My Home Remodel, Part 16: Custom Door Handles Bring Dated Interior Doors into this Century

Delaney Hardware, BravuraThe new Bravura knob complements the new porcelain tile floor Dan installed in our main floor bathroom.

As I get older, I love the moments when my life comes full circle. A couple weeks ago, I experienced this when my college friend Dan drove across our state to complete a few projects in my home. In retrofit’s November-December issue’s “Point of View,” I related how Dan recently changed careers, becoming a full-time handyman after having multi-year success helping others update their homes in his spare time (nights and weekends). I saw Dan’s announcement on Facebook and immediately texted him to see if I could be one of the first to support his new business; our kitchen remodel snowballed into several more projects!

As I painted baseboards and trim, I considered painting our existing oak doors. And I hated the gold handles.

Our main floor is open concept so I couldn’t have a dark and dreary living room adjacent to our new bright and beautiful kitchen! And you may recall there was a lot of oak in our home, the lovely golden shade of oak. I just wasn’t a fan—maybe because we started with so much of it. As part of my living room updates, I removed and painted all the baseboards and shoes Cityscape. Then I started painting the trim around our windows and doors the same color.

In addition to painting the trim, I considered painting the interior doors, which also are golden oak. But I knew painting the doors would be a BIG job if I was going to do it right, and my husband Bart—who usually doesn’t have many opinions about my designs—was completely against painting the doors. I had resigned myself to living with the doors and their gold handles for the foreseeable future. I told myself I’m “mixing metals” with the gold handles alongside my new brushed nickel kitchen faucet, stainless appliances, and matte-black kitchen knobs and pulls. Sigh.

Then I discovered Delaney Hardware. By upgrading my interior door handles, I believed I could make the golden-oak doors look contemporary. It might even look like I added these doors to warm the cool color tones of our main floor. My inner design maven was able to actually create my own interior door handles using the Bravura configuration tool. I had so much fun playing around with a variety of knobs and levers (including crystal knobs!), seven rosette designs and five finishes. Who doesn’t want to create their very own handles to match their personal style?!

I ultimately chose three different types of interior door handles, all from the Bravura collection, and all in black. We had a lever on the door that leads into our garage so I wanted to maintain a lever for that door. Then I chose knobs for two bedroom doors and our bathroom door, as well as a crystal knob leading into our home from our front porch (because I adore the look of a crystal knob). Here are the knobs and lever I created:

I couldn’t stop there! Our back patio door (if you recall, we just installed the patio in June) also had a gold handle. I decided to have Dan remove our existing front-door entry handle, which is oil-rubbed bronze, and place it on the back patio door. I ordered a new front-entry handle from Delaney Hardware. I chose the Bravura 919 in oil-rubbed bronze, which is the dramatic upgrade we needed to make our existing front door look even better. (And I thought it looked pretty darn good before! See the slideshow below for before and after images.)

Life is sweet when you can have one of your best college friends come to your home 20-some-years later to install door handles and complete a few other projects. We haven’t changed much, right?!

When Dan arrived, we unpacked the knobs and lever and I explained where everything goes. He first commented on the weight of the Delaney Hardware handles. They are hefty and feel so solid and luxurious in your hand. As Dan looked them over, he realized the handles come with a backset of 2 3/8 or 2 3/4 that cannot be changed. I had ordered the longer 2 3/4 backset for the interior doors that needed it but I had neglected to order 2 3/4 for the front-door entry handle. Dan took a 2 3/4 backset from one of the interior doors so he could complete the retrofit of our front fiberglass door. Then he showed me how to install the interior handles so when the 2 3/4 backset arrived, I could install the last handle on a bedroom door myself.

Dan said there was a bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to install the interior handles but once he figured out the first interior one, the rest were a piece of cake. I thought the one handle I installed was easy peasy, but I had a good teacher! You simply slide the backset with latch into the latch part of the door handle opening, and tighten the screws on the latch part to hold the backset in place. Then there is a spindle that you insert through the backset mechanism; you have to hold down a button on the spindle as you insert it into the mechanism. Once the button pops up inside the mechanism, it’s set and you’re ready to place the knobs on either side of the door and screw them in. I was able to use a hand screwdriver for the entire installation and I would say it took me less than three minutes to install the handle myself. (Dan already had removed the previous handle on the door so that saved some time.)

By the time I hosted Thanksgiving, my entire main floor, as well as our front entrance, had new, beautiful door handles—that were easier to install in my opinion than any big-box store door handle I’ve previously installed. I truly think the handles have made our golden oak doors look much more contemporary. And I’ll always have the extra sweet knowledge that one of my closest friends from college was the one who installed them (while listening to iHeartRadio serenade us with songs from our glory days, of course).

  • Delaney Hardware, Bravura

Read the previous posts in my home remodeling series:

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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