few various sizes to test out just in case. Larger sized cabinet handles in close proximity with one another could end up just cluttering an area and not making it any easier, such as in your kitchen.

Create a Colorful Effect
Once you have decided on what sizes work best for which locations, you should also consider changing the color or finish of your kitchen cabinet knobs. Traditional cabinet knobs are available in a variety of finishes such as oil rubbed, satin, matte, weathered and polished. Additionally, each knob can be of a different metal such as chrome, brass, iron, pewter, nickel, bronze and copper. For the bold homeowner, try mixing and matching to create a unique look in your home.

Try a New Style Combination
Replacing your cabinet knobs does not just include removing and installing fresh, new knobs but rather creating a new look and feel. One contemporary renovation style includes mixing cabinet knobs according to the layout of the room. Cabinets and drawers below the waist are adorned with darkest finishes-such as matte nickels or bronzes. Next, mid to waist level drawers feature a lighter shade of handles like a copper or brass with a weathered finish. Finally, the highest shelving units and cabinets should feature the lightest colored finishes and metals. Creating this layered look keeps the eye moving upwards; if the look was reversed, the eyes would lock in on the dark finishes at the ceilings and never even glance at the floor-level handles. Remember to purchase corresponding hinges and screws so that your newly renovated area is complete, without mismatching accessories. The easiest way to avoid this decorating disaster is to write down a count of how many cabinets you have, what finishes and what metals; you’ll stay organized and create the flawless look of your cabinetry in any room in your home.

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Atlas Homewares ""Odeon"" Kitchen Cabinet Knob

Cabinet Knobs – The Interior Designer’s Candy Box

By Jennifer Akre

 

I can’t decide which chocolate I want, so how do I decide on a cabinet knob?

If it’s time for you to freshen up your kitchen, you don’t have to start tearing out cabinets and pulling out the kitchen sink. You can buy a can of paint and to freshen and change the entire look of the room-make it richer with a deep color, or lighten it up with bright white or soft ivory.

Aside from painting the cabinets, which is a big, bold move, you can finish off a fresh now look for the kitchen with the right cabinet hardware. Choosing a new cabinet knob is like choosing the right piece of jewelry for an outfit. It enhances what’s already there, and it makes a statement on its own. Just as selecting your jewelry is a personal statement, so can the choices about the cabinet knobs you select when refreshing your home.

Where do you begin? Traditional styles come in styles with clean lines and no frills, or filigreed and embossed with geometric shapes, florals and vines, beads and ropes. Add a backplate to a simple knob and you’ve built traditional character into your cabinets. Maybe a ring pull or a tassel would be a good choice if you want to go with something other than the familiar cabinet knob.

If you prefer contemporary styles, there’s a world of ideas out there. Sleek geometry plays a big role in contemporary designs, so look for a cabinet knob in shapes like spheres, cubes, eggs, cylinders, cones, hoops, and swirls. If you prefer to soften the look of sharp geometric hardware, you can choose something other than a bright finish. Consider a softer metallic like brushed silver or matte iron, or in a warm color like copper or bronze.

If you’re looking for a cabinet knob in color, you’ve got lots of options. Granite, marble, glass, plastic, resin and even semi-precious stone are available in so many colors that you you’re bound to find the right mix for the new look for your kitchen. Want a little bling? Look for a cabinet knob with embedded rhinestones. Blend in or stand out-it’s your choice.

When you choose a cabinet knob, and you’ve got your design pinned down, consider the size of the cabinet doors and drawers before you buy. The scale of the knob is important for looks. You can buy matching knobs in different sizes to accommodate the different size drawer fronts and doors.

Before you make a final decision, consider the profile of the knob. A substantial sphere-shaped knob in granite makes a design statement, but what if it extends into the space that a drawer needs to clear when you open it? Is the cabinet knob easy for little hands to grab? Are Grandpa’s arthritic fingers able to grasp the knob? If you’ve got a linebacker for a nephew, can he slide his oversized fingers between the knob and the door? You want him to unload the dishwasher, don’t you? He’s got to be able to open the doors.

When you replace a cabinet knob, take a look at the length of the screws provided by the manufacturer. If they the same width or thicker, you’re in good shape. They’ll fit in the existing holes in the drawer fronts and doors, or you can drill the screw holes a little wider if you need to. Are the screws long enough to clear a raised panel? You’d hate to find your selection doesn’t fit after you bring them home. Do a little homework before you buy and you won’t be disappointed later.

 

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Century Hardware Solid Brass, Pull, 3" c.c.

Cabinet Hardware Explained – From Decorative to Functional

 

Today’s cabinets vary as much in style as they do in functionality. Although styles can range wildly from simple big-box manufactured face frame cabinets with slab panel doors to intricately crafted custom cabinets hewn from the hands of generations of craftsmen, some things just never change. The cabinet hardware that makes these cabinets both functional and decorative is virtually universal throughout.

Yes, there are minor differences in cabinet hardware from one style of cabinet to another, however, the major types of hardware can be found in any style or construction of cabinet. The two main types of hardware are decorative and functional.

DECORATIVE CABINET HARDWARE

Decorative hardware, sometimes referred to as surface hardware, consists of the pieces that are mounted to the outside surface of your cabinet doors and drawer fronts. They not only provide the means with which to open your cabinet doors, they also give your cabinetry that finishing touch. The various types are:

*handle pulls

*cup pulls

*knobs

*backplates

*ring, bail and pendant pulls

Handle and cup pulls are rigid and require two mounting screws to attach to the cabinet door or drawer front. Bail pulls also require two mounting screws, however, they can be rigid or swinging type bails. Knobs are just simple post-pulls that require one mounting screw. Ring and pendant pulls can be rigid or swinging and normally require one mounting screw although some may require two with a small center-to-center measurement.

The mounting hole spacing measurement is the most important measurement of a cabinet handle pull if you are replacing existing hardware. This measurement is taken from the center of one mounting hole to the center of the other, thus it is called the center-to-center measurement (abbreviations include: C-C, C/C, CTC). Obviously if you are replacing existing cabinet pulls, you will need to match your new hardware center-to-center measurement with that of the holes already drilled into your cabinet doors. Common measurements are 3″, 3-1/2″, 96mm and 4″, however there are many more than just those four.

FUNCTIONAL CABINET HARDWARE

Functional hardware consists of the hardware pieces that make your cabinets do what they are suppose to do. Doors open and close, drawers slide out and back in, giving you access to the items you have inside. Basically, if your cabinets didn’t have any of this type of hardware in and on them, they would be pretty useless. These types include:

*door hinges

*drawer slides

Door hinges are simply the hinges that connect your cabinet doors to the actual cabinet but as simple as their function is, the types, sizes and options abound. The three main distinguishing types of cabinet hinges are concealed, semi-concealed and non-concealed. These all can come in a variety of opening angles, swing types (free-swinging vs. self-closing), overlay sizes, insets as well as finishes.

Drawer slides are the pieces of hardware that allow your drawers to slide in and out. They are sometimes referred to by other names such as drawer guides, drawer glides, drawer runners and drawer tracks. The three main types used on cabinets are: side-mount, side/under-mount and under-mount. These types can be further classified by the distance they allow a drawer to be opened such as 3/4 extension, full-extension or over-travel extension.

Cabinet hardware is not very complicated on the surface. It is the many options that these basic pieces come in that gets a little more in-depth, too in-depth for this simple primer on cabinet hardware.

 

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