by TJ AndersonThis prediction from Dwell magazine, from late last year, just made its way into my Facebook feed: “Step Aside, Subway Tile — Penny Tile Is the New Classic.” Penny tile,
Where To Find Replacement Door Knobs For Historic Homes
by TJ Anderson
In newer homes, sure, it’s important to make sure all your details are on point, including door knobs. But with historic homes, those details tend to hold extra weight — period-perfect ornate bronze knobs in a Victorian speak to the era, and the craftsmanship and elegance of that era. I see those, and I’m immediately in love with a home.
Something I’ve learned through years of touring homes with Nashville homebuyers: I have lots of company in appreciating period-appropriate details like those.
Do you have a historic Nashville home that’s missing its original door knobs? The good news: It’s a relatively easy thing to remedy. The bad news: It’s often not the cheapest thing to remedy. But for my money, it’s worth it.
If you’re thinking about taking this on, you have a large landscape to mine. Here are just a few of the places I turn to when I’m looking for antique (or antique reproduction) knobs.
If you’re up for a hunt, the Nashville Flea Market often has antique fixtures floating around — you just have to be patient, and dedicated. It’s a massive market, held on the fourth weekend of every month (except for December, which is the third weekend) at The Fairgrounds around Wedgewood-Houston. Each go-around, you’ll find around a thousand vendors from 30 states sharing anything from furniture to knick-knacks, and, often enough, antique fixtures. There are no guarantees, but suppose that’s the thrill of the hunt. July’s just passed, so your next chance is August 25-27.
Among the most consistent, dependable places to shop for antique hardware in Nashville, Preservation Station on 8th Ave. South snags salvage pieces from older homes and meticulously restores them. Where antique shops and flea markets are luck-of-the-draw endeavors, here, chances are high that you’ll find matching pieces to shape up your whole place — just as an example, here are seven super-beautiful Art Deco door hardware sets from the ‘20s, salvaged from a Franklin home. If you have a really specific need, you may have to be patient, but odds are, these folks will end up with the hardware you need.
The team behind Doc’s — including owner Doc G. Keys Jr. — have two locations, in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in Springfield, Tennessee, just 30/40 minutes or so outside Nashville. Totaled up, they stock about 80,000 square feet of architectural salvage space with old doors, reclaimed flooring and more. With all that inventory, it’s worth the drive north to dig, especially if you’re looking for more than just antique door knobs.
Probably the best-known online outlet for accurate reproduction door hardware, from simple white porcelain knobs to spectacularly ornate Windsor pattern back plates. Whatever style or era you’re looking for — art deco to neo-gothic — you’ll likely find something that fits. They offer everything from hinges to window hardware, too. If you’re setting out to outfit an entire home, you’ll drop a few bucks — even a relatively simple glass-knob door set usually runs about $100. But you’ll have pieces that look just like the originals, and work like new (since, well, they are new).
I look here for cool house numbers, too. We don’t have a Rejuvenation store in Nashville, but they have a ton of replica door hardware online, from detailed Beaux Arts lock sets to delicate Colonial Revival knobs and back plates. As meticulous and clean as these look, you won’t be fooling anyone that they’re the real antique deal. But you’ll get the right aesthetic and consistent function, which is certainly something to appreciate.
Hey, you can’t knock the old online stand-by, even if this option takes real commitment. If you’re looking for a particular aesthetic or era, mining the eBay depths for antique door hardware will take time and patience, and probably cost you a few less-than-charitable words when someone in Paducah outbids you at the last second. The real benefit, though, if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease, is that you can find old pieces in rusty, paint-crusted shape, theoretically at a decent price, and restore them yourself, saving you cash. Not everyone has the time or mental fortitude to wade into the eBay briar patch, but when I had more free time, it was always my first stop.
Hope these help, if you’re about to embark on an antique door knob hunting expedition. Looking for a historic (or new) home, before you dig into details like these? We’d love to help. Call or email TJ Anderson Homes here.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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