Friday, July 29, 2011

The Devil's in the Details

When I took the craptastic hardware off the closet door in the second parlor, I expected to find ghost marks from the original hardware.  I did not.  That caused me to stand there for a minute or so frowning and saying, "Huh." 

I am absolutely, positively certain that this is not the original hardware:
It's ugly and flimsy, and nothing original to this house is ugly and flimsy.  I threw it in the trash right after that photo was taken.  I don't feel bad about it.  I couldn't even give away a whole mess of it for free on Craigslist when Mare and I re-did the kitchen.  (This junk matches the junk that used to be on the kitchen cabinets.)

What I'm wondering is, what was on there originally?  If I had ghost marks from the original hardware, I'd try to buy hardware the same size and style.  I'd like to put these awesome latches on there, but since I need four of them, $74.95 a pop is a bit pricey.  These latches are almost as awesome, in my price range, and the turn button almost exactly matches the knob on my transom hardware.  I'm keeping an eye out on eBay as well.  Still, I'd feel better about the latches if I knew what was on there originally. 

There's a bunch of ghost marks on the door and the trim, but none of 'em really make sense.  See?

I outlined em in painter's tape so you can see em.

 This is the kind of thing that just drives me bonkers, because then I start thinking....

I think the doors and maybe even the trim might've been re-used, either from someplace else in this house or from another house.  (The Kellys owned at least three other houses in Lexington, none of which remain, and at least two farms in Lafayette County which I haven't tracked down yet.) 

From top to bottom, here's why I think that:
A.  There's a seam in the trim piece between the lower doors and the upper doors.  I cannot see a seam on any other piece of door trim in this house.
B.  Those huge hardware marks on the door trim (left and right).  It doesn't look like a patched mortise (too smooth), more like a ghost mark from some sort of large hardware.
C.  That big square in between the two lower doors.  It's perfectly square and I can see patched nail or screw holes at each corner of it.  Was it some kind of latch plate?  In the middle of it is a triangular gouge, which might be damage caused by whoever pried off that hardware. 
D.  And finally, those ghost marks from hinges on the lower third of each door.  They're opposite the hinge side of the door and at the same level, but there's no mark like it on the upper part of the doors.  Weird.

I've always thought the closet was original to the house...but maybe not.  The inside walls of it are rough, as if they left the roughcoat on the plaster and didn't put on the finish coat.  That's what made me think the closet was original...but now, looking at all the marks on the trim, I'm not so sure.  This room originally had an exterior door that led to the side porch...could the trim have come from that? 

Could the doors be cut down from the original basement trapdoor?  The existing trapdoor is clearly not original--it's plywood.  The back porch (where the trap door is) was already closed in by the time my mom's friend Teresa moved into one of the apartments in this house back in 1947.  Maybe when they enclosed the back porch they re-used the trapdoor as those closet doors?

Or maybe all this angst over the closet comes from being home for two extra days with a horrible summer cold (fever, cough, headache, congestion, earache) and a UTI that has me running to the bathroom every 45 minutes and using bad swears when I get there.  (Was that an overshare??  You ladies understand.)  Maybe I should just buy the darn iron and brass latches, which really are pretty cool, and stop all this rat-on-a-wheel-type thinking....


  1. How do you feel about this one - it says he has ten available -

    i got nothing about the puzzling stuff.

  2. Karen Anne, those very nice. Very Eastlake-y.

    Jayne, can you post a close-up of the latch area, minus the blue tape?

    And are you drinking lots of cranberry juice? :-)

  3. Karen Anne, I really like those! I'll have to look again to see how big they are, but they look like they might work.

    DaveS, I'll post one when I get back home tomorrow. (I'm back at work.) And yes to the cranberry juice. lol

  4. wow, Karen Anne does not mess around!