golden rules

if a stranger tries to lure you anywhere with the promise of candy, do not go. bad things will happen to you. this is a golden rule in many households.

but what if the candy is the last of the antique hardware that you need for your the doors in your house and the stranger is a kindly senior citizen named bob that you met at the st lawrence market? then you should go. good things will happen to you.

a few months ago, i found a gold-plated strike plate for my bathroom door at the st lawrence market. the vendor sold antique hardware exclusively — locks, plates, hinges, crystal knobs — but only had one strike plate for sale, which i promptly bought for $2. strike plates are the little pieces that screw into your door frame, to give the door something to latch onto and keep it from swinging ajar. antique ones (the ones that pair with the mortise locks) are very hard to find because people forget to remove them, even if they go to the trouble of saving the door hardware. they often get demolished with the frame, rather than donated with the door.

the french door that i got from restore has been up in our studio for a few months now, but i hadn’t been able to find an antique strike plate to complete the project. so i decided to go back to the st lawrence market to see if i could find that same vendor, to see if he might have another strike plate to sell me.

i was able to find him — his name is bob and he has an end table in the middle of the market — but he didn’t have any strike plates for sale. though he promised me he had some at home, if i wanted to come by. the man was eating a piece of carrot cake as he said all of this, he had a business card with no spelling errors, and he was in his seventies, so i trusted him (and felt that i could easily outrun him if this trust was misplaced). i told him my name and promised to call him that upcoming week.

on a tuesday night a few weeks ago, i drove to his apartment building in scarborough, where he met me in the lobby and took me up to his floor. because he had a “bachelor apartment, which was a total mess” he didn’t want to invite me in (which was just fine by me), but instead brought a neatly arranged box of hardware parts to a bench outside of his apartment door. i happily went through it for about five minutes, picking out the last pieces that i needed to complete all the doors in the house (i needed a couple of backers and one more lock in addition to the strike plates).

i gave him $20 for the lot, which was probably a bit too much, but i was feeling sympathetic towards this elderly man who lives all alone and collects and sells doorknobs as a hobby. the whole exchange was, admittedly, a bit bizarre, but i’m sure people have done weirder things to obtain a missing or special piece for a collection, right?

the second golden rule that i broke: i painted all this wood. this is a less commonly known rule (and one that is not drilled into children’s heads by their parents quite as much), but i know there are people out there who think painting wood (especially painting wood white) is the eighth deadly sin. i am not one of them and i didn’t want to take the time, or deal with the chemicals required, to restore this door to its wooden glory.

that, and i have three doors in this teeny triangle space in my hallway and the other two are white, so i thought it best if the french door just conformed.

and — dare i say it? — i think i like the white better than the wood. with the bentwood chair, the hardwood floors, the guitars, the bulletin board strips, and our desk all in this room, i think there was enough wood without the door adding a different shade.

the idea of taping 30 panes of glass didn’t appeal to me, so i just freehanded the whole thing with a good angled brush. of course, i then needed to scrape every pane of glass free of paint when i was done, so i don’t know if i came out ahead or not. with all the bevels it was quite a time-consuming door to paint, and parts of it could use a third coat, to be honest.

so that’s the studio finished. i added some photos to the house tour page since i’m all done! so go on. check out all 70 square feet of this room (it’ll only take a second).

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