Home & Garden

Cabinet handles are the jewelry of home design

Dear Debbie: We are replacing the cabinetry in our kitchen and bathroom and have been searching for handles and pulls that are a bit different and really classy.

Do we need to think about what’s in fashion right now? Should they have a matte or gloss finish? We will be renovating only once, so we want to get it right. – Carolann

Dear Carolann: There have been exciting developments in door hardware during the past few years, which means that you have lots of styles and materials from which to choose. You will find a good selection at home and specialty kitchen and bath stores, with a full range of materials and finishes. Architecturally designed handles, knobs and pulls are a splurge item, but their stunning appearance is unbeatable. One of the most popular picks today is nickel with a satin finish. The color of this metal is warm and rich, and complements both natural wood and white cabinetry. Shiny chrome is a reliable classic, easy to match up to existing hardware, and comes in sleek, contemporary designs. Bronze and brassy tones are more trendy, but worth a look if you enjoy their ambiance.

Handles are available that show composites, wood and even real leather combined with metal. Turnstyle Designs has a superb selection of leather handles with visible top-stitching in a range of colors from chocolate and tan to library green and red. I was struck by the unique appearance of their leather strap handles, a luxurious addition in either a kitchen or bath. The leather is pre-waxed, and maintenance is simply a polish once a year or so. Leather becomes only more beautiful with age and handling, softening to the touch.

Dear Debbie: I have a black-and-white kitchen – black ceramic floor, black countertop, black-and-white back-splash, white walls and white appliances. My question is, What can I do about the tired-looking honey oak cabinets? I’d like to paint them, but wonder about the color. – Wendy

Dear Wendy: You have a few options. A light to medium shade of gray will give you a cool contemporary mood. Keep the sheen quite flat for a more sophisticated appearance. If you have a contrasting color in mind, try a plummy shade of aubergine or dark green, or for a complete change go lime green. Experiment with one cabinet door. You may want to change the wall color to a shade of paint that complements your new cabinet color. Since you are taking the time to paint the cabinets, treat yourself to new handles.

Dear Debbie: The flooring in my small bathroom is 1-inch ceramic tile. As the building settled, numerous small cracks have appeared. Since I do not want to take up the tiles, is there any way to cover the floor? – Nanette

Dear Nanette: Small cracks will appear on tile floors unless the subfloor is perfectly solid, and there is no quick fix for this problem. I do not recommend carpet of any kind in a bathroom. You could install a new floating floor directly on top of the mosaic; there are many beautiful patterns available that replicate the look of hardwood, slate and cork. Your local building store will have all the information you require, and these laminates are not expensive.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.tritter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.