Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good Things Come in Small Packages

In today's world of imports and mass production, it's refreshing to see artisans who can make a living doing what they love. At The Hardware Hut, we love to support "The Little Guy" as long as they can produce quality product and stand behind it.

We distribute for some manufacturers on our site, that do just that. Each of these brands are made by Artists either as a full time business or in their spare time and the entire company is run by them and or family/friends. When you order items by them, you're getting an individual miniature work of art.

I'll start with Earth To Peter, ETP is run by a man named Peter Conley who personally designs each piece and fabricates each one. ETP hardware is designed in a manner that embraces the beauty in imperfection and the grace of age. ETP hardware is made from solid pewter that's poured into a mold and every single piece is hand finished before it ships out.

Earth To Peter Hardware

Next up is Roscoe's Expressions, this is a company that uses unfinished wooden knob bases, and hand paints every single item. All of the designs are original to the owner and her daughter. Because every piece is painted as they are ordered, the design will be the same on all of the items but the colors slightly vary from one piece to the next. Roscoe's Expressions is a company that is run solely as a hobby and done for the love of painting.

Roscoes Expressions Hardware

Keeping along the lines of fun, whimsical, and unique is a company called Stuck Up Knob Company, this little establishment is run by one woman. Each piece is made from ceramic, the glaze is hand painted on the individual items, and fired at the time of order. Ann over at Stuck Up Knob does it all; not only is she the designer of the hardware, she's the artist who glazes, fires, and finishes them, but she also runs the office and ships the product. Talk about Superwoman!

Stuck Up Knob Hardware

Another colorful company that we carry is called Sietto, the name Sietto is a combination of two Italian words "Solido" meaning solid and "Schietto" meaning straightforward. I think that's fitting name, considering the product. When an order is placed with Sietto they cut the sheets of glass, fire them in a 1500 degree kiln that fuses the layers together, and affix them to their three base choices. There are a number of different styles and textures to choose from in this line so if you're looking to add some personality to your room, this line has it!

Sietto Hardware

Last but certainly not least, is a company called Bright and Thorpe. Bright and Thorpe are based out of Hawaii (lucky ducks!) This is one of the more expensive lines that we carry, but to see these items in person you can tell why. I once spoke to the owner about why her products cost so much and I got a pretty good explanation. She comes up with the designs and takes them locally to a mold maker; the molds that she uses deteriorate slightly over time and lose some of the detail so she makes molds more often than most companies. The mold making process is pretty expensive. Gail at Bright and Thorpe started out as a jewelry maker and needed some hardware for her own home, she decided to make them herself and Bright and Thorpe was born. Each piece has such intricate detail that they truly do look like pieces of jewelry.

Bright and Thorpe Hardware

As with all handmade products there will be variances from piece to piece and typically there is a longer lead time than most companies, but we all know Rome wasn't built in one day. The outcome can be so much more rewarding than having the same items as everyone else. Purchasing from small companies such as these can even help stimulate our economy.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can You Handle This?

Berenson Appliance Pull When it comes to ordering appliance handles it's hard to decide on which size to get. This is another scenario where personal preference is key. I personally contacted four major commercial/professional appliance manufacturers and asked them if they had any recommendations for sizing. I basically got the same answer from all of them, depending on which configuration you have you will want something that is proportionate. So, now that I've gotten all that help, I'm still back to our original consensus of getting what you want.

It seems that the most common sizes for refrigerator doors are anywhere from 12in. to 18in. on center. For the type of refrigerator that has a freezer drawer down below we've seen a fairly good mix of either the same size pull as on the doors or one that's slightly smaller. For ranges and dishwashers the sizing seems to range from 6in. to 12in. on center. Also, when looking for appliance pulls you will want something that has a diameter of about 3/4in to 1in. These areAmerock Appliance Pull typical dimensions for most appliance handles anyway, but it's something you should be aware of. Due to the force that it takes to pull open a commercial appliance you don't want to use a pull that's much smaller in diameter or one that is made for a regular cabinet because it just won't be strong enough to hold up over time.

Top Knobs Appliance PullAgain, these are by no means hard fast rules that you need to live by, the decision should be based on the scale of the rest of the hardware in the room and how much of the appliance you want covered by the hardware.

