When we last left off with our bathroom door makeover, our hardware and doorknobs were taking a nice, long soak in some paint thinner:
We were initially planning on soaking them for 24 hours, but it ended up being a solid week thanks to the flood evacuation chaos. In the meantime, we went to our local hardware store to pick out some spray paint.
We know a lot of people are totally gaga over oil-rubbed bronze spray paint right now. (Pretty sure Sherry from Young House Love is singlehandedly responsible for that obsession!) ORB spray looks great on YHL’s door hardware, and that’s exactly what we planned on buying when we went to the hardware store.
When we found the spray paint aisle, though, we starting hemming and hawing. The ORB spray suddenly didn’t feel right for us. It seemed too glossy. Or too bronze. Or too traditional. Or not traditional enough. On the one hand, we knew it was tried-and-true. Everyone is doing it, so it works. On the other hand, everyone is doing it…
Maybe it’s because we’re both second-born children and have a constant underlying urge to rebel. A need to zag when everyone zigs. Even when it doesn’t really make sense or much of a difference. We’re not really sure. All we know is that we stood in the spray paint aisle for much longer than any normal person should, and we debated over ORB vs flat black door knobs like it meant the difference between life and death. It. Was. Dramatic. In the end, we walked out with the flat black.
We fished out our hardware and tried to scrape the paint off.
We thought that the extended soak would make the paint melt right off, but it was still hanging on for dear life. Time for Plan B: Bradley put a stiff wire brush attachment on his grinder and handed it to me. And then he told me to be extra careful about where I place my hands because the wire brush could cut my fingers. I handed the grinder back to him.
Now this is a definite case of do as we say and not as we do: if you’re going to use a grinder with a stiff wire brush attachment, you should wear protective gloves. Bradley has been using this tool on an almost-daily basis at work for years now. He told me he never wears gloves because he knows his grinder like the back of his hand. I yelled at him, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t hear me over the noise of the grinder. I’m currently considering supergluing some leather work gloves to his hands while he sleeps.
After about a minute of grinding, here’s what the lock looked like:
We loved the dimpled texture on the face of the lock so much that we almost considered not painting it. (We zigged, we zagged, we zogged.) The only problem with leaving the lock unpainted is that it would definitely rust. We could have use a clear spray paint to seal it up, but we’re not crazy about the shiny clear-coat look. After the lock, Bradley cleaned up the hinges:
These were tricky because there were so many nooks and crannies filled with paint. Bradley cleaned off as much as he could, and then I scraped the hard-to-grind areas out with a pocket knife. Here’s what one cleaned-up hinge looked like with the pin removed:
We also decided to grind and paint the original screws, because it’ll be a pain to find the perfect sized screws for all of our hardware. I found a spare hunk of wood and screwed all of the screws just enough so they held firmly upright:
We only need to clean up the parts we’ll see once the hinges are in place. You can see all of the paint buildup on the screw heads:
And here’s what they looked like after grinding:
I actually faced my fear of the grinder for this part and cleaned up the screws myself. It wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought — just very, very loud. After that, I used a knife to clean out the buildup inside each screw head:
It sounds like a lot of work, but it really wasn’t. The grinding and scraping only took about 5 minutes. It actually took longer to set everything up for grinding.
Next, I lined everything up on a cardboard box:
I propped the hinges up so the visible side would be totally covered:
The lock was easy, because there’s only one side you’ll be able to see:
There was also the round piece that goes around the door knob and the cap to the keyhole:
And, finally, there were the porcelain door knobs:
I wasn’t sure how best to mask these puppies, so I went the overkill route. I wrapped up all visible parts of the porcelain, mummy style:
Next step: spray painting. I did 3 light, even coats and let each coat dry for 10 minutes in between. We let the final coat dry overnight, and here’s what they look like now:
We’re really glad we went with flat black and not ORB, because we’re 99% positive that the world would have come to a screeching halt if our hardware was any shinier. No sarcasm there. We’re too uptight and buttoned up for jokes. Laughter is not allowed up in this hizzy.
Up next: we have to finish painting the bathroom door and then we can finally put it back in place. That’s right, folks. We’ve been living without a bathroom door for over a week now. It was funny at first, but then we discovered just how much of our bathroom can be seen from the street. Showering has been kinda awkward ever since.
What we learned from this project:
- We’re idiots for not wearing work gloves.
I mean, seriously, look how close his fingers are to that wire brush.
- Renovating? Save your cardboard boxes and glass jars!
Cardboard makes a great surface to paint on. Glass jars are great for soaking brushes and other stuff in paint thinner. Just dump all your stuff in the jar, pour paint thinner over it, pop a lid on that sucker and let it soak as long as you need.
- It’s OK to sweat the small stuff.
We know our ORB vs flat black dilemma sounds ridiculous because — hello! — it’s only hardware. Who notices hardware? Well, we do. We’ll have to live with this stuff day in and day out for a long time, so we’re pretty determined to make our space just right for us. Sometimes that means spending way too much time at Lowe’s. Sometimes it means biting our nails down to the nubs as we fret over whether we made a mistake painting our doors black. Sometimes it means redoing a project because we couldn’t get it right the first time. It’s all part of owning a space — really making it ours. And we’re OK with that!