Editors' pick

Brass Knob Architectural Antiques

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Editorial Review

"People who live in new houses want old detail," says owner Donetta George, who along with partner Ron Allan opened the first of their two stores 19 years ago when Allan's huge collection of door knobs and other architectural antiques started outgrowing his garage storage space.

The stock of the smaller of the two enterprises includes restored light fixtures, mantels and decorative hardware, most of it dating from 1850 to 1930, and much of it going to owners of new homes. A circa 1880 gas lamp with its gilded finish restored goes for $1,795; a 1925 chandelier is $2,295. Door knobs, which still hold a place of prominence, start at $18 for an unrestored and unpolished plain pair and go to $55 for a restored pair, more for decorative knobs.

Moreover, George not only sells you hardware like a doorknob, but also helps you with the practical aspects of making sure it fits the intended door. At the same time, if you're enthralled with an architectural element like an art deco terra-cotta stone cornice, she'll help you figure out where to place it for pure visual interest.

-- Janet Bennett