The Cross House

Turning the House Upside-Right

Recently, I posted some hardware porn. Then Christine and Mary Kathline wrote in and asked if the luscious door pull was…upside-down.


It was! So, a little something wrong in the world has been righted. This always gives me a thrill! Thanks, Christine and Mary Kathline!


At the top of the door was a coat hook. The hook now hits the wall. I write “now” because it did not used to hit the wall. This was because there was a radiator against the wall. But the radiator kept the door from fully opening. Which made me crazy. So, I removed the radiator. Thus, the coat hook now crashes into the wall.


I removed the coat hook. This instantly offered me a gift! The door is heavily over-painted and I have long wondered. Was it originally painted in “sanitary” white, as was common for bathrooms? Or did it have a faux wood finish like the rest of the doors in the house? Well, now I have the answer.



18 Responses to Turning the House Upside-Right

  1. Well, don’t I just feel like a house detective now?! So glad to have been able to help make Cross house a bit more beautiful.

  2. That coat hook must be older than the hills, if it was installed before they slathered white paint all over the door! Even if not where it was originally intended, hopefully you can find a spot for that cute little thing somewhere else in the house.

    • It is definitely very old. It is not likely original as all the doors were faux finished WITH the hardware installed. I know, surreal.

      I will likely reinstall the coat hook on the wall.

      • It looks as though it was, at one point or another, nickel plated, dating it from roughly the late 1890’s, to possibly the 20’s or 30’s? My guess is that it’s probably from the apartment conversion era. Either way, it’s stinkin cute. I love me some cool hardware!

        I would KILL to have seen the look on the artists’ face once he took the job and realized…that he had to paint AROUND all the hardware. Probably a “fuck!” or two escaped under his breath. 😂

        • Our current house circa 1926 has original nickel-plated hardware in the bathrooms, so it was in use up until at least then.

          It appears the doors in our current house were stained and varnished before the hardware was installed, but our last house had all the hardware installed first. All the millwork was stained and shellacked, but behind door backplates, etc, was just bare, unfinished wood. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was somewhat common to do it that way. Stain and clear finishes would definitely be easier, as getting a little bit on the edges of the hardware is no big deal.

  3. A discreet floor-mounted, right angle, brass door stop might allow you to keep the hook, which appears to be possibly (circa 1893?) original, without keeping the door from fully opening. It might also keep the door knob from hitting the wall. Glad you found the original door finish underneath. I wonder if such hooks are in the same catalog where the other spectacular door hardware was identified. Is this a job for Bo?!!!!

  4. I have hopes that this is not the exciting reveal alluded to in the post before this. I am anticipating another big one.

  5. I HAVE A QUESTION! What is the little lock underneath the door pull? I recently bought a (heartstoppingly fabulous) new front door for our house. It has a thumb latch that is only lockable from the inside and looks INCREDIBLY similar to your latch! Sadly mine is broken and all the inner workings have been depressingly removed. I am on the hunt for a new one. So, does that latch only lock from one side? Do you know the name of it? Is it Yale and Towne like all the other hardware?

    • Does it have keyhole(s) on the outside, and two buttons on the face of the lock, below the bolts? The standard mortise entry locksets had two locking features: one deadbolt, operated by a key on the outside and thumbturn on the inside, and a second lock that disabled the exterior knob from the latch bolt, but left the inside one operational. The knob lock was engaged/disengaged via the pushbottons, or key (sometimes a second keyhole on the front, other times by the deadbolt key, but turned the opposite direction).

      High-end mortise entry locks are still built this way, but vintage ones aren’t hard to find, you just have to recognize them. The older ones use skeleton keys, but by the 20s or so, some were built with cylinder locks, that use modern keys.

      As for the thumturn on Ross’s door pictured here, I suspect it is a simple small deadbolt, operated by only the thumbturn on one side. It would be used for privacy in a room with only one entry/exit (such as a bathroom or bedroom). I forget where this door came from, but I suspect that lock may have been added in the first apartment conversion, as the profile of the backplate looks very 1920s.

      • The main handle and door lock are an antique Corbin mortise lock. It has the cylinder on the outside, deadbolt on the inside, and two buttons on the face. We got a new cylinder for it with a modern key. It works flawlessly. No issue.

        However on the side of the door at about eye level is a little thumbturn that looks like Ross’s! The thumbturn and face plate are even the same. This door was a main entry door from a house in a nearby large city and it looked very 1910’s-20s, so the timing would make sense. I have the thumb turn part, the face plate, and the lock housing, but the inner works are broken/gone. On the outside of the lock housing (after I pulled it out of the door) is the name “R&E Mfg Co” which I found out was bought by Corbin in 1902. That lock insert is what I can’t find! It has a 2″ backset which is apparently WILDLY rare. But I can’t tell if it’s actually rare or if I just don’t know what it’s called. I’d love it to be able to work. Any ideas?

    • Very true…most of my woodwork (1886) is a amber colored fine-grain maple(under 12 coats of paint), but when I started stripping the kitchen trim, it is a very dark tiger oak. I wondered if it was always dark, or if the finish had darkened. I removed a couple of attached handles, and there it was; the original dark finish! The odd part is that my wife had already insisted on having dark oak in the kitchen, in spite of my argument that it wouldn’t match the rest of the house. Turns out, she was more accurate than I was!

  6. How about one of these adjustable hinge stops? The hinge pin slips through it, so it is easily removable and doesn’t involve making any new screw holes. Just an idea. I do find a hook in a bathroom handy!

    • I used those in several locations in our old house where post-style doorstops would have been obtrusive. I was able to find some sturdy ones that looked pretty good, but they still won’t have the same stopping power as a solid stop (due to the lever arm the large door has over the short stop arms). I used on on each door hinge, which helped quite a bit over just a single one.

      Our current house has some post-style stops installed at the top corner of the doors themselves in a few places, where the door swings up against an adjacent door. They are original, and in the right place (like a closet, or small vestibule) are almost unnoticeable in the shadows.

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.