Metal Plating in Chicago

Our bathroom redo is now rolling along nicely after being dormant for nearly a year. It is fitting that on the anniversary of the original demolition of the walls, we should pick up steam again and, uh, actually finish it. One of the small jobs i have been working on is finding a place that does metal plating in Chicago. There are tons of shops, but most of them are only B2B. So far i have found 2 places that will do small runs / retail sales. We haven’t used either place, so it isn’t an endorsement yet, but one of these places will be getting a Hello House seal of approval (we hope).

Al Bar Wilmette
These folks seem to specialize in restoration of antique home hardware and have many finishes to choose from. They also do powder-coating (many bike frames have this coating now) which is a less environmentally offensive alternative (ie. not chemicals) to plating. These people might be a good choice if you are not in Chicago since it sounds like they do business via the webpipetubes / real mail. They specialize in this sort of work and even specify on their site to include the mounting screws so they can give you new plated screws to match. My guess is, their attention to detail is worth paying for. I was quoted $40 for 1 knob and $35 for a backplate.

Griffin Plating
They will do retail sales but have a $75 minimum which is fair. The price is affordable: i was quoted (and keep in mind this is very rough, over the phone estimate) about $10 a doorknob or escutcheon plate. I think this may be the more economical option if you have multiple pieces you need redone.

Even with these prices, it is still 1/2 the price of buying new vintage-styled hardware from Rejuvenation. Stucco House and Petch House have both recently had quality and sticker shock, respectively, about plating.

Historic Kitchens (or Look What the PO Removed)

We have been doing research on multiple rooms, and as posted before, there aren’t too many photos of “working class” rooms. Typically you see photos from magazines or advertisements that are a little fancier that Jane + Joe Steelworker could afford (Hey! Just like now-times!). I am personally obsessed with minimal, functional, and average simplicity-type fixtures, woodwork, decoration etc. but as with most average and common things of the past, they generally go undocumented.

Thanks to 1912 Bungalow, we (the House Blogs nation) have a nice little collection of period kitchens. Here is the original post: Historic Kitchens and their Flickr page with the whole series of Historic Kitchens.

Q: Who’s Our Best Friend Now? A: Northwest Plumbing

I have to admit, i’m not a fan of Angie’s List. I’m a fan of the concept, and the reviews, and the site looks ok, but in practice we have yet to hit upon a great contractor. We have had some pretty big jobs with very mediocre to sad results.

Continue reading Q: Who’s Our Best Friend Now? A: Northwest Plumbing

“Drawn by Quest for Fire(place), They Searched All Through the Land.”

“… discovery of man!”

Mysteries in my life bother me. A lot. They don’t bother me in the way that an unresolved movie intrigues me, or how you might see a single shoe on the side of the road. I know that they will live happily ever after (once the snake digests them) and that raccoons typically just get full after the first leg.

What i am talking about here is two-fold: why on earth people do they things they do the places they live and “how was this originally.” This obsessive mindset is incompatible with sane restoration.

When we moved in, we had a few small clues that there was once a fireplace in our house. The most obvious ones were that most bungalows have them, and the fireplace-shaped mark on the wall, hiding behind the covering paper:

Dramatic pics after the jump!
Continue reading “Drawn by Quest for Fire(place), They Searched All Through the Land.”

A Restorative Vacation

After a couple of ridiculously tough months of work, I’m on vacation this week. And like the Good Book says, there’s no better remedy for creative burn-out than a week of manual labor.

So this week, I’m staining, shellacking, cutting, and installing the cap and shoe for our living-room and dining-room baseboards. Continue reading A Restorative Vacation