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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, May 20, 2016
Spring It Up! – Revitalizing Exterior Components


As the weather breaks and we venture out to tackle outdoor tasks from window cleaning, gutter cleaning, yard clean up, painting and more, you may have noticed that a few other items may need your attention as well!

Your exterior lighting, mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and door hardware may be looking a little tired from the elements (the weather). They may have accumulated dust, dirt, or have become a bit discolored or faded. Good news….you may not have to replace them! How about revitalization instead?

First and importantly, know whether or not your light fixture(s), mailbox, or house numbers’ finish is intended as a living finish or not. A living finish is generally a raw or patina finish that will weather and develop its own patina naturally over time. For many folks, this is a desired look. If the finish is not an intended living finish, then it is most likely a powder coated paint finish.

Now…it is important to understand that no mater how durable a finish may be, when exposed to the “elements” for a period of time, it will shown some wear. Some manufacturers use a clear chemical lacquer finish while others, because of State EPA standards, may use a clear “water-based” lacquer finished coating. A water-based lacquer will naturally dissipate exposing the finish below it. However, even a durable powder coat finish will fade somewhat over time, particularly when fully exposed to the Sun. Some people tend to think that extreme weather is the biggest factor in affecting a finish when in reality, it is ultraviolet rays from the Sun.

A living finish can be sealed as well. Sealing a living finish will slow down or halt weathering. Keep in mind that sealing a living finish will darken the color.

So here is what you can do;

CLEANING:

Clean your light fixture, mailbox, doorbell, house numbers or door hardware with a soft cloth rag and very mild detergent such as dish-washing liquid. Then wipe completely dry immediately after cleaning. Do not use any chemicals or abrasives of any kind! A chemical can remove any possible sealer that is part of the finish.

SEAL & PROTECT:

Then you want to apply a sealer of some sort to help revive the finish and protect it from the elements. If you have some clear furniture paste wax on hand (such as Johnson's Paste Wax), you can apply a couple coats of paste wax, let it dry and wipe it off leaving a coating on the finish. If you have some lemon Pledge or even Stainless Steel Polish around, you can apply a coating of this. It will also revive and seal the finish because they typically have some silicone in it. If you are concerned about applying anything to the finish, then Endust is a safe bet because it does not have silicone. In either case, the application will darken the finish but will lighten up within a few hours or so. You should apply a sealer to all of these items at least a couple of times per year. It will prolong the life of the finish.

PLAN B - REFINISH:
So lets say none of this works to your liking. You can then consider refinishing yourself. The quickest and easiest method is to spray paint. These days, there are so many color options and spray paint types available from textured finishes to high gloss or matte. For mailboxes, house numbers, and doorbells, make sure to clean and dry well before spraying. It is best to remove the items and spray paint them in a protected area where over-spray will not affect anything. For light fixtures, uninstall them (make sure to turn the power off). If you are able to remove the glass in the light fixture easily, then that is the best method. If not, mask off the glass with painters tape. For door hardware, either remove the door hardware or mask off the door and door trim before spraying. Make sure to plug or mask the keyhole. Keep in mind that spray painting door hardware will not be a permanent fix. There will be scrapes and scratches just from normal use. In all cases, with spray painting, apply in very thin coats and let dry thoroughly in between coatings. Do not over apply making the finish too thick.

PLAN C:

If cleaning up or attempting to revitalize any of these items does not work satisfactorily, then Oak Park Home & Hardware can assist in selecting appropriate replacements. Many customers will email us a picture of where the item will be installed asking for our recommendations. Look through our site and let us know if we can help!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, April 22, 2016
Selecting House Numbers or a House Number Plaque


Selecting and installing house numbers for the home can be a daunting task “for some”. There are many styles, materials, and finishes available as well as sizes. Determining an appropriate installation location for your house numbers can add to the challenge.
Let us shine some light on some options and the task at hand.

I’m a bit of a “detail awareness personality” so I tend to notice everything from house numbers, mailboxes, and doorbells on a home or building. As I walk my dog in my own community, I sometimes entertain my mind by rating the wide variety of aesthetics of house numbers I see. My criterion includes considerations such as;

1) Is the style appropriate for the architecture of the home?

