Doors to Adore - Page 3

Where to turn when your home’s front entry hardware cries out for a revival of mid-century modern flair
Doors to Adore
Doors to Adore
Top: Two different Eichler escutcheons and four different knobs, once available—but not any more—from enterprising SoCal craftsman and Eichler owner Jon Jarrett. Above: Lovely Eichler door with a fresh Jarrett escutcheon kit.
Doors to Adore
Doors to Adore
These two photos tell part of the story behind Palm Springs MCM homeowner Steven Keylon's escutcheon and doorknob search. Top: Restored hardware close up.

Time for a DIY?

Unfortunately, the project of installing a new door or hardware seems to fall between a contractor and a handyman—seemingly too small of a job for one, too big or involved for the other. If you're not a handy do-it-yourselfer, landing a suitable and available professional for door hardware repair could be problematic.

One homeowner who recently took on the DIY challenge was Steven Keylon of Palm Springs. When he and partner John De La Rosa purchased their 1950 Herbert Burns-designed modern home in 2016, they discovered that the home's original front door hardware had been removed prior to the sale, leaving them with an ordinary door and knob.

Knowing that Burns typically used bold, center-placed Schlage escutcheons, Keylon, an architectural historian, began his search. He soon found a Schlage Pantheon escutcheon and Barrington knob on eBay, and launched his restoration by soaking the hardware in paint stripper to remove the old lacquer, cleaning and polishing it to a perfect finish, and applying new lacquer to protect it from tarnishing.

For his home's front door, Keylon purchased a new blank, solid-core door, and found a willing contractor with sufficient door-hanging skills, he recalls, and "the moxie to drill that long hole for the tube latch for the center doorknob." Keylon completed the project by sourcing a long backset and period-appropriate deadbolt from an architectural salvage supplier.

Once his restoration project was finished, Keylon felt quite content with the new look and functionality of his revitalized front door.

"Period-appropriate door hardware is one of those small details that people will often overlook," he points out.

"But once restored, it provides that perfect, almost imperceptible detail that all adds up to a perfect end result. We get constant compliments on our front door now, even from people walking by."

Tips for a smooth project

Keep in mind, some vintage escutcheons and new reproduction kits may require a greater setback than what is traditionally found on pre-drilled doors. Working with a new wood, solid-core blank door will give you the option to drill holes where needed.

When you locate your desired door hardware, it's important to find out whether you'll need a backset extension latch for the lockset you'll be using. Check with a professional who can confirm the appropriate extension latches.

Schlage hardware typically interlocks only with Schlage, while Kwikset can often work with Schlage. This know-how will help to spare you from drilling a misplaced hole in your door and having to buy another.

When searching for vintage hardware, consider visiting ReStore/Habitat for Humanity, flea markets, swap meets, and estate sales. Search eBay, Etsy, RetroRenovation.com, and auction sites. Be on the lookout for new old stock ('NOS') hardware that has never been used.

When hunting online, try using search terms like 'mid-century modern front door escutcheon' and 'vintage mid-century modern door rosette.' Research vintage print advertisements to discover the hardware styles that were available during the mid-century, and also search for them by manufacturer and product name.

With a little diligence and patience you will find just the right door assembly that adds style, good looks, security, and value to your mid-century modern home.

 

Photography: Adriene Biondo, Steven Keylon, David Toerge, Jon Jarrett; and courtesy Schlage Lock Co., LLC, Rejuvenation, Liz's Hardware, Atomic Martini, Rico Tee Archives