At a home renovation in Connecticut, cabinet fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an "aggressive" metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Julie Salles Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own.
Due to its quasi-metallic makeup, crystal does much more than just sparkle — it also exhibits other coveted traits. When rubbed to the point of vibrating, crystal will produce a musical tone. It is also stronger than glass and can be blown quite thin. Cliffside Industries distributes German crystal, which is stupendous in its clarity and diamond-like cuts, as well as products from the world-famous Austrian crystal maker Swarovski AG.
What color will your appliances be? What about your lighting? Your faucet? For some people, matching hardware to appliances may not be particularly important—we’ve seen plenty of kitchens with brass pulls and stainless appliances. But if you like everything to coordinate, consider the whole kitchen when you pick the color of your pulls. (If your appliances are stainless and you don’t particularly like the look of silver pulls, black hardware makes for a harmonious look that isn’t too matchy-matchy).
I had already chosen polished nickel hardware (which I will share more about soon), so my hinges needed to coordinate. I decided to use Rub n Buff to give them a much-needed update. If you don’t know, Rub n Buff is a fantastic metallic paste used to give almost anything a metal finish. I chose it because it is so easy to use and gives a lasting finish.
Hardware makes an enormous difference in the bones of the cabinetry and the style of the room. If I was facing down an oak kitchen that I wanted to live with, in harmony, for a bit of time, here’s what I would do in one weekend: Paint it a great color. Clear the counters. Lay down a great, eye-catching rug. Change out the hardware. Add some color (probably a big framed print and a huge plant in a nice planter). That’s it.
But If you don’t think of your hardware as decorative (but as purely functional) and just want your pulls and knobs to blend into the background, instead of standing out, you can choose hardware that is more subtle. Choose dark hardware for darker cabinets or silver or clear hardware for white or light cabinets. Alternatively, you can forgo cabinet pulls and knobs all together, which will give a much more contemporary look.
Hinges creak, wear out, discolor or even break over the years. They can also bend. This makes cabinet doors fit poorly. New hinges can update any set of cabinet doors no matter how old they are, and real estate agents often recommend replacing old hardware to help sell your home. Whether you're moving, doing a remodeling job or your kitchen just needs a bit of TLC, you can change your hinges out in one afternoon. Hinges are designed to fit square on the side of the door, making it simple to get the hinge alignment correct -- even if your doors are older than you are.
Once you know whether you want cabinet handles or cabinet knobs and which sort of design you want, you’ll want to choose a material and finish. Cabinet pulls and handles come in a variety of materials, from inexpensive plastic to high-end polished brass. As a general rule, nickel or stainless steel cabinet handles usually give a more modern, sophisticated look to a kitchen, whereas bronze and brass handles often project an antique or rustic look. Most materials come in different finishes, from glossy polishes to dark antique finishes, so you’re sure to be able to find something that matches your kitchen decor.
Now comes the fun part, place the point of the forstner bit in the center hole you marked earlier and start drilling, drill the holes ½” deep, that’s the thickness of the bit. The instructions on the back of the kit say “do not drill completely through the door,” Ummm, OK… You’ll want to do this twice on every door, 36” or 42” doors may need 3 hinges each. Let’s backtrack a little here, when you remove the doors mark them and the cabinet box so you’ll know where they go back. Now, do that over and over and over again until all your doors are finished.
Between your cabinets and your drawers, you may have thirty of more cabinet handles in your kitchen, which has a significant effect on the look of the room, so you will want to choose knobs and pulls that match or complement your kitchen decor. If your kitchen has a modern look, consider choosing a cabinet handle that has angles and a very simple design or a square knob. Keep in mind that you can find knobs and pulls in a number of different designs, so if you have a Tuscan-themed kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet knobs stamped with grapes, and if you have a rustic kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet handles made from twisted wrought iron.
Based on the size of the room, consider how much leeway you have to mix different finishes and materials. Mixing finishes can add a classic agelessness to a room, but the smaller the room is, the more carefully one must tread when doing so. If there are too many different finishes in one small space, you run the risk of having your hardware look random and noncommital. However, if you select each piece carefully, it can add warmth and a sense of human touch — subconsciously giving the impression that the collection was acquired over time.
The other option for changing kitchen cabinet knobs is to purchase new ones. The two main types of cabinet fixtures for kitchens are circular pulls and metal bars. The round pulls tend to be old-fashioned, while the metal bar handles are often more contemporary. Cabinet pulls can be made more modern by painting them metallic silver. Metal bar cabinet door handles are usually silver-colored and narrow; this style is often seen with darker wood toned cabinets.
Hi Diane, I am so darned impressed with the work you are doing on your kitchen cabinets. We have high end oak cabinets painted in a washed white finish and they need a refresher too. I am going to follow your lead and try and do them myself. I am a novice at this but, you give such excellent instructions that I feel I can do it, starting in January. I want our island to be a dark, almost blue/black finish and the other cupboards done in white. Love yours. I am going to do the counter tops with the paint (Carrara Marble) if I can find it in Canada. I think Home Depot will sell it. I have one big problem. When we originally had our kitchen done back in 1987, they put corrian edging around the edges and I want it taken off. Do you have any suggestions on what to put there to replace it? A friend suggested putting a wood molding there and just painting it too. I just don’t know if it would stand up. Help! Love your great ideas. Thanks so much, Peggy
Aesthetically when do you choose to a long handle or a cabinet door vs. a button size knob. This does require some finesse and doing some drawings to get it just right, but here are few tips to take into consideration. You may want to lean more towards small knobs and handles if you are going for a more contemporary style in your kitchen space. Often mixing and matching round knobs with drawer pulls work well in these style of kitchens. A longer handle may be used in a more modern kitchen for a more polished look in a space, while having too many small knobs would feel cluttered for this type of kitchen. In a transitional space, you may want to select one style of hardware and then make that one particular style of hardware larger or smaller depending on where it’s going in the kitchen. For example you would have larger handles for your refrigerator and pantry doors, but a smaller version of the same knob for the upper cabinets in your kitchen area above the refrigerator.