2) Is the size proportionate to the installation location or size of the building?

3) Is the finish in sync with other related elements such as the door hardware, doorbell, mailbox, door color, color of the home, or wood trim?

4) Oh….and the functionality (in this case readability).

At my lowest rating scale are house number stickers. I see it all too often. Gold and black angular stickers purchased from the local home store, and stuck on a door, mailbox, or wood trim. Vertical or angular positioning of the stickers does not help the look or functionality. It boggles the mind why someone would brand their home with crooked stickers when they are paying $1500 or more per month for the home.

At the high end of my rating scale is a thoughtful presentation of the home’s assigned number where the size, location, and overall cohesiveness of the aesthetic has a sensibility. It communicates pride in home ownership.

Where to begin….

Location…Location…Location

Assess the best possible location for the numbers. Can they be seen from the distance? Sometimes it makes best sense to locate the numbers beneath or nearby a light fixture so they can be illuminated at night. Many municipals now have codes or established ordinances where the numeral height must be a minimum height. Check with your local municipal or village.

Individual Numbers Or Number Plaque?
One word here…”Contrast”!
Keep in mind that the finish or coloration of individual house numbers must be considerably darker or lighter than the background they will be mounted to in order to read them. Does the background have a pattern such as bricks or stonework with mortar lines in between? Generally, an even color or textured background will work best. A house number plaque can provide the maximum contrast you may need.

Ease Of Installation
How many numbers do you have? If you have 3 or more numbers, keep in mind that you will need to drill from 2 to 3 holes per number. And you will need to measure for and align every number, making it challenging to get them straight or level. House number plaques typically have only from 2 to 4 holes to contend with and getting a plaque to be level is much easier. Plaques also tend to have more options for personalization.

Style
What is the style of the home? Is it Craftsman? Is it Tudor? Is it Contemporary? Try to “right-fit” the style of the house numbers or number plaque to the architectural style of the home. For example, if the home is Craftsman or Prairie in style, then there are many number fonts available in the Craftsman style. If the home is Contemporary in style, then consider a number font that is a sanserif font style. There are many number plaque designs available where the number font style takes a back seat to the overall architectural shape or style of the plaque and the plaque becomes a stylistic statement.

Is Bigger Better?
It is of course easier to see bigger numbers from the distance. But I profess that ease in visibility is more important. Contrast is the key. Think about the size of the home or building. Select a number or plaque size that looks and feels comfortable in relationship to the volume of the structure. Oversized numbers or plaque can look out of place on a smaller home. And just the opposite, too small can appear underwhelming and may not be functional on a larger home. If you are unsure, find a variety of numbers or plaque options online, print them out to scale or cut out pieces of paper to size and tape them up to the intended installation location. Or if you know how to use Photoshop (or know of someone who does), take a picture of the home, measure something on the home for scale, and insert the numbers to scale on the picture of the home. We do this all of the time for customers with lighting and it is a great visualization tool. Ask friends, family or your Designer for their opinion.

Color/Finish
There are many finishes available these days from painted finishes; living finishes, to stainless steel. Paint finishes are typically powdercoat finishes, which are durable and will not change over time. A true oil rubbed bronze finish is a hand rubbed patina finish typically applied to copper, brass or bronze. If a lacquer finish coating is applied, then it will not change over time (unless it is a water-based lacquer). Living finishes have become very popular for a variety architectural styles. Living finishes allow the environment to naturally weather the material building a patina on its surface. A developed patina can be brown, greenish or both depending upon the material and chemicals used in the finishing process.

What is the overall plan? Will you be purchasing a new light fixture, door, mailbox, and doorbell? Or will you be keeping the existing? Will you be painting the door or trim? These are important considerations when selecting a finish. Commit to a theme and work towards it. For example, is your light fixture and door hardware an oil rubbed bronze? You may want to purchase new house numbers (or plaque), doorbell and mailbox in the same or similar finish. The goal effect should be an overall cohesiveness.
 
