Monday, December 17, 2012

Brassy to Brushed

The very first thing I did when we got the keys was to change the locks. We have 3 exterior doors (the front, back, and garage), and we only got keys to 2 of them. The previous owner had never gotten keys to the garage door, so she always left it unlocked, which I wouldn't feel good doing. The old owner was super nice so I have no worries about her, but the keys to the other doors could have been given to countless random people (cleaning services, handymen, etc.) so I just felt better about changing out all of the locks to have the same, new key.

The door to the garage had brassy, dated looking hardware. Plus, if you tried to swing the door closed you had to push it all the way or it would get stuck when the latch hit the striker, which would be a huge pet peeve when trying to carry groceries and stuff in from the car.

I went to Home Depot and got keyed exterior knobs. They came in single or double packs, so I got one of each since I needed 3, but that meant that the knobs in the double pack both had the same key but the knob in the single pack was a different one. It turns out that Home Depot will re-key them to match for free, so 10 minutes later I was on my way!

When I spread everything out, all of the pieces felt a little daunting, but I knew that I'd be fine if I went piece by piece. 

I have no idea why I didn't take more/better pictures... I really thought I did. There are more detailed ones later in the post when I talk about interior knobs.

First, I unscrewed the 2 screws holding the bolt plate on, then I unscrewed the 2 screws holding the latch in. 

Quick switcharoo to the new bolt...

And screwed the bolt plate back in

Luckily, it worked! I was pretttttty proud of myself at this point hahaha.

Next I repeated the process for the knob...

And then installed the new strikers.


I did the same for the other two doors and felt disproportionately good about myself :) It was really exciting though because it seemed sort of symbolic of making it officially ours. No one can get in but us!

Next I worked on the interior knobs. I counted up how many knobs we'd need, but once I got to Home Depot I realized that I'd need some regular "hall/closet" knobs and also some "privacy" knobs for bathrooms and bedrooms. A quick recount in my head meant I needed 5 hall/closet knobs (laundry room, downstairs closet, upstairs closet, master bathroom closet, and master closet) and 4 privacy knobs (half bath, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and guest bathroom). I didn't get one for the master bathroom because we're actually turning that door into a pocket door. The bathroom is a fine size, but when the door is open it blocks half of the shower and keeps the light from reaching the shower, so we've decided to open it up by switching to a pocket.

Back to business. Here's the old knob on the guest bedroom, which looking at it now I realize didn't even lock:

Like I did for the exterior knobs, first thing was to unscrew the plate holding the knob on.

Then to remove both knobs, which just pull out on both sides.

Next are the screws holding the latch in.

Then just pull straight out.

Then I screwed in the new latch.

**Tip** This point in the process is NOT a good time to close the door to see if this the latch works. I made that mistake when installing the exterior latch on the garage door and realized that there was no way to get it back open while the knobs are still uninstalled. To get the latch back inside the door, you have to twist the little metal circle in the picture above, but you need a special shaped piece (which is inside the knob) and resistance on the other side, which you can't have if the door is closed and you're stuck on one side. Luckily I made this mistake in the best place possible. I just went out the garage and back through the house to screw the knob in from the other side. I think you could potentially lock yourself in a room though if there's not another door out...

Next I put in the knob with the long metal pieces sticking out (which here was the side without the lock, meaning it needed to go on the outside of the door).

And lined it up in the hole of the locking knob.

Next you insert the screws and line them up with the holes in the other knob.

And screw them in!

Unscrew the old striker.

Remove it.

Screw in the new striker.


Wham bam, instant upgrade to this decade.

The closet in the guest bathroom has two sliding doors, and the pulls were also brass.

To get them out, I stuck a screw driver in a little notch I noticed on the inside and they actually popped out very easily.

In case you're wondering what John is usually up to during these projects, he's usually on the ESPN app haha.

I popped the new pull in which actually came with two little finishing nails to secure it to the door.

I enlisted John's help to hold the door steady while I hammered them in. I don't think he was very comfortable in the closet... thanks for taking a break from ESPN and being a trooper, babe.

I couldn't get my big fat hammer in the little recessed area, so I came up with this makeshift strategy, which worked pretty well.

Repeat for the other door and voila!

For a quick before and after...

Ahhh, so much better. Funny how such a little thing can make such a big impact.

This whole process probably took about an hour, which wasn't too bad for so many knobs. Looking around at all of their brushed nickel selves just makes me so happy!

You probably did not start reading this post thinking it would be so boring and only about doorknobs, but hey, these are the realities of what I'm doing. And I'm excited about it, so bam.

Anyone have any tips for quick updates that make a huge difference?


  1. I love it! You make me want to own a house! :)

    1. Thank you! It's super fun :) And super super terrifying... but also super super super rewarding!