Nice Knobs! (and other home decor double entendre)

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Now to today’s post.  A little over a month ago, Josh and I were walking in our neighborhood, like we do, when we spotted this:


Not the door.  Look again.

No, not the scary redhead with no makeup and crazy hair (though that’s terrifyingly distracting, I realize).

That crystal-freaking-door knob.


And actually, we found two doors, both with crystal door knobs, for a total of FOUR crystal doorknobs (or two sets).  Someone had left them in a trash pile in front of the building next to ours. Our building was built in the 20’s, like most of the buildings in the area, so we knew it was the real deal (not to mention the layers of paint half-hiding the crystally deliciousness).  I don’t know if they just didn’t realize what they had (or just didn’t care), but they’d left them to the curb which meant they were fair game for any passersby (in this case, us).  

Now, as some of my long time readers may remember, Josh and I are trash-to-treasure veterans.  Often, our neighbors up here in NYC will toss out perfectly good items simply because they don’t have the space to store it or the vehicle and/or resources to better dispose of their stuff, i.e., the thrift store or antique store.    (One of our favorite curbside finds was this fabulous REAL butcher block table top — in perfect condition — that now serves as the top for our dining room table.  It weighed a TON but it was well worth the fourth floor walk-up, and I know it will be in our family for a long time.)

So of course, when I spotted the doors and — more importantly — those knobs, I squealed, did a skippy dance in the street, and demanded Josh help me put them in the car for later use (I’m very bossy when excited).  On any other day, I’d probably just body block the doors from other savvy curb treasure hunters while Josh retrieved the necessary tools, but I’m pretty sure it was like three in the morning (we work in a restaurant), and it was about 12 degrees outside, so not exactly the time for outdoor DIY.  And we were still on the fence about saving the doors, too.  We had visions of headboards or sofa tables made from doors, but weren’t sure how ambitious we really were going to be in the future.  After all, the doors were covered in layers upon layers of paint (read: probably dangerous lead paint).

So we hoisted them into el reliable Honda CR-V (it gets 28 MPG, don’t judge me) where they stayed for about three weeks.  We were busy.  And those were doors.

I think if we had more space and/or a garage and/or loads of free time, we wouldn’t have hesitated to try to save and repurpose the doors as well.  But space and free time we don’t have, so we hemmed and hawed and waited for a warmer day to remove the knobs once and for all.

Also, because of the layers of paint, we assumed this wasn’t going to be an easy job, and we’re both great at procrastinating when we know something is going to be hard (like doing our taxes with a mound of receipts and multiple 1099’s and W-2’s).  But finally it warmed up one day and we had a few hours to spare, so we got a couple of screwdrivers and went to work.


Let me clarify:  I did the camera phone thing and Josh went to work.  We had visions of turpentine and face masks and lead poisoning, but magically the knobs just came off within just a couple of minutes through a combination of paint scraping and then unscrewing.


Unbelievably painless.  And when we were done, we were left with these lovelies:


No, not the carny hands… the crystal door knobs.



They still have a bit of paint on them from the last time someone painted these doors (seriously, has no one heard of painter’s tape?), so I’ll eventually look into how to get that off (I could use paint thinner, but I’m tempted to just try nail polish remover… another day).  Regardless, they’re gorgeous and even though I don’t have a use for them yet, I’m holding on to them for now.  I mean they’re like 90 years old — they’re classic!

In fact, I don’t mind them just sitting there not doing anything at all but sparkling in the fire escape-diffused sunlight :)

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2 thoughts on “Nice Knobs! (and other home decor double entendre)

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