Installation
Installing numbers or number plaque is by far easiest when mounting to wood. Many people are weary about drilling into brick, stone, or stucco but sometimes there may not be any other option or it may be the best option. When installing onto brick, it is easier to drill into the mortar in between the brick. In either case a plastic or metal anchor should be used to screw into. Your local hardware store may provide some help in determining the best type of anchor. On uneven surfaces such as stucco, you can use a number of standard washers behind the numbers or plaque before attaching, in order to achieve an even appearance. Most importantly, measure-measure-measure and use a level!

That’s It!
Selecting appropriate house numbers or number plaque for your home is worthy of some consideration. Clear number identification is a safety issue, making it easier for emergency personnel to locate the home. It helps delivery personnel to locate the home easily as well as friends and family.

House numbers or number plaques can be a way of branding the home with style and sometimes personality. The number display is also a way to show pride in home ownership and validates your investment.

Oak Park Home & Hardware has hundreds of house number and house number plaque options available. Please let us know if we can help in your decision. We are here to help!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Why Every Detail Matters When Designing Your Home

By: Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel



Any minimalist will tell you that every single possession and accessory in your home should serve a purpose and speak to who you are. Certainly, we don’t all need to go to such an extreme lifestyle for this sentiment to ring true, though. That is why when you are designing your home you need to take the time to consider what most represents who you are, down to the very last piece. Here are four reasons why we at Modernize know that every detail matters when it comes to designing your home.

From Piecemeal to One of a Kind
The difference between your first apartment and your current home is cohesion. Like most everyone, you probably started off with a piecemeal of hand-me-down furniture and pictures that merely filled a need. Now, though, you are able to design a home to fit your aesthetic, and nothing speaks to that more than the details. Each light fixture and faucet give a little clue into what brings you joy, so be sure those clues are telling the right story.



Finishes the Look
Each room requires very specific furniture to serve a particular function, but more attention is needed to then make that room feel like a home. Something as simple as a Lake Geneva magazine rack and a Martin Tree of Life wood panel can transform a simple living room into a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired sanctuary. Consequently, find pieces that put an exclamation point on your room by filling the spaces with style.

Tells Your Life Journey
Some of the best accent pieces are ones that you have picked up throughout your life. Whether it is a quilt your grandmother made or a piece of pottery you found on a study abroad trip, these pieces are emblematic of your journey and should definitely be added in and around your home. It is details like these that personalize your home better than anything else.



Think of Every Guest
Your home isn’t just for you alone. It’s a place for family to laugh, friends to share a meal, and your children to grow up. And years down the road, if these walls could talk, they would tell of all the memorable events that happened in your home. So when you are getting bogged down by the thousands of different door knobs to choose from, take a moment to picture what it will feel like opening your door to each of your loved ones with that particular knob. Then, decisions will start to makes themselves, and the attention to detail will make your home feel inspired.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, January 22, 2016
Creative Uses With Ceiling Medallions - Home Decorating Ideas
Creative Uses With Ceiling Medallions

Although ceiling medallions are intended as ceiling decorations or for framing a chandelier's canopy ceiling plate, there are many more alternative creative uses.

Most ceiling medallions these days are a molded urethane material making them light weight and paint-able. Ceiling medallions can be used to add texture and architectural interest for walls as well as ceilings. Consider a medallion group composition as accents in a monotone coloration for a subtle effect or pastel colors for a light Springlike feel.

Other creative uses include mirrors, picture frames, clocks, bed headboards, wreathes, and more. Get your creative on! For more creative ideas using ceiling medallions, CLICK HERE.

We now have over 128 urethane ceiling medallions available ranging from $8.50 up to $96.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THEM ALL


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Customizing With Arroyo Craftsman Lighting
Many lighting manufacturers do not afford the luxury of customization. But since Arroyo Craftsman Lighting is made per order according to option selections, limited customization is possible.

Oak Park Home & Hardware and Tudor Furnishings has been accommodating customization requests with Arroyo Craftsman since 2001, and with great success!  We know the product line inside out and have a direct line to Arroyo Craftsman's Production Manager. Many or most online lighting dealers will not take the time with customization and quite frankly, their operators may not know the product line enough to know what can or cannot be done. Mistakes can happen and since the average production time for the lighting is from 4-6 weeks, any mistake can be costly, yet alone frustrating.