There are a few manufacturers that have starting coming out with various size appliance handles to match the regular cabinet handles, but there are still quite a few manufacturers who only make one or two sizes in the appliance handles.Schaub and Company Appliance Pull

Amerock, Berenson, Schaub & Company, and Top Knobs are four brands to look at that have sizes ranging from 3in. to 18in on center so you can order in complete collections.

Visit the Hardware Hut today!TIP: To get a visualization of what size would be appropriate you can cut out a piece of cardboard that's the length and width of the pulls you are considering. Tape the cardboard to the appliance and look at it for a few days, if it feels right-you know which size to go with. If not-try a different size.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Hey July, What's New?

As usual, around here at the Hardware Hut we're busy little bees. So far in the month of July we've added five new Gatco bath hardware collections, two new Schaub and Company cabinet hardware collections, some door locks, some keyboard slides, and some miscellaneous cabinet hardware items. Not only have we added all of that but, we have just started a fairly big project. We will be adding our complete stock catalog to the website. When I say a fairly big project that's actually an understatement. Our stock catalog is roughly 400 pages with five or 6 sku's per page. That's a lot of product! Perhaps, I'll save that for a blog post in itself.

Back to what's new for July...I'll start with the new Gatco bath hardware. We've added the Oldenburg collection which comes in finish choices of burnished bronze, polished chrome, and satin nickel. This style would be suitable in a traditional setting. It looks elegant and rich. We've also added the Jewel collection which is more square in design but it's a soft design. You can get the Jewel collection in satin nickel or polished chrome. Another collection we've added is the Irvine collection, this collection is my personal favorite from the new Gatco items. My own personal tastes are typically more contemporary, but there's something about the shapes on this collection that appeal to me. The Irvine collection comes in burnished bronze, satin nickel, and polished chrome too. We've also added the Philadelphia collection which is another square style but this one has a little more detail to it, and more defined edges. It sort of reminds me of crown molding. The last new collection from Gatco is the Max, the Max collection is the sleek modern look that I like, the robe hook in particular is really cool. This collection reminds me of plumbing parts a little, it's a little bit industrial looking without being "cold."

Gatco Bath Hardware

We've also added a square passage pocket door set by Valli and Valli to match their privacy set. Valli and Valli make some great quality, unique pocket door items and when a privacy set and a passage set are ordered together they can be used on double pocket doors.

Valli and Valli Pocket Door Pull
Valli and Valli Pocket Door Pull

We've also added some Schlage commercial locks in oil rubbed bronze. We've carried the Commercial levers in satin chrome and brass for some time, and have finally added the oil rubbed bronze. Schlage's commercial locks come in keyed functions as well as interior functions such as passage and privacy.

Schlage Door Lever

And to wrap up this post before it get's too long, is the Schaub and Company Firenza collection. Schaub does a great job of coming up with innovative designs that a lot of other companies try to replicate. They seem to always be ahead of the pack when it comes to styles. The Firenza collection has a hint of old world italian charm. I like the lace-like scroll pattern they've incorporated into the pulls. The Firenza collection comes in three finish choices.

Schaub and Company Firenza

That about sums up the month of July so far. Stay tuned for next months new stuff!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We Love Earth!

How many times over the past year have you heard the term "Green?" To be honest I've heard it enough to be sick of it, but I'm not sick of what the term "Green" means. Our planet is not a renewable resource, and with roughly 6 billion people living on Earth we should each try and do our part to keep our home as clean and healthy as possible. But, I'm not here to preach about how we should all be living, instead I'll fill you in on a few products that we have that will help you do your part.

You don't have to be an Environmental Crusader to do your part, Recycling Centeryou can pick up some garbage laying on the street or recycle your plastics and aluminum. If you're not a recycler it's not too late to start. Most of us don't recycle because we feel like it's a hassle, with a product like Rev-A-Shelf's recycling center it's easy. This unit is mounted inside a cabinet and is compartmentalized into 3 bins and one canvas bag. The one shown in the picture is with multi-colored bins to make sorting easy but it does come in all white too. That way you can sort as you go inside the house and just take one bin at a time outside as it gets full. Hassle free!

