Installing Restored Brass Door Hardware and Faux Finishing the Mantelpiece

Project: Bob's Shingle Style Home, Episode 26, Part 1

This is it! The house is finished, and Bob and the interior designers take a look at how all the fabrics, colors, and furnishings have come together. Kim Sweet puts the finishing touches on some spectacular faux painting jobs, Ryley installs a lockset in the powder room door, and we install Ketchum shower doors in the master bath. Bob shows off some of the latest gadgets like the Marvel wine cellarette and the handy WoodWaiter.

Part 1: Installing Restored Brass Door Hardware and Faux Finishing the Mantelpiece
Bob and Ryley install the restored door hardware. Architect Gregory Rochlin has had the lacquer-coated brass hardware intricately removed and numbered to ensure its proper placement in the finished house. Rochlin polishes the hardware with jeweler's rouge to return it to its polished brass original finish. Bob introduces a piece of furniture he has had in his home for a number of years. Featuring flame mahogany veneers and tiger maple, this piece is the inspiration for the faux-finished mantle in the den. Artist Kim Sweet uses layer upon layer of colors and finishes to recreate the antique wood finish.
Part 2: Touring the Completed Home Interior, Entryway, and Dining Room
Part 3: Installing Custom Shower Doors, Bath Hardware, and CO Detectors
This project centers around the remodel of Bob Vila's own gracious Shingle Style home in Cambridge, MA. It's a house with a lot of history and beautiful architectural details, many of which were obliterated in remodels of the 50s and the 70s. On the centennial of the house's construction, Bob gets together the best talents in the business to recreate and renew it to its former glory, making some important modifications along the way that will transform this into a dream house for today.

Also from Bob's Shingle Style Home

OK, well, we're back and we're dealing with some of the original hardware in the house.

Although, much of the detail here was lost , the brasses were still here and I suspect maybe 15, 20 years ago, somebody came along and polished them up and lacquered them.

And what happens is that the lacquer breaks down and you end up with this kind of a dull, chintzy looking finish and we strip these in lack or thinner and grad the architect actually spend lot of time buffing these on a jeweler's buffing wheel.

Yes he did.

Would have jeweler's rouge, which is one way of getting the, this means you'll have to maintain them a couple times a year, but still, they look perfect.


And you've even got the little screws here.

Now how do you put this back?

Well, I tell you, the key to this whole thing was the organization at the very beginning, because all this business went out in bags that were numbered, and they come back at the tail end of the job and they're back in the bag and they were heard there was a complete schedule of every door in the house this of course is the powder room door. Right this door it was always here, but when we put it back in, it was a little larger than the hole, so we had to cut it down a bit.

Any time you're gonna be cutting a door down, you want to cut it down from the hinge side so that our mortars is still intact.


When we put this mortars in it is going to fit just like it did when it came out.

Exactly. Yeah the reason the opening changed is that of course we've got new walls and we've got new door jams and casing's and that means that essentially all these doors have to be rehung.

Now you put the spindle from the knob through the plate, and of course just reset the knob. And you've got the original set screws and everything, right?


Yeah it really is important to keep all the parts together and not mix them up. Because these are 100 year old pieces, the threading might vary from one to the next. And what's the next step?

We just want to set the scussion plate.

OK. And you're not going to use a level on that, you're actually going to measure.

Right, make sure it's exactly right, yeah.

Good. Well, Bob, you got another 30 of these to do, but I really appreciate all your help on the house.

OK .

OK, thank you. Now before we we go in to look at the den, I want you to look at a piece of furniture that I've had for a long time, which is probably early eighteen hundreds, and it uses woods that were very popular then. Flame mahogany veneers probably from the Caribbean islands, and a New England favorite. Maple, in this case it's Tiger Maple with all the banding. We're taking inspiration from this piece, and Kim is doing quite a job on the mantlepiece in the den, so come on in. So once again, we called Kim Sweet into the job to try to reproduce these woods. Hi, Kim.

Hi, Bob.

Now, have I challenged you sufficiently here?

I think so. We had, we had painted the mantle a red, and is like you see on the base board here, the baseboard hasn't been finished yet.

And the walls of course had that red, and then Kim, daubbed them or rag them I suppose is the term to create this effect of kind of old leather.

And then it occurred to me to try to do the woods, the mahogany and the tiger maple.

Tell me about how you achieved this finish here as this a does approximate it here pretty nicely.

Thanks, we started with a red base and then built up glazes, sort of umbers and blacks and browns and just sort of worked on getting the brushes to move the way the grain of the wood would.