Here are just a few customization examples that we can accommodate;

Overall Heights:
Ceiling heights vary greatly. And pendants and chandeliers typically need to be hung a certain distance either from a ceiling or off from a surface. We can have any pendant or chandelier made to any overall height. We can have chain lengths added or stems, rods or tube lengths added or subtracted to achieve an overall height (extension). Arroyo Craftsman considers the overall height to be FROM THE CEILING TO VERY BOTTOM OF THE FIXTURE LANTERN(S). Arroyo Craftsman will not produce a fixture with a specified chain length or rod length. It must be an overall height. If a chain hung pendant or chandelier needs to be shorter than the standard overall height (extension), then we recommend getting the fixture with the standard overall height (extension) and simply shorten by removing chain links at the time of installation. There is an upcharge for adding length and shortening lengths from a standard overall height (extension).

Loose Fitting Bottom Glass Panels:
Many Arroyo Craftsman light fixtures can have a loose fitting bottom glass panel. This is especially advantageous for outdoor fixtures or fixtures where the sight line is direct up into the interior of the fixture. Loose fitting bottom glass panels are only available for square bottom or rectangular bottom fixtures. Otherwise, it would not be possible to tilt the glass panel upward to change out a light bulb. Bottom glass panels are not available for certain smaller size fixtures because the UL rating would become void from too much interior heat build up. You can get any glass color option for a bottom glass panel. For example, some people may select a frosted glass for the bottom glass panel while selecting the Gold White Iridescent glass for the body of the fixture. There is typically an upcharge for a bottom glass panel. We include them at no cost on larger orders (if available).

Finishes:
We can make a request for no clear lacquer on certain finishes such as the Verdigris Patina finish. The result is a finish that will begin to evolve and patina on its own more quickly. There is no upcharge for this request.

Making A Damp Rated Light Fixture To Be Wet Rated:
Some light fixtures by Arroyo Craftsman which are damp rated can be made as a wet rated fixture with a special heavily insulated cable and added silicone. These are fixtures where a cable is partially exposed such as a hooked arm wall mount fixture where a small amount of the cable exits the hook into the lantern. There is an upcharge for this modification. Click here for more information on Damp Rated versus Wet Rated lighting.

Mix and Matching Standard Parts:
On occasion, a customer will want (or need) a look from one series and a size of something else on another series. We can (and have) done this. Arroyo Craftsman will generate a drawing for us showing the modification, and provide a cost. Arroyo Craftsman will require a sign off on the drawing prior to production. Costs are based upon material costs and labor.

Custom Sizing:
We have had custom sized fixtures made from existing designs. For example, we can have a wall sconce made to a custom height or width quite easily. This may not be possible on lighting designs which have a curve or spun part in its design. Arroyo Craftsman will generate a drawing for us showing the modification, and provide a cost. Arroyo Craftsman will require a sign off on the drawing prior to production. Costs are based upon material costs and labor.

100% Custom:
Simply put....Yes!
This will be the highest cost in customization.

Please feel free in contact us for any Arroyo Craftsman Lighting customization request!:
773-836-3606 or by emaii
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Oak Park Home & Hardware specializes in lighting products in the spirit of Arts & Crafts, Mission, Prairie, Bungalow, English Tudor, Tudor Manor, and Spanish Revival styles.

We have developed unique relationships with many of our Craftsmen, and suppliers of products allowing customization for our customers. All at very competitive pricing!

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Oak Park Home & Hardware offer high quality lighting designs. We provide customized lighting solutions with manufacturers such as Arroyo Craftsman Lighting, Mica Lamp Company, 2nd Ave Lighting, and UltraLights Lighting.

We also offer quality lighting products with manufacturers such as Quoizel, James Mattson Coppercraft, and Lundberg Studios. Please check out our unique lighting designs in the style of Greene and Greene!

We offer handcrafted Mission style hardware, Craftsman style mailboxes, Arts & Crafts style house numbers and so much more. Please bookmark us!
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