“The devil is in the details” or is it “God is in the details” either way it appears that the details are of divine importance and whether you get it right or wrong is a matter of heaven or hell. Getting the details right is more than half the battle to restoring, adding onto, or designing a vintage inspired home. But the details are often the first design elements to go. Today, many new homes are lacking in subtle details, which add character and charm to interiors. In today’s housing industry, such architectural fine-tuning is all too often left out of the budget, to be replaced by additional unadorned square footage and a great big Palladian window in the front of the house. Often, I see historic homes remodeled in the 70s or 80s, where original built-ins where gutted and casement Windows scratched for vinyl. Choosing hardware and details that's improperly suited to the period of your house, will make your home seem just a little bit "off” to just downright ugly. It can be a daunting task if you have a large restoration project ahead of you, but here are a few places to start:
Front Door: The front door is the face of your home. It is what guests are initially greeted by, the wrong door on a house will throw off the whole thing. If your door is not original and not period correct for your home, I would suggest checking out a few of the architectural salvage shops listed.
Door Hardware: If your original iron or brass door handle, speakeasy and hinges have been painted along the way, a good stripping can do wonders.
Lighting: Lighting is like the jewelry of your home; a beautiful chandelier can turn a room from drab to fab. Even if a room didn’t originally have a lighting feature, adding a statement piece can be just what the designer ordered.
Light Switches: This is a big one for me, unoriginal discolored and stained light switches with cheap plastic covers cheapens the whole house. Replacing the switches to the original push button style or replacing old white switches to black with custom iron or brass covers, really elevates the feel of each room.
Window Hardware: Having functional and beautiful window hardware can be a tedious process, many times it comes down to just stripping of the layers of paint, or maybe latches have been lost along the way, luckily there are many companies making reproductions. If your going to take on stripping hardware, try soaking overnight in a crockpot with some dawn liquid soap (use a crockpot liner).
Old Riverside Foundation Architectural Salvage:
Contact Dan Coco (951) 452-2638
Pasadena Architectural Salvage:
Spanish Revival Iron work: www.Bushereandson.com
Well Made replicas of most everything: www.vandykes.com
About the author:
Crystal Coleman is a Interior Designer and a Historic Home Real estate Advisor. With a decade of experience in real estate sales
and advising with historic home restoration, design and decorating. Call for your real estate or design questions