And of course that the glazes are transparent so that as you add to them you create this depth.


Now for the tiger maple then did you have to paint the different base?

Yeah, you can just see a little bit left down here.

This is sort of a more of an oaker, we used a red for the mahogany and oaker for the tiger maple.

Oaker being a naturally occurring yellow.
Kind of a tan yellow color. And this is probably the harder of the woods to try to replicate. The tiger banding.

Yeah, it's got a lot less movement and so sort of make it look realistic without being too overdone is a little bit of a challenge.

Yeah, well I like what you've done you've done up towards the top bend here already, where it's starting to look a little bit like bird's eye.

And of course you have to keep the tape in place right.

Yeah, the tape is great, because it will protect the edges that are already finished. So I'm not going to have to re-work those seams when the tape comes down.

Well Kim you've done wonderful thinks right here, thank you.

Thank you.

And of course, the room is unified with mahogany is we have a cornice that's built up out of mahogany, even the dental moldings which are again somethings that available from lumber yards. And when it turns the corner over to this wall we have a beautifuly crafted library. wall. This is again the fellows at the shop at Fort Hill here in Boston who created all this woodwork out of solid mahogany and the pilasters which are fluted, take there kind of design key from what was already in the dining room hutch.

Little features like this. And the design of the whole thing is three stacks of books and then a central area where we can hide things like a fax machine.

But I think one of the neatest parts to the whole room is the way that they decided to put the doors in. This was Gregory's idea and create peace and quiet. Got to break for messages don't go away. Hi I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again to our final visit here in Cambridge. Unfortunately, on a cold and rainy day,we are going to be giving you a complete tour of the interior of the house. Everything is pretty much done including the green picket fence on the front of the property. And unfortunately we haven't been able to finish the,the final touches here on the front porch and entry.

But under these blue tarps we've got some very brave carpenters. Stick around, it's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's home again.

And under the tarps we have Anthony Forbes and David Eyes both from Fort Hill Construction. And you guys have really well these guys have been here since ten months ago when we started and even the weather is not slowing you down.

Thanks so much, it's gonna look fabulous. Let's go inside. Alright, lets start the tour in the vestibular were very lucky have this front section of the house with a huge closet here and Sheila Smalls from California closets.

Hi Bob. How are you today?

You know, we had lots of space here, but you've re-interpreted it for us, right?

That's exactly right. We've taken this great entry closet of yours, and it was about eight feet.


So it's a good sized space.


And what we've done is we've created some room for your jackets and coats.

The lowest space in the corner, for my down vests and the like.


And then longer coats in the middle.

That's right, and of course you see here the drawers that we've put in the closets which will help with big gloves and mittens and hats for each member of the family.

That's right. Five drawers, there's five of us. That will make life easy.

I think it will be perfect for you. The shelves also will help out with any other hats and things you might have, so you basically have over eight feet of space and a great deal more.

Magnificent. Well, you've not only done a great job here, but also throughout the house. I really want to thank you.

Well it's our pleasure, Bob. Thank you so much.

OK. Now the best of you, which of course did didn't have much architectural interest, benefits now from a lot of our architects designs. But I think one of the key elements that have come into play here is this stenciling in this, around the ceiling, kind of creating a cornice like effect. Kim Sweet, our artist in residence took care of this. Nineteenth century rooms often had decorative detailing that was actually painted and stenciled, and here in our little vestibule, Kim Sweet has designed this motif, this will actually be on the vertical, on the wall, and this will be up there on the ceiling, on the horizontal. She's actually getting started.

Kim, I want to interrupt you a little bit. Well, I can't interrupt you, you got to keep on going with the brush work I know. But the first step here was to put up all the blue masking tape, right?


And that must have taken you the better part of a day.

Yeah. I just finished up a little bit ago, and now I'm just starting to fill in the color.

OK, and the color for the part that will resemble the cornice is a deep red. What kind of paint is it?

This is all oil-based.

OK, and then the tops section the base coat there is a beautiful teal green.

Yes, this is what were going to lay in.

Yes, how long is it going to take to do all of this?

About four days.

And will the the detailing also be stenciled, or is that hand painted?

I'm going to stencil it but there's going to be a slight detail around the edges, just a freehand black line to bring out the gold.

And is the gold gold leaf or is it?

No, we're not going to use gold leaf are going to use paint.

Sound's good to me. Can't wait to see it finished.

Let's say hello to Greg Rockland, the architect who's has done all the work here.

