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My Ongoing Glass Doorknob Affair

As you may have determined by now, I live in the details of my home. Perhaps it it is a side affect of being a Virgo, but I believe it to be far more nuanced. The details are where slivers of my thoughts and ideas rest, tiny dreams and visions, influences and inspirations and memories I hope to cement in the physical are made to stay alive. The details in any home can be a legacy, a story and a reminder to yourself to keep bringing your dreams into the physical elements of your home so it transforms and grows along with you and the ongoing evolution that is your unique life.

Many of these details are semi-permanent to a home, meaning they require simple installation and can be removed or changed like light fixtures, hardware or even some smaller decorative windows. I call these house jewelry. These are the details that the house wears prominently and proudly, often the first things guests notice in each space and are the statement installations in the home that should be used as the foundation of your design journey through each room, as you and the home evolve together in your journey and your time together, be it only a few months to a lifetime.

Growing up in a home built in 1750 and spending my childhood in an old New England town, I started a life long love affair and mild (severe) obsession with glass doorknobs. Glass doorknobs date back to 1826, when the process for pressing molten glass into molds was invented, however they didn't become ubiquitous until after the United States entered World War I, in 1917. Cast brass, bronze, and iron doorknobs, which had dominated the hardware market since the beginning of the Victorian era in 1860, were in short supply because metals were needed for airplanes and ammunition. By 1920, the largest hardware makers, including Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co. of Connecticut and Barrows Lock Co. of Illinois, were mass-producing doorknobs of molded and machine-cut glass, and cut crystal to suit various house styles, wallet sizes, and tastes. (

The elegant and somewhat decadent style continued in popularity through the 40's yet began to lose allure in the late fifties and sixties as the taste for more modern and utilitarian hardware abounded, and the shift to the space race decor began. In recent years, designers and decorators have seen the resurrection of the glassdoor knob with the Grandmillennial design style.


There is just something about a glass doorknob.

Love them or hate them, they set a very specific tone in a home, and defined tones/feelings are what any well matched designer and client team is after whether the style be modern or classical.

Glass doorknobs make me straighten my hat, buff out the scuffs in my shoes and sit up a bit straighter because glass doorknobs expect you to deliver your best self. Glass doorknobs feel decadent and heavy in your hand and make your heart flutter because what ELSE could possible be behind a heavy wood door boasting a glass doorknob?! Glass doorknobs sparkle and wink at you coyly in their beauty like Grace Kelly in High Society. They are the asscher cut gems in a sea of round diamonds. Glass doorknobs will ask you over tea, "What's a weekend?"

They are extra.

But, in the right space and the right home who lived through these times, there is just something beautifully generous about giving the home back its original jewelry. Our home once boasted a slate roof and glass doorknobs, but over time, these elements disappeared. I began collecting glass doorknobs years before I ever even thought about finding our most recent home simply because I could not bear to think where they would otherwise end up. I am grateful I did, and that heavy old box of doorknobs I dragged all over the place from home to home (not the right places for them) was finally put to good use.

Now, we are in the process of adding the doorknobs back into their rightful places, in the right timeframe, on the right doors, to offer our home back her collection of lost jewels.

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