This is a three part series on ways to add vintage looks to your home, including inexpensive options for an existing home or the whole shebang when you are building a new house.
There was the greatest house up for auction. I believe I've even mentioned it before. It was old. I love old. It had heavy brass doorknobs, a stained glass window, a huge stair post and worn, dark wood floors that creaked. A good creak, as in 'I have a story to tell' kind of creak. Sigh.
It was not meant to be. Hubby is afraid of old. I see beauty and character. He sees work, chipping paint, old plumbing, dollar signs; money pit kind of dollar signs. And shoot, he was right, it did need a lot of upkeep. But it was so beautiful...Boooooo.
When we built our house, I really wanted to add in the character that I saw in historic homes. We didn't get to add in as much as I would have liked, character is expensive, but here are some things that we added as we built that I thought would give a house a more vintage feel. Also listed are some things I have seen other people do that are fairly inexpensive alternatives if you are not building a new home and just want to add some character:
Those blasted heavy brass doorknobs started it all. The ones I saw in that house. I never paid attention until then, now I had to find awesome doorknobs! I searched everywhere online and had true vintage hardware all picked out on different sites when I realized that it was too hard to find all the working parts. They'd look great, but you couldn't really turn them or lock the door. Bummer. I'm sure you can find everything you need if you had the time to search continually, but I didn't have the patience or time to keep looking. Hubby and I found a site, www.houseofantiquehardware.com that made reproductions of historic pieces (I have no affiliation with this site, just an honest review). They had doorknobs, window sashes, hardware, you name it, and it looked really old! There's just something about a doorknob with a backplate or a skeleton key that makes my heart sing. I know, I have issues. We ended up ordering the glass doorknobs and french handled ones.
We've been happy with how they look, however, three doors that have the glass knobs won't actually turn the interior parts like they are supposed to, so it's basically for looks, which means I could have gotten the true antique ones, ha!. I have heard many complaints similar to this regarding many glass knobs, not just from this site, so be careful if you are considering them. If you just need 'dummy' knobs like for closet doors that you don't need to turn, these are awesome. I've also found some really nice smaller ones at Hobby Lobby if you just need stationary ones. The french handled doorknobs below work perfectly and we have been really happy with them (also from www.houseofantiquehardware.com).
If you really don't want to replace all your doorknobs, because, really, unless you're building a new house, that's a pretty big deal, I think it's cute to just have a vintage knob for your main bathroom door, a pantry (our pantry door is above), for drawers on a vanity or even use them in unexpected places. I've seen people use them as curtain rod finials, or hung on the wall as a hanger for pictures like this:
How cute is that?
ROD IRON...(COUNTRY VERSION)
WROUGHT IRON (CITY FOLKS) GRATES FOR AIR VENTS or DECORATIVE WALL HANGINGS
I've been very pleased with these grates for our vents! They remind me so much of the ones in my grandmother MomB's house. They also have these at www.houseofantiquehardware.com. There are all sorts of actual antique sizes on Ebay, but I was concerned because many of them showed rust and who knows what. Breathing and air is kind of important, so we went with new.
This is also something I think would look good if you just chose one prominent place to put one, if you weren't building a new house and didn't want to replace all your vents. (Like if you had a large floor vent in your family room or other common area.) If you like the look but don't feel like changing out your floor vents is worth the hassle and expense, I also could picture large reproduction ones hanging on a wall with a wreath on top...like the iron gates, etc. you can find at Hobby Lobby. OR, if you want a super cheap project that looks like this for very little effort, check out these designs hanging on the wall...these are painted rubber door mats! This was posted on www.salvagedior.com. I thought this was such a neat idea, I may try this out in my family room.
They were only $8-$10 each, painted and sanded to look a little distressed. I would've never known they weren't metal grates just by looking at them.
This is all for today, but stay tuned! The remaining part of the series will be posted Friday and Sunday. Thanks for reading!