I had a conversation with a client about hardware yesterday. Hardware in the sense of cabinet knobs and pulls, door hardware's another animal all together. Anyhow, I told him that if he doesn't know what constitutes "good" hardware he shouldn't learn or he'll never look at a cabinet knob the same way again. I was joking of course, I think everyone should have an idea of why things cost what they do and what separates the good stuff from the dreck.
There is a world of difference between a dollar knob at Home Depot and $30 knob from me. There's more to it than the fact that I have a dog in this race too.
Good cabinet hardware comes from foundries where solid metals are turned into art. Not good cabinet hardware is cast in a cheap alloy and then plated in whatever the finish du jour is. Trust me, that dollar knob only looks like brass.
I'm fortunate to sell good hardware from Schaub and Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Schaub designs and sells some of what I say is the best hardware in the business. Schaub doesn't shy away from getting creative and they do some really amazing and unexpected things with shell inlays and semi-precious stones.
This Branches series is from their Symphony collection. They are not for everybody, but for the right person, nothing else will do. Schaub uses black pearls and crystals in these handles and knobs and they have to be seen to be believed.
This series, also from the Symphony collection, uses shell inlays in a nouveau Art Nouveau style I like.
Here's a continuation from the same collection.
And a little more shell inlay here. The crab knobs are my favorite. What a great idea to use pen shell inlays to form a crab shell. Those crabs are gorgeous and light-hearted at the same time.
When I'm looking at the offerings of a hardware supplier, the first thing I look for is whether or not they work with bronze. I'm no metallurgist, but as I understand it, bronze is a more difficult metal to work with. Like brass, it's an alloy of copper and zinc, but bronze is a more dense metal. For my money though, nothing looks or feels like it. It's also nearly impossible to produce cheaply. The presence of bronze in a hardware collection is an indicator of quality.
Bronze hardware is usually really rustic-looking but it needn't be. Schaub just rolled out a new collection of modern-ish bronze handles and I think I'm in love. Again.
This is the co-ordinated knob. Ahhhhhh.
Of course, Schaub does a really good job with truly modern and contemporary stuff too.
I searched for years to find a good hardware supplier and I settled on Schaub and Company about two years ago. For my money, nobody else had as well-rounded a range and though no one will ever accuse them of being cheap, their hardware packs a lot of value into their price point. This is hardware for the long haul.