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It’s a subtle design point, but I think it makes a world of difference in our Early-American farmhouse kitchen renovation. Hardware. The handles, knobs and pulls that make our cabinets functional. It took me two tries to get the right look with our farmhouse kitchen hardware. Quite a first-world journey.
This was supposed to be easy. I loved the look of black iron knobs against the white doors throughout the rest of our house. So, when we started our kitchen reno, I quickly picked out ridiculously inexpensive black cabinet hardware on Amazon and called it a day.
then I held those dark knobs up against the white cabinets, and it just didn’t look right in the space. In my farmhouse kitchen, this hardware was too much. Black dots on the cabinet fronts were too much of an eyeball magnet.
Plus, inexpensive metal knobs feel light and cheap in your hand. There’s no weight to them. They scream cost-saver. At first touch, my initial selection felt like you could almost crush it just by squeezing.
In terms of durability, pretty much everyone who enters a kitchen interacts with drawer pulls. I didn’t want the finish to wear off in two years.
So, I did nothing. I ignored my gut and decided to put the knobs aside for a few weeks. Maybe the look would grow on me? Besides, neither the knobs nor the bin pulls could be returned. I already opened the packages. Why not just check every few days and see if my opinion changes?
Of course, no matter how many times I held them up, shifted them over an inch, and tried them in the morning light or the evening dusk, those heavy, dark knobs looked like polka dots on the white cabinets. Ugh. Nothing is easy.
Time to find plan b
I went to big box stores and fancy specialty shops. It turns out, you can spend as little as a dollar or as much as $35 per tiny little knob. It’s quite a wide range. And I studied them all. Iron, antiqued, chrome, copper, nothing felt right.
When in doubt, over-think it. Our lights are black iron. Maybe I was wrong about those black knobs and pulls after all. If just held them up one more time…nope, nope still too much, too much of a good thing.
Ok, the range is stainless steel. Maybe chrome or brushed nickel would complement it? Hummm, those shades of silver are nice, but they don’t reflect the authentic, Early-American style of our 1788 farm house.
Then, it hit me. The solution! Something authentic to the Colonial era but not iron. Years ago my aunt brought me to Woodbury Pewter, a beautiful shop where they sell handmade pewter items like mugs, candlesticks and pitchers. They use authentic 18th century techniques to craft their goods. Some items have a smooth, polished finish. Others are lumpy and rustic with a true handcrafted quality. You can spend all day there. It’s beyond gorgeous. Historic pewter. That’s my answer!
We found a full set of pewter knobs and handles through Rejuvenation Hardware. Here are the exact same knobs I purchased.
Let’s talk budget
Budget blown. I thought we would save money on the hardware. Way wrong. Even though the first set of basic black knobs and bin pulls was 10 for $11…sigh…I wasted them. Actually, I stored them intending to put them on the cabinets in my master bath but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The pewter knobs and pulls I selected came to a grand total of $1,205. I believe they cost more than our first refrigerator. Was it worth it? Well, I am a satisfied customer. Authentic pewter lives up to its luxury price tag. The knobs are hefty and durable with a color fit for a knight in shining armor. Pewter is a living finish, meaning it will age with intention over the years.
Did you notice something unusual about those farmhouse kitchen cabinets?
How and why there are no toekicks under my farmhouse kitchen cabinets.
When you renovate a kitchen, you encounter some surprising questions, like…what size handles do I buy for different uses?
Oh come on, normal people don’t know if they should buy a 3″, 4″ or 5″ handle.
Do appliances need a larger handle? Yes, if you put cabinet panels on to conceal them. Ok, what size handles do appliances need?
How about the knobs? Do I need 1″, 1.5″ or 1.75″? Or should I just do handles instead of knobs on the cabinets? Ugh. Nothing’s easy.
All of our knobs were 1″. But, we chose three different handles for our farmhouse kitchen cabinets. On the upper drawers, we used 4″ bin pulls. For the big, deep lower drawers, we used two 4″ handles, and the appliances, which came panel-ready, got sturdy 6″ handles that double as a towel bar.
Hope you enjoyed reading about my search for the perfect, Early American inspired kitchen hardware. Check out the rest of the farmhouse kitchen renovation at: