Posts Tagged ‘doorknobs’

Please welcome our first guest blogger – Louise Foerster

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Doorknobs and Destiny


We came upon Darien after months of looking. It was time to move. We’d finished renovating our condominium in Valley Cottage, New York and were ready to sell it. The idea was to move to Westchester or Fairfield counties for an easier commute into New York City.

It was an exciting and aggravating time. Already, we had bid on and lost several houses in different towns. It was a red-hot market filled with avid buyers. No matter how fast we made up our minds about a house, we were too late to win.

I’d heard about Darien from a friend at work. While we’d never seen it, she was so enthusiastic about it that we decided to take a look.

It was a gray, dismal fall Saturday when we followed the directions to meet our broker. We weren’t hoping for much given our weeks of disappointments.          However, at the first house we toured, I felt a shimmer of excitement. It happened again at the second house. All morning long, I thrilled at the different styles of house and neighborhoods where children played street hockey and people said hello.

I was a child again. It was Christmas at Grandma’s house in Bedford. Her house was a small Cape Cod filled with laughter, cousins, and Christmas decorations. We ate fast at the kids’ table in the kitchen so that we could fly out into the foot-deep snow.

Grandma’s house had glass doorknobs. My family lived in new houses with raw yards and moved every few years. Our doorknobs were shiny, brassy and easily damaged. Her doorknobs were warm and sparkly.


Once we saw Darien, there was no going back. We changed out the flimsy doorknobs in our condo with sturdy brass ones. In a market clogged with larger, better-featured units, ours sold in days.

We went back to Darien to lose several bidding wars. Ultimately, we won a treasure in an old, broken-down house that looked pretty from the outside. Inside was a different story. It stank with hardwood floors stained by dogs that couldn’t wait, water-logged wallpaper, and neglect. When we showed it to our parents, they asked if we could get out of the deal. Still, it had plaster walls, hardwood floors, and glass doorknobs

Several years later, the house glowed. We’d restored it to its original charm, keeping only the glass doorknobs. When we admired the newly painted floor in the garage, we knew that it was time to move on.

Months later, we found another under-loved older house in Darien. This time, the doorknobs weren’t glass. They were older ones, solid brass and warm to the touch.

We mentioned to a fellow old-house lover how it was strange that there were two very different types of doorknobs in the house: finely wrought ones in most of the house and thick, blunt ones in the kitchen and tiny rooms off a back hallway. She grinned telling us that this was social status made apparent; the nicer doorknobs were only for family and visitors. The housekeeper and gardener got the crude ones for the rooms where they worked and lived.


Recently, a friend moved into an old house in Rowayton that she and her husband lovingly restored . In updating its flow, they changed doors and needed more glass doorknobs to match the rest of the house. They found them on e-bay. The “new” old glass doorknobs fit in perfectly with the original ones.

When I got home, I was so excited that I browsed for glass doorknobs all over the internet. I wandered through etsy as well as other house-focused sites. Everywhere I looked, I was stunned by the abundance of magical doorknobs.

Many of the doorknobs had stories. One seller apologized for a slight violet hue in her doorknobs, seemingly unaware that some old glass ages like that?

One story grabbed me by the throat. The seller had a single, exquisite glass doorknob in perfect condition, purported to be from an old farmhouse in upstate New York. I imagined it as the sole indulgence of an owner who needed one bright touch of beauty in a hard way of life. I had to have that doorknob. I sent in a bid, won, and days later ripped open a brilliant glass doorknob packed with great care.

Now that I know how to find perfect doorknobs, I am empowered. We can live anywhere, restore more sad old houses or delight in move-in-ready cottages. I know where to get the perfect doorknobs to make our house into our home.


photo 2-3

A door at 35 Sunswyck.

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The lock makes this door knob at 35 Sunswyck even move special.

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Thank you Louise for this blog highlighting the importance of doorknobs. Don’t ever skimp on the details that can make all the difference in a home.