Bob, how are you?


Now, much of what you design relies on modern materials, right?

Yes, there's medium density overlay board here next custom molding.


And this is just is the wood from a lumberyard.


And then on the floor.

Floor is a stock inlay against it, the existing flooring.

And yet it's little touches like this that bring the flavor of 1890's back into this house.


Well I want to thank you personally for a magnificent job

Thank you.

And before we kind off leave this area, about ten months ago when we started, let's reminisce and look at some old footage.

You've gotta admit, it doesn't read like an 1897 house when you walk in here. These architectural features are straight out of the 70's, like mirrors and the lack of moldings, and the lack of chair rails. No detailing at all in here.

That's right. They stripped it all out, and I think it's been part of the project here to put it back.

Have you looked closely at this hutch?

This is a very nice piece of woodwork. It's buried under many layers of paint right now, but if this could be restored, it really would be a quite a nice piece. At one time, as you can see from this stock, there were doors, probably glazed, in the top of this hutch, and I think we want to think about re-creating those.

Well it's the detailing that makes a huge difference in a Victorian house. This has all taken us 10 months from the time we started demolition to this point, and we're at the point now that we can celebrate the interior design. well this is Christine Lane and Susan Shaunger from CLC interior

Bob, how are you?

How are you?

Nice to see you.

Let's start a little bit about what you have done, because you have choose colors and wallpaper.


And furniture placement and
carpet patterns and stuff.

And here in the dining room you talked us into a very Very busy wallpaper.

Right and we That looks spectacular.

I love it.

Its a very dense pattern it works in a small on because it gives you a very intimate feeling, and we've broken it up with a Off-white colour which brings out the background of the wallpaper and beautiful green below so it's not too busy

In a review red pick up red berries and walk.

Let me make one point out you had a big room, you wouldn't want to use a paper like this right

It would totally overwhelming and too busy.

Yes, yes, that's the and it's expensive so we used a small amount in a small room like this.

Right, right.

Tell me about the drapery fabric OK this is a well priced cotton chintz. And what we've done is a traversing drape which means we've covered the pole in the fabric as well as the finials.

And this fabric will go all the way across the window, which is about ten yards, and we featured some beautiful goblet plates named after a goblet.

Yeah, I like the one in gold. It's very nice.

That's right.

Yeah, what I loved about was that it was 15 dollars a yard, right?


And then in this corner we have the only architectural feature that was in the house but it was missing it upper doors. So we've recreated doors based on kind of the paneling design we had here, and we've stuck in some old blue and white pottery that I think really think livens everything up.

It's a great touch.

Let's talk about the hall. The rug in the hall is one that we picked up on a trip. It's actually Russian, and you've used it as your palette inspiration here, right?

Yes, there's a lot of different reds in the carpet. And we used it in the William Morris wallpaper also.

And again, it's a pattern that unifies the entire space. It relates to the dining room and everywhere in the house

That's right. And, also, yo u can see the blue in the rug. And the Greek turn key, which is repeated in the border in the runner. And it's a nice detail.

And these are the important things to unify an interior. To, kind of, have everything blend and relate to each other

That's right.

You've done a great job.

Thank you, Bob.

Thank you so much, Christine. Suzanne, thanks a lot.

Thanks, Bob It's been a pleasure.

One last touch that I love on the staircase is the anaglypta -- this 19th century textured paper that we used along the wall here. Which really is appropriate, I think.

We've gotta break for messages. Don't go away. Joining us now is Greg Vangrover from the Ketcham Reflections company.

Hi Bob.

And we're talking shower doors here, huh?


Now how far along are you? Tell us what's happening.

OK, right now were finishing up. What were doing is putting on a silicon sealant to seal this unit up, because this unit is not only going to be sealed for water leakage and seepage, it's also going to be sealed the whole steam, we seal the whole shower enclosure.

Yeah,right. And so that means it you have to put silicon in addition to the regular metal stripping that is going up against the wall.

Correct. We use Silicone around the whole perimeter, and even insert in other instances, we're using magnets and weather stripping to also sealed.

So the weather stripping you see right along the edge here.


And want to get a little bit too to close in there? Don't you need to be able to vent this somewhat?

Yes. Well, what we did is we added a custom flip panel here, so what happens is after you take your steam, you can so you don't create mildew and to much moisture inside the shower. And on normal mornings when you take a shower, and you're not taking a steam, you're in a rush, you can open that up and take a normal shower and it won't be too hot.

Excellent. Now what type of finish is this cause the actual components are solid brass, aren't they?

