Sunday, October 29, 2006

One key to good design

Many of you already know that we built a house in the Adirondacks, and so we thought we'd post some of our thoughts about home construction and design. I can safely say that I've never undertaken a project that was as rewarding as it was bewildering and frustrating, and it was definitely one of the rougher learning experiences of my life. Still, to build your home - particularly in a stunning physical setting - can be one of the most meaningful things you can do.

When we set out to build a house, we wanted it to look as if it had been part of its context for several decades, and we didn't want it to compete with the main house at Penwood, which was, after all, the real thing. One of the ways that we achieved this was to use antique doorknobs in the interior. Not only are they more beautiful than most doorknobs manufactured today, they are also far better (and usually less expensive). There's nothing like the feel of a solid brass doorknob coupled with an antique lockset and strikeplate. It's simply better than anything else you can buy today. Just remember that you'll need a fairly talented carpenter to install the locksets on your doors. And please don't be tempted to polish your doorknobs to make them look "new." A good patina is a big part of the charm (and value) of any antique, and doorknobs are no different. All you need do is oil the lockset a bit, and it will work as well as the day it was made. If after all this, you still want to use new doorknobs, then we recommend Rocky Mountain Hardware. They make an amazing product; just get ready for some sticker shock.

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