Bamboo Lazy SusanRev-A-Shelf has also come out with a new line of kitchen organizers made out of Bamboo. What's so special about Bamboo? Bamboo is a rapid growth wood that is very strong and durable and looks pretty cool too. As a frame of reference; according to INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan) a 60 foot tree cut for market takes 60 years to replace, where a 60 foot bamboo cut for market takes 59 days to replace.

Another type of wood that's on the rise in use is Mango wood, Mango wood is eco-friendly because it used to be grown for the sole purpose of bearing fruit. Mango trees Mango Wood Knobgrow to be pretty large and their fruit production is about 20 years. After they stop bearing fruit they are cut down. Now Mango wood is being harvested after fruit production for multiple uses. Not only is the Mango tree re-purposed, but it's an alternative wood to Teak and Mahogany that's being harvested in fragile forests.

A new line of hardware for us is by a company called Duverre, they've come out with numerous collections made from recycled Aluminum. Here is an excerpt from their website, "Die cast aluminum hardware is precision crafted from post-consumer recycled aluminum. This methodology causes less impact on the environment. Using post consumer recycled aluminum reduces the generation of air and water pollution by 95%, requires only 5% of the energy and greenhouse gasses used in production of new metals, and helps prevent clear-cutting of tropical rain forests. Die cast aluminum hardware allows for precise measurements and consistent finishes, ensuring that each production piece is identical to and as flawless as the original." Not only is Duverre responsibly manufacturing items, but they've got a number of finish & style choices to choose from.

Duverre Hardware

Longleaf EntrysetThe last company that I want to talk about is called Longleaf Bronze. They manufacturer bath hardware, door locks and accessories. Longleaf Bronze, has been ISO 14001 rated. ISO is the acronym for International Standardization Organization. The ISO rating basically means they set certain standards and companies have to follow those standards to get a certain rating. The 14001 rating has to do with the environment; the ISO states that a company has to "Identify and control environmental impact of activities, products or services and to improve environmental performance continually." Longleaf Bronze basically has made a commitment to set a high standard and uphold it to reduce their environmental impact in their manufacturing processes.

So, you don't have to go out of your way to reduce your carbon footprint, and you don't have to go buy a hybrid car to help out mother earth. Next time you're shopping around for new home stuff check out these companies and products. Oh yeah, and don't forget your reusable bag!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Polished Nickel Is The Bee's Knees!

Ice Box LatchPolished nickel is quickly becoming the latest craze in the hardware world. Really.....? Why.....? To be honest I don't fully know the answer, but every chance I've gotten I've asked my customers why they've chosen polished nickel over polished chrome and the one answer that's been the same is that it has a much richer warmer tone than chrome does. I've also noticed that polished nickel can go into almost any design setting while polished chrome is almost exclusively in a contemporary setting.

I started doing a bit of research on nickel and from the tiny amount of information I have been able to find, polished nickel was favored early on for a plating choice because it's extremely durable and when plated it finishes very hard. In early automobiles all of the bumpers, fenders, etc. were actually nickel plated as opposed to chrome plated.

Basically the main difference from polished chrome and polished nickel is that the chrome has a bluish white undertone and nickel has a golden amber undertone.Polished Nickel Register I know, it's hard to think of a piece of silver material having any golden tone in it at all, but it does. Even though the undertone is there the material is still overall a silver color. The color difference has to do with the different types of elements and compounds added in the plating process.

There are a number of items available today that come in the polished nickel, but for now I will focus on a few that seem to be reemerging. In the past few months I have had quite a few people ask for "Christopher Peacock" type hardware. After a few people asked, I was on the hunt to find out who this Christopher Peacock was. After some web searching I have found that he is a high end designer. He uses very similar design elements in all of his rooms. He seems to focus on functionality, durability as well as beauty. Almost every room that he's designed has an elegant, rich warmth to it. Christopher Peacock is well known for his Scullery kitchens, which almost always use polished nickel hardware.

Here are some polished nickel items that are similar to items I've seen in Christopher Peacock kitchens.

Polished Nickel Hardware

There are a number of different hardware items available in polished nickel, but in the near future I think we can expect to see quite a few more.

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