Friday, August 2, 2013

The Splurge and the Save

When we were having the new doors and windows installed in the laundry room, I got it in my head that I wanted new hardware with a keypad for the back door. I figured there were lots of times it would come in handy to press a couple buttons rather than fumble with keys, and Keith agreed, so we went for it. We chose a pretty basic model that could handle several different codes, but it was still pricy at $125. We are really happy with it and it has been useful (for instance, when Bert has shut the door and locked me out when I run out for something in the garden), so we aren't crying over spent dollars.

The thing was, our door also had a deadbolt. Keypad sets with a deadbolt got much more expensive, and we didn't want a new deadbolt as the key for the front door and the deadbolt on the back are the same. So it was either reuse the deadbolt, or call a locksmith to rekey things to avoid having loads of keys rattling on our key rings. Since we'd already splurged on the keypad, we opted to keep our existing deadbolt. The man who did the doors and windows was nice enough to install all the hardware, and very politely asked me if I was sure I wanted to keep the deadbolt. And I understand his position, because this is what it looked like paired with that swanky new keypad:

Um, yuck. And the situation at the front storm door wasn't much better, with a grimy doorbell plate, brassy handle, and big brass kick plate at the bottom (which I forgot to take a "before" picture of).

So, what to do? Enter the ever-thrifty John and Sherry from Young House Love and their fantastic directions for painting your grimy hardware (click here for the instructions).

I feel like such a copycat, because we even went for the same oil-rubbed bronze color, which was the closest match to the aged bronze available in the new hardware.

And we even have the same door bell plate they have at their new house...though they were a little more careful with getting the ring around the bell painted and not scratching it up while reinstalling.

My favorite part is probably how nice the kick plate looks now, much more subtle and suited to us than that brass color.

I'm still considering painting the mailbox, but can't decide if it should match the other hardware (and I've got plenty of paint leftover) or if I want it a bright, fun color. Also, we hate those gold and black decal numbers I blurred out on the door, but are pretty sure we would make a mess of the door trying to get them off. We are on the lookout for an idea to cover them up, and we have some nice house numbers we bought a couple years ago that we really like and just haven't put up yet. So the keypad cost $125, but upgrading the rest of the hardware came to about $20 (and we still have paint left) and a few hours of my time in taking it off, prepping and painting, and reinstalling. I even had to traipse down to the basement to find the circuit for the doorbell so I wouldn't get shocked when I disconnected the wires. When I told Keith about it, he said, "Huh. I've been wondering since we moved in what 'DB' meant on the living room circuit." And now we know.

The front and back storm doors each got one more little upgrade, since a certain toddler around here has figured out the locks, making my heart skip a beat one afternoon when I heard the front door slam shut behind him. A simple hook and eye latch, placed far out of his reach does the trick to keep him where he should be.

On a sort of related note, writing this post got me thinking about another blogger's post about money and spending versus saving that I read recently (you can read it here). It seemed very in line with the way Keith and I think about our money, and the way we choose to spend (or not spend) it, whether it be on our home improvements, gifts for family and friends, or even our groceries. There are some splurges, but only after careful weighing of the options. And all the daily little saves add up to a life that makes us feel more secure and comfortable in our ability to take care of our growing family.


  1. Ahh, the old hook-and eye. We have about three of those in our house (circa 1910), too. Have you ever been to / do you have a Habitat for Humanity resale shop in your town? I sometimes find lots of cheap, new, fun stuff there, including house numbers. I'm all about the saving, too.

    1. We do have a HFH Restore nearby and were actually there for the first time a couple weeks ago for Keith to find some basement workshop storage. It was great and we intend to make it a first stop whenever we are looking for house stuff!


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