• November 6, 2006

Get More Bling For Your Buck

Where to save and where to spend on your house restoration

How To

House bling. Antique doorknob and lockset.
House bling. Antique doorknob and lockset.

It is so easy to spend money, more money than you ever intended, when restoring an old house. I recently faced this fact yet again while looking for period ball tip door hinges. I found them for $28 a piece at an antique hardware store. Considering that we needed 9 hinges, that would have set us back $252.00 plus tax for DOOR HINGES.

I found the same hinges for around $20 a hinge at a salvage yard. I love historical accuracy as much as the next restoration buff, but there is no way I can justify dropping that kind of dough on a door hinge. Reproduction hinges would have cost around $150 plus shipping and handling.

eBay is usually a great resource for finding old house parts at reasonable prices, but doesn’t always work well when you are looking for larger quanities (such as 9 matching hinges).

What to do, what to do? Hot foot it over to our local big box store and drop $48 for modern hinges. We could have purchased them for half that price except that I insisted on the more expensive bronze finish.

Is it period perfect? No. Will anyone even notice the difference? Other than every member of the local historical society, I doubt it.

I subscribe to the more bling for your buck restoration philosophy: Keep expenses down where possible and invest in one special item that has “wow” factor.

With all the money we saved on the door hinges, we had enough money left over to buy an antique doorknob and lockset for the French doors. Double wow!

Comments { 6 }
  1. Saple

    Bang for your buck babe.. I think buying the historic lockset was the much better decision

  2. Sean

    I have bought all my hinges at Home Depot and then bought the ball tip hinge pins (made by Stanley) and they look great. They are usually in the section where they have the the solid brass box hinges and box handles. I can’t recall the price but I think its less than ten dollars a set. I have only seen them in polished brass but they may have other finishes. if not, you can get some bronze spray paint and make them match

  3. Derek

    I can’t believe how long the old hinges last, all the doors in our house still have the original hinges. I don’t think the made in china hinges will last 80 years. That’s a lot of money for hinges, I would go for the modern ones for sure. More people are going to notice the lockset anyways.

  4. cara

    If you have a Habitat resale store in your area, check it out for large quantity inexpensive and original hardware. It may need some cleaning up, but not always. Around here anyway, when an old structure is taken down, the hardware, doors, sinks and all else can end up at the Habitat store. A very old and historic school recently came down and everything went to Habitat. Wow, what a trip down memory lane!

  5. Mindy

    Here in my hometown we have a store called SECOND CHANCE (Macon, Georgia) and they have boxes and boxes full of these hinges. The also carry lock sets, door knobs, door plates, stained glass, 6 panel doors, etc. The cool thing about this place is that all of the stuff that they sale comes from all of the historic homes around the south that are being demolished. Look them up, good luck.

  6. merideth

    double wow indeed. I’m so with you on your opportunity cost influenced decisions.

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