Correct there solid brass and inside each parent holding it together are solid brass corner blocks, which will prevent the unit from corroding inside and blowing up and coming apart. And this particular finish is brush chrome and we chose that to match the fixtures that are in the rest of the bathroom because we will the finish that is available.

Now this is unusual though. Most, most often you see the shinier finishes, right?

Right. Most times you would see a polished chrome plated brass and that is because most fixtures that you see are polished, chrome plated brass. Its the most durable finish and it holds up, and it's bright. And we did one like that in your wife's bath.

Exactly tell us about that one.

Now what we did was since it's bigger and it's a little more open we, in one of the joints we removed the vertical metal and that, we were able to butt glaze the glass and open up the whole shower, so when you walk in, it's a very open appearance.

Now tell us a little bit about installations like this. This is really custom. It's not very easy.

It's very custom it looks simple, but really its not because, what happens is the units and the openings are designed by designers and architects.

But since everything that you to build and especially with what you do building older homes.

Not all the walls are true or plumb or the angles be true or plumb so what we do basically is we take the drawing and we come out and we field measure and we put levels on it to see if the wall's lean out because we will cut this out of square just to fit the opening and to fit your particular bath.

If you have to.



We have to, and then what we do is we need factory trained installers because Most of these pieces will fit right in but they have to know exactly where each piece goes to lay it out so it is a very tight fit.

No, I'm familiar with them. it's a work of art.

Thanks a lot Craig.

Thank you.

Okay, well we're going to go down to the now look at some other fabulous gadgets, come on. Now one gadget that you really should have is a carbon monoxide detector. And this one is battery powered, so we don't really need the electrician to do it but thanks for getting it up there Barry.

No problem.

Now, you have done all the wiring in this house, every light fixture. I want to thank you for that and for sticking around for each. Why is this an important item to add?

Well, carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless and you never know it's coming until it sneaks up on you and it's too late.

Exactly, and these of course can be tested and should be tested regularly. That tells you it's working, right?


Good. Thanks Barry.

No problem.

Now I reserved two spaces of the basement for special purposes. One of them is a wine cellar or cellarite. It's only about 8 by 8. But we're below grade and we've got the old stone walls here. And one of my treats is this Marvel wine store system for special bottles or for party needs. You can chill about four cases of wine in each one of these and you can keep all your Chardonnays' and stuff for a party and then you can also control humidity and temperature, so that you can take good care of special red wines.

Then on the other side of this area, I have got plenty of room for wood storage. And one of the key things that I wanted was to be able to get it up to the first floor easily. So there's a Canadian company called Bruce Fowler Industries that makes this Woodwaiter and you can load it up. It's got a worm drive on either side so that it can really, really move a lot of firewood. And all it takes is about a minute, and it will be in my living room.

And of course the firewood is right where you need it, in the corner of the living room, but just about five feet from our fireplace, so that it makes life pretty darn comfortable, huh?

Now, you'll notice in this room we've gone to pretty traditional color schemes. We have a kind of vanilla color on the walls, and a nice, white trim. And the reason we did that was, well, a number of reasons. We have such strong colors in the hall and in the other rooms, and we have so many strong colors in our possessions.

We love bright colors that the only piece of furniture that we really bought from this house was this terrific red sofa from baker. And you know, when you love color like that, sometimes you really need to draw back, architecturally this room is interesting its got good proportions lots of day light.

One big flaw that it had was originally if you remember we had a kind of a 1970's ceiling treatment with a cove running around the entire perimeter of the room with little tiny lights everywhere, very inappropriate for an 1890's house and we put in a new ceiling and added this wooden crown molding around the entire perimeter to kind of give it the right sense.

And of course the last thing that you have to worry about in rooms like this is how to light them, because they're big and you need different types of lighting, so we brought in the ligtholeer dimming controls, the brilliance controls, so that we can have, oh say in an area like this, we can bring down the light just to the right intensity so that bright colors are not overpowering and in another area where you might have a painting you can do just the right kind of lighting. I'm real pleased with the way the house is coming, is coming together.
Got to break for messages. Don't go away.
Well now it's getting time to say good bye again. After 10 months of actual work and a 26 visits here at our house, the p lace is finally done. And I really want to thank all the poeple that really labored through lots of difficulties to make this happen for us. Also want to thank the neighbors who have had to live with lots of construction debris, construction trucks and noise over the course of the last 10 months. That's it for his time. Till next time, I'm Bob Vila. It's good to have you home again.



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