This post is in partnership with Schlage.
It was the details that sold us on Tree House. Although we were crushed at the time, the first home we put in an offer on (and subsequently lost to a cash buyer) was never meant to be ours. This house though? This house was the Real One from the moment we stepped in the front – or should I say, side? – door. What Tree House has that every other home we toured lacked is charm – and lots of it!
There have been moments during our weekend visits where we’ve felt overwhelmed, but that should go without saying, right? There are still cobwebs in the corners and a thick layer of dust coating all the beams, chipped paint on every door and windows with a draft. The photos in this post are no where near ready for their close up, but at the same time, and I’ll say it again(!), it was the details that sold us on Tree House. Old homes take work – a lot of work – but for all that they require, they shine so brightly when cared for. We fell head over heels for the exposed beam ceilings, the thick solid doors with glass knobs, the brass window latches, already perfectly patinaed.
Over the years, the previous owners made improvements that wouldn’t have been our first choice, but that’s okay. There are places where aging hardware had been painted over and over again, and faulty locks were ultimately replaced with those made of shiny brass-coated metal. Although we still have some really big fish to fry, so to speak, you know that we also love a small project that assures us we’re making progress. Most recently, we picked up a handful of accessories from our longtime partner in crime, Schlage, to course correct those prior improvements. The challenge was adding new hardware to the vintage mix, but a handful of small updates made a big difference!
The front, er, side door was the first to get a makeover. The door knob is adorable, but it was paired with a barely functioning lock that was way too glossy (and completely scratched to bits):
We’ll need to boil off the years of paint that coats the original knob backplate (below), but swapping the lock for a new deadbolt in an antique brass finish was a much better fit! As a bonus, we added this aged bronze kick plate to the bottom of the door, which reads as more of a matte black. Now imagine how pretty the warm brass will look against a freshly painted black(?) door:
You might remember that there’s another pair of exterior doors in the master bedroom leading to the side porch-slash-deck. We’ve since removed the door trim and taken down the (mostly) broken window treatments, but we were happy to finally nix the overly ornate handleset for something closer to our taste, too. Here’s how those doors looked a few months ago:
Not only did we replace the old handle with an antique brass Century handle (our favorite!) and a Plymouth knob, but we also had it rekeyed to match the entry door! Small victories.
In keeping with the warm brass finishes throughout the home, we also added a few of these antique brass coat and hat hooks to the bedrooms. We liked that they were the right size for the back of a door (they’d also be great for towels in a bathroom, similar to the garden apartment and our own), and for the first time since we’ve been having sleepovers at Tree House, we finally have a place to hang our bags and jackets!
And although we’ll have to wait until we install our baseboards (can I please just snap my fingers and call it done?), we’re looking forward to adding these sweet door stops around the home. So pretty!
The small upgrades we’ve made have us itching to start boiling the decades-old hardware in need of paint removal, and although we’ve never done so, we’ll be following Daniel’s method closely (such a smarty!). Once we’re able to start painting doors and trim, these details will start to really shine. There’s so much in store for you, Tree House!
My apartment still had all the 1930 original door hardware – buried under layers and layers of paint – my best home renovation purchase was a slow cooker, it worked miracles and now everyone who comes to visit comments on how beautiful my paint-free hardware is! It isn’t difficult, but does take some patience as you have to leave the pieces bubbling away for 8-10 hours. The advantage it is chemical free – I tried some hideous concoctions before falling on the slow cooker method! Good luck :)
Thank you! We can’t wait to start boiling away… I don’t think there’s a single hinge in this house that isn’t coated with layers of paint!
How do you leave the bedroom to go onto the deck, with no doorknob on that door?
Hi, Vid! I’m a little confused… On the ‘Inside’ image, there’s a doorknob right under the lock. So we use that. Is that what you mean?
I loved this post, especially since it’s something we’re battling in our current home!
Thank you, Paige :)
Speaking of the Daniel method…. is he alive and kicking?
He’s a busy, busy man, renovating his little heart out for lucky clients. He’s doing good!
That’s great to hear, thanks!
For some reason, I think my first comment didn’t post… anyways, our home was built in 1946 and has all the original glass knobs!
My question is.. is it safe to put the glass knobs in hot water like that? The ones at our house have a metal base that is covered in paint which I’d love to clean off, but I don’t want to ruin them!
Also, so excited to see all the wonderful updates y’all are gonna do to this house!
Ooh, good question. I’m honestly not sure, and I can’t seem to find anything online. Does anyone else know?
We’ll share the before/afters and what we learn along the way!
Update: Found an article saying to avoid boiling the glass. We’ll likely need to separate the knobs from the back plate – bummer!
Bummer! If you find any good way to go about it, let me know! From the photos it looks like my knobs look very similar to y’alls!
Thanks for the reply! xo
Love these little projects that keep the renovation train moving! Your new locksets look great. I’m using the same Schlage products in my own place, but in the matte black finish. I have a mix of original (1913) doors and a few new ones. I’m renovating my place one toddler nap at a time (so in 2 hr bursts) and my reno list is made up entirely of projects that I can start, finish and clean up between 1-3pm. Changing out hardware is the perfect example!
Start-to-finish projects are SO important to keep the momentum up!
Awesome way to match old with new! I have a very similar door knob as your front (side) door, but the knobs on the interior and exterior are very loose. Any suggestions on how to tighten it up? It has exposed screws on the knobs and I think they are old and not tightening up anymore.
Hi, Jon – that’s a bummer! We’ve used this product before. It definitely helps (quite a bit), but we found that if you mess with it too much, it will start to become loose. It’s a little finicky, but it could be the solution to your problem. It’s worth a try!